First impressions: Call of Duty: Black Ops | Gameguide First impressions: Call of Duty: Black Ops – Gameguide

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Call of Duty has always been about the soldiers in the trenches, so it’s interesting that the level of Call of Duty: Black Ops showcased by Activision and studio Treyarch kicks off with an operative leading colleagues from up above.

Hovering above from inside an SR-71 Blackbird, players will send orders guiding a group of four soldiers past a convoy of Russians in the Ural Mountains. They simply point to areas on the screen and hit a button to lead the squad, so don’t expect the complexity of, say, a Ghost Recon. But, similar to the view above an AC-130 gunship in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the SR-71 scenario offered a fascinating perspective of the battlefield. 

Of course, this is still a Call of Duty title, and once that brief command-based sequence concluded, the story shifts back to the soldier on the ground, as he and his three colleagues attempt to infiltrate a Russian facility.

The name of the level, “WMD,” is set in 1968, during the height of the Cold War. The players’ character is part of a larger endeavor to stop the spread of Communism. As the foursome moves through the facility, they come to a relay station they must take out. One by one, players will pick off unsuspecting foes with a scoped crossbow. Similar to previous Call of Duty titles, players will click to hold their breath and fire away.

This is when we check out one of the franchise’s new features: alternate ammo that can be changed on the fly. As the group gets closer, they find an area with at least a dozen enemy soldiers, two of which sit by a truck. The lead character switches from a standard arrow tip on his crossbow to an explosive tip. Once fired, a beacon flashes for a couple seconds and boom goes the enemy. The lead character would eventually switch to an AUG assault rifle that could house attachments, although none were available during this level.

The firefight that ensues is textbook Call of Duty. Chaos dominates as players must navigate streams of bullets to reach their destination. Black Ops seems to follow the footsteps of the Modern Warfare franchise in attempting to deliver a more cinematic presentation, with the team ending the “WMD” level diving off a large cliff.

Overall, the level seemed to deliver the intensity and explosiveness of previous Call of Duty titles, and the SR-71 section left me wondering what other surprises Treyarch might have in store for Black Ops. – USAToday

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