I'm Pissed That I'm Getting Black Ops

This article isn’t about how Call of Duty: Black Ops is going to suck, because frankly, it’s not. Ever since CoD4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty has been a successful franchise with solid titles, all of which I’ve played and enjoyed. And I fully expect to do the same with Black Ops. That doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it.

Ever since Final Fantasy X, I play every game hoping to be blown away. Like in FFX when (spoiler alert) you find out Auron has been a fayth the whole time, I want to be knocked off my feet again. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a plot twist, though games like BioShock and Half Life 2 did that extraordinarily well. It could be an innovative new type of gameplay (I’m looking at you, Braid, Limbo, and LittleBigPlanet), it could be a new visual style (the first time I played Gears of War), or it could be a combination of all of those elements. The combo, for me, arrived with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. I had never played an FPS that was so quick, so crisp, so polished, and so impactful. I had never even thought that playing a game where I crawl to my own nuclear overdosing death could blow me away, but that’s exactly what it did.

Call of Duty: Black Ops

And the two CoD titles since then have attempted to replicate that moment. World at War had the flag at the end, the torture scene, and the part where you can either save Kiefer Sutherland’s character or watch him die. On top of those, they threw in Nazi Zombies, which is just a whole mess of co-op arcade-style dismembering. Then Modern Warfare 2 had the airport level, the Captain Price return, the throwing knife, and they threw in Spec Ops Mode, which is just a whole mess of co-op arcade-style objective matches. Do you see where I’m going with this?

There’s nothing wrong with making sequels that essentially just tweak elements from its predecessors, but I have been waiting so much for an FPS to knock me on my ass like Modern Warfare did. It’s just disappointing. Shock value is not the same. Just because you shoot up hundreds of civilians in an airport does not mean that you’ve changed my perception of video games. What if you had to play part of that level as one of the civilians? Or as Makarov? What if a game based in history, like World at War, had the balls to blatantly deny the facts of history to tell a better story (see Inglorious Basterds)?

I’m not saying I’ve got all the answers for how to create the best FPS of this generation. That isn’t my job, so I won’t try to do it. But with all of the coverage I’ve seen on Black Ops, there is little to nothing about it that makes me think it will blow me away. Yes, the multiplayer experience will be deep with customization and game types. Yes, the wager matches will probably be a cool little addition. Yes, the single-player campaign will have some fun segments in helicopters and probably some super brutal kills. It will be a great game as usual, probably between 9.0 and 10.0, a real winner. But it’s redundant. And I’m supporting that redundancy. I’m pissed that I’m getting Black Ops.


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Author: Dan Crabtree View all posts by
Dan is Managing Editor for GamerNode and a freelance gaming writer. His dog is pretty great. Check him out on Twitter @DanRCrabtree.

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