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Call Of Duty: Black Ops, A Dynamite

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Call of Duty: Black Ops, another addition to the series, became eminent and peerless in an elapsed time. It became a significant constituent in the series release by being highly acclaimed and applauded. Let’s delve deeper into its jazzy details.

Development And Launch of Black Ops

Shortly after the release of World at War, Trey Arch began working on the new title in 2009. The game was built on the same engine IW 3.0 with slight improvements which gave them the time to write out the more compelling and besetting narrative without having to worry about reworking the game engine.

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In May 2009, there were rumors that Activision considering Vietnam War-era music licensing, sparking speculation that Call of Duty 7 would be set in Vietnam. Officially announced in November 2009, just before Modern Warfare 2 release, Call of Duty: Black Ops was confirmed for a 2010 release. The game utilized an improved World at War engine, maintained a 60-fps frame rate on most platforms, and supported 3-D imaging for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

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Trey Arch focused on Black Ops during its development, using advanced motion capture technology. They consulted with Cold War special forces veterans for authenticity. Despite its historical basis, the game featured a fictional story with adjustable settings for blood and profanity.

Plot and Characters

Black Ops is set between 1961 and 1968, covering the Cold War and the Vietnam War, 16 to 23 years after the World War. It delves into secret CIA black operations across the globe, including Cuba, the Soviet Union, the United States, South Vietnam, China, Canada, and Laos. The CIA’s mission is to prevent Soviet sleeper agents in the US, activated via broadcasts from a number station, from deploying the nerve agent Nova 6.

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The protagonist is the CIA operator Alex Mason, supported by characters like Jason Hudson, Frank Woods, Joseph Bowman, and Grigori Weaver. Returning from World at War is Viktor Reznov, along with Dimitri Petrenko. The game also features historical figures like Fidel Castro, Robert McNamara, and John F. Kennedy.

Black Ops Gameplay

In April 1961, Mason, Woods, and Bowman participated in Operation 40, aiming to assassinate Fidel Castro during the Bay of Pigs Invasion. However, Mason is captured by the real Castro and handed over to the soviet General Nikita Dragovich. Mason ends up in the brutal Vorkuta gulag, where befriends Viktor Reznov and learns about their enemies: Dragovich, Kravchenko, and ex-Nazi scientist Friedrich Steiner.

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The narrative takes a twist back to 1945 when Reznov and Dimitri Petrenko attempted to extract Steiner, who later betrayed them. The story switches to Mason and Reznov’s escape from Vorkuta in October 1963. Mason returns to the US, meeting President Kennedy, who authorizes an assassination mission against Dragovich.

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In January 1968, Mason’s team is in Vietnam, recovering a dossier from Reznov during the Tet Offensive. They confront Dragovich, seemingly killing him. Subsequently, Mason’s team is captured by the Viet Cong Spetsnaz forces but escapes, ultimately confronting Kravchenko.

Hudson and Weaver track Clarke in Kowloon Walled City, discovering the facility’s location and killing Clarke. Mason goes rogue with Reznov to assassinate Steiner, but there’s a twist – Mason carries out the act alone.

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Hudson explains that Dragovich has sleeper cells across the US, posing a threat. Mason was brainwashed at Vorkuta and set to assassinate Kennedy, but Reznov’s influence helped him overcome this programming. Mason remembers the location of Dragovich’s broadcast station, a ship in the Gulf of Mexico. They assault the Rusalka, destroy it with the US Navy’s help, and confront Dragovich in an underwater base. Mason kills Dragovich.

The story ends with footage of President Kennedy’s arrival in Dallas in 1963, hinting at Mason’s possible involvement in Kennedy’s assassination as he was among the onlookers.

Zombies

The Zombies’ storyline spans different time periods, primarily during the end of World War II and in the 1960s. The central characters are Tank Dempsey from the US Marine Corps, Nikolai Belinski from the Red Army, Takeo Masaki from the Imperial Japanese Army, and Doctor Edward Richtofen from Wehrmacht. Additional characters include Doctor Ludvig Maxis and his daughter Samantha. In Map Five, historical figures like John F. Kennedy, Robert McNamara, Richard Nixon, and Fidel Castro make appearances. Call of the Dead introduces and celebrates such as Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robert Englund, Danny Trejo, and George A. Romero, all portraying themselves.

Dr. Ludvig Maxis initiated Group 935 during World War II to advance human welfare. Lacking funding, they turned to creating superweapons to aid the Nazis. Their discovery of an Element 115 from a meteorite led to the creation of zombies. Dr. Maxis and Dr. Edward Richtofen worked on other projects, including teleportation devices and 115-powered weapons.

Richtofen accidentally teleported to the Moon, losing his sanity after encountering a mysterious pyramid device. Returning to Germany. He secretly planned to kill Maxis and built Griffin Station on the Moon. Maintaining his cover, Richtofen captured soldiers Dempsey, Nikolai, and Takeo, causing memory loss with Element 115.

Maxis continued experiments, turning his daughters’ dog into an undead Hellhound. Richtofen took advantage, trapping Maxis, Samantha, and the dog together, expecting their demise. Richtofen escapes with his three captives and arrives in a 1960s Nazi theatre, discovering Maxis’s recordings. Samantha, controlling zombies, targets Richtofen.

In 1963, zombies invaded the Pentagon, trapping JFK, Nixon, McNamara, and Castro. Richtofen’s crew arrives at a Soviet Cosmodrome to reach Griffin Station.

Gresh, an Ascension Group member, contacts Richtofen’s crew, teleporting them to a Siberian lighthouse in 2022, forcing them to rely on movie actors battling zombies. Richtofen uses a Vril generator to fix the teleporter, leaving the actors behind it. In Shangri-La, they discover explorers stuck in a time loop.

Richtofen aims to control zombies and return to Griffin Station with the Viral generator and meteorite piece. Samantha’s fate is revealed inside the MPD, and Maxis is somewhere else. Samantha controls zombies for vengeance, and Maxis becomes an AI in Griffin Station. Samantha allies with three soldiers to launch missiles, serving Richtofen‘s link with the Aether and causing Earth’s destruction while Richtofen remains in control of the undead.

Features of Black Ops

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Black Ops, a first-person shooter, maintains the same core gameplay mechanics seen in previous Call of Duty titles. In this game, players step into the boots of a soldier who can wield a variety of firearms, toss grenades, and other explosive devices, and employ equipment as makeshift weapons. Engaging in close combat allows for a one-hit knife kill. Players have the option to adopt three stances standing, crouching, or going prone, each impacting movement speed, accuracy, and stealth capabilities. Additionally, players can swiftly transition from standing prone while on the move, often referred to as dolphin diving, and have a short burst of sprint available.

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Red Screen

The player’s health is indicated by a red screen when they take damage, and his health regenerates gradually over time. To assist players in dealing with live grenades, an on-screen marker displays the grenade/s position relative to the player, aiding in evasion or even throwing it back. Black Ops introduces some new weapons to the series, including crossbows with explosive bolts, dragon’s breath rounds, and ballistic knives.

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Within the context of the single-player campaign, players assume the role of various characters, experiencing shifts in perspective as the narrative unfolds. These playable characters are portrayed as covert operatives entrusted with executing black operations deep within enemy territory. Each mission is structured around a defined set of objectives, prominently featured on the heads-up display, which provides clear direction and distance indicates to guide players towards these mission-critical goals. The user interface approach is consistent with the presentation found in earlier iterations of the game.

Cinematic Experience

Throughout the gameplay experience, players are accompanied by friendly troops, enhancing the immersive quality of the narrative. Although the core gameplay mechanics predominantly align with the first-person shooter genre, certain levels introduce unique elements, such as piloting a Hind helicopter or orchestrating guidance from an SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft to support allied forces.

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Furthermore, the campaign design incorporates scripted cinematic sequences, effectively contributing to a more cinematic and engaging storytelling experience.

Black Ops Multiplayer

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Black Ops online multiplayer mode centers on team-based missions, such as Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and Free for All. There are a total of 14 maps, excluding downloadable content.

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The multiplayer experience maintains the familiar experience points and reward system seen since Call of Duty 4. It emphasizes social interaction and customization, with Create-a-Class 2.0 offering extensive personalization options for appearance and upgradable perks. Weapons can be heavily customized with emblems, attachments, and camouflage painting, even reticles are modifiable.

Diverse Weapons

Attachments come in multiple styles, allowing for diverse weapon personalization. Character models depend on the first-tire perk instead of the weapon type and face paints can be unlocked. New custom killstreaks rewards include explosive R/C cars, guided missiles, and controllable attack helicopters.

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A currency system lets players purchase weapons, accessories, and clothing, and COD Points can be used in a playlist called Wager Match featuring four game modes. Time-limited objectives called Contracts can be bought to earn more currency and experience points. The progression system is not available in local split-screen multiplayer. Game rules customization is no longer supported.

Zombies

The Zombies co-op mode in Black Ops supports four players online or two in split-screen. Players earn points by killing zombies and repairing windows to unlock map areas and better weapons progress. If a player falls to zombies and is not revived in time, they respawn with reset weapon progress. The game has three maps FIVE, KINO DER TOTEN, and the unlockable DEAD OPS ARCADE.

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KINO DER TOTEN is set in an abandoned Group 935 facility in a Berlin theatre in 1963, with characters returning from World At War. FIVE occurs in the Pentagon and involves political figures dealing with a zombie outbreak.

There are four DLC packs. FIRST STRIKE includes ASCENSION set in a soviet space center with new perks and unique devices, ESCALATION introduces CALL OF THE DEAD with celebrity appearances and weapons. ANNIHILATION features SHANGRI-LA, an ancient temple map with deadly traps and a shrink-ray weapon. REZURRECTION is a Zombie-only DLC with the Moon map on Earth’s moon, featuring low-gravity gameplay and new perks.

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Awards And Acclaim of Black Ops

Call of Duty: Black Ops received “generally positive reviews”, with GameSpot giving it a 9.0 out of 10, praising its engrossing campaign and multiplayer. However, Edge magazine was less enthusiastic, awarding it a 7/10 stating that it felt like a yearly update rather than a distinct sequel. Some critics mentioned that the game felt like a rail shooter, with PC Gamer even describing it as barely interactive.

The Daily Telegraph praised Black Ops as:

“The Meaty kick of the guns, blistering pace of the action, and the sterling soundtrack of explosions, gunshots and whistling bullets all to serve quicken the player’s pulse and tighten their grip on the controller.”

The PC version of the game had notable bugs and multiplayer lag issues, making it almost unplayable for some players. PlayStation 3 also experienced compatibility problems with 3D televisions. User reviews on platforms like Amazon were considerably less favorable than critic reviews, with PC users in particular expressing frustration with lag, stuttering, and bugs.

Call of Duty Black Ops was nominated for distinguished awards such as “GAME OF THE YEAR” and “OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN ANIMATION.”

Success In Numbers

Call of Duty Black Ops made an extraordinary impact within 24 hours of its release, selling 4.2 million copies in the US and 1.4 million in the UK, breaking records for entertainment launch. It even outperformed the highly anticipated Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 1 movie, earning $360 million in comparison. Just five days after its release, global sales had already reached $650 million, surpassing the record set by Modern Warfare 2, which made $550 million in the same time frame.

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By November 22, Black Ops was still the top-selling title in the UK, despite an 85% drop in sales. It was estimated that the game might have sold around 18 million units, generating $818 million in revenue, coming close to but falling slightly short of Modern Warfare2.

As of December 22, Black Ops had surpassed $1 million in worldwide revenue. Its strong sales continued for months, maintaining a top-seller position in February 2011. On March 3, 2011, it was declared the best-selling video game in the history of the United States by the Hollywood Reporter. Black Ops had sold over 26.2 million by November 2013.

Final Word

Call of Duty Black Ops was one of the most favorable sequels of the Call of Duty series among players. However, the audience was still unaware of the upcoming series which certainly left them breathless and fascinated.

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