Black Ops – What Treyarch Got Wrong

Unbalanced Maps

It’s no secret that certain modes in Black Ops are essentially unplayable on particular maps. The design of some maps makes certain modes dull and lifeless, due to the lack of a central location where most of the action can take place. Free-For-All junkies can go minutes on end without coming across a single player on particular maps, even when the match is full. While this may have been Treyarch’s intention in order to create a less fast-paced, more accurate depiction of battle back during the Cold War, it’s difficult to get excited about slow, kill-less matches after playing Modern Warfare 2 for days on end.

Overwhelming CoD Currency System

While Modern Warfare 2 was often criticized for its simplicity and over-accessibility, it was still able to introduce a casual gamer to a highly competitive and enjoyable multiplayer experience. Black Ops does the same thing, but the great new currency points system can definitely be a little overwhelming at first. The upside is that it’s because of the sheer amount of content available to purchase. Once you get the hang of things it’s a fantastic system, but it could potentially scare off gamers that are too used to the automatic leveling up system on offer in other Call of Duty games.

No Spec Ops

A fantastic mode in Modern Warfare 2, the lack of this co-op driven multiplayer mode is disappointing. Spec Ops was a great mode that put two people in a very challenging environment, offering fast-paced action with plenty to achieve and bragging rights on offer. Black Ops offers plenty for the casual gamer throughout the entire package, but Spec Ops could have been a staple of the Call of Duty franchise. Here’s hoping it returns in the future.

Core Gameplay Lacks Innovation

As much as Black Ops has going for it and as great as Treyarch has been for the Call of Duty franchise, gamers still get the same old Call of Duty gameplay, which is definitely becoming tiresome. Perhaps it’s because of similarities in narrative and environment that make the gameplay feel less and less inventive over time. An extreme change in location and era might help redefine the genre, franchise and experience, just as Call of Duty 4 did.

Short Campaign

Coming in at roughly 4-6 hours, the campaign is far too short, which is a major disappointment considering how awesome the story is most of the time. Gamers might be winging considering the depth they get with multiplayer, but it’s so obvious that developers want to encourage gamers to head online in order to increase the value of their product. If they introduce a longer single-player campaign, then there’s the potential of draining the experience out of the gamer, as the story eventually comes to an end (whereas multiplayer is essentially never-ending). However, the Call of Duty faithful still deserve better, and while Treyarch has taken a step in the right direction with a great plot and some wonderful characters, it couldn’t have hurt for two or three extra hours in combat.

Lacks Visual Polish

While some moments in Black Ops stand out visually, there is a definite inconsistency throughout, namely in the campaign mode. Some levels look better than others, and while the colour palette is definitely brighter and more alive than previous Call of Duty titles, namely World at War, there’s still the occasional pop-in and graphical glitch, some even game ending. Black Ops is a great looking game, there’s no doubting that, but certain elements and areas need some sprucing up.

Horrendous AI – Enemy and Friendly

The story, breathtaking scenery and set pieces can blind you from the terrible AI in Black Ops. Both friendly and enemy AI move around moronically, sometimes even moving into cover and shooting directly into walls or objects for seconds on end. The AI can’t adapt to its surroundings very well, which can make for some frustrating moments throughout the campaign. It’s not a deal breaker, but the lackluster AI definitely dampens the experience, albeit minimally, especially on the more challenging missions where you have somewhat of a reliance on your squad mates. But poor AI seems to come part and parcel with Call of Duty games, so it’s to be expected.

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