1. The surprising amount of low-resolution textures and jagged edges, whenever you slow down and look at the details.
2. It features the best fire effects you ever saw on the previous generation of consoles.
3. Frame rate – remember how impressed you were at the smoothness of the previous games? Despite running on the same engine, Black Ops seemingly boasts half as many frames per second as the Modern Warfare series!
4. The disjointed missions and uninteresting in medias res structure of the story.
5. Briefings are now packed with so much flashing imagery and noise, it’s surprising there’s been no seizure lawsuits.
6. Will the heroes save the world from the Russian sleeper cells with the deadly nerve gas known as Nova 6? Spoiler: The answer is in every clichéd film and episode of 24 that has done this bioweapon plot before.
7. Modern Warfare 2 had lines like “But the sands and rocks here, stained with thousands of years of warfare…They will remember us.” Black Ops has lines like “THE FUCKING NUMBERS!”
8. The plot twist stolen from a film that veers the game into some kind of science fiction or magic territory. It makes the action movie nonsense of Modern Warfare 2 look sensible.
9. Said twist is so heavily foreshadowed that most players guessed it before the game tells you it twice, then shows it, and then makes you play for another ten minutes before the actual flashback-filled reveal.
10. There is genuinely a guitar riff as a character puts on his sunglasses. In a dark room. Without a hint of irony.
11. It lacks the variety and set-pieces, the highs and lows of Modern Warfare 2. It’s just meaninglessly shooting hundreds of people while explosions go off. It’s everything people that haven’t played video games think they are.
12. Lack of emotional resonance due to poor cinematic presentation. When important characters die or events occur, it makes no effort to provokes any feelings.
Especially compared to say – the death scenes in the Modern Warfare series.
13. You play it less. There’s one entire mission where the only control you have is to move your head in a 90 degree arc. Complete with random changes to jarring third person camera angles.
14. So many scripted melee kills that they become both flavourless and meaningless.
15. As a step backwards in the series, enemies will keep respawning unless you push forward. Naturally this leads you to rush forward, which can get you killed. Especially when you can easily get ahead of where the game wants you to be.
16. Relating to that problem, Treyarch have hilariously placed a lot of checkpoints before unskippable scripted events and animations, so you can watch the melee kill and body-hiding before the broken stealth section – again and again!
17. The bad checkpoints are made worse when you fail due to the game not effectively communicating what it wants you to do.
How many people knew to grab that magically appearing rocket launcher to shoot down the missile?
18. Occasionally broken hit detection. You can enjoy shooting at that guy across the room with your crosshair perfectly positioned on the middle of his head and watch the total lack of reaction to your seemingly non-existent bullets.
19. Technical stupidity – Getting shot in the face by an enemy that a friendly AI ran right past or is standing right next to. Or getting stuck on a wall in prone or ‘Second Chance’.
20. The subtitles. They don’t show up at the start of missions and there’s a startling number of typos. That’s not very considerate to any deaf gamers.
21. Inconsiderate to gamers with hearing – the game (that is set in the 1960s!) will assault your ears midway through the credits with a song by Eminem and Pink.
22. Having to buy Perks and weapons and attachments with CoDPoints is a great way of discouraging experimentation.
23. Two small, fast-moving, almost-impossible-to-hit Killstreaks that can kill you in one hit? Oh, yeah. That’s much more balanced than the varied and interesting Killstreaks of Modern Warfare 2.
24. In terms of polish in both singleplayer and multiplayer, Black Ops comes off like the gameplay equivalent of fanfiction. Play the Cliffhanger mission or a Team Deathmatch in Modern Warfare 2 and then try going back to Black Ops.
The gap between Treyarch and Infinity Ward is still a canyon.
25. “THE NUMBERS”:
- The recommended retail price is £54.99 in Britain.
- In one day, Black Ops sold three times what Mass Effect 2 did in a week. That’s a sign humanity should let the Reapers win.
- At the time of writing, it has an 89 average on Metacritic. If it didn’t have Call of Duty in the name, it would probably be averaging at least ten points less. It’s Final Fantasy all over again and that just might be the worst thing of all.