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Call of Duty: Black Ops

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Publisher(s)  Activision
Artist(s)  Colin Whitney
Engine  IW 3.0
Series  Call of Duty
8.5/10 IGN

Director(s)  Dave Anthony
Composer(s)  Sean Murray
Initial release date  9 November 2010
Designer  David Vonderhaar
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Writer(s)  Craig Houston Dave Anthony David S. Goyer
Awards  BAFTA Games Award for Best Game (Public Vote)
Developers  Treyarch, Raven Software, n-Space
Platforms  PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360
Similar  Call of Duty games, Activision games, First-person shooter games

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Call of Duty: Black Ops is a first-person shooter video game, developed by Treyarch and published by Activision. It was released worldwide on November 9, 2010 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii consoles, with a separate version for Nintendo DS developed by n-Space. Announced on April 30, 2010, the game is the seventh installment of the Call of Duty series. It is also the first to be set in the Cold War, the third in the series to be developed by Treyarch, and is the sequel to Call of Duty: World at War.

Contents

Within 24 hours of going on sale, the game had sold more than 5.6 million copies, 4.2 million in the U.S. and 1.4 million in the UK, breaking the record set by its predecessor Modern Warfare 2 by some 2.3 million copies. After six weeks on release, Activision reported that Black Ops had exceeded $1 billion in sales. On August 3, 2011, Activision confirmed that the game had sold over 25 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling games of all time in the US, UK and Europe. A sequel, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, was released on November 13, 2012. Call of Duty: Black Ops III was released on November 6, 2015 as the sequel to Black Ops II.

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Gameplay

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Black Ops is a first-person shooter, retaining the same gameplay mechanics as previous Call of Duty titles. The player assumes the role of a foot soldier who can wield various firearms (only two of which can be carried at once), throw grenades and other explosives, and use other equipment as weapons. A player close enough to an enemy can kill with one knife blow. A character can take three stances: standing, crouching or prone. Each affects rate of movement, accuracy, and stealth. The player can drop to the prone stance from the standing stance while running (colloquially known as "dolphin diving"), and can momentarily sprint before having to stop. The screen glows red to indicate damage to a player's health, which regenerates over time. When the character is within the blast radius of a live grenade, an on-screen marker indicates where it is in relation to the player, helping the player to move away or to throw it back. Among the weapons new to the series in Black Ops are crossbows with bolts and explosive ammunition, Dragon's Breath rounds and ballistic knives.

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The player assumes the role of various characters during the single-player campaign, changing perspectives throughout the story. The playable characters are special forces operatives conducting black operations behind enemy lines. In this way, the player's characters have their own traits such as voices and shadows. Each mission features a series of objectives that are displayed on the heads-up display, which marks the direction and distance towards and from such objectives as it has been in the earlier versions. The player is accompanied by friendly troops throughout the game. Although primarily a first-person shooter, certain levels feature sequences where the player pilots a Hind helicopter and guides friendly troops from a SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft. The campaign features several scripted cinematic moments. One of them is a bullet time effect during the "Victor Charlie" level, activated when the player fires toward the last enemy of a Viet Cong squad.

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As a first in the Call of Duty main series, player characters can now speak during gameplay, whereas in previous installments, primarily those made by Infinity Ward, characters would be silent during gameplay, even if they could speak during cutscenes.

Multiplayer

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The online multiplayer mode of Black Ops usually revolves around two teams on a specific mission. For example, in Team Deathmatch the team with the most kills wins, while in Capture the Flag, players take the other team's flags and return it to their own base. Additionally, there is Free For All in which players aren't separated into teams. Not including Downloadable maps, there are 14 different maps.

Black Ops retains the experience points and unlockable reward system that has been kept since Call of Duty 4. The game's multiplayer focuses on socialization and customization. "Create-a-Class 2.0" allows enhanced personalization with appearance items as well as upgradable perks; weapons are extensively customizable with writing, emblems, attachments and camouflage painting. Even reticles can be modified. There are more than one style for an attachment, which allows for a lot more personalized weaponry; for example, the player can choose between a red dot sight or a reflex sight, both of which share many of the same traits, although the red dot fills up less of the screen (something desired by many players). Character models depend on the first tier perk instead of the weapon's type. Furthermore, face paints can be unlocked. New custom killstreak rewards include explosive R/C cars, guided missiles and controllable attack helicopters.

A currency system has been implemented allowing players to buy weapons, accessories and clothes. Players can gamble with their "COD Points" in a free-for-all based playlist called "Wager Match", which is composed of four game modes. Time limited objectives known as "Contracts" can be purchased to gain more currency and experience points. The progression system is not featured in local split-screen multiplayer. In local split-screen play, all character customization options are already unlocked. Players can no longer define game rules such as win conditions.

Players can play alone or with friends against AI opponents in "Combat Training" with a separate progression system. Online split-screen is re-introduced on Xbox 360 and PS3. The guest account can rank up but is reset after each sign out. Only on Xbox 360, a second Gold Xbox Live account can be used to keep the second player's progression. Aside from the Combat Training mode, Xbox users can also have up to four players in split-screen mode play against AI opponents even without having an Xbox Live account. This is done by configuring the Local Split Screen settings and setting the number of enemies to a value greater than zero.

For the first time in the series, clips from online gameplay can be recorded. Some specific features that have been removed from the PC version of Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2 return, such as lean, mod tools, the developer console and dedicated servers. Dedicated servers are exclusively provided by Game Servers. Steam is the exclusive platform for Black Ops on PC, and the game is protected by Valve Anti-Cheat.

The Wii version of the game includes in-game voice chat. This is the first Call of Duty title to include the voice chat feature for the Wii. Nintendo and PDP have partnered to release the first headset to be used with the Wii known as PDP's Headbanger Headset.

Zombies

A zombie cooperation mode, titled "Zombies", is included in the game. Originally featured in World at War, it was revamped to be included in Black Ops. It is a four-player online and two-player split screen co-op mode (which can also be unlocked online). Based on the original game, in the map "Five", players take the roles of John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Robert McNamara, and Fidel Castro as they fight zombies at The Pentagon. Another map, called Kino der Toten ("Cinema of the Dead" in German), features the characters from World at War – Edward Richtofen the German, Tank Dempsey the American, Takeo Masaki the Japanese, and Nikolai Belinski the Russian. Limited editions of the game offer graphically-enhanced versions of the four zombies maps from World at War, featuring the newer weapons from the rest of the game. There is an unlockable top-down, two-stick arcade-shooter version of Zombies known as Dead Ops Arcade.

Characters and setting

Call of Duty: Black Ops takes place during the 1960s in the Cold War, around 20 years after the events of World at War. It focuses on CIA clandestine black operations carried out behind enemy lines. Missions take place in various locations around the globe such as the Ural Mountains, Kazakhstan, Cuba, Hong Kong, Laos, South Vietnam, the Arctic circle and Siberia. The single-player campaign revolves around an experimental chemical weapon codenamed "Nova-6".

The main protagonist the player controls is SAD/SOG special forces operative Alex Mason (Sam Worthington). Occasionally CIA paramilitary operations officer Jason Hudson (Ed Harris), and some other characters are playable to progress the story. Alex is often joined by fellow operatives Frank Woods (James C. Burns) and Joseph Bowman (Ice Cube), while Jason teams up with Grigori Weaver (Gene Farber), a Russian-born field operative. Viktor Reznov (Gary Oldman), a key character from the Soviet campaign in World at War, returns along with that game's Russian protagonist Dimitri Petrenko (Boris Kievsky) also making an appearance. Black Ops also features several historical figures: during the story Mason meets John F. Kennedy, Robert McNamara, and Fidel Castro.

Story

On February 25, 1968, SAD operative Alex Mason is strapped to a chair in an interrogation room, bombarded with questions by his unseen captors about the location of a numbers station. Mason then recalls several events, as an attempt to answer their questions.

In 1961, Mason, Woods, and Bowman take part in Operation 40 to assassinate Fidel Castro in Cuba during the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Mason apparently succeeds and stays behind to protect the extraction plane from an oncoming blockade, before being captured by the real Castro, having shot a double. Handed over to General Nikita Dragovich to be held captive at Vorkuta Gulag, Mason befriends inmate and former Red Army soldier Viktor Reznov. Reznov recounts to Mason the identities of their enemies: Dragovich, his right-hand man Lev Kravchenko, and ex-Nazi scientist Friedrich Steiner, who defected to the Soviet Union. In October 1945, Reznov and Dimitri Petrenko were sent to extract Steiner from a Nazi base in the Arctic. However, they were betrayed by Dragovich who tested Steiner's nerve gas known as "Nova-6" on Petrenko. Reznov was spared the same fate when British Commandos, also interested in acquiring Nova-6, attacked the Soviets. Reznov destroyed the Nova-6 and escaped, only to be captured by the Soviets and sent to Vorkuta. The Soviets later recreated Nova-6 with the help of a British scientist, Daniel Clarke.

Having spent over a year imprisoned, Mason and Reznov spark an uprising to flee the gulag, but only Mason manages to escape. In November 1963, Mason meets with President John F. Kennedy, who authorizes a mission to assassinate Dragovich; Mason briefly envisions aiming a handgun at Kennedy. Mason, Woods, Bowman, and Weaver are dispatched to the Baikonur Cosmodrome to disrupt the Soviet space program and eliminate members of "Ascension", a Soviet program giving sanctuary to Nazi scientists in exchange for their knowledge. The team destroys the Soyuz spacecraft, while Woods apparently kills Dragovich in a car explosion with a commandeered BTR.

In January 1968, Mason's team is sent to Vietnam. After defending Khe Sanh, they recover a dossier on Dragovich from a Russian defector in Hue City during the Tet Offensive. The defector turns out to be none other than Reznov, who joins them as they penetrate Laos to recover a Nova-6 shipment from a downed Soviet plane. They are captured by Viet Cong and Spetznaz infiltrators at the crash site. Bowman is executed, but Woods and Mason hijack an Mi-24 Hind in the confusion and escape, moving on to rescue Reznov from Kravchenko's base. They confront Kravchenko and Woods stabs him, but Kravchenko pulls the pins off of four grenades strapped to himself, forcing Woods to sacrifice himself by pushing both himself and Kravchenko out of a window. In a huge explosion, Mason presumes the two dead.

Meanwhile, Hudson and Weaver interrogate Clarke in Kowloon City. Clarke reveals the location of a hidden facility in Mount Yamantau before being killed by Dragovich's men. Hudson and Weaver move to destroy the facility and receive a transmission from Steiner requesting to meet at Rebirth Island, as Dragovich has begun killing loose ends. Mason and Reznov head there to assassinate Steiner at the same time, succeeding just as Hudson and Weaver arrive. Mason is adamant that Reznov executed Steiner, but Hudson had witnessed Mason carrying out the act alone.

Hudson and Weaver are revealed to be Mason's interrogators. Dragovich has communist sleeper cells placed all over the United States which, when ordered by the numbers broadcast, will release the Nova-6 gas. As a result, the U.S. is preparing a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the Soviet Union, which would result in the inevitable Mutual Assured Destruction of World War III. Hudson needed Steiner to abort the gas launch, but after his death, only Mason has any knowledge of the numbers station. Hudson reveals that Dragovich brainwashed Mason to understand the numbers broadcasts and assassinate Kennedy, effectively making him a Soviet sleeper agent. The real Reznov never escaped, but died during the Vorkuta breakout attempt, and the Soviet defector in Hue was actually killed before Mason reached him. Mason’s visions of Reznov are a result of a dissociative disorder caused by the traumatic brainwashing program. Prior to the Vorkuta uprising, Reznov had secretly reprogrammed Mason to assassinate Dragovich, Kravchenko, and Steiner instead. Mason finally remembers the location of the broadcast station: a Russian cargo ship called Rusalka off the coast of Cuba. An assault on the Rusalka begins, with Mason and Hudson infiltrating the underwater submarine base protecting the ship. Hudson calls in the United States Navy to destroy the Rusalka. Mason and Hudson finally confront Dragovich in the lower levels of the facility, and Mason strangles and drowns him to death before escaping with Hudson. They regroup with Weaver, who declares victory.

Archive footage of President Kennedy prior to his assassination is shown, revealing Mason was in the crowd of onlookers who watched Kennedy disembark from Air Force One at Love Field, implicitly suggesting that Mason may have carried out his initial programming. A hidden message that can be accessed in the game's main menu reveals that Woods survived the confrontation with Kravchenko and is currently incarcerated in the Hanoi Hilton.

Characters and settings

The Zombies story takes place over various eras of time, mostly during the final year of World War II, and the 1960s. The story mainly follows four soldiers: Corporal "Tank" Dempsey (Steven Blum) of the United States Marine Corps, Sergeant Nikolai Belinski (Fred Tatasciore) of the Red Army, Captain Takeo Masaki (Tom Kane) of the Imperial Japanese Army, and Doctor Edward Richtofen (Nolan North) of the Wehrmacht. Other characters include Doctor Ludvig Maxis (Fred Tatasciore) and his daughter Samantha (Julie Nathanson). The map "Five" features real-life historical figures: John F. Kennedy (Jim Meskimen), Robert McNamara (Robert Picardo), Richard Nixon (Dave Mallow) and Fidel Castro (Marlon Correa). "Call of the Dead" features the appearance of real-life celebrities: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robert Englund, Danny Trejo, Michael Rooker, and Director George A. Romero (all of whom are voiced by their real-life counterparts).

Story

During World War II, Doctor Ludvig Maxis formed Group 935, a group of scientists that was intended to improve the human condition. Lacking funds, they soon turned to creating weapons to aid the Nazis. Their discovery of Element 115 from a meteorite in Japan lead to the creation of zombies. Maxis and his assistant, Dr. Edward Richtofen, also work on other projects, leading to the creation of teleportation devices and 115-powered weapons. Attempting to use himself as a test subject, Richtofen accidentally teleports to a catacomb within the moon, where he comes into contact with a mysterious pyramid device that causes him to have schizophrenia, slowly taking away his sanity. He is later teleported to an exotic jungle known as Shangri-La, where he spends three weeks studying the Vril energy force. Upon returning to Germany, Richtofen secretly forms a plan to kill Maxis, and gathers many members of Group 935 to build a moon base, known as Griffin Station. While maintaining his cover with Maxis and the rest of Group 935, Richtofen manages to capture three soldiers: Tank Dempsey, Nikolai Belinski, and Takeo Masaki; he begins to conduct experiments with Element 115, causing memory loss for all three soldiers.

Maxis continues his work on other experiments, attempting to use his daughter's dog, Fluffy, as a test subject for his own teleportation device. However, the experiment fails, and Fluffy is transformed into an undead hellhound. Richtofen takes the opportunity and traps Maxis and his daughter Samantha inside the teleporter with Fluffy, believing that they would die. Richtofen escapes with his three captured soldiers, and arrives at the Rising Sun research facility in Japan, where Element 115 was first discovered. After gathering a sample of 115 at the site, and recovering a weapon known as the Wunderwaffe DG-2, they return to the Der Riese factory in Germany. In an attempt to escape the zombie horde, the group accidentally overloads a teleporter with the DG-2, sending them forward in time. They arrive at an abandoned Nazi theater in the 1960s, where Richtofen discovers several recordings left behind by Dr. Maxis. Samantha, having survived and managing to control the zombies, continues raising the undead in order to hunt down Richtofen.

Some time in 1963, the United States government manages to grab hold of several of Group 935's inventions, keeping them hidden in the Pentagon. Due to the presence of the undead-raising Element 115, Zombies breach the Pentagon. John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Robert McNamara, and Fidel Castro are trapped within the Pentagon, forced to fight their way out. Meanwhile, Richtofen's crew arrive at a Soviet Cosmodrome site, where Richtofen intends to travel to Group 935's moon base, Griffin Station. The crew is contacted by Gersh, a member of the Ascension Group who requests to be freed from Samantha's grip. After freeing Gersh, the four of them are teleported further in time, and arrive at a Siberian lighthouse sometime in 2011, once used by Richtofen as a secret lab. However, they are trapped within a locked room, and forced to rely on four movie actors: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Danny Trejo, Robert Englund, and Michael Rooker, who are filming a zombie movie on-site along with director George A. Romero, who had been infected as well. Richtofen requests the four celebrities to find a golden rod, which is a Vril generator device, which he then uses to fix the teleporter. He transports himself and the other three soldiers back to Shangri-La, leaving the celebrities behind to continue fighting Romero and the horde. At Shangri-La, the group discovers two explorers, Gary and Brock, who died trapped within a time loop while trying to discover the secrets of Agartha. The group saves the explorers' lives by travelling back and forth in time, altering the environments of the temple in the process. They discover an altar within the temple with Richtofen's name written on it, as well as a piece of a meteorite containing Element 115. However, the explorers remain stuck in the never-ending loop.

With the Vril generator and the meteorite piece, Richtofen now believes he can control the zombies, and returns to Griffin Station. Here, they attempt to activate the MPD, a machine that controls the Aether energy, which opens to reveal Samantha inside; instead of dying by Richtofen's trap, Samantha and her father were teleported to the moon. Samantha accidentally triggered the MPD and was trapped within the device, but this also allowed her to enter the Aether realm. Maxis apologized to his daughter and committed suicide in front of her, prompting her to assume control of the zombies and seek vengeance on Richtofen. Richtofen fuses the golden rod and the meteorite piece, and using it to switch souls with Samantha, takes over as the new zombie controller. This causes his former allies to feel betrayed, and they ally themselves with Samantha (who now resides in Richtofen's body). Maxis is revealed to have become a sentient artificial intelligence living within the systems of Griffin Station, and he guides his daughter and the three soldiers to launch three missiles at the Earth. This severs Richtofen's link with the undead horde on the planet, but the launch results in the catastrophic destruction of the Earth.

Development

In May 2009, publisher Activision was rumored to be looking for licensing regarding Vietnam War-era music which led to speculation that Call of Duty 7 would be set in Vietnam. In May 2009, Treyarch employee David Kim revealed on his LinkedIn profile that he would work as a senior animator on Call of Duty 7. In November 2009, only a few days before Modern Warfare 2's release, Activision officially announced a new Call of Duty title for 2010 through their third quarter financial call. In February 2010, a casting call for Call of Duty 7 led to speculation that the game would be taking place during the Cold War era with some battles taking place in South Vietnam. On April 30, 2010, Black Ops was officially announced.

The game runs on an enhanced World at War engine (which itself was improved from Call of Duty 4's) at 60 frames per second across all platforms, excluding the Wii. It features a streaming texture technology (also seen in Modern Warfare 2), making bigger levels possible such as "Payback" where the player controls a helicopter. Lighting effects have been improved as well. Call of Duty: Black Ops supports 3-D imaging rendered by the engine itself. This feature is available on the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 versions.

For Black Ops, Treyarch focused only on this game unlike past practice. However, it had different teams, each working on separate game modes. Treyarch used a motion capture technology similar to the one used in James Cameron's film Avatar, which allows accurate facial expressions, capturing the whole performance of the actor. The studio also consulted special forces veterans from both belligerents of the Cold War: Major John Plaster (US Army-Ret.) who served in the MACV-SOG during the Vietnam War, and former Soviet special forces operative Sonny Puzikas. The latter taught Treyarch how Spetsnaz soldiers would react in combat, such as rolling out of the line of fire. Spetsnaz AIs in the game have been modeled after him, from his tactics and his movements to his face. Although having a historical background, the classified aspect of these Cold War black operations allowed the studio to create its own fictional story. The game also allows players to turn down the blood and turn off the profanity.

It was announced on November 9, 2015 that Black Ops would become backwards compatible with the Xbox One. It was originally meant to be available for backwards compatibility in December 2015, but the date was later changed to some time in 2016. Black Ops was originally the sixth-most requested Xbox 360 title to become backwards compatible with the Xbox One. On May 17, 2016, the game was made available through Xbox One's backward compatibility. Since then, sales of the Xbox 360 version have increased by 13,000 percent.

Audio

Black Ops features the voices of Sam Worthington as Alex Mason, Ed Harris as Jason Hudson, Gary Oldman reprises his role as Viktor Reznov from World at War and also voices Dr. Clarke, James C. Burns voices and provides performance capture for Frank Woods and Ice Cube voices Joseph Bowman, who is also the multiplayer announcer for the SOG faction. Gene Farber voices Grigori Weaver, Emmanuelle Chriqui plays a live-action character called Numbers, Eamon Hunt voices Nikita Dragovich, Andrew Divoff voices Lev Kravchenko and Robert Picardo voices Secretary Robert McNamara. Dimitri Diatchenko, an American born actor and musician voices the Spetsnaz faction and several other characters due to his strong Russian accent.

Call of Duty: Black Ops features Vietnam War era music including "Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones (played during a gameplay sequence and the credits) and Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son". Eminem's "Won't Back Down" (featuring Pink) is used for the credits as well, and additionally appears as an Easter Egg in the Zombie map "Five". In the Call of the Dead zombie map the song "Not Ready to Die" by American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold is featured as an easter egg. The original music was composed by Sean Murray, who also composed Call of Duty: World at War while Kevin Sherwood composed music for the Zombies mode. The soundtrack was released on November 9. The use of The Rolling Stones' music in the game has seen a significant increase in the band's music sales since launch. "Gimme Shelter" sold 2,000 copies in the week before the launch trailer was revealed, 5,000 the week after, and 11,000 the week after the game's release. "Sympathy for the Devil" experienced a similar boost as gamers discovered the band's music.

The game's score was composed by Sean Murray, and the official soundtrack was released on November 9, 2010. In addition, a soundtrack for the popular Zombies mode was released on January 25, 2011.

Marketing

Black Ops was first officially unveiled when the website for the game went live on April 30, 2010 prior to the release of its debut teaser trailer on GameTrailers TV Episode 310. In early April 2010, an unmarked envelope was sent to various gaming news publications as well as high-profile Call of Duty fans via mail. It contained a USB flash drive with sound and text files. These files were codes to be decrypted, only to find a mysterious teaser site for an unknown game. Other codes were updated periodically.

Similarly to Modern Warfare 2's marketing, the first full-length trailer of Black Ops was aired after the 3rd quarter on ESPN during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on May 18, 2010. During E3 2010, studio head Mark Lamia opened the Microsoft conference by playing Black Ops on stage. It was also announced that the timed Xbox 360 exclusivity for additional content of Call of Duty titles, which began with Modern Warfare 2, extends until 2012. A remixed version of the ESPN trailer with Eminem's "Won't Back Down" was released on June 14, prior to the E3 Activision conference for which he also performed. A multiplayer teaser trailer was released on August 9, 2010 revealing killstreaks, weapons, and other in-game multiplayer features. A full multiplayer reveal took place on September 1, 2010, and revealed many multiplayer features from the game.

Chrysler produced a limited-edition Call of Duty Jeep as the Wrangler is featured in Black Ops. In late September, viral site GKNOVA6 was updated revealing fuzzy footages of zombies. On October 11, a single player trailer aired on ESPN during the New York Jets versus Minnesota Vikings NFL Monday Night Football game. The same trailer was aired the next day in the United Kingdom at half time of the England versus Montenegro 2012 European Football Championship qualifying game. On October 29, the official launch trailer was released online. The same trailer aired on October 31 during the New Orleans Saints versus Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Sunday Night Football game. The trailer features the song "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones.

Retail versions

Like Modern Warfare 2, "Hardened" and "Prestige" limited editions are available: the Hardened Edition includes a SteelBook case, a medal with its display case, four exclusive co-op levels and an Xbox Live or PlayStation Home avatar outfit. The Prestige Edition offers, in addition to the Hardened Edition's content, a real RC-XD remote-control vehicle modeled after the in-game killstreak reward, which gives video and audio feedback to its controller. In Japan, the game is distributed by Square Enix. Two versions are available: subtitled or dubbed, released respectively on November 18, 2010 and December 16, 2010. Both have dismemberment censored. Gore is censored as well in Germany in addition to the removal of "Sympathy for the Devil" and Nazi symbols considered "anti-constitutional" in the country.

Downloadable content

Treyarch released the "First Strike" Map Pack on February 1, 2011 for the Xbox 360. The PlayStation 3 received the map pack on March 3, 2011 and the PC version was released on March 25, 2011 through Steam. The Map Pack includes additional maps that can be played in the Multiplayer. These maps include "Berlin Wall", "Discovery", "Kowloon" and "Stadium" and a map for the Zombies mode titled "Ascension" which takes place in a Soviet launch site.

On April 11, 2011, a second map pack called "Escalation" was announced by Activison and Microsoft. It features 4 new multiplayer maps named "Zoo", "Hotel", "Convoy", "Stockpile" and one new zombies map named 'Call of the Dead'. This map is based on the movies by George A. Romero, the revolutionary epic-zombie-horror director. The trailer for this map shows the four playable characters: Danny Trejo, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robert Englund and Michael Rooker. The name is a reference to the immensely popular Dead Series created and directed by Romero. The trailer also offers a sneak peek of a zombiefied version of George A. Romero himself, lurking out of water. The map is set on a ship, with instead of Nazi zombies, shipcrew zombies. It was released on May 3, 2011 for the Xbox 360, June 2 on the PC and June 10 for the PlayStation 3.

A third map pack called "Annihilation" was released for the Xbox 360 on June 28, 2011, and on July 28, 2011 for the PlayStation 3 and PC. It contains four new multiplayer maps named "Hangar 18", "Hazard", "Drive-In", "Silo", and a new zombies map named "Shangri La", which takes place in a legendary shrine lost in an exotic jungle.

The fourth map pack, "Rezurrection" was released on August 23, 2011 for the Xbox 360 and September 22, 2011 on PlayStation 3 and PC. The Rezurrection Map Pack is made up of 5 Zombies mode only maps. It includes the first 4 maps from Call of Duty: World at War ("Shi No Numa"/"Swamp", "Nacht Der Untoten"/"Night", "Verruckt"/"Asylum", "Der Riese"/"Factory") and a new map called "Moon". "Moon" allows players to fight zombies in zero gravity with both the player and the zombies under zero gravity influence.

Reception

Call of Duty: Black Ops has received generally positive reviews from critics. GameSpot awarded it 9.0 out of ten and wrote "Call of Duty: Black Ops bears the series' standard superbly, delivering an engrossing campaign and exciting competitive multiplayer." Edge magazine was less positive, giving it a 7/10, writing that "As polished and pretty and fun as Black Ops often is, it feels more like a yearly update than a sequel [which] isn't distinct from its predecessors in any important way". Several reviewers also complained that the game felt too much like a rail shooter, with PC Gamer branding it "barely interactive".

Reviewers also noted that the PC version of the game was buggy and had "a number of frustrating problems", including a lag in multiplayer modes which for some players rendered the game almost "unplayable". Players have also reported serious bugs with the PlayStation 3 version, including compatibility issues with 3D televisions. PC World magazine noted that user reviews of the game were much less positive than those of critics. As of November 12, 2010, three days after the release, PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 versions of the game held average user ratings of 3.1, 3.1, and 1.8 stars on Amazon.com, respectively (on a 1 to 5 scale), with many PC users complaining about lag, stuttering and bugs.

In January 2011, to a player complaining about the remaining connection problems for the game on PlayStation 3, an Activision customer service representative threatened that they could shut down the servers for the game for the PlayStation Network at any time. After some days and following some game media heat, Dan Amrich, Activision Social Media Manager, declared that even if they could kill the servers, they did not plan currently to do it. The Daily Telegraph praised Black Ops as a superb experience of gameplay, "the meaty kick of the guns, the blistering pace of the action and the sterling soundtrack of explosions, gunshots and whistling bullets all serve to quicken the player's pulse and tighten their grip on the controller", and mentioned, it is beyond the overwhelming, chaotic action in the game's major gun battles, offers among other things, a stealthy infiltration of a substation in the snow-capped steppes, in which the slow down in action is compensated for by nail-shredding tension and creepy atmosphere.

Official Nintendo Magazine awarded the Wii version 90% and said "Black Ops on Wii is a fantastic shooter packed with all the features of its HD brothers, with the only exception being split-screen multiplayer." Martin Gaston at videogamer.com gave the Wii version 6 out of 10, complaining of Treyarch's reworking of in-game sequences as movies, poor AI, and gameplay problems from lower-resolution graphics.

In February 2011, the Xbox 360 version was named the Xbox Live's top title of 2010 by GameSpot.

Sales

Within 24 hours of its release, Black Ops had sold a combined total of 5.6 million units in the U.S. and UK market, surpassing that of Modern Warfare 2 and establishing a new record for largest entertainment launch. Compared to the much anticipated opening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, the game earned more than twice as much as the film, earning $360 million. Only five days after its release, sales from the game worldwide reached US$650 million, surpassing the previous record achieved by Modern Warfare 2 which earned $550 million in five days. By November 22, the game remained the bestselling title in the United Kingdom, despite sales dropping by 85%. Some estimates had placed sales of the game as reaching 18 million units sold, earning a revenue of $818 million. This would fall about 2 million copies and $182 million short of Modern Warfare 2. By December 22, worldwide revenue of Black Ops exceeded $1 billion. Sales remained strong months after the game's release, remaining at the top-seller list in February 2011. On March 3, 2011 the news magazine The Hollywood Reporter also reported on the best selling video games ever. It announced that Call of Duty: Black Ops was the best-selling game ever in the United States of America. Black Ops was the best-selling game of all time in the UK until Grand Theft Auto V overtook it in November 2014. By November 2013, the game had sold 26.2 million copies.

Controversy

Cuba has condemned the release of the game as it has special forces trying but failing to kill a young Fidel Castro, killing instead a body-double. The website Cubadebate said the game "encourages sociopathic attitudes of American children and adolescents, the main consumers of these virtual games". Adam Biessener questioned events depicted in the single-player campaign stating that they push "the lines of good taste." Specifically noted was the scene depicting the torture of a restrained prisoner.

Mobile phone version

Black Ops was also released for both mobile phones and smartphones. This version is a side-scrolling shooter. It features a different storyline, a different set of characters, and is set in the Vietnam War in 1967. The game was developed by Glu Mobile and published by Activision.

References

Call of Duty: Black Ops Wikipedia


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