War, what is good for?
Call of Duty: Black Ops puts you in control of Alex Mason, a soldier in the midst of a brutal interrogation at the hands of the Studies and Observations Group (SOG who are searching for the location of a mysterious numbers station, central to the plot of the game.
As Mason answers each of the questions, flashbacks take you back in time to relive a gripping storyline that takes place between 1961 and 1968 in war-torn locations such as Cuba, Vietnam and Russia.
Call of Duty: Black Ops also features an all-star Hollywood cast providing their vocal talents to some of the game's key characters including Avatar's Sam Worthington, The Rock's Ed Harris, rapper Ice Cube and The Dark Knight's Gary Oldman as Viktor Reznov, a character that appeared in Call of Duty: World at War on PlayStation 3.
Soldier of fortune
Call of Duty: Black Ops not only features a compelling narrative, but it's also an extremely inventive, interesting and daring first person shooter that will have you hooked from the moment it fires up on your PlayStation 3 with you controlling Alex Mason in an interrogation chair being forced to divulge everything he knows about top-secret missions. One moment you'll find yourself hunting enemy troops in the jungle battlefields of Vietnam, before being thrust into a high speed motorbike chase in a huge military compound. It's fast, furious and action-packed from start to finish just like every Call of Duty game that has come before it.
Controlling Mason is simple, and should feel familiar to players who have dabbled in the Call of Duty series on PlayStation 3 before. You move through each of the environments using the left stick, and look around with the right stick. Once you have a weapon in hand, fire it by holding down the R1 button. For a more precise aiming view, hold down the L1 button. It's much easier to hit your targets while firing this way, otherwise you end up spraying bullets in all directions and run the risk of perishing more frequently in battle. Mason has a melee attack that can be performed by pressing the R3 button when up close to an enemy. It's a swift and deadly knife attack that takes out an enemy instantly, so should always be used if you find yourself in a tight spot.
There is a massive range of weaponry in Call of Duty: Black Ops, all of which you'll get the chance to wield at one point or another. Weapons range from pistols, shotguns, mini-guns, sub-machine guns, shotguns and rocket launchers to a series of deadly explosives, all of which can be used as a tactical advantage when planning attacks on enemies. As well as a well stocked arsenal you'll also get the chance to pilot a gunboat and even take flight in a helicopter during a daring escape from the bowels of Vietnam. There is also an added bonus if you have a Stereoscopic 3D TV at home because Call of Duty: Black Ops is playable from start to finish in jaw-dropping 3D, which makes for an even more immersive experience in what is definitely one of 2010's biggest blockbuster releases on PlayStation.
Call of Duty: Black Ops features a wealth of multiplayer modes that will undoubtedly keep you coming back for more long after you have completed the single player campaign. There are a number of modes that newcomers and fans should slip comfortably into including Team Deathmatch, Free For All and Domination. Team Deathmatch drops you into a squad of up to six players as you battle it out with a rival team on the huge maps for online supremacy, while Free For All is a solo affair that pits you against seven other players in a fight for the most points. Domination plays out slightly differently than the other modes, requiring you to capture and hold on to three flags. The more flags you and your team take control of, the more points you gain, which in turn leads to a match victory.
The big difference in Call of Duty: Black Ops than any previous entry in the series is the introduction of Call of Duty Points. These points are an in-game currency that is accumulated by levelling up in matches and completing various challenges set out for you in the multiplayer menu. You can use these points to purchase upgrades for your character including body armour, camouflage, state of the art firepower and special perks including mortar strikes and a radio controlled car fitted with a bomb.
Alongside these modes sits something completely different that has become a staple of developer Treyarch's Call of Duty games since Call of Duty: World at War - Zombie mode. Trapped in a location with up to three other players, Zombie mode challenges you to fend off huge swarms of the walking dead. The catch is this - once you die, the game is over. Unlike other Call of Duty multiplayer matches there is no respawn function and no second chances, so the challenge is simply to survive for as long as you can.