Behind the scenes of history
Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified on PlayStation Vita focuses on events between PlayStation 3 hits Call of Duty: Black Ops and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Set in 1990, it follows special agent Ryan Jackson, as he researches secret operations tied to a conflict in Panama. Jackson begins to uncover information about the lives and missions of Frank Woods and Alex Mason, the heroes of Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Chronicling the years between 1975 and 1982, each level reveals a different mission. After a brief explanation of the operation's importance from Jackson, the action then shifts to either Woods or Mason as they shoot their way to victory, affecting history from behind the scenes.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified's flashback style allows its story to travel around the world. Each level sees time move forward, and as the years change so do the countries, with the action transporting you to areas such as Vietnam and Afghanistan. From city streets to snow-covered bunkers, no two levels look alike.
If you played the original Call of Duty: Black Ops you will have an idea of what to expect from Declassified's secretive tone. Short videos between levels set the scene for each mission. Authentic looking film footage shows documents covered in black ink, slowly revealing the information they hide and offering tantalising glimpses of what's to come.
During missions the familiar Black Ops feel remains, as does the fast-paced, fluid action. Things can change in an instant once you're in the field and it is vital to listen to your commanding officer. With constant updates on the unfolding situation as you fight your way forward, keeping your ears open will be vital to your chances of success on the battlefield.
A new way to fight
Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified intelligently makes use of the PlayStation Vita system's intuitive features. Tapping the touchscreen gives you a fast knife attack that takes out anyone close enough, while dragging the on-screen grenade icon lets you accurately aim the throw of your explosives. This combines with familiar shooter controls via the dual analog sticks to create a Call of Duty experience fans will instantly recognise.
Complementing the slick controls are three single player game modes. The Campaign mode offers ten missions, each with unique objectives. go up against the clock in Time Trial mode on five speed run maps, while the Survival mode challenges you to last as long as possible against increasingly difficult waves of troops. Each mode offers up to a three star ranking for success and leader boards to compete against friends, providing plenty of reasons to reload your weapon.
If you're pinned down behind cover, use the mini map to instantly locate any enemies making noise in the area and safely plan your attack. When the bullets are coming thick and fast, just knowing where to aim can be a lifesaver...
The secret war
Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified allows up to eight players to battle it out in four vs four matches using Ad Hoc mode or via PlayStation Network. Five different game types ensure the action is relentless, with the regular Team Death Match joined by modes such as Kill Confirmed to keep playlists varied. Declassified's six available maps also keep the pace high, with both tight corridors and open areas in which to battle for dominance.
With five preset classes and five slots available for custom classes, you can never be sure who you'll be facing in the field. A full range of weapons, seven kill streak bonuses and 12 perks delivers a huge scope - or red dot laser sight, if you prefer - to tweak and fine-tune your playing style.
The "near" feature also allows one custom slot to be shared with the world. This gives you the chance to see what personal customisations any PlayStation Vita nearby have made, and be inspired to improve your own troops.