Call of Duty Black Ops E3 preview

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There are few titles that spawn such high expections - and often deliver on those - like the Call of Duty franchise.

Releasing on November 9, CoD Black Ops is set in the 1960s and 1970s and follows a special forces group that was set up to do covert missions around the world. The Black Ops teams were comprised of “the best of the best of the best” of military branches and worked with the CIA to go into places that the United States was not supposed to be in to accomplish tasks deemed essential for the US mission and security.

The diversity of mission types in the Activision title reflects that, but developers on hand at the E3 presentation said that if there was one word to capture the essence of this title, that would be “variety.” A couple of levels where shown during the E3 demo to highlight that. The first was WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) and right away it started with a different flair as players are in the cockpit of a Blackbird tracking a Black Ops team on the ground. After firing up the engines and leaving the runway, the game flashes forward to the high-altitude recon. It starts out as a command element, point to areas on the ground and instruction the Black Ops team to move there as more elements come into play. This is a top-down tactical element that lasts a few minutes before the viewpoint shifts to first-person with the team on the ground.

Black Ops is an amazing visual game, with stunning effects and a wide range of actions. There is some cliff repelling that needs to be done, a sub-station to crash and enemies to take out - all against textured backdrops that demand attention. Unfortunately, the action compels the most attention and with enemies swarming, players will need to stay on their toes. Combat plays out like former titles in the CoD franchise, with weapons that can be swapped out on the run.

The demo switched from the cold and snow of Russia to Laos and then a level in Khe Sanh was shown. While the game covers a lot of a lot of diverse locations and missions, there is an overriding storyline that links it all together.

Black Ops also utilizes a full-performance caption animation to give the game more visual pop … as if Black Ops needed it. The audio is as strong as the visuals, all coming together to make a game that is worthy of the CoD brand and should fill the need in franchise fans while enticing newcomers to the series.

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Michael Lafferty
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