Review: Call of Duty Black Ops Declassified is big letdown for Vita owners
The Vita needed a savior and Call of Duty Black Ops Declassfied is far from it. Instead of having a polished Call of Duty experience on the go, we got a rushed, overpriced and generally frustrating gaming experience.
At its core, Declassified works quite well. Aiming and shooting feels natural and you will remember a lot of maps and weaponry from the original Black Ops in the game. At times it can be a fun multiplayer experience, but the fun only lasts for so long before the numerous problems crop up.
When playing multiplayer, you are limited to 8 players on maps that are seemingly cut in half from the original Black Ops. The maps are so small that anything more than 8 players would feel too hectic. When I say that the maps are too small, I mean it. One of the 6 maps is named Nukehouse, based on Nuketown, which was already considered small before. Now imagine cutting half the map out and only having one side of that neighborhood (from the bus to the backyard) and having 8 players running around.
The lack of content doesn’t stop here as you are greeted with a “campaign” that consists of 10 spec-ops type missions that can be easily rushed through in around an hour. The harder the difficulty the longer it will take, but having a game this short on a portable system seems crazy unless you always play in wifi and play the multiplayer a lot. There is also a time trial mode where you can run a few different Call of Duty obstacle courses to try and get the fastest time and a horde mode where you have to survive waves of uninspired enemies. The single player package is lacking, and that’s an understatement.
Call of Duty prides itself on its 60 frames-per-second gameplay, which certainly isn’t found in this version of the game. The game stays at 30 frames, which seems to be the max, and even then take a toll when a lot is happening on screen, or during multiplayer.
Tacked on touch-controls on the Vita have been a great annoyance in the Vita’s short lifespan so far and this game isn’t an exception. Throwing grenades, knifing people, and steadying a sniper rifle are all done on the front and rear touch screens. Throwing the grenades is by far the worst since you have to take one hand off the Vita in order to drag a grenade from the top right of the screen to where you want to throw it and release. Not only is this a pain to do, but I would accidently hit the knife button (located right under the grenade) or watch my grenade sail far from where I wanted it to go when it did work. I ended up not using grenades or knives when I was close to an enemy just to be safe.
Unfortunately this game is a buggy mess even after I downloaded the 400+ MB patch for it the night of release. I can’t tell you how many times I would enter a multiplayer lobby, wait for everyone to connect, watch the map load up and then see a black screen then be put back into the multiplayer section of the game. The game also crashed my Vita twice, one being so bad that it told me to report the issue to Sony. It’s amazing that this game wasn’t delayed until it made its way on store shelves. The Call of Duty brand has instead taken a huge hit on the Vita and fans will be skeptical if another one ever comes out for the portable system.
One other issue I had with the game was the premium $50 price tag. For a premium price, you should deliver a premium game like Uncharted: Golden Abyss did. It feels like Activision wanted this game out on the same day as Black Ops 2 in order to cash in on the name alone. This is a game that could have been a hit on the Vita if it came out months from now and was a polished multiplayer experience. Instead, we're left with a bare bones single player and a fairly lackluster multiplayer suite for only $10 less than its console and PC counterpart.
Overall, gamers and even hardcore Call of Duty fans should pass on Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified. The game is unpolished, buggy and lacks in content at a premium price.
What did you think about Call of Duty Black Ops Declassified? Do you think this game should have been delayed? Let me know in the comments below