Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified
Ah, COD:BLOPS D… A funny little abbreviation that I never get tired of saying. This title was highly anticipated and was also pretty much guaranteed to be a failure, although it did sell many Vita’s, especially in the bundle. Let’s see if it deserves the bad rap, hmm?
The story in Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified is very short (about an hour of gameplay) and lies somewhere in the timeline between COD:BLOPS and COD:BLOPS 2 and is simply happenings of the characters in those games. There is nothing engaging or all that exciting in the story mode, not to mention the awesome set pieces that the COD series is known for are practically non-existent. The story never builds up, and I’ll be honest, I just skipped the story parts because they were just so bland and boring. The AI in the story is also completely broken, shooting the cover they are hiding behind, bouncing grenades into their own ranks, getting stuck on map corners, and spawning all at once or not at all, sometimes.
The game plays out like any COD, and all the controls are very similar with a few exceptions seeing as the Vita doesn’t have as many buttons. For example, sprinting is now automatic; when you move in the same direction for a certain amount of time, you automatically start sprinting, but it’s very quirky. There is also a setting to turn sprint toggleable via the D-Pad, but it’s just as quirky, if not more so. Grenades are now on screen that you tap to toss or hold to cook the grenade, and it’s very quirky as well, sometimes coming out more to the right of your character than it should, causing in a suicide. Meleeing is also now done via tapping anywhere on the touchscreen that aren’t the grenade indicators, resulting in sometimes tossing a grenade when wanting to melee and vice-versa. The aiming with the right stick is WAY too sensitive and inaccurate and requires quite a bit of practice to get right. There are a few game modes: the way too short story titled Operations, a practice range with wooden cutouts titled Time Trials, and my favorite mode, Hostiles, where waves of enemies come at you and you simply have to protect yourself. After each wave of enemies, they drop you a care package that can have a new weapon, a mortar strike, a sentry gun, or a refill on ammo. It is a lot of fun to see how long you can last on this mode.
Well, the game looks great in my opinion. That is until you get right up on top of some of the uglier textures. Either way, I do believe that the game looks very impressive, especially for a handheld, and everything that’s going on, in game.
Online multiplayer is a staple of the COD series, but this game falls pretty short. The customization in Create-a-Class is severely shrunk down with maybe half as many or less weapons to choose from, not to mention many less killstreak rewards. You can Prestige at level 40. There are also only 6 multiplayer maps, and they are so small that not only are sniper rifles completely unrealistic to use, but 9 times out of 10, you will spawn right in front of or behind an enemy, making for very frustrating matches. On the flip side, there is practically no lag, and the matches run seamlessly. Even with all the downsides, if you’re a COD fan, it is still fun.
The story missions are about an hour long in total. Add in all the other content (not including online multiplayer) we’re looking at a maximum of 3-5 hours, depending on how you play, and if you hunt trophies. I platinumed it in around that time-frame.
Why the Vita?
The obvious answer here is they needed to put COD on the Vita. It doesn’t really play all that well, and it’s not a very good game, but it still is COD on a handheld, and honestly, that’s pretty impressive. The only Vita feature that is used is the touchscreen.
The Bottom Line
- Pretty good graphics.
- Seamless online multiplayer.
- It’s an FPS on the Vita.
- Terrible and short story and offline modes.
- Terrible and small multiplayer maps.
- Quirky controls.
- Cut down multiplayer customization options.
- Awful and stupid AI.
- High Priced at $50 (at launch).
Final Score: 3/10
If you really like COD, go ahead and make it a 4. Either way it’s an okay COD experience on a handheld, just don’t expect the console experience that was promised.