TGC Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified

black ops declassifiedCall of Duty on the go has been a longing wish for most players of the hit franchise. While there are portable iterations, Call of Duty: Roads to Victory, the DS titles and a couple of iOS and Android zombie games, none have provided the thrills that fans have come to expect.

If you are one of those people, don’t get your hopes up.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified is the first attempt to get the series on to the PS Vita. It should work, it really should. We have the controls to make the game as playable as any console shooter, the graphical power to pull off the visuals but no developer to do it justice.

Nihilistic Software, now operating under the name of NStigate Games, seem to have only been in the game for the quick buck. From the moment you load up the first of the 10 short single player levels, you can tell that this is a game by an incompetent developer.

The single player campaign plays out through ten missions, no longer than ten minutes each. If you were to sit and play the game you would easily be able to beat the campaign in under an hour.

The set pieces and hollywood-like action we’re used to are gone, instead replaced by bland and generic sequences that feel tame and dumbed down.

The game plays like a Call of Duty, but it just doesn’t feel like a Call of Duty game. The aiming down the sights, snap targeting and weapons are all there, but the thing that makes Call of Duty what it is just didn’t make it to this party.

Graphically the game is sub-par to other games currently available on the PS Vita. Character models and scenery have taken a back seat whilst all efforts have been made to make the gun you hold look good. On the plus side, the frame rate is pretty stable and you will encounter minimal slow down.

Whilst Call of Duty has never been known for its ground-breaking graphics, at least not over the last few years, a better job could have been done. The PS Vita is capable of so much more and it is a crying shame to see developers who just refuse to use the power available to them.

Once you’ve finished the single-player mode, you can either go into Hostiles, multiplayer, or try to beat your previous scores in the “story.”

Hostiles plays out much like you would expect, wave after wave of enemies coming at you that you have to take out and survive. There’s not much else to it, it’s a time killer if little else. The lack of multiplayer is what really hurts Hostiles as I can see this being a brilliant 2-4 player, portable co-op game. Unfortunately that’s not what we get, maybe next time. If there’s a next time…

Multiplayer is what most people associate with the Call of Duty franchise, with the single player portion of the game being nothing more than a tacked on experience to warrant a retail release. I don’t agree with it, but that’s just how it is.

The multiplayer is where you will find the most disappointment. Small squads, smaller maps and a poor connectivity make for an experience worth forgetting. The first time you get into a game, if you can manage it, is novel and new and seems like the multiplayer we all know and cherish. After a few rounds you begin to realise that you have made a mistake with this purchase. The small maps are terrible for spawning you in front of an enemies sights, something that should have been figured during play testing, if there was a play test. The maps just aren’t big enough, even for 4v4, especially the cut down version of Nuketown, which consists of one house, a bit of garden and some road with a truck on it. That’s not enough for a family of four to live in, never mind 8 soldiers running around trying to kill each other.

I really wanted Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified to be the game we all wanted to own on the PS Vita, I really did. Unfortunately Nihilistic came up short and delivered a just about playable game that in no way warrants the outrageous retail prices. This could have been so much better and I hope that should there be another Call of Duty for the PS Vita, Activision give it to a competent developer, but also give it some extra time.

Lights out on Black Ops Declassified I’m afraid.

Graphics: Lacking the flair of other PS Vita titles, the Vita can handle so much more, why stifle it with so little? 5

Gameplay:  Shortest campaign in the history of games. Multiplayer is nothing to write home about. Hostiles is fun but could have been vastly improved with the addition of multiplayer. Value for money is the key missing factor. 3

Sound:Guns sound like guns, but they all sound the same. Voice acting is the highlight. 4

Presentation: Menus hold the nicest graphics and are easy to navigate. 7

End Score: With a retail price not far off the full console games, the experience doesn’t justify the price. Could have been so much more, should have been a hit, instead its dead on arrival.


Free copy of Black Ops 2? Competition time!

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