The Call of Duty franchise has been known to take fast paced action and combine it with movie quality pacing and set pieces. Treyarch is definitely looking to take that action up a huge notch with the latest entry into the franchise, Black Ops.
As the title suggests, you'll be taking the role of special ops men throughout history, taking part in black, deniable operations. You don't exist and neither does the mission. Gaming Union had the opportunity to see the game in action at this year's GamesCom and it promises to offer more of what you would expect from a Call of Duty title along with a couple of new twists.
The demo kicked off with a chopper coming down rather hot, a rather nice way of saying crash landing with Viet Cong rounds whizzing past your face. The chopper slowly sunk to the bottom of the river, but of course, in good old Call of Duty fashion, there's no going down without a fight.
Much like the Modern Warfare series, Black Ops has plenty of cinematic moments, including a bullet time sequence where the last of the Viet Cong had his head blown to smithereens. However, as the demo progressed and for the first time in Call of Duty history, it's possible to dive under water and swim. This was put to good use, as the demo showed the planting of C4 plastic explosives unbeknownst to the enemy soldiers. No sooner had the explosives been detonated that the demo then proceeded to throw every Viet Cong armed to the teeth in the country at the player. Much of the action sequences are short scripted events, but then again that's how Call of Duty has always kept the action packed narrative at a high-octane level and there's no reason for them to stop now.
Black Ops' seems to offer a good mix up between slow and stealthy segments with fast paced run-and-gun gameplay. There are plenty of weapons to fit the occasion as well. For example, the crossbow is the perfect weapon for stealth segments.
The final segment of the demo allows the player to pilot the hind chopper. Despite much speculation, Activision have now confirmed, and we can verify, that it wasn't on-rails. It's actually possible to control where the chopper went in addition to blowing the living daylights out of the Viet Cong. This is a first for the Call of Duty franchise, even if it is partially automatic.
Call of Duty: Black Ops not only improves on what has already been established, but also dares to venture into uncharted territories, such as swimming and vehicle control. The presentation is top notch with the visuals and sound design looking incredibly polished. The fast paced action alone is one of the reasons so many enjoy the Call of Duty franchise and Black Ops certainly looks to bring that to the next level.