Saturday, November 13, 2010

Call of Duty: Black Ops – Prison Break Out

Call of Duty: Black Ops is the new first person shooter from developer Treyarch and publisher Activision Blizzard, allowing the player to experience the covert ops conflicts between the United States and Russia during the era of the Cold War.

The first mission in Call of Duty: Black Ops is set in Cuba and is more like an extended tutorial, allowing the player to (re)familiarize himself with the mechanics of the series and serves to set up the plot of the new game.

It\'s pretty standard and formulaic but manages to lead into the most out of the box idea in the Call of Duty series since the nuclear blast in the first Modern Warfare, the level where the main character Alex Mason has to break out of a Soviet complex which serves both as work camp and as penitentiary.

The beginning of the level is especially effective, with a scripted fight with a guardian which opens up an avenue for escape.

Treyarch manages to create a sense of urgency and excitement as guardian after guardian is killed and more and more of the inmates join the attempt, long planned and turned into a poetic mantra by a Russian comrade, to escape the hellish looking prison and regain (short lived) freedom.

Call of Duty: Black Ops even manages to throw in a bit of characterization into the prison break sequence and guides the player to a set of objectives which leads to acquiring weapons (in the satisfying progression of shotgun, AK machine gun and then minigun) and then to commandeering a truck which leads to a train ride.

It\'s very much as on rails as the rest of the game but it\'s effective because the player feels included in the mass of convicts that fight and die along him, with the spectacle of the break out more important than the individual actions of Mason, who plays second fiddle to the Russian Reznov.

Unfortunately the very engaging sequence ends with a motorcycle started vehicle sequence plagued by inadequate handling and autoaiming.

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