Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified has a lot of colons in the title (and problems)

I’ll try to keep this from being a review blog, but this game is so dreadful, I needed to get the word out. I had high hopes for Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified.

I even preordered the game. I was elated when it arrived.

I tore off the packaging and quickly popped it in my Vita. The logo for the developer, Nihilistic Software, came on my screen. That alone was a huge red flag. I’ve never played their games before, but the name alone flagged me.

What is Nihilism?

From Wikipedia:

“Nihilism (from the Latin nihil, ‘nothing’) is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism, which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. Moral nihilists assert that morality does not inherently exist, and that any established moral values are abstractly contrived. Nihilism can also take epistemological or metaphysical/ontological forms, meaning respectively that, in some aspect, knowledge is not possible, or that reality does not actually exist.

The term nihilism is sometimes used in association with anomie to explain the general mood of despair at a perceived pointlessness of existence that one may develop upon realising there are no necessary norms, rules, or laws.”

Any game developer who uses a name like that deserves to be shut down; as it speaks volumes about their attitude as a developer. And if the name is the opening salvo, then the game itself is the one-two punch.

This game is BAD. Bad as bad gets. I love Black Ops, even though its gameplay basically amounted to “Shooting Cold War Enemy X in Corridor Y”, the narrative was superb for a Call of Duty game, full of intrigue and plot points that kept me guessing on my first run through.

This game has NO narrative. It’s a bunch of ridiculously hard challenges for single player with some tacked on multiplayer that I didn’t bother to test because 1, I don’t believe in buying handheld games for the multiplayer, and 2, I had already decided the game was crap after being killed 16 times on the first mission in the lowest difficulty, and failing the mission even more times because every time I ducked to heal, the timer ran out because of how quickly you take damage vs how slowly you heal. Realistic there? Maybe, but a fine example of why we hate realism in games. Missions usually range between 2 to 6 minutes, which is far too short to feel like a badass. The timers ruin the pacing of every mission, and pacing was something Black Ops did very well. All the enemies are clones of each other, and the aiming is jerky and inaccurate, the grenades you throw will kill you more than they will your enemies due to a psychotic (or, dare I say, a NIHILIST) aiming system for JUST GRENADES. Map that to the right analog stick like regular aiming! It’s not hard!

The worst offense is by far the lack of checkpoints of any kind. Any time you fail the mission, it’s back to the start, regardless of how close you were to the end. And there’s no skipping those opening sequences either. This gets old REALLY quickly.

But hey, the graphics are good!

The best feature of this game is that if you get a physical copy, they include a download voucher for Call Of Duty: Roads To Victory, which with a second analog stick, isn’t ENTIRELY horrible.

In short, the best feature for a new game is that they include a slightly less terrible game at no additional cost. I know shooters can work on a handheld.  N.O.V.A: Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance and  Resistance: Retribution rocked my PSP, the former having been made WITH TOUCH SCREEN-ONLY INPUT IN MIND.  Star Wars Battlefront II on PSP looked like shit but played well, and the sequels were okay too.

You have no excuse when these games played so well and yours, which is on a system with the genre-standard features they had to do without, sucks so badly. Assassins Creed III: Liberation is amazing by comparison, and PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale is outstandingly worth every penny. Or, if you MUST have a shooter, go with Unit 13. Sure, it sucks too, but at least you feel like the developers gave it a decent shot while you play it.

Anything is better than this. Stay away from this game.

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