Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified Review
Developer: nStigate Games (Formerly Nihilistic)
North American Release Date: November 13, 2012
European Release Date: November 13, 2012
Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified Trophy Guide
The over popular Call of Duty franchise makes its way to the Playstation Vita for the first time. Declassified was developed by nStigate Games, the devs who made Resistance Burning Skies released earlier this year. Resistance never made the critical impact it was made out to be by being the Vita's first FPS title. With the same devs at helm, has Declassified been an improvement in the FPS genre, proving its worth on the PSVita?
If you have played any Call of Duty in the past, Declassified will feel very familiar to you with the Vita's dual-analog controls. COD on the Vita fits the platform very well with it having a similar feel of playing its console counterparts. You are still in a FPS perspective and it is still a face-paced shooter. By making minor adjustments to the sensitivity of the controls you will be playing just how you would like to in an FPS title.
The fact that the game is on the Vita it utilizes the touch screen to compensate for its lack of other controls. The grenades, knife and the activation of the killstreaks are only accessible on the front touch screen of the device. Although this may have been the only option, it seemed to have been all too uncomfortable to use any of them when in an actual battle. The killstreaks are understandable, but grenades just seemed to have been a waste of time to use and that’s the same with using the knife, as they both really threw you off target.
Its got the looks and feel of COD, so why not give it a chance, right?
Running in the game was done by either two options. You can press down on the D-pad while moving forward or you can just push fully up on the left analog stick. Using the left stick seemed to be easier of the two, but the major problem was that your character is constantly trying to run when on the move. Not only that, but when you make the slightest turn, your character stops sprinting, then starts back up again, a little annoying when on the run. Using the D-pad was simple, but the problem with it was that you also had to have the left stick moved fully up as well, which was very uncomfortable at times. You were at least constantly sprinting by using the D-pad.
The Call of Duty franchise has rarely made a game where the campaign is not just long, but very story driven as well. The past few have certainly lacked these aspects and Declassified is without a doubt a combination of the biggest mistake from all the previous COD single player experiences. You can play the entirety of the main story in just a little over an hour, and that’s on normal difficulty. It seems that the devs played Unit 13 and thought that had a good enough portable mission experience to convince them to do the same type of thing. This would have been no problem, if only the missions lasted longer than 3 minutes, at most. If they just took all the missions, put them together, it would have made a fairly decent level. Do this ten more times and it would have been a pretty good single player. Although replayability may be there to improve scores and play on the higher difficulty, it’s just adding another hour or two to the whole experience. And if you’re struggling with a level, good luck, as every time you die you have to start it all over. No big deal as it’s only a 2 minute level... right?
The story for the game takes place some time after Blops 1. Other than that, I honestly had no idea what was going on. There were no cinematics before and after missions, just what seemed to be a bunch of paper files and photos constantly being stacked over and over upon each other with a line being drawn across them every once in a while. COD’s stories are quite forgettable, but this one takes the cake, as you just want to forget about it, or tune it out completely.
You do still get a fair variety of different mission types, like an all sniper mission.
There are two other single player modes in declassified. One is a time trial mode where you just shoot targets and try to get the best time. The other mode is called Hostiles, and I wish I could talk about this in the multiplayer section of my review, but it is single player only. Basically it is a survival game with wave after wave of enemies coming at you. No, it’s not Zombies mode, it is just a mode where you wait for enemies to come to you and you get better weapons after each wave. This mode is simply begging to be cooperative. It really makes no sense that they made it single player only. You can play it on any of the 5 multiplayer maps (the maps are even the multiplayer maps ), but honestly, you feel like you had enough playing it alone after the first time. Hopefully a patch will come to add cooperative play to it, but it seems very unlikely.
The infamous COD multiplayer makes it to Declassified, just in smaller bits. I will say it still feels just like COD mp with its killstreaks, fast paced gameplay, ranking up and hearing the rock music, and its variety of weapons, although much is missing from it. The biggest drawback for me was that there was no killcam. Others were that there really wasn’t many perks or other equipment besides the weapons having good variety. Everything is just about basic. All in all though, it still is fun to go around killing people and getting killstreaks.
One major upsetting aspect is that there is no co-op mode. Even though this is a Black Ops title, you get no Zombies or anything else. As I’ve mentioned above, the Hostiles mode really is meant to be cooperatively played. It is a real let down that we are not given this option of play.
Looks like COD mp, feels like COD mp, but there's something missing.
The mp allows up to 8 players of 4vs4 on maps that are pretty much torn down versions of BO maps. Instead of Nuketown you get Nukehouse, with half the size of the map. Now these maps suit the small group sizes, but to me it seems that if they were just going to port these maps over give us the whole thing, please.
The game looks pretty decent for a handheld title. I would say it is almost on par with the first Black Ops. I know that isn’t saying much since BO is a pretty ugly game, but for Declassified to be matching its quality is actually pretty nice to see.
The down side to the whole campaign experience is that the enemies A.I. are complete morons. When they shoot they don’t shoot right at you, it seems that they take their time to let their cross hairs come to you after firing their gun for a minute.
The online mp doesn’t seem to be too laggy, but there are certainly a lot of glitches in the mix. At times I was pushed out of a game for no apparent reason while other times I would spawn over and over again right in front of an enemy. Much needs to be patched that I feel won’t be in the future.
One thing I am happy to see, or hear, is that the sound of the game matches its console counterparts. The guns all sound great and exactly how you would expect them to, while the bullet casings hitting the floor and your characters footsteps all sound great as well.
The trophies are easy, and yet also a pain at the same time. You have to get 3 stars on every level, which means you need to just play it on the hardest difficulty. Would be simple if you didn’t have to restart the whole thing over when you die. You also have to get 3 stars in all the trials and Hostile mode maps. Getting 3 stars in Hostile may be a little difficult, as I have mentioned above, it is meant to be an mp mode and it being only single player makes it much more difficult for you.
The game matches the gameplay aspects of the COD franchise for it being on the Vita for the most part. It’s just everything else falls a little short. Hopefully if they decide to do another next year they will just skip the entire campaign and focus on the mp and add cooperative. I would be happy if they just ported over the mp of next year’s game, or even this year’s Blops 2. I would suggest waiting for the price to go down, or if you’re someone who wants the COD mp experience on the go, then go pick it up, otherwise, wait till next year.
Great, has the COD quality, just ruined by the choice of controls.
As bad as it can get. The two hours you will spend playing it aren’t even worth your time.
Fun and is the COD experience to its core, it’s just so much is missing that it seems like it would have been easy to add so much more.
The game looks decent, but the amount of bugs and glitches within it are just annoying to say the least.