Taken out of one of my Game Informer magazines.
Call of Duty: Black Ops
The darker side of the cold war
It's not like the Cold War had a light side, but Treyarch is basing this next Call of Duty on the most secret parts of an already under-the-table conflict. At least one of the roles players take on in the Call of Duty: Black Ops is that of an elite Special Operations Group soldier in Southeast Asia in the 60s. No mission is too tough, no tactic is forbidden, and no equipment requisitions are denied for these badass commandos. You've experienced some of the biggest armed clashes in the history of mankind through the Call of Duty lens. This time, the battles are more intimate - but no less explosive.
Activision hasn't revealed a ton of information on Black Ops yet, but it isn't a total mystery anymore. We know that vehicles play a larger role in gameplay than in past CoD titles. Treyarch has shown off sequences that include the expected turret firing aboard moving vehicles, plus moments that allow players to drive the helicopters themselves. Expecting a full-on Operation Flashpoint-style open battlefield is probably foolish, but you will definitely be in the driver's seat for part of Black Ops. The developer has also shown players peforming a series of timed inputs to take off in a SR-71 spy plane. Let's hope that Treyarch hasn't fallen back in love with the lame quick-time events that plagued Call of Duty 3.
One-off set pieces, such as swimming through a river and silently taking guards out with your combat knife, are the highlights of what Treyarch has revealed so far. After taking off in the SR-71, players must use their aerial vantage point to direct friendly squads through enemy-infested hot zones. Used well, these breaks from the usual run-and-gun are great pacing mechanics that keep the game from feeling stale. Treyarch seems to have the right idea, as one such sequence has players ripping an enemy force to shreds with the full force of an attack chopper's miniguns and rockets (while also piloting the helicopter) after struggling against them in an intense ground battle. Vengeance like that is as good as it gets.
You won't find any more elite squads in the Cold War than the SOG units such as the one the player spends time with. As such you'll have access to military hardware we don't commonly associate with the military era. Treyarch has enthusiastically shown off the crossbow to everyone within viewing distance, not that we can blame the developers. Not only is it a silent weapon for stealthy takedowns, but skewering an enemy with an explosive quarrel and watching them stagger toward their friends and explode in a massive fireball is awesome. Firing specialized incendiary Dragon's Breath ammo from a shotgun is a good way to immolate anything nearby. Treyarch has declined to pull back the curtain on other unusual toys that may make appearances in Black Ops , but insists that is has more surprises in store.
Multiplayer is of course the question on everyone's minds, but Treyarch is letting very little info about online play. In what has become an expected and annoying tactic on Activision's part, it is refusing to do anything but tease vague details about Black Ops' multiplayer modea until the first batch of single-player info has thoroughly percolated through the gaming community. On the plus side, we know that co-op is extensively supported, with four-player online mode (playable split-screen with two) separate from single-player campaign. Competitive multi will almost certainly have a pre-release beta based on Treyarch's comments, which could help Black Ops avoid host of glitches and bugs that have infuriated Modern Warfare 2 players since its launch.
The Black Ops trailer is full of Call of Duty's signature scripted dramatic moments, from kicking in a window while swinging from fast rope on a crashing helicopter to diving off a frigid cliff. Treyarch stepped up its Call of Duty games with its last effort in the franchise, World at War. It has a chance to take the next step with Black Ops, which would be an uncontested victory for gamers.