When Call Of Duty: Black Ops Declassified was first announced, there was naturally a lot of excitement for the title. Even when Nihilistic was named the developer of the game, interest remained high considering the superb work they did in bringing another shooter to the Vita with Resistance: Burning Skies. The preview video showed by Activision Blizzard at E3 showed off a fast paced and event filled shooter that seemed to contain most of the elements that has made the franchise a big success on PC and consoles. However, the final product turned out to be quite different than imagined.
As strange as it may sound, Call Of Duty: Black Ops Declassified is not a Call of Duty game. At least, not from the single player campaign perspective. For one, it does not have a story mode. Video segments introduce each mission, but the game is essentially a collection of unconnected missions. The levels are surprisingly short, lasting only a few minutes at a time, and the challenge is in clearing the mission in the quickest time possible. Since the levels are short, there are no check points. That means if you get killed further into the level, you will need to restart it from the beginning every time. Considering the sharp difficulty of the levels, this design choice quickly becomes frustrating.
The gameplay and shooting does not feel like Call of Duty either. The player’s weapons are weak and inaccurate, while the enemy’s guns are overpowered. If the player is hit by enemy gunfire, the targeting reticule moves away and makes hitting the enemy near impossible in the heat of battle. The gameplay has been stripped to a simple run-and-gun mechanic, with most levels being devoid of any environmental activity or events. The graphics of the game are also disappointing, especially compared to Resistance: Burning Skies, with a low resolution that does not take advantage of the Vita’s screen. The audio in the game is likewise disappointing.
- The multiplayer can be fun if enough players can be found.
- Graphics are underwhelming.
- Sounds and music are heavily compressed and the low quality is especially noticeable with headphones.
- High difficulty and inaccurate aiming results in a frustrating experience.
- Neither the gameplay nor levels have anything in common with Call of Duty.
If Call Of Duty: Black Ops Declassified was a new IP, it would be a short and flawed game that could nevertheless find its niche. However, as a Call of Duty game it simply does not work on any level.