Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified (Video Game Review)

When Sony announced Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified back at E3 over the Summer, eyebrows were raised, the cool kids instantly started online bashing the upcoming title, and most importantly, PlayStation Vita owners thought they'd have a console quality, twin-stick shooter that could be enjoyed while away from home. Publisher Activision has a long track record of producing hit after hit with the best-selling Call of Duty franchise for many years in a row, bu developer Nihilistic Studios let fans down in a big way with the new release. For once, a Call of Duty game deserves all of the negative criticism that comes with its big name, and fans will want to avoid this handheld title like they would an incoming Air Strike.

Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified's problems begin with the single player campaign known as Operations, but the problems certainly don't end there. The confusing narrative of Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified takes place over missions not completely unlike Spec Ops mode from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Each mission allows you to play as one of the many protagonists from the Black Ops series and gives you a quick sitrep before sending you on your way to snipe enemies, shoot your way through hordes of baddies or stealthily sneak your way through a specially designed level. The missions are featured on levels from the series' past, and the graphics look fine for the most part, but you'll quickly grow tired of fighting enemies who look exactly the same and carry the same firearms on each mindless body. Overall, Operations will take experienced shooter players only an hour or two to complete, as each mission can be completed in no time at all, and the whole experience feels rushed, unrewarding and completely unenjoyable.

Once you've had enough of the storyline of Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified, it's time to move on the other game modes in the new release including the never before seen Hostiles mode. This one plays out similar to the series' Survival Mode, where waves of enemies utilizing the same weapons charge the player in sets of four. After each round, a care package is randomly dropped around the map and must be quickly collected for an instant killstreak or new weapon. While the mode itself is a well thought out idea, the terrible AI and controls plague this mode just as it does in the other single player mode. In fact, Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified easily has the worst AI of any game in the series, as you constantly find enemies that get glitched and stuck into the environment, run out in front of you, stare and shoot walls and perform other poorly designed mechanics. It doesn't help that the game becomes fairly difficult once the enemies finally do gain sight on you and never seem to miss a shot they fire, which can quickly end your life if you're not paying attention.

With all of that said, multiplayer is likely to be what most gamers will be picking up Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified, and unfortunately for those people, the multiplayer is probably the most frustrating part of the game. The poor controls rear their ugly head more in Wi-Fi battles than in any other mode, as you find it more difficult to aim on enemies and quickly find the the hit box on enemy players seems to be completely inconsistent and changes with each match. To compound the problem, all of the maps in Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified are on the small side, and in 8 player matches, enemies spawning in the crosshairs of a gun are the norm and the mounting frustration with the game can quickly reach a boiling point with so many inexcusable deaths. The saving grace for a few addicted fans will be an interface, HUD and custom classes that will feel familiar to anyone who has prestiged before. It also helps that some of the maps are favorites from the Black Ops series including Nuketown, but its just not nearly enough for most gamers to want to purchase Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified on PlayStation Vita. If you're the most loyal fan of the Call of Duty series in the world, check out Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified, maybe. For everyone else, be happy there is such a high quality and addictive title available for home consoles with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, and wait for a quality shooter worth your time to arrive on PlayStation Vita some time down the road.

Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified is now available from all major retailers for the MSRP of $49.99 and can be purchased exclusively for PlayStation Vita. Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified is rated M by the ESRB for Blood, Drug Reference, Strong Language & Violence. For more information on the game, check out the official Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified website.

Game Features:
  • Online Multiplayer 1-8
  • Operations Single Player
  • Hostiles Mode
  • Online Leaderboards
  • Trophy Support

  • Game Information:
    Developer: Nihilistic Software
    Publisher: Activision
    Available exclusively for PlayStation Vita (reviewed)
    Release Date: November 13, 2012

    Score: 3 out of 10
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