The Cold War, the tumultuous time in human history, where the behind the scenes machinations and daring espionage fueled the conflicts for 40 years. Looking for a change of scenery after successful retelling the second world war, and the acclaim garnered from focusing on modern warfare, the Call of Duty franchise used the period as the setting for two successful games. With the dawning of the PS Vita in 2012, delving back into the recent past seemed like the perfect opportunity to showcase the new console and what makes Call of Duty so compelling in the latest instalment Black Ops: Declassified.
Black Ops Declassified, forms an impressive Interquel showing what happens to the protagonists of the first game, right before the events of the second. Evoking the game’s name, the story takes place in 1990, with C.I.A. analyst Ryan Jackson recanting the details before the invasion of Panama. This serves as an excellent framing device, allowing the story to be picked up and dropped off with relevant ease (as is the standard for gaming on the PS Vita). Repetition of the same levels is encouraged through beating your best time or getting more stars on higher difficulties.
Sacrifices have been made to the tried and tested formula for it to accommodate the Vita. The combat has this intense close combat feel and the open spaces of the battlefield replaced by the corridors and streets of urban warfare. The controls also had to be revamped slightly, for instance, stabbing is achieved through the touchscreen as opposed to clicking the stick. but even more imaginative is the inclusion of a time limit on a majority of the missions. On its own, it wouldn’t be too bad, but if you fail the mission in any way you must start the entire thing again. It makes every firefight tense, as every mistake on your part could cost you valuable process.
There’s also a hostile mode, it’s a typical wave best enemy affair, with the sole objective being to survive. It’s fun, but I wouldn’t call it the main attraction, even here the combat is that hectic variety as before, relying on the player to scavenge whatever weapons the enemy has available. It also serves as good practice for the multiplayer, as some of the maps are the same. Instead of the best time score, the number of kills determines the star rating encouraging the player to adapt and survive for longer.
Multiplayer is a fun challenge and still five years later, I could still get a couple of games going. While I never usually played the multiplayer in the previous instalments, A lot of the classic tropes have found themselves integrated into the multiplayer. Prestige, Create-a-class, even some classic maps have made a return, albeit some of them are scaled down to fit the cartridge. What remains is condensed, and compact combat, suited for on the go situations.
Black Ops: Declassified is a fun shooter that makes necessary modifications to be a viable combat on the go. The game offers a strong burst of the famous Call of Duty action, perfectly distilled into bite-size chunks. Perfect for a good session of time-wasting. For a launch title, it’s a good demonstration of the potential of a portable first-person shooter. While Black Ops: Declassified is varied in what it presents, it does make you wonder what potential secrets are still left confidential.
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