Call of Duty: Black Ops DS Hands-On

We wander into the world of shadowy operations in the portable version of Black Ops.

When compared to the next-generation consoles, the cacophony of war may not sound quite the same on the Nintendo DS, but developer n-Space has worked on several portable Call of Duty games to get an idea of how to translate a first-person military shooter to the handheld. Call of Duty: Black Ops includes several new features in response to fan feedback; most notably is the addition of button controls, so that instead of relying on stylus controls, you are free to switch back and forth between the two--or whichever is most comfortable and will yield the fewest number of hand cramps.

New face button controls lets you switch it up.

The story may not follow that of its console brethren, but you'll visit the same hot spots, such as Cuba, Southeast Asia, and the Soviet Union. You play as members of CIA-backed operatives who have been assigned to the shadowy world of deniable operations. Black Ops is split into infantry missions, as well as a few vehicle-based missions. There are 16 levels in all, and we were able to play through one of each type.

Our demo began in a Russian base, where our goal was to gather some vital intelligence by the end of the stage. It started off as a bit of a stealth mission, where we were given a sniper rifle to pick off our enemies before they saw us. Of course, missions don't always go the way you intend them to--because we basically alerted everyone--so we ended up swapping in favor of a more rapid fire weapon and started firing away. While it takes a bit of getting used to, the button control scheme works well, and you can tweak the sensitivity of the camera to suit your play style. You use the D pad to control your movement and the face buttons to control the camera. Like all Call of Duty games, the L button is used to aim down the sights and the right button is used to fire. If an enemy is a little too close, you'll automatically whip out your knife when you try to fire. There are three difficulty settings, but if you're on recruit or regular, your reticle will autolock as long as you're hovering close enough to a target.

The interface has also been improved so that you can now drag and drop new weapons that you pick up into your primary or secondary slots on the touch screen. A hand icon will appear when you stumble across a new weapon and a quick tap picks it up. Depending on how quickly you get through the levels, each mission can last anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, making it easy to play in short bursts.

It's too bad that there aren't more vehicle-based missions (we were told there were roughly three) because piloting a helicopter and firing nonstop at enemy camps was incredibly fun. Our goal was to extract an operative that had escaped from the enemy but was surrounded and needed a way out. The MI-4 helicopter that we were in control of was on rails, but we could strafe with the D pad to avoid incoming missiles. The left and right buttons were mapped to our minigun and missiles, and because we could fire them both at the same time, there was nothing but carnage throughout the entire level. Normally when you take damage, your screen will turn red, but in this level, the only indicator we had was when our helicopter began to beep.

Shooting things out of the sky is always fun.

On top of the single-player campaign, there is a challenge mode that is split into 24 ground-based missions where you have objectives to complete within a certain time limit. There's an Arcade mode where you are given a limited number of lives and go through the levels for the highest point total. We didn't get a chance to test it out, but there is local and online multiplayer for up to six players, as well as a two-player cooperative mode.

Whether or not you prefer your shooters on a portable handheld, there's plenty of intense action on the go in this DS version. We're curious to learn more about the cooperative and multiplayer modes and will have updates as soon as they become available. Call of Duty: Black Ops is set to ship alongside its console counterparts on November 9.

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Discussion

49 comments
Cooliepants
Cooliepants

Wow this game sounds awesome for the Ds. Normally I wouldn't think about buying this for the Ds because I already have it for the Wii. After reading this, I think this is a buy to me.

ASADAS234
ASADAS234

lol it looks liike a mobile phone game ,, or PS1 just joking THIS GAME WORKS FOR SEGA CZ ITS 8BIT

nate1222
nate1222

Doesn't look bad, considering the DS's graphics limitations.

xY4YOYOx
xY4YOYOx

i wish they made a handheld console with two analog sticks

rustymenon
rustymenon

lemme tell you, COD on ds are great. Not that i'm saying that the console versions are bad, i just haven't got the opportunity to play one. but yeah, you shouldn't care about graphics. its the gameplay that matters. @archer totally agree!

Oozyrat
Oozyrat

@ AvatarMan96 - I'm almost positive that the Cold War had zero fighting. I was basically whoever could strike more fear into the enemy and propaganda. However, the game could take place in a fictional secret battle. Either way, I don't think I'm going to buy this game :\

Archer1998
Archer1998

MINT cant wait wish they would do halo ds

Jonwh18
Jonwh18

look at all the pixelated stuff and how every thing is all boxy this is why i stopped buying DS games and moved on to my psp and the consoles. they should at lleast make it for 3ds so its displayed a little better. is it for 3Ds?

Brennios
Brennios

Why dont they have these on PSP ?

AvatarMan96
AvatarMan96

@trashcan60 The Cold War, which is the war between Soviet Russia and USA, for those who didn't know.

Ceraby
Ceraby

This should be interesting =o

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

@yoyo200900 so basically you are saying that DS games only for DS are legendary? of course they are! Games like Ace attorney, Professor layton, and other DS only games are what makes it great!

trashcan60
trashcan60

what war is black ops take place in?

BigStik
BigStik

so many new ds shooters... i want more metroid...

yoyo200900
yoyo200900

cod5 ds is the best ds cod game, but its still crap all ds games are bad, unless they are exclusive to ds/ds&wii... then they are legend

Death_182
Death_182

@ darksoldier573 I totally agree

kikosurf99
kikosurf99

Nintendo DS IS COOL, BUT CoD IS A SH*T. The graphics suck. I have a ds and play CoD MDF and the game is crap. @Kikosurf99

Speuj
Speuj

@gideonkain Hahahaha! Good point... @generalstar Thank you captain obvious...

Fusionmix
Fusionmix

This might actually end up pretty fun.

Sgthombre
Sgthombre

What did you guys expect from the graphics? Its a friggin handheld console.

labrat7
labrat7

Well, at least there's online...

acerookie1
acerookie1

this game is going to be a huge improvement but the knife runners are gonna increase in multiplayer. lol

gideonkain
gideonkain

Who parks their sedan in a snow drift in a back alley?

zeldamario221
zeldamario221

i no u will hate me but i don't think N space is all that great...

DS-man
DS-man

Moderen Warfare 1 & 2 was realy good for the DS, World at War was disapointing, So i hope this DS game is as good as MW1&2

CyberKlown28
CyberKlown28

Looks good. N-Space listens to their fans, unlike Infinity Ward xD

Caldziee
Caldziee

The other CODs on ds were pretty good and pushed what could be done on the ds i can say even tho ill buy my xbox copy ill pick this one up as well, ds has always been about gameplay so the game will be a totally different experence!! roll on.

Lacon85
Lacon85

Call of Duty game on Ds are great, Screw the haters, Screw graphics geeks I don't care about Thumbs Downs either. People need to learn that Fps game's are possible on a Ds & and they need to shut up if they never played any Ds shooter before.

EnGoBBaz25
EnGoBBaz25

Im gonna check this out, i have all the other Call of Duty games for DS, and i liked them, i have also played the Dementium games for DS. and i think these games prove that first person shooters works on the ds :) so yeah, i think ill pick this up when its out

Sirbobislost
Sirbobislost

@ mariostar0001 No on cause it's not a ps3 it's a DS and anyway gameplay>graphics

SaltyMeatballs
SaltyMeatballs

Make gun model, make pew pew sound, make cover COD, make big money.

The_Gaming_Baby
The_Gaming_Baby

This kind of game doesn't work so well on a handheld I'm afraid.

RetroCity
RetroCity

What more can i say, just all fps games doesnt fit any portable systems.

VirtuKnight
VirtuKnight

What's wrong with N64 graphics? Surely if you've played Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark on the N64 you'd realize that you don't need HD PS3 graphics to have an awesome FPS.

mariostar0001
mariostar0001

Not as pretty as HD PS3 graphics, but who here expected otherwise?

wiidsduelpack
wiidsduelpack

Maddogtaylor, You're totally right about the game having N64 graphics.

Maddogtaylor
Maddogtaylor

man ds owners i feel sorry for you on this one, the graphics are as good as goldeneye 007........n64 style thats retro :P

Imsterminate
Imsterminate

Activision will stick a COD sticker on anything...

Berserk8989
Berserk8989

why even bother with DS and its ugly graphics, make it for the PSP!

sakshamH
sakshamH

They should make it for 3ds..i think

MationMac
MationMac

Doesnt look like it beats Modern Warfare Mobilized, but it might. :)