Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified Review

Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified is a huge disappointment that does nothing right.

by

Since the PS Vita is in dire need of a good shooter to take advantage of its nifty two-sticks setup, you would think that a Call of Duty game to mark the arrival of Black Ops II on the system's big-console brothers would be just the ticket. You would think wrong. Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified is a ticket to nothing but aggravation. This sad excuse for a portable first-person shooter shoots itself in the foot over and over again. Single-player is repetitive and annoying; multiplayer is a stripped-down waste of time. And various bugs, missing features, and other egregious flaws kick in their own contributions toward wasting a few hours of your life that you will never get back.

Anonymous, robotic enemies are the main component in single-player operations.

Declassified masquerades as a fully featured shooter, but in reality the game is anything but. Solo modes of play are lacking in every respect. The campaign option is highlighted by Operations, which consists of separate historic missions with series protagonists Alex Mason and Frank Woods going back all the way to commando operations during the Vietnam War. There is no story to follow. You just drop in on assignments in Vietnam, both Cold War-era Germanys, Nicaragua, and Afghanistan, usually in the midst of some bloody craziness, and kill a mass of enemies while swearing lustily about the injustice of it all.

None of these jobs are interesting. All you do is plod down narrow corridors and shoot your way through choke points held by armies of identical enemies. The other two single-player choices are Time Trial and Hostiles, both dreadfully dull exercises. In the former, you race around shooting targets on training grounds, while in the latter you simply try to survive against waves of bad guys.

Artificial intelligence is a mix of rank stupidity and supernatural skills. So you get bad guys anticipating your arrival by blasting away long before you even pop your head around the corner. And you get bad guys who stand there dumbfounded while you shoot them in the head, or who empty clips into the scenery with the accuracy of stormtroopers with pink eye. Foes are mostly identical in each level. There is some randomness with weapons, but otherwise you shoot the same baddies in one room after another until all of your cookie-cutter foes lay dead and you're whisked off to another foreign hellhole to do it all again. Animations match this robotic atmosphere; these clone enemies stutter-step like automatons and do little more than stand straight to return fire or freeze behind cover.

Liberating alleyways, one clutch of goons at a time.

While you are faced with a lot of enemies that provide a reasonably hard fight even on the easier difficulty settings, most of the challenge comes from design flaws. Maps consist of drab linear hallways leading to rooms stockpiled with gangs of enemies awaiting your arrival. There is a fair bit of detail, some of it even attractive in a war-torn way. But there isn't any time to appreciate the surroundings when you're a rat stuck in a maze. Occasionally you do something a little offbeat, like blow up objectives or detonate a door, but that's about it.

Controls are a real annoyance. While veterans of console shooters will find that it isn't too difficult to aim at and kill enemies, movements are restricted. When backpedaling towards doorways behind you, instead of sliding against walls and scenery as you might expect, you get caught up on objects and move as if you are wading through quicksand. Not only does locomotion not feel right--it leaves you vulnerable to enemy fire. The game also makes use of the Vita's touch screen in an incredibly ham-fisted manner, requiring you to hit it whenever you launch a grenade or engage in a melee attack.

Saving is not allowed in the campaign missions, either. Granted, they are pretty short. But they also include timed goals and a fair number of tough spots that you won't blast your way through immediately. So you get killed often and sent back to the very start of missions. Some sort of save-on-demand or checkpoint feature is sorely needed, because the repetition gets maddening quickly. Saving was probably kept out of the game to lengthen it. Any experienced shooter player could likely trudge through the entire list of campaign scenarios in under an hour without the need to replay huge sections of missions and endure the same unskippable opening cutscenes again and again.

Maps are detailed and reasonably attractive from a distance.

Multiplayer could and should be the saving grace. It is at the heart of the entire Call of Duty experience, and the option here does provide a lot of the depth seen in the console games when it comes to classes, earning experience, and acquiring new gear. But it still doesn't work, due to some questionable design decisions. The biggest issue is the scale of battle. Maps in all of the modes of play (a healthy selection of games includes Team Deathmatch, Free for All, Kill Confirmed, and Drop Zone) are absurdly cramped, even for the maximum number of eight players that can take part in matches. Things are so crammed together that players spawn right in the middle of the action, making games little more than pure mayhem devoid of strategy. Luck is a major factor in winning or losing a multiplayer match.

Bugs are another problem. Crashes occur on a fairly regular basis, locking the system up. It's tough to stay connected to games, and even remaining hooked up to Wi-Fi can be a challenge. Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified is a massive disappointment that tarnishes this highly regarded franchise. What's more, this is a blown opportunity for the Vita to garner itself a headline game and franchise that could have really energized the system. Instead, we get a quick, forgettable knockoff cranked out simply to take advantage of the buzz around the Black Ops name.

The Good
Solo missions can be challenging
The Bad
Short, aggravating single-player campaign
No save feature in solo missions
Dumb enemy AI
Control issues exacerbated by dull, linear levels
Buggy MP made even worse with too-small maps
2.5
Terrible
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29 comments
jhpeter
jhpeter

online is super buggy, its almost impossible to stay conected or even conect.

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

The game is light on content, which makes the $50 price point all the more galling. If you buy it new, you get a crappy PSP COD game with it, but still... not worth $50. That said, the game is not a 2.5. It's not an 8.0, mind you, but this game deserves at least a 6.0 or so.

I was looking for a Vita game where I could run around shooting stuff in first-person. That means it was either this or Resistance. I don't like the Resistance series, so I chose this. It's alright. I probably would've been better off waiting for Killzone, but I wanted to shoot something now.

Just my two cents, since I was on the fence and couldn't find anyone with a reasonable opinion on this game so there it is for you.

hadlee73
hadlee73

The oddest thing I found in this game was rounding corners. If I crept up to a corner normally enemies would seemingly start blasting crap out of me before I'd even poked a body part out of cover (I joked to a friend that the enemies were from the film "Wanted" and could curl bullets). And yet if I put myself into iron site/scope mode and rounded the corner that way the opponents strangely began missing most of their shots.

rdlguy
rdlguy

I can appreciate that this was not a good game, but PLEASE stop holding vita games up to their console counterparts. No matter what the commercials claim this is NOT console quality gaming. It is a handheld system that you play with when you are away from your TV or the girlfriend is watching something that makes your skin crawl.  Its like the idiots who complain that their tiny point and shoot camera is not as good as an XLR.  They are NOT the same.

Dragonfang8712
Dragonfang8712

Let's clear this up, this ain't the end of CoD (sadly in my opinion) but this is a show of payback to everyone who hates the Wii U... Why?
The Vita has just killed black ops, need I say more... The "Hardcoreers" are just as bad as the "Childers" in game systems

ILuvGameSpot123
ILuvGameSpot123

Hee-hee, why does it make me so happy that a Call of Duty game is really bad?

airborne26
airborne26

May I remind everyone that gamespot rated Medal of Honor heroes for psp a 7.3, I think they are being unnecessarily ruthless with black ops declassified. It may not live up to your bloated expectations, but I've seen gamespot hand out higher reviews for MUCH CRAPPIER games.

benjib84
benjib84

In fairness yeah the game has flaws but most if not all of the vita reviews on here can be very biased..... SUre, multiplayer can kick you before the game starts, yeah its annoying that theres no checkpoints on the campaign missions, but guys - its a newish handheld... 


Ultimately WHEN you get onto the online games you get an authentic handheld cod experience and its superb.... 


5/10 is fairer

benjib84
benjib84

Its a biased review much like most of the vita reviews here...

Sure there are bugs like no checkpoints on campaigns, multi-player sometimes kicks you before getting into the game for no reason, missions can be short...


BUT when you get into the multiplayer, despite the small maps you get a superb cod multiplayer, authentic experience.... in trms of enjoyment id have given this a 7/10....


BUT bugs included, 5/10 is a much much fairer rating which underplays the enjoyment this game brings.

Ezioprez9709
Ezioprez9709

The reveiw said it does nothing right but it's says that the solo missions can be challenging. Sort it out.

Terror27
Terror27

2012 game of the year better then the ps3 console version

LeoLex_
LeoLex_

why are they aloud to get away with this?....please someone explain

TSUNASWADA
TSUNASWADA

complete waist of money for a next gen console. i own this game and i have been on the gamein track for 29 years. yes folks i am 37 and started game-in at age 8. the campaign mode only gets hard when your trying for the 3rd star on each mission. multi-player mode maps are like a fight in a biscuit tin. (way too small seriously). no strategy needed in the game at all. and the mindless part is on-line multi is via a peer to peer network witch is very very annoying as you can be kicked from a game before you start. and you cannot host your own privet game. all in all save your cash and wait for killzone mercs as killzone always delivers that POP.......woooo....HEAD SHOT.  

Ringx55
Ringx55

Whoever spit out this garbage deserves to get fired.

ashleydb
ashleydb

Sony Bend did an incredible job with shooters on the PSP, my favorite being Resistance:Retribution.  Give them a shot with shooter games on the Vita.  They did a great job with Uncharted:Golden Abyss. 

DrEw1190
DrEw1190

I read the title of this as "Call of Duty: Black Ops Dissatisfied". 

How fitting it would have been.

uchihasilver
uchihasilver

more evidence that developers are currently destroying the industry =/

ClaudiusCaesar
ClaudiusCaesar

Don't follow this review. The multiplayer is good. It's a mini CoD that works well. If you want a FPS MP on a handheld, this is a very good option. Just read the user's reviews on any site. But, remember, this is not a home console game. I hope this help some people. Cheers!

avidgamer1
avidgamer1

Is it bad that i get almost as excited over a terrible game's review as i do with a great one's?

Terror27
Terror27

2.5 come on gamespot online multiplayer is not that bad

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

i am guessing they cut out all the blood and gore of the original Black ops campaign. I will pass on this game.

mastertien123
mastertien123

Guess this is the best that burning skies developer can make within 6 months . 

adamomars
adamomars

I liked call of duty two... I liked call of duty... modern warefar? I think anyway. it was a while back, like, when i firt got my xbox call of duty was my first game. I loved blaring it on the tv, and doing house clears through the villages over and over... I think i was 15. Then modern warfare was decent... but it was buggy. guys guns phasing through walls...and why the hell can i see enemies on my minimap... it just made all the meat heads easy to kill. so i lost interest in that pretty fast... I am terribly uninterested with the games nowadays... if  wonder why i too the time to write this. It's because, i felt like it.

Dragonfang8712
Dragonfang8712

It may be the best handheld shooter to date...
But that is the only thing going for it in my opinion

jayelcey
jayelcey

@TSUNASWADA Add me to your PSN.  Not many gamers in my age group on my PSN list.  Just turned 38 this January, and have been gaming since I was probably 4.  Parents had a TV Fun Pong system, and then we got an Atari.  My PSN ID is Jayelcey.

jayelcey
jayelcey

@TSUNASWADA  What's your PSN ID?  Not many gamers on my list in my age group.

bettyblue77
bettyblue77

@snova9308 @airborne26 I have. It's not good, but if you don't compare it to the console counterparts, it's not 2.5 bad. Maybe closer to 4.5 or 5.5, but not 2.5. Had Sony and Activision actually cared about the Vita and CoD: BOD, it could have been a great game. Maybe they will redeem themselves down the road.

bgghgubcjhgknjk
bgghgubcjhgknjk

@Ezioprez9709 @benjib84 how is it possibly the worst handheld to date? have you ever SEEN a gamecom or virtual boy? go look it up and then get back to me saying it's the worst handheld ever

ClaudiusCaesar
ClaudiusCaesar

 @Jake518 User scores are low, mostly because CoD haters. But, reviews from users that actually played the game are good. Just read it.

Maybe, this review was base on the game before the patch. I just played it after the patch and it plays good.

Lostat
Lostat

@bettyblue77 @snova9308 @airborne26 For me, its the controls which totally break the game.  Even after changing the sensitivity slider in Option, its a horrible experience.  I only got it as part of a bundle deal when I bought my Vita.

Its not like I wanted to hate this game, far from it, I want all games to be excellent and I go in with a 10/10 unless a game gives me reason to knock it down as I play it & my opinion is formed.

Thankfully at the time I write this, Killzone Mercs is out and they've shown developers how a decent Vita control-scheme & sensitivity sliders should really work.  It wouldn't be so bad if CoD:declassified was a cheaper game to buy, but they charge people a very full-fat price that's anything other than value for money.

kevinarraptorrr
kevinarraptorrr

@Ezioprez9709 @ClaudiusCaesar @benjib84Ah, well, if you love the 3DS that much then why don't you go back to your tree house and play with it? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and isn't it obvious that the Vita is just a new system? While the 3DS focus more on the low-quality graphics but still maintain the aspect of game content and fun, the Vita's primary goal is to deliver all three, which it failed to in these early times. Despite that, the Vita has garnered good to great games as stated above. This COD game just has a mighty implication on the system because, well, it's a COD game and we all know COD has become shooter flagship on previous consoles. So try not to be too judgmental dude, you might just eat what you say.

bettyblue77
bettyblue77

@zleeven @Ezioprez9709 @ClaudiusCaesar @benjib84 As an owner of both the Vita and 3Ds, I can say they both have their great games, and their flaws. 

Great Vita games:

Persona 4 Golden

Rocketbirds: Hard Boiled Chicken

AC: Liberation

Gravity Rush

PS All Stars Battle Royale

Disgaea 3

EDF 2017


For 3DS:

Luigi's Mansion

Resident Evil Revelations

Mario Kart 7

NSMB2

Fire Emblem

LoZ OoT

zleeven
zleeven

@Ezioprez9709 @ClaudiusCaesar @benjib84 

Persona 4 Golden, UMVC 3, wipeout 2048, little big planet ps vita, AC 3 Liberations, Metal Gear Solid Hd Gravity rush play station all stars, Ragnarok odyssey, uncharted golden abyss, ninja gaiden Sigma Plus, Zero Escape, blazblue continuum shift extend, mortal Kombat, super Stardust delta, to name a few games

ClaudiusCaesar
ClaudiusCaesar

@Ezioprez9709 @benjib84 3DS? With that tiny little screen? And games are about taste, it's just pointless to argue about it. But, when you say "worst handheld system" that implies hardware. Maybe, "0/10 for having the worse game library" would be a better way to say it. Cheers!

Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified More Info

First Release on Nov 13, 2012
  • PlayStation Vita
Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified explores original fiction in the Call of Duty Black Ops universe with an all-new campaign of Special Ops missions.
4.9
Average User RatingOut of 183 User Ratings
Please Sign In to rate Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified
Developed by:
Nihilistic
Published by:
Square Enix, Activision
Genres:
3D, Action, First-Person, Shooter, Team-Based
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Mature
All Platforms
Blood, Drug Reference, Strong Language, Violence