No rival to the PS3 version but fun nonetheless.

User Rating: 6.5 | Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified VITA
For whatever the reason PS Vita games have received a cool reception from critics & Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified seems to have suffered a similar fate.

A large part of whether or not a gamer will enjoy a new purchase surely depends on their individual level of expectation with the title bought? Perhaps then the critics have had higher expectations for the PS Vita's range than the actual gamers themselves, who largely have been enjoying the console's releases.

Bearing this in mind, if you are expecting Black Ops Declassified to be a full port of the PS3 COD experience then yes, you will be hugely disappointed. If however, you are looking for a game that has the authentic feel of the Modern Warfare/Black Ops series but are realistic that it will have it's limitations then you may be pleasantly surprised by this release. The most important & critical aspect of bringing COD onto the handheld has been achieved & that is simply the gameplay. The movement & handling of the controls are faithful to the shooter we all know & love, the only snag being the awkward use of touchscreen to launch frag & flash bang grenades. Unless you are an octopus (which could be rather useful at times) it can be difficult to implement the touchscreen whilst navigating using the Vita's dual sticks. The scenery & maps, although perhaps too frequently narrow, are again mostly true to form & represent what you expect from the series.

Black Ops Declassified does suffer however in several areas, the most immediate & striking being the frustration of having to restart an operation each time you die. There are no checkpoints & consequently you are sent right back to the start, infuriating if you are moments away from completing a 10-15 minute mission or close to claiming one of the tougher trophies only to see it slip away right at the... well... death.

The AI at times not the best as enemies can often be found crouching behind obstacles in no attempt to engage you, giving the impression they don't actually realise you're there, or even who they are & why they are there. In these instances they may as well be carrying a placard stating 'kill me now'.

The range of missions is undoubtedly limited & as for the storyline, despite using the series' characters Alex Mason & Frank Woods, it is about as engaging & interesting as waiting for a bus. The narrative is heavily rushed & lacks much explanation of why you are there in the first place, also leaving you with little desire to find out. The formula essentially is blast through the intro, turn up in Berlin etc & shoot your way through a 10 min mission in the hope you don't die & consequently get sent back to the start. In terms of difficulty the game is bizarre in that the regular setting (the game's lowest) is actually fairly difficult first time round & combined with the daft restart-at-death process, could annoy lesser gamers. At the opposite end of the scale, experienced & capable shooters ay find themselves flying through & completing the operations in no time.

Multiplayer can be one of the best features of the title but also one of the most infuriating as connections are frequently lost & system crashes occur all too often. If you are using a wifi connection for multiplayer it would be a tempting (& easier) option to simply put the Vita down & connect to a online game via the PS3 game.

So ultimately the success of this game is likely to come down to the individual's expectations. For a fan of the series who simply wants a quick blast with an authentic COD feel in terms of gameplay then the title is worth a look. If however you were expecting a full PS3-style release then you are probably best giving it a wide berth or frustration & disappointment will be the most likely outcome.