Title: Call of Duty Black Ops Declassified
Developer: Nihilistic Studios
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download: 2.2 GB
NA Availability: Digital Download | Retail
EU Availability: Digital Download | Retail
PSTV Support: No
Call of Duty is a very debated-upon series in the First Person Shooting genre. Some call it the pinnacle of the series, and others call it the trash of the series. Regardless of what everyone thinks, Call of Duty is an immensely popular franchise and that is definitely something to respect. You may not like it, but it’s going to be crazy popular, whether you like it or not.
I, personally, don’t think a whole lot of war shooters. I like shooters, but I’ve never really been pulled in by the war themes of their plots. Still, there are times where I contradict myself. The SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo series is something I love getting into, despite what I just said. Since I have been working on knocking out all of the shooters on the Vita, I’m willing to give anything a go.
So, we have the PS Vita Call of Duty game. This is one of the most heavily criticized games on the Vita, hands-down. Many Vita gamers will flat out tell you to never buy it because it is pure trash, but why is it they see it this way? I aim to find out and give you a clear picture. Here is my official review of Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified.
The plot of Black Ops Declassified is focused around a group of soldiers in the 1970s. It is told from the perspective of the 1990s, as part of a debriefing of a secret file. It follows the group through a few missions, including the thwarting of a KGB secret military project.
The main thing about the storyline of Declassified is that there almost isn’t one at all. For a Call of Duty veteran, you can expect the entire campaign mode to take about 40-60 minutes. For one not experienced, I wouldn’t say it should take a fan of shooters more than a couple hours, at most. This is an extremely short Call of Duty game.
Black Ops Declassified is a first-person shooting game, much like the other console-quality Call of Duty games. In every game mode, you’ll be traveling through 3D environments and shooting down enemies with various fire-arms. Just as you would expect it to be, it’s a first-person shooter.
From the Main Menu, you have various options available to you. There is Campaign, Hostiles, and Multiplayer. Campaign and Hostiles are the two ways you can play Single Player against enemy AI. Campaign has the story missions and Time Trial, where you’re fighting against mock enemies, like the tutorial shows you, racing against the clock to get as many kills as possible.
Hostiles is much like the Survival Mode from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and heavily reminds me of survival from Grand Theft Auto V. In this mode, you have waves of enemies coming at you in various multiplayer maps, and then time to gather ammo and new weapons before the next wave comes at you.
Multiplayer is both Online and Offline. Online Multiplayer has several different game modes you can create or find lobbies for, from Team Death Match to Free-for-All. As the developers stated early on, however, Zombie Mode was not included in Declassified. You have most other multiplayer modes, but not Zombie Mode. While this is a disappointment, it’s not like the multiplayer is laid bare.
Actual gameplay has you running around a 3D map with firearms at your disposal. In multiplayer, you can choose a class for what to start with, or create your own class with custom equipment once you’ve played the game long enough to get to Rank 4. You can also find equipment from fallen enemies or boxes and walls in strategic locations.
Perk and Bonus elements from previous games are here as well. Especially in multiplayer, you can get bonuses after getting so many kills, aside from the normal XP you get for kills. These bonuses can be special types of weapons, like a Hind for covering fire or an air strike. You also get overall XP for completing missions, both single player and multiplayer, and can use it to increase your Rank. This then unlocks new content, like being able to create your own multiplayer class.
As far as difficulty is concerned, the way the AI works makes Declassified a different shooter than normal. The enemy AI can and will see you before you can see them. So, you can expect enemies inside a building to start firing at you immediately upon entering. This present a pretty large amount of difficulty until you manage to adjust to this, even more so in the timed missions.
While the campaign doesn’t have a lot going for it, the multiplayer community is still very active. I’ve never had to wait more than a few seconds for people to appear in games I was making or finding. So, despite being a game that released 3 years ago, it’s got the online community as if it were released this week.
There are two issues with the multiplayer, though. The first is its tendency to crash the game every once in a while. Whether you’re in a game or just setting up your class, the game normally crashes on me at least once or twice a day. The other problem is that the maps are extremely small. The Nuketown map in Declassified is only a small part of the main Black Ops series’ Nuketown. There’s not much space to go around and hide.
Finally, let’s talk about length. As I said before, the campaign is about 45 minutes long, if you’re a Call of Duty veteran. Honestly, this is extremely short for a shooting game in general. Back when this game first came out, I wouldn’t say it was near worth it to chuck out $50 for a story campaign that lasts less than an hour long.
Controlling Declassified is very similar to how you control Resistance: Burning Skies. It is, after all, from the same developer. Two things I’ll note here. First of all, both touch screens are used. The rear touch is only used for holding your breath, but the front screen is used for melee, grenades, and bonus weapons like air strikes. Second, the game will not work on the PlayStation TV. With the company having backed away from retail game development, it is unlikely that we will ever see a patch come to the game to make it compatible.
The Left Analog Stick is used to move and the Right Analog Stick moves the camera. The D-Pad is used for various tasks, such as a grenade launcher built into your weapon or toggling sprint if you don’t have auto-sprint enabled in the Options menu. X is used for jumping and Square for reloading. Triangle can switch weapons, and Circle can change your stance. Finally, the L button is used for aiming and R for firing. It’s not a bad control scheme.
The main problem with the controls is the aiming sensitivity. There is a sensitivity bar in the options, but no matter how sensitive I make it, it only really affects looking left and right. Looking up and down feels very clunky and resistant to controls. This makes it hard to aim well and quickly.
Visually, the game doesn’t look bad. It’s no Killzone Mercenary, but it looks pretty decent for a Vita title. This is probably the most redeeming part of the presentation. Though, it may be worth noting that the frame-rate also stays pretty steady for the game.
The main problem with the presentation is how long it takes for the game to load. When I go into a game of Hostiles, I am normally waiting at least 35 seconds to get in, sometimes more. While I’m a patient person, it’s a very long time for the loading of a handheld game, especially with how small the maps are.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified is a game largely criticized by the fans. While I do believe the community is hard on the game, I can’t say it’s the best shooter on the system either. With a short campaign, crashing issues in multiplayer, very lengthy load times, clunky aiming controls, and very tiny maps in multiplayer, this game is a shooter, but has nothing on Killzone Mercenary.