Call of Duty: Black Ops for Mac Review

call of duty black ops

Call of Duty: Black Ops offers some of the best first-person action gameplay on the Mac since the original Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Zombies, multiplayer, combat training and the 6 hour-long campaign are all bundled into this Mac edition of Black Ops. But is it as successful as the original?

Call of Duty’s campaign follows one Alex Mason, a captured Special Operations Group (SOG) operative who is being tortured and interrogated for information about his past. As he recovers fragments of his memory, you go back and play out the story. The plot cleverly flits between present day and the past, but it can be hard keeping track of the fast-paced story at times.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Gameplay

Call of Duty’s campaign appeals to the testosterone-fuelled teenager in all of us. Explosions, countdown timers and spectacular escapes are bountiful in this story. In fact, it makes you feel like you should put on a bandana, apply some suitable face-paint and shout gruffly at the screen just to fit in. But this all has a negative impact character building and the game’s ability to immerse you into the story. The campaign doesn’t have enough down-time to make you appreciate the action-packed scenes, and relationships with other characters don’t go further than a ‘let’s get through this together’ attitude. Maybe you never wanted anything more from the Black Ops campaign than a really good shooting gallery, including some awesome vehicle scenes, huge set-pieces set in rough terrain. But if you did, then you will be a little disappointed.

It’s a shame then that the campaign does have a spark of life. Once you have made it past all of the filler missions that only serve the purpose of putting you in some fiery warzone, Black Ops has a competent story with a dramatic finale which almost makes the whole thing worth it. Almost.

Combat Training allows you to fight against and with computer controlled players in Free-For-All and Team Deathmatch in a map of your choice. You can level up, execute deadly killstreaks and unlock weapons just like in the multiplayer mode, but the two are totally separate. It’s a good addition if you’re stuck somewhere without internet, or need some target practice, but it quickly becomes apparent that your AI buddies aren’t all that smart, and are pretty predictable. As XP and weapons aren’t transferrable to multiplayer, it’s really the online aspect of Call of Duty: Black Ops that will bring you back for more.

Multiplayer is an intense thrill. Whilst I can’t say it’s miles away from the Call of Duty 4 multiplayer, the new killstreaks, weapons, customisation options and maps breath new life into the frantic gameplay. Unfortunately, due to lack of cross-platform support, there normally aren’t anymore than 40 people online at one time. It is still just as easy to jump into a game and start shooting, although you might be a little starved of choice over the game mode and map. I can only expect more and more people to jump onto the Black Ops bandwagon as time passes though.

As well as full blown campaign and multiplayer modes, fighting hordes of the lumbering undead is also a large attraction in Black Ops. However, unlike the multiplayer, the co-op zombies maps aren’t drop-in, drop out. In fact, you can’t even start an online match without at least one online companion. This means that there has to be one other person online, on zombies at exactly the same moment as you. It’s a proposition that makes do when there are millions of people playing at one time, but doesn’t work when there are maybe only 20. Zombies is still absolutely awesome, it’s just that for now it is likely to be a lone venture.

In terms of performance, Black Ops runs fine aside from a few framerate issues when starting a new game, and some audio glitches in multiplayer.

There is no doubt that Black Ops for Mac is just as good as it was on PC. It’s just the lack of players that limits some of its features. Multiplayer is still a blast, but if Hardcore Search and Destroy is your game then you may find it hard finding a populated server hosting it. Zombies is as terrifying as ever, but you’d be lucky to find someone online to play it with. And the Campaign pulls out all the stops to provide a rip-roaring time, even if it does hinder some of the character building and story development. Whilst each excellent feature of Black Ops needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, this shouldn’t put you off the game altogether. Multiplayer is still an absolute blast, and the more the merrier.

Publisher: Aspyr Media Inc.

Price: $39.99/£38.99

Genre: First-Person Shooter

Mac App Store Link

Rating: 4/5

Pros: Awesome multiplayer, Zombies(!), new perks, maps, killstreaks and challenges, free First Strike DLC included, great campaign ending.

Cons: Some bugs, unpopulated multiplayer and Zombies modes, campaign is short and ridiculously action-packed.