A Portable Appetizer
It is no secret that the PlayStation Vita has been struggling in sales since its release earlier this year. Despite the plentiful critical acclaim awarded to its diverse launch line-up, recent retail releases have been few and far between, and that has not helped its visibility. Luckily, as with all platforms, the fall season introduces a bevy of new games, and the PS Vita might just have one of the largest games coming to it exclusively.
Developed by Nihilistic Software, Call of Duty: Black Ops - Declassified will feature both a single-player campaign as well as a handful of multiplayer modes. The developers already have some experience with crafting a decent first-person shooter on the Vita hardware (see: Resistance: Burning Skies), so Black Ops - Declassified’s quality should fare at least as well.
It presently looks like the Call of Duty most gamers are used to. Mainstay elements like Prestige, XP, Perks and the like are all here, and it looks as though Nihilistic’s approach was to make the adaptation to the handheld as smooth and familiar as possible. Other than using the touch screen for repurposing what would normally be assigned to the trigger or stick button – precise melee attacks, guiding grenades, or executing special Killstreak attacks – you should be instantly familiar with how Black Ops - Declassified controls.
The story for the single player campaign of COD: Black Ops - Declassified covers the events that transpire between 2010’s Call of Duty: Black Ops and its upcoming sequel. It is comprised of objective-based missions, in addition to some survival and time trial types, to provide bite-sized CoD experiences that are more suited to portable gaming.
The game’s multiplayer modes – including, but not limited to, Free-For-All, Team Deathmatch, and Kill Confirmed – spread across six maps will be restricted to a max of 4v4 multiplayer over a WiFi connection. It should be noted that Call of Duty veterans used to the quick-twitch, buttery smooth 60 frames per second (fps) gameplay of past entries will have to adjust to the fact that this game currently runs at only 30fps.
In a more passive multiplayer endeavor, Call of Duty: Black Ops - Declassified utilizes the Vita’s Near functionality. With it, players can share with each other access to particular loadouts that they may have not yet unlocked through normal play.
The biggest worry here is that, being a handheld game (and a spin-off at that), Black Ops - Declassified may get overshadowed by its big brother’s highly anticipated release on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, especially since they are releasing in the same month. Though, anyone wanting to get the full Black Ops experience will likely want to pick up Declassified prior to the full-fledged sequel’s debut.
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