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Call of Duty Black Ops Wii Review

27/11/2010 Thinking Considered Gamer Review
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Call of Duty Black Ops Nintendo Wii

Call of Duty Black Ops

Nintendo Wii



Further reading:
GoldenEye 007 (Wii)
Modern Warfare Reflex (Wii)

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Other GamePeople columnists have reviewed this from their perspective - huh?:
Family Gamer (Wii)
Reporting Gamer (360)
Returning Gamer (DS)

Call of Duty Black Ops Wii shouldn't exist. But by pushing the Wii to its limit Trearch delivers an experience on a par with the 360 and PS3. What I wasn't expecting though, was for it to be so much more unsettling on Nintendo's friendly console.

Call of Duty Black Ops on the Wii mirrors the experience offered by the 360 and PS3 surprisingly closely. It's essentially the same campaign, dialogue and story - and even has a strong multiplayer and zombies mode. I pretty much knew this before I started playing, but that still didn't really prepare me see my friendly little Wii offering up torture, swearing and grizzly death in the first few minutes.

It's not all that different to other games I've played on the Wii - most recently GoldenEye 007 (Wii), or Modern Warfare Reflex (Wii) a while back. But whereas those experiences are tempered both culturally and technically because they aren't on the leading edge of what is possible or acceptable - they feel a little safer.

The unexpected nature of it all added to my engagement though. While these experiences on the 360/PS3 are commonplace, on the Wii I was much more aware of my response. The uneasiness of the experience matched my slight reluctance at playing the game on the console my younger sister uses daily.

The controls add to this unease as well. I found I had to stand in front of my TV to be able to use the Wii-mote for targeting - while the Nun-chuck provided movement. It felt more like playing games back from my PC era, Counter Strike and the like, as the pointing gives you a lot of flexibility once you get used to it.

Standing up as I ran through war town settings, gunning down enemies gave an added level of connection to the experience. At times I really felt my pulse racing as I edged my Wii-mote round corners or ducked down behind cover. It was an intense experience and it took me a while to really process how this made me feel. Once I had though, I realised I didn't really like it.

The experience as a whole made me uneasy, and even a little sad at the reality of it all.

Not the game itself, I really enjoyed the mechanics of shooting (much more accurate than GoldenEye 007 Wii) the adrenaline charged missions and well signposted team mates. But the experience as a whole made me uneasy, and even a little sad at the reality of it all.

While Black Ops did its best to reel me in with shock and awe, my response to this was more considered than thrilled. I didn't want this world to invade my relationship with the Wii - the happy place I go to escape the grind of the day to day. It felt wrong in the same way that playing Man Hunt 2 had felt wrong.

Here, as then, seeing violence on Nintendo's casual console was jarring. And controlling it all with subtle movements and motions rather than button presses made this mismatch all the more apparent. Both Man Hunt 2 and Black Ops do something that no other games have done for me - get me to really question my responses to this sort of violence.

I know, being a girl doesn't help my cause here - and I'm cautious of being painted into some kind of chick-flick corner - but I can't deny that my experience of the game raised more concerns than enjoyment.

It's only here that it is seen for what it is.

I found myself thinking too much what it would be like to really be in those scenarios myself, with my loved ones on the line. It was almost unbearable.

Far from a shortcoming of Black Ops though, I think this is actually what makes it compelling on the Wii. It's only here that it is seen for what it is. On the Wii the revelling in war, torture and violent solutions is stark. And I was as intrigued by my response as I was disturbed by it.

Call of Duty Black Ops is certainly not for the faint hearted.

In fact I played on through the game for some time before I finally threw in the towel. Like passing a dead animal on the road, I knew I should probably look away but at the same time I was intrigued by what I would see.

Call of Duty Black Ops is certainly not for the faint hearted. But for those with the stomach for a graphic war-time experience - and with the shooting ability to cope with the sparse check points - it is a game that offers a challenge on a number of levels and for that reason I think I ended up respecting it.

Written by Jen Rawles

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Jen Rawles writes the Considered Gamer column.

"For as long as I can remember I've been fascinated by games that can provoke an emotional reaction. I enjoy a game that can tell me a strong, emotive story even if sometimes the game mechanics behind it are weak."

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