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Call of Duty: Black Ops for OS X review

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Category: First-person shooter
Developer: Treyarch
Mac Publisher: Aspyr Media
System Requirements: OS X 10.7.4, 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4 GB RAM, 15 GB hard disk space, 512MB graphics card (minimum: ATI Radeon HD 3870)
Network Feature: Yes
Processor Compatibility: Intel
Price: $49.99
Rated: M for Mature (blood and gore, intense violence, strong language)
Availability: Now

Although Call of Duty: Black Ops II was released just a few days ago, I’ve been given the opportunity to review the first title in the series which was released on OS X this September, two years after its original launch on PC and consoles. It is unfortunate that Mac users had to wait this long to be able to play the original Black Ops, and Aspyr’s port to the platform may disappoint hardcore fans of the series.

Multiplayer

I have been playing CoD: Black Ops on Xbox 360 since its original release date, as I am more of a console gamer. The Call of Duty series is among my favorites, and I really enjoyed Black Ops for its balanced multiplayer gameplay and for its super-addicting Zombies mode. The Mac version is mostly no different from the Black Ops I’ve been playing since 2010 on Xbox 360, which makes one question why it took so long for a Mac release.

Call of Duty: Black Ops

If you’re unfamiliar with the Call of Duty series, it’s mostly your generic first-person shooter style single and multiplayer game with some great features like Perks, Killstreak Rewards, unlocks through levelling up, Prestige Mode for when you’ve reached the maximum level and wish to start over, and more. There are just way too many features to cover in this review, so I’ll give you this trailer to pick some of it out:

Aside from the standard multiplayer that is featured in every Call of Duty game, Treyarch has started featuring a new game mode that is unique to its Call of Duty games: Zombies (as previously mentioned). What started as an easter egg in Call of Duty: World at War has become a full-featured game mode that puts you (and up to three teammates, if you wish) against waves of Zombies, with the difficulty increasing with every level you make it through. Zombies is a great deal of fun for when you’re bored of multiplayer and/or want to shoot at enemies that can’t shoot back. What’s also great is that Treyarch has incorporated additional Zombies maps into their DLC packs, so you’re not only getting additional multiplayer maps when you buy them.

Zombies

Now, to explain what I didn’t like about Black Ops on OS X. Yes, it’s pretty much the same game as it is on any other platform. However, there was something missing, something crucial to me when it comes to PC/Mac games: modded servers. While mods are technically available on Black Ops for Mac just as on PC, I did not find a single modded server. In fact, the only servers that were available when I was playing were Aspyr’s. Don’t get me wrong, the game is just fine without mods, but having been playing Black Ops already for so long has made standard gameplay rather boring for me. I like when the community contributes custom maps, gameplay, and other modded goodies to play with, because it brings something new and makes the game more exciting to me. Until I start seeing some modded servers, I’m probably not going to be playing Black Ops on my Mac anymore.

Another major problem; not many gamers are currently playing Black Ops on OS X online. I would have expected Aspyr’s servers to be packed with players since they are the only ones available to play in, but that wasn’t the case. Some servers had at most a handful of players in them, while most of them had no players at all. It seems that waiting too long to release Black Ops on OS X has caused a major lack of interest for Mac gamers since this game is now two titles behind in the Call of Duty series.

Server list

While I’m glad that Black Ops has at least finally made it onto OS X, it is a bit too late in my opinion. Call of Duty fans like myself are too busy with Black Ops II (and some still with the previous Modern Warfare 3) to pay much attention to this 2-year-old title, even though it is new to OS X. If, perhaps, it had some new features that were unique to the Mac version (or at least some modded servers to play on!), I’d probably be more enthusiastic about it.

Still, Black Ops was and is a great game. If you’re a Mac user that hasn’t played it before, I recommend making the purchase. You will almost certainly have tons of fun with Zombies if not the multiplayer and the intense single player campaign.

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