IGN Preview of Call of Duty: Black Ops
Along with the console versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops comes a Nintendo DS rendition from N-Space. The development studio has already produced a handful of portable versions of the Call of Duty franchise, and Black Ops on DS is the latest generation of first-person shooters from the team that is also working on GoldenEye for the handheld.
Black Ops will be a standalone, individualized version of the design produced on the bigger systems, so it will have its own missions, voice acting and soundtrack during the action. Activision let me play around with the Nintendo DS build timed for its public debut at Gamescom in Germany this week.
The first mission I played was a squad-based first-person challenge where I had to work my way through an interior structure with my three other teammates. I started off with a sniper weapon, and this made it easy to pick off far away targets with its zoom function. It's not the best run-and-gun weapon, so I immediately switched over to a much more powerful gun.
The newest tweak to the engine is the context sensitive touch-screen button that changes its task depending on what's going on in-game. If you're standing on a dropped weapon you can simply walk over it and tap the button to put it directly in your primary or secondary slot. It can also be used as a quick-turn control, rotating your view 180 degrees instantly...a maneuver that will come in handy in multiplayer to be sure.
If you're familiar with last year's Mobilized you'll get a good idea of the game's look and flow. It runs at a pretty good framerate and the touch-screen already does a great job providing a very "mouselook" like control.
I also got a chance to take a look at mission where you're manning the gun on an attack helicopter. The controls for these missions are strictly D-pad and button focused: D-pad strafes the helicopter on its fixed path to avoid incoming attacks, and the buttons maneuver the on-screen targeting reticule – firing the guns and missiles are mapped to the shoulder triggers of the Nintendo DS. This mission definitely shook up the action, and clearly means to be a bit of variety between the core first-person shooter experience. The controls were a little on the stiff side, and it's not really clear to me why the developers shifted to the buttons for these missions. Why not have the touchscreen used to slide the targeting crosshairs around with a lot more fluidity? Is it just so the gamer can fire guns and missiles?
There will be other missions beyond the FPS levels and the helicopter challenges, but right now these two levels were all that Activision let me tinker around with on the Nintendo DS. A tease leading up to the November launch across all platforms.
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