Let's be honest - historically, Treyarch's Call of Duty titles have always been dismissed as time fillers until the next Infinity Ward title.
However, with Call of Duty: Black Ops Treyarch isn't sitting back and coasting on the success of MW2, it's taking a risk with some new innovations.
Here are a few reasons why Treyarch's Black Ops could top Modern Warfare 2.
In the Payback mission, your squad escape capture with a stolen Hind helicopter, and guess what? You actually take control.
That's right, you steer the chopper as you rain havoc on the lush forests of Laos. The controls are similar to those that move your character, and only the altitude is done automatically.
It's a great touch that marks a deliberate attempt to move away from on-rails sequences.
In the closing act of the mission entitled Victor Charlie, the main character Mason and his squadmate Swift enter a Vietnamese tunnel system.
It's a sequence that'll be familiar to fans of war films, and is very claustrophobic and unnerving. You'll only have a torch to light your way and the echoing voices of your enemies to warn of coming attacks.
Grizzled Russian vet Reznov - of World at War fame - makes a reappearance. Our first sighting of him was in the aforementioned tunnel sequence.
The gravel-voiced soldier very nearly catches a bullet when he startles Mason, but proves his worth later by saving him from a knife-happy aggressor.
Treyarch's team is made up of a pool of developers who previously worked on World at War, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows and Quantum of Solace.
The experience of working on such a diverse trio of games has helped improve their latest shooter. Teams of devs worked on individual elements and strived to make the game as fun as it is intense. As a result, new features such as swimming have been added.
We're only guessing here, but we reckon the development team must have had a few movie nights when they started work on Black Ops.
At its most dramatic, it recalls scenes from Vietnam classics such as Platoon and the Deer Hunter. There are great moments that display an impressive cinematic flair.
How about stealthily blowing up an encampment while crouching in a pen full of pot-bellied pigs.
One mission begins with Mason sprawled on the floor of a downed chopper. As water seeps in and the pilots are efficiently slaughtered by the approaching enemy, he fights back.
But before long, the river claims the wreckage and our hero is forced to swim to safety. He emerges on an enemy canoe, takes a hostage and shoots his way clear.
It's a short sequence that's brilliantly paced and hugely exciting.
Treyarch recognise that truly great shooters have moments of extreme tension as well as extreme action.
In one, Victor Charlie Mason and his pals sneak through an encampment, silencing enemies as they go.
In another particularly brilliant moment, Mason swims beneath a walkway as the bodies of those felled by his mates plunge into the river from above.
One of the strongest elements of the game is its fantastic setting. The lush jungle environments and sprawling encampments are a refreshing change from churning mud of WWII and sandy expanses of Modern Warfare.
The sense of trepidation as you explore such unfamiliar and occasionally imposing places could rank this as one of the year's most tensest shooters.
And The Rest...
So we've got more stealth than before, moments of extreme tension and an impressive and occasionally beautiful setting; what more could you ask for?
Well, how about new weapons, such as a crossbow that's ideal for stealthy scenarios? Or a plot that explores military cover-ups, and standalone co-op missions?
And if all that isn't quite exciting enough for you, you can always shell out for the Prestige edition of the game to get the remote controlled car bomb killstreak.
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