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Call of Duty: Black Ops: All you need to know

Get prepped for combat

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Well, sort of. Every curled eyebrow, creased crow's foot and sneer bringing the character to life in a way that COD hasn't really seen before.

"When I knew we could do this tech, one of the scenes we story-boarded was just a shot of a character called Woods." Explains Anthony. "You can see the raw emotion on his face, of what he's going through."

The level of detail not only makes your friends feel more real, but also the enemy. During the Vietnam mission Victor Charlie, as Mason and Woods sneak though Viet Cong bases, hardly a moment goes by without someone's throat being slit.

The huge ragged hole you carve out of their necks is bad enough; watching the agonised face of your victim is even worse. Even at a distance enemies behave believably thanks to the mo-capped moves of an ex-Spetsnaz soldier.

Just pointing a gun at an enemy will cause a reaction. Not only will soldiers try to avoid getting in your line of fire but they'll even flinch from near misses or dive out of the way.


Lead animator Jimmy Zielinski points out this is more than just a cosmetic touch, "It makes for challenging and new enemy type," he explains.

"Because this guy is going to roll but I don't know which way he's going to move and then he's going to come up shooting."

It's a level of detail that Black Ops is going to need. As well as the larger levels and better looks, the story which spans the Cold War, Vietnam and more, feels deeper and more complex than the series' usual set-piece linking plots.

There's talk of Nova 6, some sort of weaponised gas and an implication that one of the main characters, Mason, may have gone rogue.

Echoey pre-level teasers imply he's being questioned about his past actions. And not in a nice way. It also plays off the period setting brilliantly. Set during the 60s and 70s it riffs off Cold War cinema and political tension in a globe-hopping trip that covers most hot zones from Vietnam to China and Russia.

It's certainly not wasting the acting talents of Gary Oldman, returning as Russian bad-ass Reznov, or Ed Harris who plays an American soldier called Hudson.

The two come together in a mission set in Kowloon, China as they interrogate a scientist by putting pieces of broken glass in his mouth and punching him.

It's gruesome enough in 2D but this is one of the levels Treyarch have chosen to show off COD's 3D chops. The 3D is deep and solid making things like guns particularly impressive.

They have a solidity and depth of field that makes it hard to go back to regular HD once you slip the glasses off.

Pull a weapon into precision aim and you'll be forgiven for flinching as it flies up at your face. If you're lucky enough to own one of the first 3D TVs, this is the game to show it off.

It all sounds impressive enough but bare in mind that so far we've just been talking about the single-player. There's also a huge online component to consider.


Like the return of Zombies. The few glimpses and scant information suggests the mode's been expanded, with the undead apparently overrunning a laboratory complex where they have been experimented on.

Other rumours still persist that we'll see Area 51. Given that Black Ops is set in the 70s when US paranoia was high, at least one zombie stage may be set in the secret Nevada base.

The regular multi-player has seen huge improvements too, with deeper customisation and some genuinely interesting game modes to break up the usual Search and Destroy or Deathmatches.

You can find out more about that below. However, from what we've seen this looks like the biggest, most ambitious Call Of Duty so far. And if it can deliver on all its lofty promises? It's going to be the best.

Black Ops looks like a great balance of new ideas, refinements and classic COD gameplay.

It's an impressive mix; shaking up the series enough to invigorate the familiar run and gun template while keeping the explosive trimmings that ultimately make the series great.

Plus it's bigger, more detailed and set in an vibrant period of iconic political turmoil and conflict that, while not quite modern combat, benefits from recognisable guns, weapons and vehicles still in use today.

Order PSM3 here and have it delivered straight to your door.

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