Hands-on: Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified for PS Vita

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Hands-on: Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified for PS Vita

Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified

Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified is real, and we’ve played it. I think the highest compliment I can pay it is to say that, well, it looks and plays like Call of Duty. The running and gunning, the aiming down the sights, the familiar Bank Gothic notices popping up when you land a long-range shot or end an opponent’s killstreak, the weapon loadouts and multiplayer modes — they’re all here, rendered on PS Vita’s luscious OLED screen and playable with dual analog sticks in a mobile setting for the first time.

Activision Product Manager Ryan Scott’s gamescom presentation cut straight to the heart of the matter, starting with the game’s multiplayer offering — a key consideration for any self-respecting CoD title. Multiplayer in Black Ops Declassified supports up to eight players via WiFi across six maps, encompassing essential play modes such as Free for all, Team Deathmatch, and Kill Confirmed, with other “classic Call of Duty modes” promised. Other trademark Call of Duty mechanics such as Create-a-Class, Killstreaks, XP, Perks, and Prestige were all present and accounted for.

Hands-on: Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified for PS Vita

So how is developer Nihilistic adapting Call of Duty to PS Vita? After playing a round on the new “Shatter” map, it’s clear their goals were to change as little as possible. In fact, after inverting the Y-axis, I didn’t bother asking the devs on hand about the controls – everything was where I expected it to be.

Access to the knife, flashbang, and frag grenade that are assigned to L2/R2 or L3/R3 on PS3 are easily accessible on the front touchscreen. To hurl a grenade, you simply drag the grenade icon to the area of the screen where you want to throw it, or hold it to cook the fuse before you lob it. The ability to independently aim your grenade throw while shooting in another direction is a new tactical wrinkle for the series, and one that will surely be leveraged by experienced players. The knife is even quicker to use because you can tap any part of the screen not already assigned to something else to swipe your blade. That’s a highly practical implementation of the touchscreen, as players won’t have to fumble to tap a small icon during a heated CQC encounter, and we found it was quick and responsive.

Call of Duty Black Ops: DeclassifiedCall of Duty Black Ops: Declassified

Those all-important Killstreaks work the way you’d expect. Once you’ve unlocked a killstreak, the icon pops up on the left side of the screen and you can tap to trigger it. The mortar strike killstreak was blessedly simple: tap the icon to open the map, touch the target, and launch a volley of fiery death to annihilate the opposition.

That leaves sprinting, which is executed by pressing down on the directional pad. The left stick and D-pad are placed closely enough on PS Vita that you can place the tip of your thumb on the D-pad while keeping your left thumb on the left stick for quick recovery. The only use of the rear touchscreen we saw was to hold your breath while peering down the sniper’s scope – not something you’re likely to accidentally trigger.

Create-a-Class is fully supported with custom loadouts and Perks Black Ops: Declassified will also leverage PS Vita’s geo-social “near” functionality with Share-a-Class, enabling players to transmit a character class via WiFi using “near,” and will allow your friends access to load-outs they haven’t yet unlocked through regular progression. Prestige levels are also confirmed.

Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified

Visually, the multiplayer map “Shattered” looked sharp, with swirling dust motes, flapping bits of cloth, crumbled architecture, and a steady framerate.

Single-player content wasn’t shown, though Activision confirmed that it will consist of objective-based missions, along with survival and time trial missions, to keep the experience tuned for mobile play. They’ll be wrapped within an original story taking place between Call of Duty: Black Ops and the forthcoming Black Ops 2. Want to know what happened to Hudson, Mason, and Woods before this fall’s Black Ops 2? You know what to do.

Based on what we saw and played, Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified looks and feels much as you’d expect it to – only now it can take the experience with you on PS Vita. For CoD fans, that’s right on target.

Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified arrives this November. Are there any specifics you’d like to know? We’ll be speaking with developer Nihilistic soon, and will do our best to get your questions answered. Leave ‘em in the comments below!

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8 Author Replies

  • “I hope we can ask the developers about it (Killzone) because I have questions about it*”… never finished my thought. xP

  • i really hope that nihilistic has learn there mistakes from BS nd make these a good cod game, any news about zombies or co-op type game??

  • Give me zombies and it’s a day one purchase, no zombies and im not interested. Also it would be great if we could have an alternative to sprinting with the d-pad. Never liked that in Resistance burning skies. I didn’t really like the double tap the rear pad either. Either way it needs to have zombies or I have zero interest. I would buy a zombies only game in an instant.

  • Hi there Jeff, just a couple of questions to you:

    1. Would Black Ops Declassified eventually run at 60fps??
    [The reason why i have enjoyed every single COD MP on the PS3 is that it runs at 60fps and 60fps offers minimal control latency and a high degree of accuracy and precision when it comes to aiming down the sight and killing targets]

    2. We have L3 to run in the console COD, with Vita not having a click-able dual sticks how would running be implemented? One among the many strengths of COD is the sheer run and gun gameplay that never gets old and having to touch the screen every single second to run can be jarring.

    Note: I have been holding back from owning the Vita since i am waiting for Call of Duty. But hearing from the comments that it runs at 30fps is my biggest letdown, i am cool with the visuals, but its the fast paced super smooth/responsive gameplay thanks to 60fps that makes me feel drawn into the COD franchise. If the final product doesn’t run at 60fps then i might not be motivated to get it.

  • Watched the video again. Still looks like a PSP game that they’ll try to weasel a $50 price tag on.

    @MrSoloLobo: It’s not just Resistance BS (perfect abbreviation of the title indeed), but EVERY game they’ve ever made was complete trash. They are just not good developers.

  • @Sevyne All I’m saying is people shouldn’t be so quick to call this game bad. Look at TellTale, Jurassic Park was terrible but the Walking Dead is fantastic.

  • @MrSoloLobo: Yes, but TellTale have a pretty good track record for making good games. They had ONE bad game so far. Every developer will have a bad game or two. Nihilistic has had nothing but bad games since they were formed and they’ve been around for over a decade.

  • Looks about a generation behind Killzone: Mercenary.

    Hoping it plays better than it looks :/

  • i agree resistance wasn’t the best FPS … but give them credit … it was a good game overall for a first FPS for the ps vita but honestly …. this game looks pretty washed out …
    killzone makes this game look ummm like a psp title …sorry :/

    i defend your resistance game but this … idk guys .. what were you thinking ?!?

    jeff i understand your trying to help out by trying to give people some answers to the many questions … but your only adding fuel to the fire when you give people this “umm ill let them know your questions and ill get back to you”

    your better off not even responding at all haha

    i will NOT purchase this game cause i just don’t give a flying poo poo for Cod games and yeah … it does NOT compare to killzone END OF STORY :)

  • survival……is that zombies?

  • Correction I’m getting my years screwed up. They’ve been around for about half of a decade.

  • Wait no..I was right the first time. Sorry for double posts.

  • try to make us pay 50 bucks for this bad graphic with no zombies r u serious wow

  • In this article it sounds like the control scheme will be just like resistance burning skies, it was an ok game…
    But if call of duty black ops declassified has zombies, I will purchase it ^_^ I mean if iOS devices can handle it so can the psvita

  • Was looking forward to this game very much,but I feel like they didnt go “ALL OUT”. Sony KNOWS the Vita isnt doing as good as they had hoped,but why cut it short on the game that they will know will move units,Black Ops Declassified IS the Game breaker. 60 fps,Zombies..make this the game people want. Why not go all out on this game,Resistance was BS,and everyone knows it. COME ON SONY,show mad love to the vita owners…dont half @$$ us :/

  • wii\ll there be zomibes? or will you alos be able to sync with black ops ? just asking! need to know also any word on a vita bundle? limited edtion? just asking ok also will there be a book for the game just asking ok! thanks!

  • @nick: my wifi works flawless anywhere i use it weather in my house or outside and im getting better than 12mbps down soit also running on wireless N which i know runs even faster, those stated speeds are from my network.

    im getting this when it releases. i also have and enjoy Resistance Burning Skies which turned out to be my first Platinum :) lol

    i hope vita gets a bigger memory card, id love a 64 or 128gb card or im a have to start buying hardcopies because im full @29gb’s already on my 3G version.

  • hey godofwar, with the OLED screen even@30fps the latency is different because of the speed of the newer tech sceen. if that helps. stop playing and go get a vita.

  • I have a question related more to the development side of things. Historically, Nihilistic has not been the best when it comes to delivering the same high quality cinematic, engaging, and engrossing experiences of the other developers for the PlayStation house. Their highest meta critic score just barely scratches 7.0/10.0 when one rounds up. With that said, why was development for the game given to them and does Declassified live up to the standard set by the console Call of Duty games?

    I ask only because I’ve been disappointed by every other game Nihilistic has made, and I’m going to need more proof than a PR pitch that this game is worth my money.

  • theres alot of a§§¥oles and trolls here… the sory in Resistance Burning Skies made scense to me and played well. didnt Look bad. i think people expecting holograms or something from vita. calm the #%$! down people, you dont like it go buy something else wtf!

  • will there be multiplayer map nuketown???=D

  • its a portable, not a home console, this is what people seem to forget Passing judgement before they see it with their own eyes inhand. they kill me.

  • ok Jeff Rubenstein the one thing we also want is clans ans clan tag so us and I friend can stick togeter

  • Hope this doesn’t suck like Burning Skies, not much hope though. Looks like a cash in for Activision, pitty, it could of been special.

  • Will this game have clans If it do im buying it I will pre-order it right now but I want no if it will have clans

  • @70
    Have you seen Uncharted GA,Ultimate Marvel vs.Capcom 3,or few screens of Most Wanted 2 that floating around the net?they look exactly like they home console counterparts,just because its portable doesn’t mean its should look like crap.

  • Here are the 5 biggest problems with this game.

    1. Graphics are terrible
    2. 4v4
    3. Only 6 multiplayer maps
    4. No Zombies
    5. 30fps

    I could overlook the frame rate and graphics but I will never pay $50 for only 4v4 on 6 little maps. The most I would pay for this game is $15. Seriously this game is getting killed all over the Internet.

  • hello jeff quick question does the 4v4 over wifi mean actuall ps network or the silly way of having to have the players on the same wifi as if its same players on one wifi 1 my connection is slow and 2 i dont know 1 person with wifi lol and another question is the game currently in alpha stages as the graphics quality at the moment is terrible it looks like burning skies, if its alpha stages understandable but if its not i hope it gets improved as look at assasins creed liberation and uncharted golden abyss, not going to ass killzone merc just yet as havent seen enough footage the moment but we all know that will look better lol

  • @ polo… if that’s the case then why is killzone looking basically like a ps3 game … why is uncharted looking better then uncharted one and almost as good as uncharted 2 ?? it can do just as much as the ps3 if not maybe even more …

    at everyyone else … please stop asking about if there will be zombies or not … if you want zombies .. go play dead nation or the RE series … it’s almost sad that zombies will make or brake this game for some of you …

    it’s a war game … a crappy one as best ha

  • @ 74 …. i’m in total agreement with you.

  • edit meant to say 1 person with vita not wifi

  • Ok, that’s all good and all Jeff, but this still doesn’t change the fact that it’s being developed by
    Nihilistic with all that it means.
    Check Assassin’s Creed III liberation for Vita, or maybe even Fifa 13, or who knows, Need for speed Most wanted?
    All of them share their big brother’s engine, and while Fifa and NFS are the same game on both
    plataforms, ACIII L is not.
    Well, that means that all of the 3 had the capability to be made using if not fully, a great deal of improvements
    from their original engines. And AC is totally different, a new game built from the ground up and still, it’s a high quality game, you barely can see a flaw on those videos, be it graphic or physics wise, they actually spent
    their time doing the game, coding, etc.
    On COD BO Declassified, well, what have you guys done? You are using the same engine ( clearly ) from
    Resistence Burning Skies! ( You don’t need to be a tech guy to see the same textures, palettes, etc. )
    It’s simple, stop development, put the release for next year, get a real engine from activision and make a good game, because releasing that is only bad propaganda.

  • If I were Sony I would make activision send some programmers down to Nihilistic and help them smooth this game out. It’s defiently getting slammed on the internet and most people will not by it now without in-depth previews and a pre-release review of the game prior to its release to retailers.

    I believe this game could of been a system seller. As it stands knowing that Nihilistic is in charge of this has completly killed the game for most people.

    R:BS had a lot of problems, boring story and framerate problems in multiplayer. And it only had 8 player multi just like COD will have! It also has problems with joining into a game. Huge balance issues with the mule.

    This has caused me to trade this game into gamestop toward Borderlads 2 and I’m happy I got $20 bucks for it.

    I will not buy this game in it’s current state. Oh and F.Y.I.- The game has been shown behind closed doors to major gaming sites and they are all under the same opinion…as it stands…”CRAP”.

  • @polo155: I will be buying something else. It’s called Killzone Mercenary. That game PROVES that every excuse you are making for this game is completely wrong. Hell, most already released Vita games prove you wrong. Nihilistic is a crappy no talent developer that Activision could probably pay on the cheap for a quick cash-in title.

  • Is this going to include some dumb mechanic based around the touch screens? Also, can we have some weight on the guns with this one so it doesn’t feel like I’m firing a cap gun? You’d swear most of the FPS devs out there had never fired a gun before in their lives.

  • no zombies??????? :/

  • I’ve never played cod before and I’m wondering if this game will turn me on for the rest of the cod games?

  • People its a handheld calm down and stop hatin wait to try the game and if u dont like it then hate all u want in my opinion this looks frikin fun.

    jeff I was wondering will the G11 be in this game that was my favorite gun in black ops.

  • Jeff, I don’t understand how this is $50 when they’re using the same tech from Resistance BS. The development time isn’t there for them to be charging $50.

    In fact, there’s really nothing there that justifies $50. So far the only game that’s $50 was Uncharted GA and I would never have paid full price for that either because it holds no lasting appeal to justify the price.

    4v4 is supposed to hold players over? It’s not even at 30fps which will make it look choppy. On top of that, there’s no signature zombies mode.

    People have pointed out about the Xperia Play $5 zombie game.

    What I’m trying to say here is, delay this game as much as you guys need to. I, along with many, many others, won’t be buying this half finished product. If Sony and Activision take this game under your wing and provide us with what any normal COD player would ask for, you will get all the sales you deserve instead of the low, nonexistent sales I forsee.

  • Hmm no 60 FPS and the CoD developers aren’t even making the game…yeah count me OUT!

  • Let me see if I’ve got this right. Mini mission single player, only 6 multiplayer maps with a maximum of 4vs4, 30fps, PSP level graphics, no Zombies, made by the train wreck of a company that made Resistance…and it’s $49.99?!?!?!? LMAO! Sony, are you mad at Vita owners or something?

  • this is really hilarious.
    i bought burning skies me and couple vita friends played it for a while we reached level 20 and stopped
    they ended up selling the game. i still have mine which i dont play anymore. and no one wants to buy it. although its the easiest plat trophy i never earned.

    anyway my point is i wont be buying this due to lot of things but im sure those RBS devs will eventually improve the game or kiss their jobs good bye.

  • Please answer honestly,is the graphics really that good?

  • Sadden to see this went to this dev. I was expecting more out of a Call of Duty title. Let’s see what they can do with it. While Resistance was good, they have a long way to go before really making the vita shine. On the other hand, Killzone looks fantastic, can’t wait for it.

  • This game looks like trash. Just like Resistance:BS. Hopefully, Nihilistic closes down after this game so that we don’t have to deal with their laziness and incompetency anymore.

  • The game looks like a PSP game. Graphics really bad!

  • MrRubenstein, could you be kind enough To post a 3 mins gameplay video, just to show how the game feels like.
    the trailer was way to short and badly edited. I find it very hard that people criticize a game based on 1 trailer.
    And for the record, resistanceBS was a good launch game. Nihilistic has done a good job considering it was their first game on vita. It really felt like a proper fps on the go. I am confident they have learned a great deal with resistanceBS and Blackops will benefit from it.

  • I hope you can sprint in this game and dive still. and i hope they got zombies.

  • i got a really good question , will it have zombies ? its black Ops , bo isnt bo with out zombies , think about it , if it Has zombies it would be a must buy if it does , any one else agree?

  • Nihilistic has NEVER made a good game. Pass on this.

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