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(Call of Duty: Black Ops — Mac Edition has been selected as one of MacLife's 25 Best Mac Games Today!)
Sometimes, it feels like it’s hard to say anything new about the Call of Duty franchise. Foreign extremist group threatens the world, the hero shoots scads of terrorists in the face — you know the drill. But Black Ops manages something unique. New additions to online multiplayer offer an incentive to keep returning to the well, the zombie-blasting mode returns in a big way, and the entire affair is wrapped in one of the craziest, most exciting narratives in the series.
Taking down a chopper with a harpoon? Sure, makes total sense!
We haven’t seen a series release on the Mac since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and Black Ops debuts two years after its bow elsewhere (and alongside its sequel on other platforms). But the story of Alex Mason, a secret operative during the Cold War of the ’60s, is so jarringly removed from the usual military first-person shooter that it proves worth the wait. Mason finds himself locked in an interrogation room, forced to relive his wartime exploits through a series of vignettes. As the campaign moves forward, the tale gets weirder, tying in revisionist history that’s sometimes uncomfortably intense; the inclusion of real-life world leaders is particularly bizarre.
But even with the draw of the campaign story, Black Ops is a Call of Duty title, and so the multiplayer is where the game really pulls its weight. You’ll find the usual assortment of expected (but great) modes like Deathmatch and Search and Destroy, but the addition of “COD Points” offers a new spin. The in-game currency is earned via regular play, and upgrades to weapons and loadouts require spending. As such, Black Ops ends up being the most customizable entry yet.
The Mac edition of Black Ops includes four bonus maps and the Ascension zombie-slaying mode, as originally included in the First Strike add-on. The Rezurrection Pack add-on is also available for $14.99, and is highly recommended for its insane zombies-on-the-moon scenario alone. Sadly, I was unable to connect with anyone for online zombie-mode play, but that’s one black mark on a game that otherwise hits a constant stream of high notes.
Nothing wrong with shooting someone in the back. Not at all.
The bottom line. If you like your military shooters with a bit of a crazy twist, Call of Duty: Black Ops has a story that’ll stick with you long after you’ve killed every zombie on the moon.
Call of Duty: Black Ops — Mac Edition
OS X 10.7.4 or later, 2.4GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 512MB VRAM
Crazy, over-the-top campaign. Extensive multiplayer modes. Awesome zombies co-op.
Short campaign mode. Occasionally dumb enemy actions.