Generally favorable reviews - based on 89 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 83 out of 89
  2. Negative: 0 out of 89
Buy On
  1. Dec 16, 2010
    Treyarch's game is exhilarating and beautifully orchestrated, but it feels like a full-stop, it needs to be a full-stop, because toward the end of the campaign, bombardment fatigue begins to set in.
  2. Dec 16, 2010
    There are few video games released this year that you simply cannot miss, Call of Duty: Black Ops is one of them.
  3. Dec 10, 2010
    Congrats Treyarch, you passed the test. Black Ops still has some technical flaws (some erratic scripts), but it doesn't lack ambition, variety, nor freshness. Its solo campaign boasts a good scenario, and its multiplayer is as comprehensive and solid as ever, while changing some basic systems for the better and introducing soon-to-be-cult new modes, as well as community features one could only find in the latest Halo iterations before. There may be ways to improve it yet again, but the 2010 CoD delivers on its promise - we can't say anymore that Treyarch's Call of Dutys don't measure up.
  4. Dec 10, 2010
    I admit I had my doubts about Black Ops. It seemed that Modern Warfare 2 was going to be impossible to top, but Treyarch has come in and trounced that game in every possible way.
  5. Dec 10, 2010
    The good news is that the game is absolutely worth the investment, and even if you find yourself disagreeing with some of the changes Treyarch instituted or you run into a bunch of morons who are hell bent on ruining a particular mode for you, you have plenty of other options to keep you engaged for a good long time.
  6. Dec 10, 2010
    While maintaining the quality standard set by its predecessors, this explosive adventure through the conflicts of the Cold War pushes the series and the genre one step further.
  7. Dec 10, 2010
    Treyarch didn't reinvent the wheel with Black Ops. Instead of fixing what wasn't broken, the oft-maligned developer gave it a needed polishing and sent it on its way. With everything that this game has to offer, both on and offline, it will be a resident of console drives for a long time to come.
  8. Dec 16, 2010
    There is so much content packed into this game that I couldn't even fit all of it into my review. However, even the multiplayer alone is enough to warrant this rating.
  9. Jan 11, 2011
    Treyarch finally comes out of Infinity Ward's shadow, producing the best CoD to date. An epic and intense game, with a very good story and and many ways to enjoy it other than the single player campaign.
  10. Dec 10, 2010
    Conclusion is Treyarch had very large shoes to fill, and let me tell you they passed with flying colors, erasing any doubt that I ever had about them making the next Call of Duty titles for years to come.
  11. Jan 12, 2011
    Maybe gamers doubted if this Black Ops was going to be on par with the games made by Infinity War, but it even surpasses them in some aspects.
  12. Official Xbox Magazine
    Dec 10, 2010
    Quotation forthcoming.
  13. Jan 8, 2011
    Call of Duty: Black Ops is a great game with a stunning, quite long, thrilling campaign and a well devised multiplayer with a few good stuff like the wager matches and the ingame currency that let you customize your character.
  14. Games Master UK
    Dec 29, 2010
    It's gaming popcorn and gaming porn rolled into one oh-so-decadent whole. [Jan 2011, p.69]
  15. Jan 12, 2011
    After years following in Infinity Ward's footsteps, Treyarch has a chance to show its qualities, and it delivers. Black Ops has everything the community is looking for: a compelling, spectacular and interesting story mode and an impressive multiplayer will keep the players busy for a long time. Add a beautiful design and a great direction in the mix, and what you get is simply a masterpiece in the first person shooter genre.
  16. 93
    A thrilling and brutal single-player campaign that's one of the series' best. But will you be blown away by multiplayer the fourth time around?
  17. Dec 10, 2010
    The total amount of worthwhile content makes paying full price for most other games feel like a crime. Treyarch has closed the gap between its games and the Modern Warfare franchise with boundless customization, a keen sense of what makes the formula a success, and listening to fans. You won't regret answering the call once again.
  18. Dec 10, 2010
    Black Ops is simply a terrific game and a solid addition to the Call of Duty franchise.
  19. Jan 12, 2011
    Black Ops is one of the best first person shooters this year, and is a obviously must have for any action fan. Intense, gory and quite brilliant, maybe it's not refreshing but at the same time its a stunning game.
  20. Dec 16, 2010
    Black Ops' minor flaws won't deter you from its gripping storyline and gratifying multiplayer modes.
  21. Dec 10, 2010
    It's easy to say that this is Treyarch's best game...when it's not just trying to imitate Infinity Ward.
  22. Dec 10, 2010
    Whatever your gameplay preference is, Call of Duty: Black Ops has you covered and is a must-have title for any shooter fan.
  23. Jan 16, 2011
    There are more highlights in the first two missions of Black Ops, then in Medal of Honor. The requirements of Treyarch seemed to be better, than in the past few years. They made an interesting setting. In addition, there's a nice zombie mode and an overwhelming multiplayer. No doubt, this is Treyarchs best Call of Duty ever!
  24. Jan 12, 2011
    All in all, you simply cannot find a better package out right now.
  25. Jan 12, 2011
    Thanks to an intense storytelling, a thrilling plot, and a redefined multiplayer, Black Ops is the best Call of Duty developed by TreyArch studio, and one of the most interesting chapter ever. Year after year, this great series keeps on arousing a huge amount of videoplayers.
  26. Jan 12, 2011
    Call of Duty: Black Ops is a great game, despite not being as perfect as we could believe. The single player campaign presents some narrative solutions that make it boring sometimes , but on the other hand everything on the multiplayer side is pure gold! The new modes can provide a lot of fun and if you liked the previous CoD for the online, Black Ops will be your next divinity to adore.
  27. Jan 12, 2011
    Treyarch honors the Infinity Ward heritage in the best possible way with exiting single player and outstanding multiplayer. A must-have for all action fans out there.
  28. Jan 12, 2011
    Black Ops is quite a pleasant surprise: On the one hand former second class developer Treyarch reaches the Infinity Ward's standard of gameplay quality and inventiveness for the first time. On the other hand Treyarch manages to set a course of their own through the unusual story and a ton of tributes to other masterpieces of action, be it movie or game. Plus Activision conceded the time and resources to Treyarch to aspire a really great game. And that's something you'll notice immediately. You'll recognize the passion and the effort that went into making this new episode. Black Ops delivers Call of Duty gaming at its best as well as a distinctly individual approach to the whole scenario. Infinity Ward will have to put their shoulders to the wheel to outplay Black Ops with the next CoD.
  29. Jan 12, 2011
    Treyarch bangs their fist on the table with Black Ops, clearly one of the best shooters published this year.
  30. Jan 11, 2011
    This is Treyarchs Masterpiece! It may not blow you away like Modern Warfare did back at its time, but it shure as hell is an intense shooter-experience with a multiplayer-part, that will keep you busy for months!
  31. Jan 11, 2011
    Treyarch archieves with Black Ops the best single player campaign in a recent Call of Duty; spectacular, memorable, well driven and with a very solid script, and wraps it with some other extras that denote special care to the solo-player. The multiplayer shines as usual, adding few new modes that blend in very well in a mode that will make the game last exciting moths. On the other hand, AI flaws, respawn patterns and the engine performance are COD's endemic sickness that need to be seriously reconsidered in the short therm or they could pull the franchise down.
  32. games(TM)
    Jan 11, 2011
    We can only hope that the team at Infinity Ward has the humility to learn from and implement the features Treyarch has introduced here when it comes to the next Call Of Duty, particularly with regards to multiplayer. [Christmas 2010, p.84]
  33. Jan 5, 2011
    There's little to complain about here. The singleplayer, multiplayer and zombie-mode ensure you won't be able to put down your controller for a long time to come. Black Ops isn't just a great game, it's a great Call of Duty. A bigger compliment can't be given to Treyarch.
  34. Dec 16, 2010
    With solid single player and multiplayer components, Call of Duty: Black Ops is easily the best game that Treyarch has ever produced.
  35. Dec 16, 2010
    As if you ever doubted it, Call of Duty is still the best military shooter out there and by quite some margin. It seems its competitors can only watch from a distance and take notes as this juggernaut of FPS gaming ploughs a wide path towards the genre's future.
  36. Dec 16, 2010
    I've considered myself a Call of Duty fan for many years, and I've held a deep-seated distrust of Treyarch since Call of Duty 3. No longer.
  37. Dec 16, 2010
    The best Call Of Duty Treayarch has ever made, with several set pieces that are amongst gaming's very best. The multiplayer is usefully enhanced too.
  38. Dec 16, 2010
    What we have here is a refined and extremely confident product from a studio that has found its feet in the FPS world.
  39. Dec 16, 2010
    With the hype and excitement surrounding Treyarch's first Call of Duty where they aren't bound by a World War II setting, it's a shame that they went for more of the same MW2. This isn't say it's poor but personally I feel they've missed an opportunity to really stamp their authority with Black Ops. Still, as a complete package with a great story, strong FPS action and a killer multiplayer mode, Black Ops remains unmissable.
  40. Dec 16, 2010
    Call of Duty: Black Ops bears the series' standard superbly, delivering an engrossing campaign and exciting competitive multiplayer.
  41. Dec 16, 2010
    Although it's certainly got Infinity Ward's fingerprints all over it, Black Ops is definitely Treyarch's baby. As a fan of the franchise, I'm happy to see that the future of the series is in good hands, and it'll (hopefully) be nice to see the folks at Treyarch finally get some respect from hardcore gamers.
  42. 90
    When all is said and done, this is the 'proper' Call of Duty fans have been waiting for. [Issue#67, p.84]
  43. Dec 10, 2010
    I'd put it ahead of World at War but behind Modern Warfare 1 & 2, to talk recent history.
  44. Dec 10, 2010
    All-in-all the game is good but it could have been better.
  45. Dec 10, 2010
    Although Call of Duty: Black Ops may have a lot familiar to fans of the series, Treyarch has pushed a lot of the right buttons and has made the best Call of Duty game to date.
  46. Game Informer
    Dec 10, 2010
    "Quotation Forthcoming"
  47. Dec 10, 2010
    Treyarch have done a fine job with Black Ops. Not only does the game retain its Call of Duty aesthetic appeal, and pushes all of the series strengths seemingly as far as they can go, but now other aspects of the game are also to this high standard.
  48. Dec 16, 2010
    If you're buying for the single-player, you'll be satisfied. If you're buying for the multiplayer, you'll be happy. If you're buying for both, you'll be moreso.
  49. Gaming Target
    Dec 10, 2010
    If you're new to the Call of Duty series, you're in for a real treat with the single player, and the multiplayer will welcome you with open arms. If you used to like the series and have either gotten fatigued with the template or turned off by the last entry, this game deserves at least a rental, but I'd recommend a purchase. If you simply love the franchise, period, you've probably already prestiged once or twice already devoting countless hours to the online portions.
  50. 88
    The weak and twitchy single-player - with many of the same old flaws - almost undermines all of the superb extra features and pretty much flawless multiplayer offering. Veterans and regular players still have the advantage over newcomers, but with Combat Training and the Zombie mode, there is plenty of fun to be had for even the most inexperienced players. Black Ops isn't perfect, but it's certainly getting there.
  51. Jan 2, 2011
    A worthy addition to the franchise, despite its few kinks. The multiplayer is where the game shines the most, delivering an outstanding replay value.
  52. Dec 16, 2010
    With a decent, if predictable, story, and an incredible amount of online customization, Black Ops is a can't miss shooter that fires on almost all cylinders.
  53. Dec 10, 2010
    In the vast library of modern-day first-person shooter this is one of those games you must own.
  54. 88
    While the single-player is laughably transparent and Sam Worthington makes me want to punch a kangaroo; Black Ops still offers one of the generation's very best online modes, vastly improved from previous ventures – we've got a new juggernaut, kids.
  55. Dec 17, 2010
    The singleplayer is fun and narrated in thrilling manner, but it's simply too short. The online multiplayer is great and features a pretty big variety, so this is a recommendation to everyone who does not mind playing online.
  56. Dec 16, 2010
    Black Ops is a solid addition to the Call of Duty franchise that really puts Treyarch on the map. You won't get anything original out of it, but if you liked what came before, then you will have a blast.
  57. Dec 16, 2010
    It is a solid, well presented title with a hell of a lot going for it.
  58. Jan 4, 2011
    Black Ops is another addition to the Call of Duty franchise but shows the same flaws as its predecessor. The multiplayer has improved, but a franchise of this stature should know how to get rid of the mistakes from the past.
  59. Dec 10, 2010
    Single-player is as exhaustingly fast-paced as ever with large set pieces that try to take the attention off of the lackluster AI of both friends and enemies. That withstanding, the story is the best I've ever seen from a Call of Duty game.
  60. Dec 10, 2010
    Call of Duty: Black Ops is not the most original game on the market but what it offers is a fun package filled to the brim with content.
  61. Gamer's Hell
    Dec 10, 2010
    Though it sold millions of copies on release, and it's an entertaining, entirely competent game, Call of Duty: Black Ops would benefit from a little more ambition and outside-the-killing box thinking.
  62. Dec 10, 2010
    But compared to the last couple Call of Duty games, Black Ops doesn't really do anything to set it apart. It is still a great game that shooter fans will love without question – just don't expect it to change your perspective on the long-running series.
  63. Dec 10, 2010
    Overall, Call of Duty Black Ops is a game that will keep you busy for quite a while.
  64. Dec 10, 2010
    Black Ops is another game that shows why the Call of Duty franchise continues its stranglehold over the shooter genre.
  65. Jan 10, 2011
    The captivating story earns our most distinguished kudos, with the multiplayer offering coming second. Sadly, the number of technical bugs and A.I inconsistencies are well present and cannot be overlooked in our final evaluation.
  66. Dec 10, 2010
    Treyarch did a good job following up Modern Warfare 2 with their own take in the series.
  67. Dec 10, 2010
    Treyarch really brought their "A" game here with Call of Duty: Black Ops.
  68. Jan 5, 2011
    Is "Black Ops" a game of the year? No, but it's still a very good game. Highly Recommended.
  69. Jan 5, 2011
    Treyarchs return to the CoD franchise is not likely to disappoint, especially if you're a fan of the well known CoD-multiplayer. It's an excellent online game with lots of customizations. However, the campaign could have been a lot better.
  70. Dec 16, 2010
    Do you want to play more Call of Duty? I'm guessing the answer is yes, and by all means, Black Ops is worth playing. But for all its ambitious steps to set itself apart from the previous games, it flounders in a few too many of those areas to be a total success.
  71. Dec 16, 2010
    Black Ops is a terrific action game with a solid story and a deep, rewarding multiplayer mode.
  72. Dec 16, 2010
    Treyarch deliver a solid story-driven campaign, addictive zombie madness and a wealth of new multiplayer content in the one outstanding package, making Call of Duty: Black Ops a contender for first-person shooter of the year.
  73. Dec 14, 2010
    Like the Modern Warfare titles before it, Black Ops is an action packed and shocked induced gaming experience thanks to high presentation values.
  74. Dec 10, 2010
    The campaign is relentlessly aggressive and spectacular – a Jerry Bruckheimer tribute act stuck in permanent encore – while the multiplayer modes are a mixture of smart tweaks to working formulas, as focused on protecting that guaranteed bottom line as the campaign's yellow objective cursor is on making sure you never falter.
  75. Dec 10, 2010
    Black Ops does well, mostly due to the sheer amount of exciting and fun multiplayer content, but I've got some serious concerns over where Call of Duty is headed.
  76. Dec 10, 2010
    Ultimately, there is little doubt that Black Ops will sate the hunger of those simply wanting more Call of Duty, but beyond that it seem unlikely that it will broaden the palettes of gamers or indeed the genre; and for such a big budget, high profile release, we can't help but feel a little disappointed with that.
  77. Dec 10, 2010
    Black Ops is a competent shooter that comes packed with compelling multiplayer modes and additional content.
  78. Dec 10, 2010
    It is a by the books sequel that does a job but doesn't really break any new ground.
  79. Dec 10, 2010
    Black Ops reveals a franchise travelling in two directions at once, simultaneously more relevant than ever and among the most redundant of shooters.
  80. Dec 10, 2010
    It's still not MW2, but it's a good try.
  81. Dec 16, 2010
    Everyone's much more accountable in multiplayer, which this time has evolved to include a currency system that smartly lets you unlock and customize your loadout specifically to echo the preferences honed in last year's Modern Warfare 2.
  82. Dec 16, 2010
    I'll be playing the multiplayer for months to come, and I'm sure quite a few folks will as well. I'm a little burned out on the single player experience though, and while I feel like it's a decent enough romp for a FPS title, the storyline did little to grab my attention, and the whole Call of Duty formula is starting to feel a little tired at this point.
  83. Dec 16, 2010
    This year's iteration is one step forward, three steps back, and an awkward shuffle to the side, but there is still a great deal of familiar content included in Call of Duty: Black Ops that should satiate trigger-happy fans.
  84. Xbox World 360 Magazine UK
    Jan 30, 2011
    A short campaign which is never spectacular and never very clever, but always solid enough. [Feb 2011, p.99]
  85. Jan 18, 2011
    By dint of obstinacy, Treyarch delivers probably its best with Black Ops Call of Duty to date - but probably not the best in the saga.
  86. Jan 11, 2011
    Call of Duty: Black Ops has a solid and fun multiplayer, and the best story in a Call of Duty-game yet. Despite this, it has got issues with arbitrary and unnecessary design. It isn´t as tight as its predecessor, and unless you are either not a fan of singleplayer story, og just plain tired of the multiplayer in Modern Warfare 2, the latter is still the better game.
  87. Edge Magazine
    Dec 23, 2010
    It feels more like a yearly update than a sequel, a new campaign with old multiplayer. The game isn't distinct from its predecessors in any important way, and fatigue sets in quicker than before. [Jan 2011, p.94]
  88. X-ONE Magazine UK
    Dec 23, 2010
    When it's good, Black Ops shows the world that Treyarch is far more than just the B-team. [Issue#66, p.70]
  89. Dec 16, 2010
    There are games that deserve to be relegated to the bargain bin, or played when there's simply nothing else on the shelf. This is one of them. It's not broken, it's just bad.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 1547 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Nov 10, 2010
    Meh. Stuck on Rebirth Island in a loop. Standing behind the Russki he says I've been spotted and he just stands there and I'm looking aroundMeh. Stuck on Rebirth Island in a loop. Standing behind the Russki he says I've been spotted and he just stands there and I'm looking around trying to see who spotted me, and trying to figure where all of the bullets are coming from.

    If I don't hit the marks that the developers say I should I die. I REALLY hate having to play a level over and over, and over, and over, from the start because I didn't jump fast enough, or read the BS directions about hitting X to deploy the parachute. BO is more frustrating than fun. Once I complete it I won't be replaying the campaign, and since I don't have Gold Live multi player is out. If the Zombies game sucks I'll be selling it back to Gamestop.
    Full Review »
  2. Nov 9, 2010
    This is by far the most complete and deep gaming experience in history. The balance in the multi-player maps and weapons will be imitated andThis is by far the most complete and deep gaming experience in history. The balance in the multi-player maps and weapons will be imitated and praised for years to come. This is the BEST game ever. Full Review »
  3. Mar 26, 2011
    I'm a little disappointed that the Call of Duty franchise has hit a point in the series' history where any subpar developer can slap the wordsI'm a little disappointed that the Call of Duty franchise has hit a point in the series' history where any subpar developer can slap the words "Call of Duty" on the front cover and it will become the most successful selling game of all time. Yes, Black Ops is still an excellent game, but I'm giving it a 6 because the game had a ridiculous amount of hype and yet, it delivered absolutely nothing new or inspiring to the table. As another user critic said, the game is doing nothing except receive a piggy back ride from Modern Warfare 2. If Black Ops and Modern Warfare 2 switched release dates, MW2 would be the best selling game of all time. You could not tell the difference between which game was released first. The only reason that Black Ops is as successful as it is, is because of one reason: it is more new. I am not exaggerating this when I say it. It is not superior in any way, but rather actually a degrade in many aspects. To start, the graphics are literally the exact same. And in some cases, it somehow manages to be worse. I have absolutely no idea how, and I still have don't have an answer to this day, other than the engine is worse the MW2's. On the topic, since the engine is different, the entire feel of the game isn't as smooth as MW2 feels. I can't describe it too well, it just feels clunkier, and the hit detection is worse. The single player is very good, despite having another extremely short campaign. You can complete the campaign on Normal difficulty in probably 3 hours tops, so if you don't have online, I highly urge you to not buy this game. The storyline of the campaign is very original in my opinion, and the ending was very well-written. Despite this, it was a little anti-climatic, as I'm used to a pulsating thrill-ride the last ten minutes of a standard Call of Duty campaign. Voice-acting was extremely well-done, and there's some recognizable names behind the acting such as Ice Cube that really deliver an astounding performance. Some of the missions are a little cliche, a mere, "Been there, done that" feeling that you have already experienced this in other installments. Moving on to multiplayer, this is where I feel that I was disappointed the most. Sure, Black Ops has their original Nazi Zombies, but let's be honest, would you really pay $60 for just that? It's fun for awhile, but not enough to warrant a purchase alone. The multiplayer maps online are merely a host of mediocre maps that are nothing memorable. They involve a lot of camping spots and chokepoints that enemy players are constantly hovering around. Also, because so many of them are not as largescale as MW2's maps, sniping essentially goes out the window. On the topic of snipers, they themselves are worthless weapons in comparison to any assault rifle, and it is not uncommon to be called a noob for using one. The weapons are unbalanced, and everyone uses either the FAMAS or the AK74u, which is to be expected, since both of these guns are far superior to the others. The sound quality has actually become worse than on MW2, and the killstreaks available to you are boring or borrowed from MW2. One example is the Chopper Gunner; sound familiar? Amidst this darkness are some great new addions, however, such as the ability to customize your own personal emblem. Also, the addition of contracts is a rather cool idea, and some new game modes such as One in the Chamber are a blast to play. Overall, there are some great additions to Black Ops, but they don't add up to much. And they certainly don't add up to an entire purchase of a brand new game that feels, looks, and plays like MW2. If you have your copy of MW2 stlll, it would be best if you stuck with that. If not, I guess Black Ops would be a worthy purchase since that's what everyone else plays. Full Review »