My Game of the Year: Call of Duty: Black Ops

I’ll be honest here. Unlike a few of the other editors who had an easy time choosing their GOTY, this was a very tough decision for me. So much so that I considered not writing a piece and am still not sure this is the right pick. That’s not to say that Black Ops isn’t a great game, because it is. I’ve already sunk over 24 hours into the multiplayer and plan to play through the campaign again on Veteran, both for fun and to pick up some extra trophies. Clearly, it’s a great game but I’m still not sure it was the fantastic game that deserves to be nominated for GOTY.

Anyone who read my review knows that I really liked Black Ops, it had a much more interesting story than previous CoD games, it tackled a new, interesting, albeit not altogether realistic, time period and changed things up a bit by focusing on mostly one character, letting a fuller narrative be told than before. The missions were varied, the graphics were good, the guns were fun to use. So why am I so wary of making it my GOTY?

The reason I’m so hesitant to do so is because Blops didn’t really do that much new or exciting. Sure, the narrative style is new but when it came down to it you were still fighting endlessly respawning foes on a linear path to victory. You’re still leveling up to unlock more weapons, new attachments and the like. It’s still fun but it’s not amazing and that’s what I feel a GOTY award should be,  recognition of something amazing.

You know what? I’ll be playing Black Ops all year. By this time next year I’ll probably have sunk more time into it than any other game and I’ll enjoy the hell out of it. My concern is that it’s not innovation, it’s not so much a revolution as a mild, but still fun, evolution. I still think that Black Ops is a game that any shooter fan should pick up; not because you want something new and exciting but because you want that good old, solid shooter action. And that’s perhaps why I’m not describing the game as much as my fellow writers. These games have sold tens of millions of copies, you’ve most likely played a recent CoD game and have an opinion on them already. But even if it weren’t amazingly polished or incredibly innovative, like Dean’s pick of New Vegas, Black Ops has and will continue to provide me with the most fun this year and that’s why it’s my Game of the Year.

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