Activision is pouring a lot of money – and hype – into its forthcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops II, a game that looks to continue the series in a big way, taking it in the future for a sprawling new storyline, as well as multiplayer options that will keep players addicted for months on end – even without the downloadable content. But what of the PS Vita game that was announced earlier this year, Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified? It came onto the scene and was rumored to have tie-ins with the upcoming sequel, but neither Sony nor Activision would spill the beans on what to expect…or, what's more, who was working on it.
Yesterday, during Sony's pre-GamesCom press conference in Germany, the veil was lifted, and the first details about the game were finally revealed. Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified is actually in very capable hands on the Vita, as it's being developed by the same team behind this year's previously released Resistance: Burning Skies, Nihilistic Software. The team is working closely with the folks at Treyarch to assure that the feeling of Call of Duty is finely recreated on the portable system – and so far, based upon what we've seen, so good.
Though the trailer and footage we've seen from Black Ops Declassified didn't really go too deep into the story, we do have an idea what to expect from the single player campaign. Players will take part in a series of covert missions that will help tie together events that unfolded between the original Call of Duty: Black Ops and the sequel, meaning we're likely to learn more about the supervillain, Raul Menendez, we're facing in that game, as well as what possibly happened to Alex Mason. The trailer kind of provides a taste of what's to come, including a full-blown breach into a terrorist filled room and a complete drop-in through glass window panels, with the opportunity to point and shoot as you descend.
Even though we only saw snippets of the gameplay in action, Nihilistic Software is doing a great job so far recreating the Black Ops atmosphere for the PlayStation Vita. The game features plenty of detail as you aim down your iron sights (probably with the help of the shoulder buttons atop the system) and roam around corners, keeping a close finger on the trigger. What's more, there's lots of action packed into this little game, about the same level – and in some ways, even better – than Nihilistic's previous run-through with Resistance. Granted, we're still waiting for a hands-on trial before we go making a "this is so revolutionary" judgment…
As for the gameplay, you'll be able to control your soldier using the system's dual analog sticks, which are quite useful for going around corners and keeping an eye on your enemies. What's more, the system's touch screen can be used for melee attacks, so you can slash someone with your knife or throw a grenade their way, using a little bit of leverage so you don't blast yourself to smithereens. Again, we have yet to try it, but considering that Resistance wasn't half bad, Black Ops Declassified should be even better.
But we haven't even gotten to the true potential that the game holds, being able to expand the multiplayer options for the PS Vita in ways that Resistance couldn't quite accomplish. With Black Ops Declassified, you'll have access to a number of features to modify your soldier, including Create-a-Class, Perks, Prestige Levels and more. So, yeah, you'll be able to call in an air strike during a match if you earn enough of a killstreak, if you prefer that sort of thing.
As for the multiplayer, you'll be able to battle with up to eight players through Wi-Fi supported action, featuring a variety of game modes and maps. Team Deathmatch (in a 4 versus 4 setting), Kill Confirmed and Drop Zone will all make their return here, and Nihilistic is also working on exclusively made modes for this version that take full advantage of the system. And, hey, could we possibly see Zombies make a run here somewhere? They're coming back for Black Ops II…so, why not?
Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified is scheduled to arrive this November, so it's a safe bet that it'll be releasing the same day that Black Ops II hits the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, on November 13. What's more, Activision is working on a special bundle for the system, in case you don't have a Vita yet. You'll get a copy of the game, as well as specially designed system hardware, so you really feel like a soldier in battle. Granted, price details and pics haven't been provided yet, but, c'mon, it's Call of Duty!
It's great to finally see some details emerge on Black Ops Declassified, and we'll be sure to revisit this game with a hands-on report (and possibly an interview) very soon. Stick around and, remember, the fight's not over until you say it is.