Hands on with Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified For PS Vita

At Sony’s Holiday Preview Event for 2012 in Toronto, the male contingent of the attending Gamer Living team (myself, Will, Blair and Ron) got a chance to settle our differences over a quick round of Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified’s multiplayer mode. Having not heard much of Declassified since its initial E3 reveal earlier this year, I was eager to experience one of this year’s biggest titles for the PlayStation Vita.

Our game was based in a fairly small map, one which was set in a disused military base in the desert, full of tight corridors and open buildings. The action was as fast and frantic as has come to be expected from the series’ famed multiplayer, even with just four of us on the map; however, as we weren’t allowed to input our own usernames, it was difficult to tell who you were killing and who was killing you.

The Vita’s touch-screen capabilities added an extra emphasis on keeping your eyes on the screen, as tapping in the centre performs a melee attack and grenades are thrown by tapping their corresponding on-screen areas. Perks, such as Spy Planes and Supply Crates, are activated in a similar fashion to grenades, although I wasn’t the only player to find this particular function a little unresponsive in the heat of battle. Personally, tapping the screen to activate certain items seems a little like a disadvantage when being chased around a tight map such as this one, but practice may prove that the function is more intuitive than I found it to be in the short time we had.

Declassified seems to feature the majority of the hallmarks of Call of Duty’s multiplayer, but obviously on a smaller scale. The match we played was a four-player free-for-all, though the full game will support up to 4v4 over a Wi-Fi connection. My character profile levelled up once during the course of the game, which proved that experience still plays a part, although I was unable to tell if this included the series’ unlockables, such as guns and loadouts. As mentioned previously, perks are available, although in a four-player game there wasn’t too much chance to check out anything above a three-kill streak.  There also seems to be a wide array of guns on offer for those who like a variation in killing weapons, though MP5s, Uzis and shotguns dominated our session.

Perhaps the main difference encountered when playing Call of Duty on a Vita as opposed to a console comes from the smaller total of buttons on the handheld. Because of the lack of an L3 button to click in, Declassified instead has an auto-sprint function, which kicks in once your character has taken a couple of steps. This takes a little bit of getting used to, and can cause issues when you bring up your gun to aim through the sights, as obviously your accuracy drops when running. Another problem we encountered as a group was the sensitivity of the Vita’s analog sticks, as they are obviously a good deal shorter than those of a gamepad.  The problem can be mitigated by fiddling with the sensitivity options in the menu, but it still needs to be remembered that the Vita’s analog sticks are shorter than those of a traditional gamepad, and therefore don’t offer such a wide range of movement.

Whilst our game was a fairly short 10 minutes, it was enough to show that the multiplayer portion of Declassified does enough to stand up against its console big brothers, although the maximum of eight players in a game is a little disappointing, yet understandable. I managed to keep up my FPS record of falling right in the middle of the group score-wise, and Will (our Editor-in-Chief) ultimately claimed victory, thanks to a combination of camping and shooting people in the back as they ran past.

While Black Ops Declassified hasn’t yet been given a concrete release date, Nihilistic Software’s effort is due to become unclassified at some point next month (November) on PlayStation Vita.

About This Post