6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Good "On The Side" Shooter,
This review is from: Call of Duty: Black Ops (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
I often look for games to play outside the house and own both a PSP and a DS. As I play shooters a lot, both first and third person, I have come to be suspicious of shooters on the PSP/DS as the controls are just too messy. The problem is that you get used to two analog sticks from the PS3/Xbox, and then when you get to the handheld portables you are given one for the PSP and none for the DS. Games like Rainbox 6 completely fail on the PSP, making me very reluctant to try any other shooters on the handhelds. After reading reviews on Call of Duty: Black Ops for the DS I decided to give it a try.
So let's look at how this plays out on the DS. You have two options to choose from for button layout: 1.) you use the stylus to sweep around on the lower screen for looking around. This is very responsive and just a quick swipe and your view angle turns on-screen. The D-pad (left buttons) are used then for moving, and the left shoulder button for aiming and the right shoulder button for shooting. As mentioned in another review, this can become tricky as you are holding the stylus in your hand, and then still need to shoot with the right-shoulder button. Well, practice makes perfect, and you get the feel for this after a while, so not too much complaints there. What did become a problem for me is that I started feeling like throwing up after a while. The movements of the stylus is so quick that it feels by times the world is spinning. I guess this differs from player to player, so don't let this influence your decision. From what I gather, most people loved the stylus option. I opted for button layout: 2) No stylus and you use the buttons on the right for movement. However, this again put me right back in the problem with the PSP controls that it feels clunky. Luckily, the game is not a fast moving game and you have more than enough time to prepare and consider your moves, so you do not need to look around like a hawk.
The story differs to that of the console versions naturally. It still follows the same concept, and you get to play different characters in different settings. Mostly you are carrying your weapon, and at times it's all knife-combat which is also quite nice. There are helicopter and boat missions which are a welcome distraction. On easy settings, damage comes quickly and running guns a-blazing like in the console versions will get you killed quickly. The idea here is more of a cautious approach, especially when you are playing the second button layout I had chosen and not using your stylus.
Other areas like music and voicing was done well, but of course, graphics are pretty basic and nothing to write home about. I enjoyed it to the extend that I played it through a few times.
Overall I think the game succeeds, not because of the button layout, but because they story and gameplay has been designed for the DS. A direct console port would have been a severe mistake. It's in this regard that I am looking forward to the release of the future PSP2/NGP end of this year as it will feature two analog sticks, which will make shooter games an ease on it. The new 3DS sports a similar "analog" stick on the left, also opening the door for more shooter-like games on the 3DS.