Portable operations

Who I am
Valery Aloyants
Author and references

Version tested: Nintendo DS

Translating the spectacular action and dynamics of Call of Duty to the Nintendo DS can't have been easy, yet n-Space has done a great job.

In its first incarnation for the double-screen portable console, Modern Warfare, it presented itself with a robust and efficient engine, capable of guaranteeing an excellent frame rate and supporting in the most adequate way, therefore, the controls entrusted to the stylus and the touch screen. The conversion of Black Ops, recently released for all platforms, is evidently heavier than usual and therefore puts a brake on the extreme fluidity we were used to, while maintaining the fast and pleasant action. The control system has not changed: you have to move the stylus on the lower screen to manage the aim, act on the d-pad to move the character and press the backbone L to open fire with the equipped weapon. The various operations concerning the change of the weapon, the collection of new objects, the launch of grenades and so on are present in the form of an icon on the touch screen, together with the option that allows us to take better aim (which can also be activated via a double tap). The developers have also included a standard variant of the controls, with the main buttons of the DS acting as a second d-pad but, as already happened for GoldenEye 007, this solution proves to be impractical and reliable.

Alternative missions

The story told in this portable reduction of Call of Duty: Black Ops differs from that seen on other consoles: the scenarios and events are roughly the same, but we will not face them as Alex Mason, but we will alternate in command of supporting characters. The gameplay is simplified and in many ways linear, although there is certainly no lack of variety in the proposed situations: in some moments we will have to make our way without paying attention to the noise, shooting at everything that moves until we have reached our goal; in others, it will be necessary to move silently and eliminate enemies with the knife to avoid triggering alarms. Weapon handling is good, there are the usual two slots available and the ability to pick up anything along the way. The fact that the ammunition runs out relatively quickly protects us from an excessive simplicity of the missions, but the downside is represented by enemies who very often resist more than necessary to our bursts.

Headshots can make a difference here, but getting a few on such a small screen, and with such limited resolution, isn't easy at all. The presence of a button on the touch screen to "take aim" reflects a generally more thoughtful approach than the typical Call of Duty philosophy. It will often happen to remain behind a cover and eliminate one opponent at a time, in fact, also because it will not be easy to survive more than a few moments once exposed to enemy fire. More than the single player campaign, in the end quite short and limited, it is the outline modes that constitute the real strength of Call of Duty: Black Ops. From this point of view, the developers have surpassed themselves, inserting an arcade variant of the story mode, a large number of challenges with different objectives, timed training in the Killhouse and even the Zombie mode. But that's not all: through the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, it is possible to face the aforementioned Zombie mode together with another player, as well as access a large number of battles (single or team deathmatch, capture the flag in single or team , sabotage) for up to six participants. We got to play some games online and it must be said that everything works perfectly, without problems attributable to lag. The technical implementation of the game is excellent, with fairly detailed scenarios and discrete polygonal models. Unfortunately the frame rate, as already mentioned, is not as fluid as could be expected and often shows the side of some uncertainty, while the low resolution inevitably ends up making the targets in the background difficult to distinguish, especially from the distance.




Readers (68)


Your vote

Call of Duty: Black Ops for Nintendo DS it cannot and does not want to represent in any way an alternative to the "major" versions of the Activision title, this is little but sure. It therefore stands as a product in its own right, dedicated to those who perhaps only own the portable console with a double screen and, between a game of New Super Mario Bros. and a game of Brain Training, feel the need for a little action " hardcore ". The control system based on the touch screen works fairly well and the technical realization is good, however it is the amount of modes available, both in single and multiplayer, to constitute the real strength of the game. The inclusion of these possibilities and even the Zombie mode can only testify to the commitment by the developers to make the best Call of Duty possible on DS. Objective fully achieved.


  • Lots of game modes
  • Multiplayer even online
  • Good technical realization ...
  • ... even if the frame rate has some uncertainty
  • Fairly short and linear campaign
  • Combat system not always flawless
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