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Aug 16

Aug 16

Hands-on: Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified for PS Vita

Jeff Rubenstein's Avatar Posted by Sr. Social Media Manager

Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified

Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified is real, and we’ve played it. I think the highest compliment I can pay it is to say that, well, it looks and plays like Call of Duty. The running and gunning, the aiming down the sights, the familiar Bank Gothic notices popping up when you land a long-range shot or end an opponent’s killstreak, the weapon loadouts and multiplayer modes — they’re all here, rendered on PS Vita’s luscious OLED screen and playable with dual analog sticks in a mobile setting for the first time.

Activision Product Manager Ryan Scott’s gamescom presentation cut straight to the heart of the matter, starting with the game’s multiplayer offering — a key consideration for any self-respecting CoD title. Multiplayer in Black Ops Declassified supports up to eight players via WiFi across six maps, encompassing essential play modes such as Free for all, Team Deathmatch, and Kill Confirmed, with other “classic Call of Duty modes” promised. Other trademark Call of Duty mechanics such as Create-a-Class, Killstreaks, XP, Perks, and Prestige were all present and accounted for.

So how is developer Nihilistic adapting Call of Duty to PS Vita? After playing a round on the new “Shatter” map, it’s clear their goals were to change as little as possible. In fact, after inverting the Y-axis, I didn’t bother asking the devs on hand about the controls – everything was where I expected it to be.

Access to the knife, flashbang, and frag grenade that are assigned to L2/R2 or L3/R3 on PS3 are easily accessible on the front touchscreen. To hurl a grenade, you simply drag the grenade icon to the area of the screen where you want to throw it, or hold it to cook the fuse before you lob it. The ability to independently aim your grenade throw while shooting in another direction is a new tactical wrinkle for the series, and one that will surely be leveraged by experienced players. The knife is even quicker to use because you can tap any part of the screen not already assigned to something else to swipe your blade. That’s a highly practical implementation of the touchscreen, as players won’t have to fumble to tap a small icon during a heated CQC encounter, and we found it was quick and responsive.

Call of Duty Black Ops: DeclassifiedCall of Duty Black Ops: Declassified

Those all-important Killstreaks work the way you’d expect. Once you’ve unlocked a killstreak, the icon pops up on the left side of the screen and you can tap to trigger it. The mortar strike killstreak was blessedly simple: tap the icon to open the map, touch the target, and launch a volley of fiery death to annihilate the opposition.

That leaves sprinting, which is executed by pressing down on the directional pad. The left stick and D-pad are placed closely enough on PS Vita that you can place the tip of your thumb on the D-pad while keeping your left thumb on the left stick for quick recovery. The only use of the rear touchscreen we saw was to hold your breath while peering down the sniper’s scope – not something you’re likely to accidentally trigger.

Create-a-Class is fully supported with custom loadouts and Perks Black Ops: Declassified will also leverage PS Vita’s geo-social “near” functionality with Share-a-Class, enabling players to transmit a character class via WiFi using “near,” and will allow your friends access to load-outs they haven’t yet unlocked through regular progression. Prestige levels are also confirmed.

Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified

Visually, the multiplayer map “Shattered” looked sharp, with swirling dust motes, flapping bits of cloth, crumbled architecture, and a steady framerate.

Single-player content wasn’t shown, though Activision confirmed that it will consist of objective-based missions, along with survival and time trial missions, to keep the experience tuned for mobile play. They’ll be wrapped within an original story taking place between Call of Duty: Black Ops and the forthcoming Black Ops 2. Want to know what happened to Hudson, Mason, and Woods before this fall’s Black Ops 2? You know what to do.

Based on what we saw and played, Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified looks and feels much as you’d expect it to – only now it can take the experience with you on PS Vita. For CoD fans, that’s right on target.

Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified arrives this November. Are there any specifics you’d like to know? We’ll be speaking with developer Nihilistic soon, and will do our best to get your questions answered. Leave ‘em in the comments below!

Add Your Own

ThreeLeggedFreak said:

August 16th, 3:52 pm

Every one should look forward to Killzone Mercenaries instead of this cheap buy in by Activision and Kotick.

DjStiv3 said:

August 16th, 4:03 pm

new maps my butt anyon notice nuketown and the arctic place basicaly re-hased or w.e? come on now.. and whats with the insane amount of clips showing LMG;s? i mean really… looks like it wont be as awesome as we think and for an extra ten bucks like uncharted ($50) it definately wont be worth it… im gunna see to pass on my preorder for the console and wait for a significant price drop on both the vita and ps3 versions… im done being screwed by activision especially how they did us wrong with mw3… oh well maaybe EA will make a battlefield or bad company for vita…they better asap a later release wont get them any attention

myPSismyfriend said:

August 16th, 4:59 pm

Has there been a price released regarding the bundle?

edotjay said:

August 16th, 5:05 pm

can u plz ask dem if we can have atleast 8v8, 4v4 dont seem like enuff for a cod game

beeboi said:

August 16th, 5:10 pm

is the go share data between both cod like socom that would be be cool if you could do somthing on the vita and
it help you on the ps3


August 16th, 5:20 pm

Nihilistic’s making this? LOL! it’s gonna be terrible!

ABNVOX said:

August 16th, 5:21 pm

not sold just yet, but def interested! looking forward to trying this out!

OmniStalgic said:

August 16th, 5:43 pm

60fps seems to be taking away from the essence of what makes COD, Call of Duty. Is the current framerate just for the current build? Honestly, I think that’s the biggest factor here, all fans want is Call of Duty on the go really, not a lot needs to be changed, but getting the formula right is the first step. Try new things once you establish the basics, and 30fps is not pure call of duty IMO.

dj-rocks94 said:

August 16th, 6:29 pm

I only have one question will there be zombie mode on Call Of Duty Black Ops Declassified because honestly if they dont im more into not getting it at all if it doesnt

ejfmi129 said:

August 16th, 6:34 pm

you guys are all hating on this game next thing you know you will find yourself playing this game day and night and
for goodness sake it is a ps vita you dont expect it to be the best graphics in the world , and if zomies is not in this i will still get it so geez stop hating on this game they haven’t even finished everything in the making of the game so just wait till it is out

U_Doges said:

August 16th, 6:43 pm

Hey, i see you played COD BOD? SO… in trailer video the graphics show sad and disapointed… but you, you has played! so what you can say to us? about this topic… Thanks ;D

Darig0n said:

August 16th, 7:15 pm

Lets hope the death animations don’t suck, the gun sounds are good, the cutscenes aren’t compressed to a .2mp type video and the online doesn’t freeze after a match.

Darig0n said:

August 16th, 7:16 pm

And that they’ll pull through when they say they’ll patch it or have a preorder bonus >_>

God-Of-Lyf said:

August 16th, 7:23 pm

I happened to like Resistance Burning Skies. It was one of just a few games on the Vita that I liked. I don’t care much for multiplayer/online so I could care less if that’s added or not. Just give me a good story and I’m in ;)

remanutd5 said:

August 16th, 7:26 pm

Sony dont let Nihilistic take over the Resistance franchise please and you guys should seriously stop relationships with them, man you have some of the most talented studios in the industry but these guys are as bad as it can get, i mean just look what the geniuses at MM created and im stunned to know they are only using 15 people to create Tearaway and the rest are working on an unannounced project ( most likely ps4) and look how clean, good looking and bad ass Killzone Mercenary looks then again create by one of your ELITE studios. I still dont understand how you guys closed down Big Big Studios, Zipper Interactive and let these mediocre guys take over 2 big name franchises when the other 2 developers are far more talented.

R_a_z_i_e_l said:

August 16th, 8:21 pm

Made by the same people that has a 6.0 Metacritic rating on their last game, from a DECENT IP like Resistance. How are they going to make a good game with the COD IP…

* Horrible looking game

* Average controls

* Gun Sounds are terrible

* 30 FPS

* No Zombie Mode Or Spec Ops

* Only 4 Vs 4 Multiplayer

* Only 3 Confirmed Multiplayer Modes.

* Oh AND Its $50…

So… the hell is anyone supposed to without pissing themselves laughing say this game is going to be *Amazing*.
This is nothing more then a horrible Cash in made by terrible developers. NOTHING about this is essentially Call Of Duty, it is nothing more then a *Modern Shooter* with the COD Logo on it to attract sales.

I know as the PS Plog you are supposed to praise everything Playstation but come on, we are consumers that go on gaming websites and look up trailers and gameplay I would consider us smarter then the average consumer. Since Saying that…seriously ? No one here is dumb enough to buy it, it looks HORRIBLE.

I Will wait on Killzone for a true FPS Shooter on the Vita..thanks for nothing get rid of that horrible developers.

fester420 said:

August 16th, 8:31 pm

I have to say I’m disappointed that there is no cross play between this and Black Ops 2. I know plenty of people who would want their multiplayer stats and experience to carry over to each version and to be able to play PS3 players on the Vita. It seems like most cross-play games are are coming straight from sony’s developers and not from many third party developers. I think there should be a requirement for at least a certain amount of cross play compatibility for any game coming to both platforms.

luvtoseek said:

August 16th, 8:35 pm

Lots of great questions by the rightfully concerned COD fanbase. Help us out Jeff! Anyways, I like COD enough to be quite interested in how Activision plans to oversee their darling IP enter the HD portable space. My fear is that after extended play, the nubs on my Vita will fall apart.

HxC-NE1LD0 said:

August 16th, 8:49 pm

Are the trophies going to be as easy to get as they were in Resistance Burning Skies? < another game Nihilistic made which wasn't bad except for the fact that you could get a Platinum Trophy by playing the entire game on casual difficulty, the easiest difficulty in the game, and for me that ruined the game.

Resistance as well as CoD are both series of games that are geared towards the FPS crowd and most people who play these types of FPS games are hardcore players looking for a challenge.

HxC-NE1LD0 said:

August 16th, 8:49 pm

On Burning Skies, Nihilistic created a Gold Trophy for simply playing through one multiplayer match! Gold Trophy for that? You could simply start the match, put down the Vita, and not do a single thing for the entire match and still “earn” a Gold Trophy! This outraged me cause after that, I had no desire to continue playing multiplayer which should have been a big part of the game’s replay value.

This Gold Trophy was to get players who purchased the game through the PlayStation Network to also have to buy a $10 online voucher in order to play online and if those players wanted to get the Platinum Trophy, it forced them to have to buy the online voucher.

I hope that Trophies are actually going to be challenging to earn for CoD: Declassified otherwise this will be the second game that Nihilistic has ruined for hardcore FPS players that want a challenge.

drakenbutch said:

August 16th, 9:04 pm

have anyone from sony know if mw3 will be available in psn store soon ????

sweetduck15 said:

August 16th, 9:29 pm

Will there be microphone use (headset)

cjmc18 said:

August 16th, 9:46 pm

whats that smell? smells like im going to plat this one :D

fatdog21 said:

August 16th, 10:10 pm

this game looks like resistance burnin skies(which look like garbage). sony hype this( n me) up for cod on the go. but wat i saw was resistance with the cod name on it. for $50 i was expectin a whole lot more

Suffa01 said:

August 16th, 10:43 pm


1. Do corpses dissapear after falling to the ground?

2. I counted 2 death animations that look like that same 2 death animations from BS, can you say if there was any more death animations that we saw in the trailer. There was the “get shot in face and throw head back with lil spin onto ground” and “drop arms in front of body and fall to knees”

3. Why nihlistic?

WAConline said:

August 16th, 11:09 pm

I Must Have it, I’ve been playing with my boring PSP for too long, And My Mom Took my Ps3 Away, So When I get The PS Vita I Will Get This Game And I Will Personally Own My Best Friend And Prove That i’m The greatest Call Of Duty Player Ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WAConline said:

August 16th, 11:11 pm

Cool4X4 You’ve Been Missing out Bro

WAConline said:

August 16th, 11:21 pm

And NukeTown Is Back!!!!!!!!!!!!

redkandi said:

August 17th, 12:03 am

Sorry to say it but looks horrible.

SCE should have paid more for exclusivity to Activision.

nikrel said:

August 17th, 12:17 am

Funny point.

Sony has trouble getting 3rd party dev/pub to come to the PSVita.

Activision decides to make a COD game for the PSVita.

The game looks like absolute garbage, no one buys the game. Activision no longer brings COD to VITA due to underwhelming performance yet it is their fault due to such a terrible game.

Seems like if 3rd party devs want sales they need to release quality games.

Now this is all speculation, I’m basing this off the graphics of the game. It is 2012, graphics matter, gameplay matters, development of games is not something new and gamers expect both to be a quality game, I do no blame them we have the tech now and dev teams have the experience.

I’ll be passing on this, looking forward to killzone merc.

zerokingx said:

August 17th, 12:36 am

Ok so Nihilistic has made one good game Zombie Apocalypse. I haven’t played Resistance yet so can’t say on that. I have faith if Activision is supervising it should turn out good but if they are just letting the do what they want with only story guidelines could be very bad.

Hasselhoof said:

August 17th, 12:49 am

The Call of Duty franchise is known for touting 60 fps .

1.) Do you feel that this game can offer a Call of Duty experience with the frame rate cut in half?

2.) Can the framerate still be improved to more expected level?

Damn I know so many people waiting to buy Vitas on the weight of the quality of this game. Please don’t let this come out half-assed. Please, please, please !!!

Loy310 said:

August 17th, 5:49 am

More Killzone and Battlefield please, so sick and tired of CoD.
Work on getting Borderlands on the Vita. Do something different than CoD.

Xabdos said:

August 17th, 6:20 am


Resistance Burning Skies was, well, not as we expected. The Visuals were disappointing and the sound quality was horrific, but from the trailer they seem to have brought in the same hated factors of resistance BS to this game, also you added that the knife and grenade are accessed through the touchscreen which also feels like Resistance BS multiplayer to me, same goes for the sprinting.
So my questions are :

1. After resistance BS, what mistakes did you learn from, and will you implement that on this game
2. How do you wish to compete with other big titles like AC 3 Liberation, Killzone mercenary and NFSmostwanted
3. Aren’t you afraid that the multiplayer is too similar to Resistance Burning Skies’
4. Is there a zombies mode ?

Xabdos said:

August 17th, 6:24 am

Also, are you planning to make this game include the “Cross-buy” feature with COD BO 2 on both the PS3 and the X360 version, that will certainly push a lot of more Vita units.

Trieloth said:

August 17th, 8:18 am

This looks great! Cant wait to play this!

TheFadedShadow said:

August 17th, 8:48 am

After eading this i am getting it, Only one question. Will there be Zombies? and if so will there be Co-op over wifi? I am pretty much dying to find out

TheFadedShadow said:

August 17th, 8:49 am


nycredude said:

August 17th, 8:56 am

All you people complaining about Nihilistic developing the game because of Resistance:Burning Skies; I hope you guys played Burning Skies yourself and aren’t going by reviews and previews from websites. I think we established long ago that reviews are useless as they are opinions of others (although they shouldn’t be) and those opinions can be affected by expectations. They expect Resistance just like on consoles and because it wasn’t, they were disappointed. It was however still a pretty decent first game on the vita for them and although the story was just ok the gameplay was fun. COD on consoles, pc or any platform for that matter was NEVER the best looking game or the best story either so let’s be real here. Expectations shouldn’t be for the best game ever, just another COD game.

IzoGray said:

August 17th, 9:13 am


I was like you man. I was defending Resistance BS because I bought it day one. I was like “the gameplay is pretty good so why are the scores so low?”

Considering that I sold the game a week after I got it, the gameplay wasn’t so good. The multiplayer, which was supposed to be the lasting appeal, had no lasting appeal.

The gunfire sounds were absolutely abysmal. Knifing was so slow cumbersome the way they made it on the screen. All of the cutscenes looked like they were native 120p resolution stretched to a Vita screen.

PLUS, who wants to do 4v4 matches in COD. Who doesn’t want Zombies? My phone has zombies, not that I’d like to play on my phone. Who wants to pay $50 for a below sub par game?

Delay this game Sony. Send someone from Santa Monica and Treyarch to oversee the game’s creation and polishing. This is basically what colleges do, if you don’t do well one semester, you are on academic probation the next. This is Nihilistic’s second poor semester.

Elric_X said:

August 17th, 10:36 am

I know it’s popular to hate on COD on gamer forums, but honestly, I’m pretty stoked for this even if it doesn’t push the hardware completely. The new KZ is a must buy too. I’m so thankful to see Sony injecting some life into the Vita. They really came through at Gamescon and restored my faith.

CaptainJames99 said:

August 17th, 10:39 am

Yeah its clear I’m not the only one noticing that vita owners want GOOD games. Take the hint. 3rd rate software won’t sell systems.

chowder_07 said:

August 17th, 11:37 am

I think Nihilistic is trying to tell us that “We’re not done yet,we still must make-up for the disappointing RBS game” if your gonna make-up for this,make atleast 10 or 12 player online,co-op missions,improve the graphics,soldiers with helmets doesn’t feel like black ops and zombies(at 44-45 on the video,they might have leaked a zombie).

bnecker717 said:

August 17th, 11:48 am

Will there be zombies and if not are there any plans to add dlc with zombies in the future?

andrethekilla said:

August 17th, 11:57 am

can you please tell me if it has zombies?? pretty much the only reason why i would get this game

Elvick_ said:

August 17th, 4:25 pm

@97: Resistance: BS wasn’t a launch game… no where near launch. lol…

And enough with the “it’s a portable!” The PS Vita has the power to look amazing, look at Tearaway, Killzone, Uncharted, Wipeout, the list goes on of games that look AMAZING.

This looks awful graphically. Point blank. The PS Vita is capable of much more, as seen in other games. So stop acting like it being on a portable means it should be half arsed. Activision should be ashamed charging $50 for a game from mediocre to terrible developers.

Elvick_ said:

August 17th, 4:29 pm

@139: I liked Resistance: Burning Skies, I got the platinum (not like it’s an achievement… although managing to get an online match was definitely a challenge… )

It’s medicore at best, I enjoyed it but I’m not looking to experience another game from them. It looks so much like R:BS and SOUNDS awful just like Resistance did.

And the fact this game will have a premium price, as if it’s by some really awesome AAA developer… no. Just no.

Elvick_ said:

August 17th, 4:33 pm

@121: Dude, if you buy games from PSN you don’t need to buy an online pass. If you buy games new (which includes PSN purchases, since you can’t ever buy from PSN used…) then you get the online pass.

Elvick_ said:

August 17th, 4:35 pm

Oh and I think we all understand why this game wasn’t shown at E3 now… the name was more hype worthy than the game itself. smh…

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