You've read the hype, well its all that and more providing one of the best storylines and campaign modes of this genre. Its a bit differently constructed from the previous COD series, and, although you still jump between characters the action is mainly focused on the gamer taking the part of a Black Operations commando named, a little uninspiringly, Alex Mason.
The game begins following straight on from the scene displayed on the main menu with Alex sitting in and strapped to an electrical chair type machine for administering electric shock torture. The game relies heavily on suspense and so giving away too much in the review would certainly remove some of this important aspect. But it is not giving away too much to say that a great deal of the story is that of the gamer, in the form of Alex Mason, trawling through his memories trying to recall exactly what got him into the torture chair in the first place.
There are also the usual slow motion actions but they are sensibly spaced and do not detract from the main action. The graphics are an improvement on previous games in the series with particulary impressive explosions. These are hard to describe effectively but are big and colorful to say the least. All other aspects of the visuals are also improved, the vegetation is particulary noticeable in this respect. Animations have also been subjected to better treatment.
Ranking up is still a large part of the game but now everything comes with a price tag, payable by earning points from kills and mission completions. Other points can be earned by gambling on the outcome of certain contests. Many accessories, from aiming reticules to camoflage designs and face painting, are customizable.
Black Ops is undoubtably the best game of its type with perhaps only the exception COD Modern Warfare 1, and from what I've said you can be in no doubt that I recommend it extremely highly, it is a showstopper of a game.