My friends all think I’ve finally gone mad. Call of Duty Black Ops 2 has been out for a month, but I’ve only put a few evenings into it. Battlefield 3 has just dropped a new DLC content update, but I’ve barely glanced at it for more than a couple of hours. Instead, I’ve been playing a game which has been out since 2010.
While the rest of the world has moved onto either Modern Warfare 3 or Black Ops 2, I’ve been revisiting the original Call of Duty Black Ops to the exclusion of almost any other game. For the last month or so, it’s been about all that’s been in my Xbox, and there’s a simple reason.
Reaching the final prestige:
I’ve played every Call of Duty game released, but I’ve never had the time and motivation to reach the final level until now. I’ve either got distracted by other games, or frustrated by the endless grind against campers. But in October, I realised I’d reached Prestige 9 in Black Ops, which meant I was the nearest I’d ever been to reaching the top level.
And I also presumed that the number of people playing the original Black Ops would still be reasonably high until Christmas, when the final move over to the sequel would happen, giving me 2 months to try and get through 6 Prestige levels.
Somehow I made it:
I haven’t quite maxed out the 15th level yet, and might not make it before Christmas, but I’ll have unlocked all my favoured guns and perks – the AK74U, the Galil, Slight of Hand Pro, Ghost Pro etc.
And although some might question why I bothered, I have to admit I’m enjoying the knowledge that I’ll never, ever, be stuck with the M16 and MP5K and no perks again. Grinding out the 15 CTF captures for Marathon Pro is a lot more manageable when it’s the final time I’ll ever do it, and the same is true of bomb plants in Demolition.
Obviously a huge number of people reached that level long ago, and some are still playing Black Ops obsessively, presumably waiting for Santa to bring the new game – which I fear may be a disappointment to them in some ways.
For one thing, regardless of the actual game play, Black Ops 1 has the best Loadout and Killstreak management of any Call of Duty game. It’s quick to set up classes and make changes, with a clear menu system. And the experience for each gun, perk and gametype is easy to see, constantly showing you that something is about to reward you, if only you play a couple more games.
Black Ops 2 obscures that a lot in the way the information is displayed, making it hard to see at a glance which gun or Scorestreak will net you some XP to Prestige more quickly, and that’s a real shame in my opinion.
It might not deliver any achievements, or make me at all unique, but I’m quite satisfied with reaching the final Prestige without boosting or doing anything other than playing the game (Mainly Domination, Demolition and CTF to level up and unlock the perks).
It’s also fitting that it’s Black Ops in which I achieved it – it’s been the most fun CoD game I’ve played due to the fact my entire social group seemed to have the time to play it pretty obsessively until Modern Warfare 3, so it’s been the most social and team-based shooter that I’ve played yet…
And I still can’t quite figure out the gamers I’ve seen who halted at Prestige 14 weeks ago, scared to lose their unlocks for the final level – if you stopped as some friends did at Prestige 1-10 I can understand it, but with 1 or 2 left? Strange!
Still, I’ve already resigned myself to the fact I’ll be straight over to Black Ops 2, especially as many of the old crew appear to have returned after the disappointment that was Modern Warfare 3. So it looks like the cycle of prestiging will happen all over again, and hopefully it’ll take me a lot less than 2 years this time!