You might not expect an enormously successful video game franchise to turn its traditional formula on its head. But four and a half years ago, that’s exactly what Activision and developer Treyarch did as they unleashed Call of Duty: Black Ops and helped to redefine the first-person shooter – and now you can revisit these top-secret missions thanks to Xbox One Backward Compatibility. Best of all, you can keep all of your game saves, add-ons, and achievements, as well as play multiplayer with your friends across both Xbox One and Xbox 360.
Looking back, we should have expected such innovation from Treyarch. After all, they made their name by shaking up Call of Duty on a smaller scale with Call of Duty 2: Big Red One in 2005. That game followed the 1st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army throughout World War II in locations such as North Africa, Italy, and Normandy. Big Red One showed us that there was more to Call of Duty than the big-scale bombast of war, opening the door for an even more personal, character-driven tale in Call of Duty: Black Ops.
We’ve put together some of the biggest reasons why you should revisit some of the most intense missions in Call of Duty history – a time when the world stood on the powder keg that was the nuclear arms race.
A Swinging ’60s Setting
Political intrigue didn’t get any hotter than the 1960s, as the United States and Soviet Union attempted to get the upper hand in the Cold War – a conflict that nearly boiled over into worldwide nuclear disaster with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 – and Call of Duty: Black Ops puts the player right in the thick of some of the most intense covert engagements in history.
You’ll take a couple of side trips to the 1940s, but the bulk of the action takes place in the ’60s among some spectacular locations, including Cuba during the botched Bay of Pigs Invasion, Vietnam in the midst of the Tet Offensive, a spaceport in Kazakh SSR, and the haunting urban dystopia of the Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong. As you can see, that list reads like a history of covert conflicts and proxy wars of the 1960s, and Black Ops does a spectacular job of integrating the mission structure into the larger Cold War backdrop. There’s a reason history buffs love this game.
A Black-Ops Arsenal
But what’s the coolest thing about going black ops in the ’60s? All the cool guns and gadgets, of course! And Call of Duty: Black Ops makes you feel like a one-man warrior in the vein of James Bond himself, with the likes of a ballistic knife and sniper rifle. Perhaps the most stylish weapon of all, however, is the crossbow – which you can enhance with explosive ammunition to make a really spectacular entrance.
And, yes, while you might find some of these guns and gadgets in other Black Ops games, there’s just something about unleashing them in a 1960s setting that makes you feel like a legendary super-spy/Cold Warrior, truly playing a role in one of the most intense conflicts in history. To so many of us, the Cold War defined covert operations, and Black Ops gives you the tools to feel right at home in your globetrotting quest.
Nixon vs. Zombies
Finally, no matter your political affiliation, you’ve gotta get a kick out of Richard Nixon and three other giants of mid-20th-century politics – John F. Kennedy, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, and Cuba’s ex-dictator Fidel Castro – taking on a foe that unites capitalist, communist, and anarchist alike: the undead horde. That’s right, zombies have become an integral part of Call of Duty over the years, and Black Ops’ multiplayer mode features these iconic men from Cold War history duking it out with the shambling hordes at the Pentagon itself. It’s a different kind of intensity from the main Black Ops campaign, but it’s no less satisfying.
Those are just a few of the many reasons we’re excited to play Call of Duty: Black Ops again. It’s now available via Xbox One Backward Compatibility, so pop in your disc or grab a digital version from the store today!