REVIEW: Block Ops

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating; looks aren’t everything. Especially first looks. Coming across like the blocky, red-headed offspring of Loot or Die and listing its wares like any annual Call of Duty title (…without its third dimension), Block Ops ($1.00) nonetheless manages to merge those two very different games into a solid and fun (but at most times lonely1) experience.

Block Ops - Screen

It’s starts off timid. Where Loot or Die provided a lengthy campaign mode and new, constantly-dropping weapons and armor to satisfy your inner hoarder, Block Ops strips away everything but the visuals and interface of that game, replacing its innards with a (only occasionally compelling) zombie wave shooter2. You can shuffle your perks and loadouts (more on that later) to meet the challenge as needed, but most of it boils down to shooting a few zombies, retreating a few steps, shooting more, so on and so forth.

Enemies get tougher and more numerous as the waves go on, naturally, although you’re able to circumvent most of that trouble by following the instructions above in some form or variation. To judge it by that bit alone, Block Ops isn’t very deep or interesting. Thankfully, things perk up once you take it online. The game supports up to 16 players in a Deathmatch or Flag King mode, across a handful of stage types with mild platforming.

Here, you can pick your weapon class (shotgun, SMG, sniper) and choose from a wide range of perks, both passive abilities and those you can activate to get the drop on your opponents. That’s where the Call of Duty aspect (and fun) kicks in, allowing you to buff your play style as it suits you. Want double damage with your first shot? Pair it with a sniper rifle to one-hit fools. Landmines in mid-air? You bet. Leave a trail of fire behind you to burn your pursuers, then warp ahead to confuse them further? Even better. The mix-and-match possibilities are numerous, and the subsequent fights are awesome and definitely unpredictable.

Block Ops - Screen2

And therein lies the conundrum. If you’re going into this primarily as a solo player, the zombie stuff is meh at best, skippable otherwise. A glorified distraction to earn some experience points offline. On the other hand, Block Ops truly shines when playing with others in its chaotic deathmatch arenas, making the zombie wave shooter portion worth it to gain a few levels and unlockable currencies while waiting for your buddies. So then, the equation becomes quite simple; friends = yes, solo = no. Do your own math accordingly.

  1. Because XBLIG. Unless you’re organizing a game night yourself, or heading over to the developer’s page to add your name to a list of people looking to play, you’re not going to find anyone online. 
  2. That, like everything else, is better with friends. Speaking of which, a big thank you to Mr. Chris Antoni, andregurov, and nyan cat 543, for playing a few rounds of Deathmatch and Flag King with me. Some good games, guys (minus andregurov‘s cheap move at the end of the night; I’ll get you next time for that)! 

10 thoughts on “REVIEW: Block Ops”

  1. You know, upon reflection of my evil misdeed in appealing to your base instincts (re: score-watching) I am now more convinced than ever that my skill in FPS is entirely due to my strong sense of guile, deceit, and keen understanding of human nature. “I am not a crook” – Richard Nixon

    And yes, the game was bloody fun in competitive multiplayer. I think Chris took pity on us, but my shotgunning, time-warping, invisible load out just barely yet honestly defeated the double damage sniper. It was not cheating; it was JUSTICE!!!!

    1. It was a pretty slick loadout, so I will allow it! Even by deceit and calling out ‘Blog! Blog! Blog!’, a victory is still a victory. A tainted victory, but still. 😉

      Of course, a win by either one of us in that situation should probably deserve an asterisk next to it, considering Chris could’ve won the game easily if he wanted to. He likes to toy with his prey, make it think that’s it’s got a chance… before going straight for the jugular.

    2. You give me too much credit. I was trying a new loadout and sucked with it. It was like high jump and ground pound or something which sounds good in theory but in practice I never had a situation where it helped. We should play again some time though! Also, loot or die 2 is in review! It has a prestige mode so you can literally play forever, defend and patrol levels on every planet, quests, crafting materials, scaling enemies/items (see play forever again), social area up to 16 players that you automatically join, 16 runes (like rings), aim up/down… oh and it’s fun as hell lol.

      Thanks again for the support on this site guys. If not for you I probably would have lost a lot of steam a long time ago. I hope you do something similar or the xbox one indies that are likely to surface.

    3. I’m looking forward to it! Anything that feeds my Destiny addiction! 🙂

      On a sadder note, time is catching up to XBLIG sooner rather than later, but you guys (cue meme) are the real MVPs. 😉 Motivation to continue on XBLIG is hard enough, but even harder to come by when you’re essentially starting from the bottom, with no media exposure, a negative connotation whenever ‘indie game’ and ‘Xbox indie game’ are mentioned, and a general lack of enthusiasm for the service, both from gamers and Microsoft. So, yeah, my part is pretty tame compared to what you guys have gone through. Let’s hope something more robust pops up on Xbox One (yes, the ID@Xbox program is nice, but it’s hardly an open field for all developers) to replace it.

    1. The score was tied 49 to 49 with 50 kills winning; I simply pointed out how close the score was and might have encouraged the competitors to pause their game and take a look at the score. Suffice to say, pausing the game in multiplayer FPS is a noob act, so a … ahem … certain non-blogger got WRECKT.

      Vindication for us Block King losers, I say! ; )

      And yeah, I actually did feel pretty crappy about it. I’m past shame now and moving into justification, however.

    2. Yeah, yeah, I fell for it, so I suppose I deserved whatever comeuppance / rekt / wreckt / wrecked I had coming to me. It was a good trick, that’s for sure. One I intend to use from now on.

      We missed you in that one, Metal. Shame you couldn’t be there. And by ‘missed’, I mean we could’ve all had some easy kills to pad our scores at your expense! 😀

    3. I’m sure just having to hold an Xbox 360 controller in my hands for more than 5 minutes would have cramped my hands up and I would have a good excuse for not playing well.

      @andrerurov I think you are getting better at these games than you know. Played well last night on Battlefied 4. Better than myself.

      Bring on the turn based action for me in my old age!!

    4. Excuses excuses! Your reaction time may be slowed, but there’s nothing in the rulebooks that says you can’t log on and allow me some easy kills every now and then!

      And I wish I’d have gotten home at a decent time last night, as I would’ve bought Battlefield 4 (despite having it on my PS4) just to play some matches with you all. That, and I know you are literally streaming Superhot as I type this, but I’m partially through that game myself, and I don’t want to watch and spoil any solutions to the levels by seeing what you do. 🙂

      Even though the game only moves when you move, hopefully your reaction time is on point in that one. I wish you luck.

    5. Having trouble with what I think is the final level of Super Hot.

      You had me cracking up on that last comment.

      I blame it on old age then if I can’t use the controller as an excuse.

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