Call of Duty Black Ops: Are Bad Graphics a Game-Breaker?

By Alan Ng - Nov 10, 2010

As huge fans of the franchise, we certainly don’t want to keep casting Call of Duty Black Ops in a bad light, but sometimes you just cant keep ignoring the complaints that keep flooding in.

We have reported on various reviews for the game so far, as well as some of your own user reviews which we asked you for. While it is clear that Treyarch has added a ton of content and replayability to the game which is always a huge plus for any big game release, it seems as if the graphics within Black Ops are a huge let down.

We’ve heard reports that the graphics are a major step back, even ‘cartoony’ as one of our users calls it, probably refering to the Nuketown map, which we agree – did seem a bit strange compared to the other maps on the disc.

Are the graphics that bad though, so much that you would consider not buying, or even returning the game? We’ve heard the term ‘game-breaker’ overused in recent times, but do you think the Black Ops graphics apply to this term?

We previously reported on how the graphics on MW2 were ‘much better’, but we’re interested in hearing your final say on the matter. Are the below-par graphics really a big deal to you or not?

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus.

Also See: MW3 more popular than Black Ops

  • Whatever

    The graphics for black ops are large, bulky and really don’t look that legitimate as opposed to MW3 which is compact and tries to make you feel like you’re in a battlefield with cars and such that all aren’t 10 feet bigger than you.

  • Jwb98

    Battlield is the best . But when I play a call of duty game I choose black ops . I don’t care for graphics. Graphics doesn’t make a game. With bf3 I think the graphics are almost TO good . I enjoy the graphics. Battle field 2 graphics are perfect super realistic but yet very fake I like BO best cod game

  • Jake

    Real let down, I would say that the graphics should not be a big concern. But your paying 60$ for a "high quality" game. I would expect that the game would look well and play decent.

  • beau

    cod sucks people be right in front of you and you can't see them because of the horrible graphics. plus the maps are to small xbox is dx 9 old technology about 5 yrs old. i cant wait for the new battle field for pc it dx11

  • raDI0acTIVe2 GuN

    cod black ops might not have the best graphics, but look at it like this, new perk combos , weapon combos, and well atleast its better than plaing MW2 for another year right?

  • no-oe


    Oh for christ's sake -.-

    GRAPHICS!? You're seriously returning/not buying the game over something to superficial? My god… People are so shallow nawdays…

  • anon

    The Graphics are a game breaker because the only good thing about the COD franchise is the graphcs. COD gameplay sucks.

  • Patrick Norris

    I would just like to be able to play the bloody game on a pc…is that too much to ask??..All I get is 'Fatal Error' !!!! great stuff especially as the game isn't cheap to buy…cant take it back because Tryarch or Steam won't send me an email to say there is a problem….what a load of crap i'm stuck with now!!!!!

  • Alex

    your all giving bad points about black ops why not think about the good points


    theater mode

    there isn't an annoying harrier in the air all the time because you actually earn your kill streaks not one of your others do it for you

    dead ops

    the maps seem more active like the missile on launch and activating the doors on radiation

    the emblem creator

    nice relaxing wager matches

    A good campaign because of the zip lines and more interactivity with teh ac 130 commands

    think of the positives not just the negatives

    And for the Graphics I don't care, there not even bad and for the people that say it's cartoon, so is mw2 I mean if you go on medal of honor and then compare it to mw2, it looks like a cartoon as well. Who cares it's the gameplay that's fun, mw2 was stupid with noob tubers using one army to get their noob tubes back, but the gameplay was good as well on that game. There just as good as each other

    • Mebrandon9

      half of what you just said was ripped off of halo

  • iHateCoD

    call of duty is dead…anyone who buys CoD games is an idiot. watch how many little kids will have orgasms when the next CoD comes out.

  • booot

    Nasty looking game. Looks like I'm playing it ona Wii. In a game like Call of Duty; Immersion is very very important but with something that looks like something from the Duke Nukem days I can easily say that this game is a huge letdown in terms of graphics. Horribly bland textures, no bump mapping, not even decent lighting. All and all it reminds me of those old FPS's being played on some piece of crap dell where you have to turn down all of the settings to low.

    I think they just threw this game together as quickly as possible to coast on the success of MW2 rather than take the time to do it right and polish everything. I just hope the early adopters don't support this game in the long run, otherwise it could pave the way to more bad development.

  • mysteryPig

    The campaign isn’t much fun because it’s too heavily instructed, yet a lot of the graphics I thought were great, particularly the snowy areas. Then I played the online multiplayer and it was as though I was playing on new map additions to COD4 with the chunky, cartoonish graphics, but the online gameplay does have much more depth to it. Instead of going halves either way on both the campaign and the multiplayer I’d rather they’d released the game later and done the job properly. However, having said that I much prefer black ops to mw2 despite the better graphics because the gameplay is more fun. Though the graphics are chunky they’re much more colourful and varied than the monotonous brown of mw2.

  • WTF?

    It maybe just me but I like games that more then 3 colors and a story that at least made sense(bar that it was highly unrealistic) black ops wins. They fixed so much stuff with black ops(still problems though) but the multiplayer is better, there’s more color, there’s not some fucking asshole screaming RAMEREZ! SEE THAT SATELLITE OUTSIDE EARTHS ORBIT? TAKE THIS THROWING KNIFE AND TAKE IT DOWN! or anyother stupid bullshit. Why does people like MW2? I got every achievement for it and had a positive kd……and it still sucked.

  • a beast

    my ps3 broke so i played on the wii the colors were darker making it more real but of course texture and affects are worse and mw2 looks washed out on lcds.

  • Smokeyrose

    Treyarch sold out for the cash. They made an amazing game..cod 5 then saw how much mw2 made so copied and pasted it and cashed in. Dickheads.

  • i think the game looks awsome it is my favorite next to mwll, grapics kinda remind me of borderlands also great game, so all you stupid rich snobby spoiled brats can suck on te grapics department long live the tomahawk!!!!!!!

  • Jesse

    Black Ops has to be the biggest letdown of the decade. Absolutely horrible. Did they all smoke themselves into a time machine going in reverse? Treyarch, you guys are going to be out of a job soon. I saw an ad in the paper for telemarketing from home.. if you give me your email addresses, I'll send you an application.. The game is on rails with no options to make your own decisions. The graphics.. can you say more polygons, The storyline, seriously are you going to jump us back to the first world war too? What a bunch of idiots

  • 7amad

    They dnt care about us they just care about the money….

    And a lot of ppl got cod black ops

  • T.A

    I don't really care about GFX, but more interested in variety and gameplay in which Black Ops has succeeded thoroughly. Not really worth the $150 but if I had it, I wouldn't return it.

  • Adam

    I have a Gainward GTX 460 with 2 GB VRAM and i7 860 3.2 with 8 gb ram
    **** this game, it lags to much . From 80 down to 7 fps and always jumping like that.

    I bought it today 2010 – 12 – 03 and still no patch to fix lag.
    Really bad…
    Is it because its treyarch now or what?

  • hamid

    shit…. all week i've been looking forward to christmas, to get black ops, and now i read this… i 'm really diappointed, myself i saw my friiend play this on his ps3, and the textures looked like ps2-era. i know gameplay is more important, but BO didn't live up to it's hype. and whats all this about it being cartoony??? screw this, i dont know if im even gonna buy this anymore, i think im just gonna get MW2 instead.

  • diddly

    It is a truly atrocious game

  • Abdul-Rahman

    The graphics arent that good because infinity ward made Mw2 and it didnt help in the making of blackops

  • The Dutch N00B

    bad graphics?? wtf mw2 is NOT better then black ops! it's just harder too shoot someone with an smg over the map.. without the lagg bo is f*cking AWESOME!! i will NOT resort to mw2, if you play both you'll really see why black ops is better 😉

    • EdgeCo

      your name lets me know why you like Black Ops better than MW2

  • Sonofcod

    This game is just crap, it really does look like a cartoon… What’s the point of all the extras when the game is s**t, maps r s**t too and small, no good sniping map and a lot of unused space in some maps. The maps look like they where hand painted… Looks like a game from 5 years ago. mw1 had better graphics I think… I’m not hating on the game that’s just the truth and I don’t know why people keep defending this when it’s clearly worse then the one before it.

  • PCgamer

    Why COD:BO graphic sucks?Because the Xbox 360 and PS3 are sucks,with my PC and open all settings to high, it is an epic game i ever play, f*** MW2 and IW

  • Scott

    Hi Ive just got Black ops well were do I start about the graphics im not botherd but its nothing like MW2 the thing that reall gets me going mad is the fell of the game when you aim and shoot some one omg it is pathetic i lost my receipt so i have to keep the game lol well no way i gave it to my next door nabour 🙂

  • sad

    To sum this game up,
    Gameplay: about the same as MW2
    Graphics: worse than MW2.
    Also the whole purchase your guns thing is just crap, i liked getting kills to unlock perks and guns, now you just buy them its shit. Treyarch just got sucked into the shit of Halo Reach with the whole buy your armor BS
    The maps are also complete shit. If you don't have a nice place to camp you're dead as enemies spawn right behind you. Spawning in front of RC cars is also fun.

  • Filippo

    Not just graphics.. Multiplayer (which is what we all bought it for really) is absolutely slow unresponsive and laggy – connection drops just about every other game and for some reason game seems to respond to other movements (and my friends too as I tested on theirs to check) – i will look at a killcam where I got killed wondering why i got the stick after emptying a mag and for some reason no shot hit him?
    btw, as i am writing this Black ops is AGAIN stuck (5th time in an hour), but this time (for the nth time!) I am going tohave to power down the PS as there seems no other way


  • zoobaum

    Outdated graphics definitely detract, but let's say something positive: The russian guy with sweat/water all over his face looked cutting-edge. It was really just the washed-out map textures that didn't match at the edges that got to me…

  • I wish I had bought an Xbox 360 and Halo. This game blows next to MW2. All that waiting and anticipation for something that feels less than its predicessor. So dissapointed.

  • William Archer

    Well the difference between MW2 graphics and BO's graphics is night and day. I play on a Geforce 9800 GTX graphics card and run everything on high( I back off of ultra to ensure no lag) with a 32inch HD TV as my screen. In MW2 I could see a person clear as day from all the way across the map no problem, but for BO sometimes it takes me being right in front of the person before my eyes even realize there is something there. It is not however a big enough deal breaker for me to regret buying BO. It is a good game with lots of new features and maps, as long as there isn't lag I think this game is overall 8 out of 10 for PC.

  • Tom

    PC game locks up repelling down a mountain one quarter of the way through. I have to quit through the task manager. Back to the store . There should be legal action against companies that release hyped up buggy crap like Black Ops. 60 bucks wasted.

  • Black ops suck

    Bad company 2 and black ops both have different graphics the only difference is that Bo looks faker and cartoonish oh yeah i took the black ops game back a day after i bought it Bc2 Vietnam is going to murder black ops

  • josh

    the graphics are worse because the engine is a lot more demanding and requires a lot more intense hardware to run it, and that's where your problem lies. no doubt you're all on about the console versions graphics and their hardware is so outdates it's unreal. i play it on PC at max settings because it's capable of doing so at a smooth rate, and i can assure you, the graphics are FAR superior to that of MW2. the textures are so much sharper and the game generally looks a hell of a lot better.

  • ben_J

    i love what treyarch has done with the game. at least they listen to the wants and needs of the community. we asked for less hackers and boosters, and they said "ok, we'll change tactical insertions" and anyone caught hacking or boosting is punished. Infinity ward never really gave a damn about its customers. MW2 was booster and hacker infested and the spawning was HORRIBLE. sure the graphics in B.O mays be a bit outdated but i'd much rather play a game thats free of all the bull**** in MW2. And as for the "slow, laggy multiplayer". almost all mmo's start off with problems…. as soon as treyarch find them they will patch the game up. unlike infinity word who couldn't really be bothered..

  • Magnus

    No those people whos saying that Black ops has less better graphics than Mw2 doesnt know what graphics are the graphics in Black Ops is maybe 10% better than Mw2 but i think the PC Preformance you need to play this game compared to Mw2 is a big game breaker

  • Captain Jew

    I don’t if its just me, but in Single player i got randon CPU usage increase and in Combat Training on Multi if i play a game over 5 minutes i get a “lagg spike” which increases my ping from 50ish to 400ish… Why does this do this?? it works fine if all my games are under 5 minutes…

    On another note: Black ops has worse graphics than MW2 but requires a higher graphics card??? why? wat the hell?? MW2 runs so smoothly on PC and Blpoops =] was said to suppose to be easier on ur PC than MW2… i guess the only thing they ment is a 4GB space decrease….

  • david

    i suffered from terrible lag even though i put the texture and everything as low as possible, which made it look like a 1980 game, and even when i put it high it looks way worse than mw2, graphics suck, im totally disappointed

  • Blahu

    MW2 experience beats the shit out of BO. Dunno what was the idea with that weapons, they feel like made of plastic, and shotguns are OMG !!! you're getting killed by submachineguns with suppressor while spraying that stupid Olympia in vain. In close quarter combat shotguns should rule, not be obliterated by all other weapons. IW understood that, Treyarch didn't.
    GFX is shit compared with MW2, details are non-existent, there is also a general feeling of lag, too many RC-XD which are almost impossible to shoot down…I mean, c'mon in MW2 you can at least go behind sentry-guns which are 5 kill-streak and knife them down. In BO there is no RC-XD dodging unless you can climb up, and the the maps are almost flat.
    Release dogs killstreak versus Nuclear Nuke, cartoonish weapons with stones as projectiles compared with the powerful feeling of SCAR-H, AK and Rangers, Model, SPAS, Magnum etc. BO is a middle class game, suited for a newly created company which tries to copy a recipe for success, not at all a successor for MW2 nor an equal at least. BIG BIG disappointment 🙁 🙁 and I hoped so much when I bought it.
    Treyarch, just go back and do an addon for MW2 containing COD points and dedicated server. You'll be acclaimed for that.

  • David

    I feel like the Black Ops should be Xbox or Playstation compatible. It certainly does not live up or even look good on HD screens.

  • Shepard

    Just played the opening level…after it crashed and crashed and crashed. This is completely unacceptable in today's competitive market. I am so frustrated with the obvious laziness of Treyarch who thought they could ride off the back of the far superior MW2 and just take everyones money. On finishing the opening level it crashed and will be brought back tomorrow, that's after the 5 or so crashes just to get it started. The graphics, sound and atmosphere are just shocking from what I and I think fans of the franchise would have expected. I would love to see where this game was tested. Has Treyarch released any sort of opinion on the fact the game is about to be a complete flop?

    Epic fail. Now going to play a 59p game on my iPad.

  • Andrew

    I wouldn't say graphics are terrible but they're not the very best. Modern Warfare 2 had better graphics (not that much better) compared to Black Ops but I would have to say Black Ops has some great gameplay. I would still still recommend the game though. I personally like it. Better killstreaks, (except no nuke) weapons,and the new call of duty currency. So I wouldn't say the graphics nor the sound is a "game breaker".

  • Riaan

    Still not playable on PC after patch was applied:(

  • vomitthesoul1

    dude the graphics were bad and the rc car i mean get real man i know its a game but they made it to sci fi. i hope the court case is settled soon so we can get a real game like mw3

  • Anthony

    Black Ops has terrible graphic on my full hd lcd tv even using HDMI, if i watch it from 1 meter away I can hardly see the distant enemies in the jungle, so it is advised to sit further from your tv, but the 'nice' part of the graphic is not noticable from bigger distance, so its fucked up, any1 get me ? Why make this sub-720p, you cant really enjoy it on your tv. 🙁 was so hyped

    • Magnus

      Im playing Black Ops with my PC on my TV with 1080P and it looks amazing

  • b3rN

    This game really sucks. Treyarch needs to do a lot of fixing to do, starting grahphics and online multiplayer..

  • Val

    I have a pretty top end gaming laptop. MW2 ran perfectly on multiplayer with all the settings set to maximum. Black ops gets frame skips on lower resolutions with game settings set to minimum. The worst 60$ spent in my life.

  • keith

    I'm very disappointed with that game, unfortunately i bought the PC version and already registered it on steam. ): I do not like that it has no coop, i do not like that there is a only one Zombies map (also Steams really bad servers for it). I was expecting at least a 32 player DM or what would have been the best would have been a 64 player DM like CODWAW PC. And last but certainly not least, the graphics. WHY DIDN'T THEY USE DIRECT X 11! At least direct x 10 would have satisfied. I don't give a **** how detailed the game is, the graphics still suck!

  • sean

    what i really dont understand is how they could hav created such a perfect campaign, with top notch graphics and gameplay, and then… give up when it came to multiplayer. anyone who has played the campaign knows that its graphics surpass even MW2, and it is action packed and simply fun. giant let down when it came to the "flat" graphics and boring gameplay in multiplayer.

  • Just a gamer

    Graphics are a deal breaker!! Its 2010. Is it too much to ask for a fun game that plays great AND looks great. And for all those PC gamers that’s fine but we want it to look great on console also. Absolutely a deal breaker especially when we all know the damn company hAs the damn money to make them better!! It’s not like were talking bout some measly Lil company… This is treyArch and COD is a huge lucrative franchise. So disappointed in the graphics and not in love with the multiplayer maps either.

  • Poppa

    Agree for sure that the graphics are shit looks almost like a counter-strike game, very dissapointed hope they wil make it better and add some real maps not like Nuketown :S ,
    And there are not allot of options extra only zombie mode ( from cod 5 not very a diffrence) , Wager match ( witch is an awesome game mode for online multyplayer and that you can play splitscreen online-Awesome) .

    So for those they still not played , it's just a dissapointment! whack!
    until they do something about it.

  • Josue

    I've been playin Call of Duty since its first COD game quickly after it came out since i was a huge fan of Medal Of Honor, and as all u by now know Medal Of HOnor was made by Infinity ward back in the days!!.. I'm a PC and Console gamer and this is by far the worst Call Of Duty game ever in graphics!!.. Treyarch also made Call of Duty 3 wich didnt even get a 6.0 overall score.. Treyarch has made all the bad COD games. except the COD "United Offensive" expansion wich was heck a lot of fun with tanks and all that..that is the only good product that Treyarch has ever done and that was back for the first insttallment of COD on PC.. I was expecting not much from them on Black OPs.. but at least something similiar to MW2 but with some new stuff.. and yeah there is alot of new stuff wich just playinly suck!!!.. Multiplayer graphics are jsut aweful and the sounds and death are awful..Nuketown Maps is the worst graphical map ever in a cod game!!.. I am rerturning this game mainly due to the poor graphics, bad sounds, no "OmG felling" on kills.. boring as hell… …………………………. this should be call Call OF DUTY Lego OPs.. grapchis just look like a lego game!!!

  • Elexx

    I'm really trying to like the game … but it's just not working..

    ok, graphics and sounds are disappointing…

    But there's more than that … I just can't have fun playing this game.

    And the gameplay … makes me feel it's the first time i play an FPS.

    As it was said before, hard to play 2 games straight without massive lags or crashes.

    With all this and no positive points on this game … i'm going back to MW2… no hesitation.

  • Laon-Fait

    I need to shut people up…

    BO- Worst graphics mean a lack of realism. Meaning I feel like I'm shooting little cartoon characters. Not only that though… All explosions sound like Party poppers. Everybody says that MW2 had overpowered KS's… No they didn't. As the game went along, the Ks's were easier to obtain as people got better. I have seen already 32 hinds, 4 dogs. 57 cobras and 3 attack heli's… Never the less the inevitable RC car..

    It takes more skill to play a broken game such As mw2. I am getting noob tubed in BO… seriously? THey should make the Noobs and rocket ammo cost money…

    And the spawning system… I spawned, and got stabbed within 2 seconds of being alive…
    Such a dissapointment… And the guns are HYPERPOWERD!!!!! I HAVE NEVER SEEN A GAME WHERE THE SMG'S ARE AS STRONG AS LMG!!!!

  • Frankie

    This was a amateur release by Treyarch. To even release a game knowing the graphics were far worse then an older version of the same game title is unacceptable. A bunch of amateurs in that office apparently care more about the immediate money then future money because i will never by anything with that name attached to it. Better work on a new company but do yourselves a favor and trim A LOT of fat first.

  • J J

    Graphics were a major let down.. I really wanted my money back after I saw how bad they were. MW2 is still superior.. I don't care how many game modes are available for BO.. Graphics suck ass. Feels like I am playing Goldeneye on N64. Fuck You with a long dick treyarch.

  • ramon

    game is alright but the graphics are the same as waw

  • luis

    This game reminds me of Resistance 2. Horrible Graphic, cartoonish look, and the sound "phew, pheew!" C'mon!

  • Chris

    I find it hilarious how people complain about BO sucking, and then go on to say MW2 is great. Go buy yourself MW1 ans play it. MW1 > MW2*1000000. MW2 was by far the worst game in the series. Graphics and matchmaking were excellent but everything else was terrible

  • candy man

    guys dont forget that this wasnt make by IW but by Treyarch en these guys make bad cod games. so what did you expect, some kind of mw2 but better, i did not.

  • edog

    GRAPHICS SUCK!! A friend brought it over where three of us were anticipating it. It was a complete and utterly HUGE let down. We have bought every COD since the begining.

    First of all the graphics are cartoony.
    2nd, the sound omg what the hell happened?? They dont sound like real guns shooting anymore.
    Third, Gameplay is completly unrealistic.

    I have no idea how they ever approved this game. Me and my friends are not buying it. We'll stick to MW2 until something else can compete with it.

    INFINITY WARD YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!!! Im sorry you guys couldnt have made this game.

    Edog, pasadena

  • Dan

    Such a let down. Graphics and sound WTF?

  • Dan

    Such a let down. Graphics and sound WTF?
    I hear gunshots across the maps so loud then a guy right behind me sounds like hes barely there….
    Maps are designed like shit, simply to avoid camping? You cant use scavenger to reload claymores, so why change the maps? Some of us would still like to perch up and play defensive every once and a while rather than running around in buildings with 10 entry ways and killing only to be killed.
    SPAWNS – probably the worst part, all i do it check my ass every two seconds to make sure ten guys arent spawning right behind me as I flank the enemy.

    plus many more flaws I wont even get into…I only play this because I wasted the money on it, it's not something I even look forward to. I'll go 35-10 and not even enjoy it
    TWO thumbs down.

  • Stephan23

    Seriously…it sucks bigtime. Indeed the whole gameplay, graphics, story and so on takes you back to World at War. It would have been a good game….if released in 2005.
    It's a major setback compared to MW2.

    Not even mentioning the lag's and glitches, hoping Treyarch will fix.

    Too bad… 🙁

  • when I spend 2k+ on a Triple SLI machine yes.. I expect a AAA title to have great current gen graphics..

    this current trend of throwing low res textures.. and console ports on current gen PCs is just retarded and needs to go back to the old days where PC games drove the PC parts market.

  • Greg

    My first impression of the graphics were not positive, however as I played more I realized that they aren't "worse" than MW2, they are simply different. It is a different engine, and it is actually quite remarkable how much detail is in the textures and how smooth the gameplay really is. That said, the biggest differing factor is in the physics engine. And I will agree that MW2 looked a little more natural. However, I have to completely disagree that the nuketown map is cartoony. It is an excellent map in both the way it looks and plays (I find most the Black Ops maps vastly superior to MW2's maps, especially the complete waste of money that most of the add-on maps were). The throwback, novel look of NukeTown is what infinity ward tried (but failed) to accomplish with the carnival map. The bottom line is that it looks and plays better than any other shooter out there, save maybe other titles in the same series. One thing I will not argue with is that it looks much better than Treyarch's World at War.

  • fuzznuts

    Graphics suck, story mode sucks, and zombie mode sucks. This game sucks.