By Darren Franich
Updated November 09, 2010 at 03:00 PM EST
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Call of Duty: Black Ops hit stores this morning, exactly 364 days after Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 became a new national videogame monument, with first-day sales totaling $310 million. Although Black Ops is in the same series as Modern Warfare 2, it’s created by a different developer (Treyarch). In a marked contrast to the near-future Red Dawn-ishness of MW2, the story mode of Black Ops flashes back to the Cold War, with levels set in Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam. Most intriguingly, the Black Ops multiplayer has a new “wager system” where players can gamble in-game currency on their matches. (So, to recap: Communism bad. Gambling good.) But will Black Ops be able to compete with its highly praised predecessor?

Modern Warfare 2 was actually one of the first games I bought when I finally got my Xbox 360, and I spent roughly three months of my life trying and failing to become good at the multiplayer (or at least better than the obscenity-spewing fifth graders who kept on sniping me.) I’d be intrigued to see if some of the more die-hard multiplayer obsessives will be willing to move on to a new iteration of the franchise so quickly (especially one that’s not created by the MW2 masterminds at the pre-culling incarnation of Infinity Ward.) Black Ops comes with plenty of Hollywood-ish knick-knacks, like a script written by David Goyer (who wrote the Blade trilogy and worked with Christopher Nolan on the rebooted Batman films) and vocal performances by Gary Oldman, Ed Harris, and Ice Motherf—ing Cube.

PopWatchers, will you be purchasing Black Ops? Did you already purchase it at midnight last night? Isn’t there a chance that the new betting system will lead to some sort of Black Sox game-rigging further down the line? Do kids today even know what the Cold War was? Did anyone ever know what the Cold War was?

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