Release Date: November 13th, 2012
Platform: [Reviewed:Xbox 360], PlayStation 3, PC
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rated: M for Mature
Long story short, once a year, duty calls. Activision places Call of Duty into the hands of the two strategic developers of the series, Infinity Ward and Treyarch. We gave Modern Warfare 3 a high-ranking, only to later regret that decision. The replay value, along with Elite services over time felt unwanted as gamers began to wander back over to Black Ops.
So here we are, two years later at Treyarch’s doorstep . We’re still partaking in Black Ops, but the story has pushed many years ahead of its predecessor. The single player campaign focuses on Raul Menendez, between the 1980’s and 2025, as narrated by Frank Woods. As the story moved on from Black Ops, Woods and friend, Alex Mason pursued Menendez only to seal their own fate (no spoilers here).
Menendez, leader of Cordis Die as well has a “we aren’t all born evil” backstory, though it matters not, as we know who he is today. Mason’s son David, a Navy Seal, acquires as much as he can regarding Menendez in an effort to catch the mastermind that’s still on the loose.
I started Black Ops 2 with neutral expectations. Typically every COD is the same. You can tell by the package that Treyarch didn’t want the experience to be another “been there, played that” game. Though, as the end result, it still is. There are plenty of exciting moments, but nothing over the top to define the series. The futuristic era in which you play looks amazing, but plays modern.
COD can sometimes move back and forth, to where it feels to be a bit complicated to follow the story. That’s not the case here, Black Ops 2’s story strings together quite well, including twist that you won’t see coming. Why? Simply because your decisions will control a few of the outcomes.
Indeed one of Treyarch’s most creative decisions for Black Ops 2, was the ability to make decisions throughout the campaign. There were a few moments where my partner wanted me to takedown one target while they executed the other, only to eventually kill them both and give me a sarcastic remark. Later decisions, are much more difficult with so little time on the battlefield.
While touching on time, Call of Duty has a few set backs. In some missions, slow pacing around objectives will cause you to automatically fail the mission. Even when moving in route, you may still fail without warning. Then there is the length of the campaign. People that’s expecting a lengthy story will be disappointed. I clocked around 6-8 hours gameplay.
Black Ops 2 arguably has the best graphics to date in the series, especially through cut-scenes Sadly, some of Black Ops 2’s greatest moments involves you watching rather than playing. The ability to both captivate and balance game-play is a fine line that can be difficult for some developers to handle. Black Ops 2, plays it safe on both accounts.
There’s plenty of Intel and special “assets” to take advantage during the course of gameplay. You can also play side missions called “Strike Force,” which serve as mini games allowing you to play as yourself, robots and the commander saving access points. In English, it’s an RTS session of domination. However you can skip over them if you choose, as it will not affect the campaign.
Mini objectives are in the campaign as well. You can attempt to complete them during gameplay. Failing them will not hurt you overall, however, your pride may take a bruising.
Now this is where Treyarch makes you put your money where your mouth is. Multiple maps and game modes, within Call of Duty Zombies, does more than raises the bar for Black Ops 2. It shows why they are the dominant source for the undead lovers.
With new maps, new zombies, new guns, killing the dead for a second time has never felt so good. There’s plenty of interesting strategies to execute in each map. Expect a challenge though as zombies can super jump a to few high points when a “fire” is lit under them. You’ll come across a few new weapons on walls and mystery boxes that’s going to strike excitement.
If you wish to increase the difficulty, you have the options of enabling headshots only and disabling magic, meaning that there’s no fire rising from the ashes. It’s a huge perk to get zombies to walk over the fire, as it causes them to explode while preserving a few bullets.You can choose from Tranzit, which walks you through the back story for everyone that enjoys researching theories like Telixion. If you don’t want to learn anything and prefer slaying the heavy handed zombies you can choose survival. You’ll notice a few changes in this mode, for example the lack of transportation. In addition, you will have lesser weapons and only a few perks available.
There’s also a new mode called grief. In grief there is up to eight players, four as the CIA and four as CDC (Center for Disease Control). You can come together as one to survive until the end or weave out the weak links in the process. While working as a team zombies will do the same. Either way, death is imminent.
Side note: There’s a few maps that are currently locked to prepare yourself for. Zombies never felt sooooo Ahhhhh Amazing!
So, on to the second, and possibly most popular, half of the game, multiplayer. Replay value means everything to the longevity of FPS’s. Black Ops 2 delivers in every way possible. You’re dealt the same match types as previous COD’s, but it “feels” nothing like them. Two things stand out in MP, maps and load outs.
Some areas are huge, giving players plenty of space to roam, as well as hide out, find cover and vantage points. It may feel like a lot is going on through each staging area, but you’ll adjust within minutes. Here, a few futuristic weapons and perks refresh the overall experience.
You have your traditional 5 custom slots, but with twist all over. Attachments are already unlocked for you. It’s the ultimate selection screen that you’ll be in for quite some time setting your primary, and secondary weapons along with perks. However, there a few wildcards in the mix.
For the gamblers and risk takers you can choose “wildcards.” For each wildcard used, it takes away from your normal load out. You can add a second perk from the same category, a second primary weapon as the secondary load out, extra attachments and/or grenades, but as a twist, lose your attachments and such from your normal class setting.
Killstreaks no longer exist in Black Ops 2. Instead, you have a Scorestreak that grant you the ability to use rewards after achieving the set score needed to enable it.
I can ensure gaming enthusiast have a legitimate reason to pick up Black Ops 2. Outside of campaign, it’s NOT just another retailed DLC at full value. It’s simply the best update to that the Call of Duty series have seen in a while.
Replay Value: 4.75/5
Overall Rating: 4.75/5