November 13, 2012
Call of Duty has always been one of my favorite franchises in gaming and always has me making excuses to fire up my Xbox and start playing. With Black Ops being one of my favorite in the series, I got excited when Black Ops II was first announced, and rest assured, it doesn't hold anything back.
They'll Always Need Men Like Us
I don't know how true that statement will be if the future is anything like Black Ops II. For now, however, we have the campaign to fool around with. Black Ops arguably had the best single player campaign of the franchise and now it has a worthy opponent: its sequel. For starters, this game has true cut scenes to watch before starting a mission. It's not just someone talking over a bunch of pictures or a map of the area you are about to head into. These are full fledged cut scenes with voice acting and animations. It seems like this should be commonplace for any game that is made today, but I guess Activision just didn't get the message until now. If you play a lot of games, you may not notice it is new to this franchise, but it is a very welcome addition. As for the actual story, it's one of the best. Though I won't say much about the story because saying much of anything could be a spoiler. Don't worry though, there are still plenty of big gunfights, huge set pieces, and plenty of drones and other gadgets to control along the way. The best thing about the campaign is that there are different endings based on choices you make throughout the game. Not to mention the fact that it never seems like you are winning the fight against Raul Menendez, the game's main antagonist. On a final note regarding the single player campaign, good luck playing on veteran.
The Bomb Has Been Planted
Now don't get me wrong, the single player is great, but we all know we are here for the multiplayer. Well it's back, and in a big way. I know a lot of people say that every year, but this does feel like a big step forward even for a game where adding one gun is a big step. I don't even know where to start, but I'll try. First off, the killstreaks are now truly scorestreaks and playing the objective factors really weigh into getting them. Instead of just running around in domination killing people, you are rewarded for capturing the flags more than ever in this game. One kill in domination is worth 1/4 the points that you get for capturing an enemy flag. More and more, people are actually helping the team rather than themselves. Next, all the guns, perks, equipment, and scorestreaks seem very balanced and nothing seems overpowered. This is huge because more often than not, there have always been one or two guns people flock to because they are obviously better than every other one available. Another great feature is "CoD TV." This allows you to upload videos of game-play and other random stuff right to YouTube or other websites. It also allows you to find and commentate a match like a true MLG game-caster. This is great for someone who plays GameBattles and can now upload their clan's matches to YouTube for the world to see. Although everything is great with the game-play, there are always some issues. One is that the spawns could use some tweaking and there is a weird lag/hit detection problem with the game at the time of writing this review. Treyarch are known for fixing their issues fairly quickly and if they follow that trend, this could be the best Call of Duty yet. Yes, even better than Call of Duty 4.
Lastly come the zombies that have become a staple for Treyarch. Once again, its back in a very big way. It plays the same as the other two zombie modes, but there are a few differences. Zombie mode now follows a sort of campaign in itself by allowing you to discover the reason they are there and travel through different levels. Speaking of travel, you can make custom Zombie games with two distinct play types. One play type is "Tranzit" (this is where the travel comes in), where the player starts in one area and must complete the area objectives before hoping on the bus to move on to the next area. The second play type is classic "Survival", where the player sees how long they can survive in one area. The biggest change is that there can now be 4v4 Zombies called "Grief". This is basically team-based survival and only one team can survive. The only complaint with Zombie mode is that at some points it can seem too complex, with so much content, that it is overwhelming. Personally, I would rather have a smaller map to feel more like I am trapped, but that's just me and you should enjoy it all the same.
The Future Is Black
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has the potential to be the best, most well balanced Call of Duty every made. Judging by the sales, most of you probably have this game already, but if you don't I would really consider picking it up. Whether you have never played or you are a CoD master, there is something here for everyone and it will keep you coming back for more.