Call of Duty Blacks Ops 2 is a first person shooter developed by Treyarch and published by Activision. Black Ops 2 is the sequel to 2010’s smash hit Call of Duty: Black Ops. Blacks Ops 2 is the first game in the Call of Duty series to feature futuristic warfare technology and branching story paths. Does the new futuristic warfare technology and branching story paths provide enough to re-invigorate the stale modern military shooter genre?
Black Ops 2 takes place in two different time periods and has you cycling between various characters throughout its single player campaign. The two interconnected storylines take place in 1970-1980s during the Cold War and the year 2025 during the new Cold War. During the first Cold War you play as Alex Mason on a mission to save Frank Woods who has been captured by Nicaraguan narco terrorist Raul Menendez. During the 2025 sections you play as Alex Mason’s son David Mason. David is on a mission to track down Menendez who is planning to launch attack on the United States. Mendendez hope this attack will provoke a new Cold War conflict between the U.S. and China. In my opinion, Black Ops 2 offers the most concise and well told story in the Call of Duty series. For the first time, the jump from character to character is more coherent and offers plenty of back story for their motivations and actions throughout the campaign. This holds especially true with the game’s lead antagonist Raul Menendez. For the first time, Call of Duty is able to paint a believable villain that is able to break the mold of a stereotypical Russian or Middle Eastern Terrorist. Menendez’s motivations are clear and are presented in a way that almost makes you sympathize with his cause. This is due in part to the campaign doing an excellent job of showcasing the reality of war, where there is no clear good versus evil. Both sides seem to get their hands dirty and do whatever needs to be done to complete their objectives. The game’s campaign also intertwines a more personal story into a global conflict which gives the game better context to the actions happening around you. With all that said though the most apparent and welcomed change is the branching story paths that present you will various ending depending on the condition you fulfil throughout the game. This change finally brings replayability to the Call of Duty franchise as you can play out each mission a different way each time in order to decide who to save or let die during the campaign. Also the amount of Strike Force missions that you take on change the outcome of the New Cold War as you gain or lose certain allies depending on the success or failure in these missions. In conclusion, the story in Black Ops 2 is probably its most redeeming factor and it finally brings some innovation to the linear structure found in most Call of Duty games.
The graphics in Blacks Ops 2 is nothing groundbreaking. Besides the futuristic locations in 2025, you have your standard deserts and jungles that you find in any other military shooter on the market. What Black Ops 2 executes on well through, like its predecessors, is its solid performance. The game runs at a solid framerate of 60 frames per second and can runs smoothly at 1080p resolution for PC players and 720p for consoles. That decision alone makes the Call of Duty series one of the most frantic and action centric shooters on the market. The games ability to perform so well while retaining solid graphics is probably what leads to its success every year. The truth is that we probably won’t see a leap in graphical fidelity until the next gen Call of Duty as Infinity Ward has built such a strong game engine that all of Call of Duty games are built upon.
The gameplay in Call of Duty has always been solid in my opinion and for the first time I feel divided on my impressions based on both the single player and multiplayer. The reason for this being that you can tell that Treyarch put most of its focus on creating a compelling and different campaign experience from previous Call of Dutys. The problem with this is that they left the multiplayer mostly unchanged. As for the campaign, the futuristic tech allows for some of the most interesting set piece moments and gameplay sections that the series has ever seen. Since the game is only 13 years in the present, the game is able to provide more believable technology while retaining most of the weapons that Call of Duty players are accustomed too. Unlike previous games though, future wars are defined by robotics, cyber warfare, and unmanned vehicles. This allows you to control robots like the CLAW, a quadrupedal drone and uses mechanical legs for movement while yielding s powerful gatling gun, grenade launchers, and a flamethrower for combat. There are also sections where you hack gun turrets, fly in wingsuits, and unleash flying drones on your enemies. There is more variety to both the enemy types and the weapons that you use to take them out. Enemies now have the ability to cloak and use robotics as well which allows from some of the more interesting gameplay interactions. Gone are the days where you simply pop in out of cover to take out hordes of enemies in firing galleries. Some of futuristic weapons also allow you to auto target enemies, see through, or shoot through walls, smoke, and camouflage. Besides the futuristic sections there are also some interesting decisions made during the Cold War sections. These include firing a rocket launcher while on horseback, protecting Miguel Noriega, and the adrenaline fueled section where you massacre Nicaraguan Death squads as Raul Menendez. Another new addition is the Strike Force missions. Strike Force missions are a set of five missions where you get to command a squad of individual units which play out like a real time strategy game. You get to command soldiers, drones, and mechs from an overhead command view or jump between the individual units themselves. Unfortunately, the Strike Force missions ultimately fall flat. For one the controls are unintuitive as you cannot rally units to follow individuals. You can only have your units move to where you direct them on the map. Also, the A.I. does a poor job of defending points or attacking units after you direct them. It seems the only way to be successfully at the Strike Force Missions is to command the units individually. The only other addition to the single player is the ability to customize your loadout before each level. The multiplayer disappointedly on the other hands remain literally the same as every other Call of Duty game in the series. Besides new maps, new modes, new kill streaks, and changes in the ways the points are allocated, this the same multiplayer that players are accustomed too. The most noticeable change seems to be the way the game handles creating a class and customizing your loadout. When you create a class in Black ops 2, rather than unlocked perks,weapons, and equipment in a sequential order, the game now allows you to customize the loadout with any amount of perks, weapons, and equipment. The game balances this by allocating a point value to each perk, weapon, and equipment you own and you can equip whatever you want as long don't exceed the point limit of ten before going into a match. This is a great system for players who want to double up on perks or double up on a wide variety of weapons. The ability to do this was simply unachievable in previous games and is a welcome addition to the series. Treyarch also revamped the Prestige system with 10 prestiges and 55 levels. Every time you prestige your camos and attachments do not reset after prestiging allowing for you to use guns you previously unlocked. You also have the ability to reroll your character and re spec your character if you want to try out a new build. The last change is when you reach 10th prestige level 55 you can unlock everything in Create a class. While the multiplayer mode remains relatively unchanged the Zombie mode actually has a two new modes called Tranzit and Grief. In Tranzit Mode you travel in a bus which transports players from location to location. You still fight zombies and other creatures through waves, but the Tranzit mode adds more variety to the otherwise stale survival mode. The grief mode is basically survival mode with a twist. Grief is a two team survival mode where each team tries to out survive the other team. Teams can grief other opponents by knifing some when trying to revive their teammates or throwing monkeys at downed opponents. Overall Grief is a blast but I can see it wearing its welcome real quick. In conclusion, the gameplay of Black Ops 2 remains very similar to previous Call of Duty games with the only significant changes made to the single player campaign.
Like every other Call of Duty game before, Black Ops 2 is full of features. There is a single player campaign, multiplayer, and zombies. The single player campaign is short at 5 hours but can now be replayed multiple times to achieve the multiple endings. The multiplayer features 14 maps and all the standard modes from previous entries in the series. There are only two new modes called multi-team mode and hardpoint. The multi-team mode features three teams, with three players each, where you battle for map control and objectives. Hardpoint is more or less King of the Hill. The Zombies mode includes 3 maps and and 3 modes that you can play online with three other players or through two player split screen co-op. Probably the most advertised feature to be added to Black Ops 2 is the ability to record and stream gameplay. You can record gameplay and upload clips to the cloud or stream games directly to your Youtube account if you have that ability. These features will definitely allow Black Ops 2 to have a better presence in the eSports community. I personally think the ability to stream and record footage should be included in every game. I think it is nice that these features were added for individuals like me that stream and record gameplay footage. In conclusion, you will not find a better package this year besides maybe Halo 4 for shooter fans.
In conclusion, Black Ops 2 is the most innovative entry in the series. For this reason, I would recommend Black Ops 2 to fans who maybe haven’t enjoyed Call of Duty campaigns in the past. The branching story paths, new setting, and new technology allow for some of the most unique moments in any military shooter I have ever played. The story is compelling and is only matched by Spec Ops: Line earlier this year. As for the multiplayer and Zombies, it is more of same and generally expected at this point. I would say that these modes are not going to attract any new fans to the series, even if there are aren’t any left at this point. Overall, Black Ops 2 is a must buy for any multiplayer shooter fan out there.
Buy: If you are a fan of the previous multiplayer entries in the Call of Duty Series. Rent if you are only interested in the single player.