machofantastico's Call of Duty: Black Ops II (PC) review

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review.

Black Ops 2 is an infuriating game, one that isn't the fresh exciting advancement to the franchise the advertisements would have you believe. It's certainly not a bad game, but for every smart and sensible change the folks at Treyarch made, they go and spoil it all by having dialogue which is at times laughable and over the top set pieces which fail to thrill, no matter how many explosions are on screen at once.

The Call of Duty games have split people into two camps, those who hate it and those who pretty much love everything about it, well the multiplayer at least. I like to think I sit in the middle in the hope that one day they can turn the franchise around, in fact that's exactly why I went and played Black Ops 2. Unfortunately the new mechanics they've added are half-hearted and the changes they've made to multiplayer modes while welcomed, do little to make this a new multiplayer experience.

This dude is the worst!
This dude is the worst!

But maybe I'm being to harsh on Black Ops 2, after all it's a perfectly fine Call of Duty game, certainly better than Modern Warfare 3. But it's the potential promise that might infuriate the most, because deep down there's real promise in both the Black Ops storyline and the new Strike force missions which is one of the two important additions to the campaign. But it's as if someone at Activision went "remember folks, twelve year old kids enjoy this" and so decided to add dialogue and dramatic moments that might has well been thought up by a twelve year old kid.

Following on from the enjoyable and intriguing storyline of the original Black Ops, the campaign takes place in two eras, the 1980's and the 2020's. The story as the potential to thrill and some smartly hidden objectives and decisions along the way can affect how the story evolves. It feels like a wasted opportunity however, good things could have come of these changes but at the end of the day this is still about shooting guys in the face with either weapons from the 1980's or the crazy fun weapons of the future. For some, that'll be enough and I don't blame them, we don't all have time to play a forty hour epic RPG. In that regard, you'll be more than satisfied.

The campaign as some real highlights to, none being any of the over the top set pieces the franchise is so famous for. I don't know about you, but I don't find a bazillion explosions on the screen at once that thrilling any more and the fact that pretty much everything explodes as if it were a nuclear bomb just adds to my weariness. It's not all bad, like I said the campaign as it's moments, one being a rather intense scene in a futuristic nightclub as dubstep music adds to the tension as you seek to rescue someone of importance from bad guys, if anything it proves that Call of Duty can still pull off those tense moments when it needs to.

I'm numb to the endless explosions.
I'm numb to the endless explosions.

But does Black Ops 2 continue the tense tale of the first game, nope sadly not. It's a shame because there's great potential in the weird back story that was formed in the original Black Ops. Instead the game mainly focuses away from 'the numbers' with a typical beat the bad guy before the world explodes storyline. That bad guy is Raul Menendez, arguably one of the most interesting villains in a Call of Duty game to date, though the potential is wasted on a forgettable and at times baffling story of drones, special materials and so forth. Oh and I won't even mention the awful video at the end of the credits... Treyarch and Activision, shame on you!

Multiplayer of course can't be passed by and thankfully it's still fun and challenging in the fair and balanced way you'd expect. While most of the modes return, some changes have been made to how you can customize your load out. A new points system allows the player to remove, swap and change the entirety of the class, allowing players to vary greatly to load out they use in battle. Want to have a class entirely based on having a knife? Black Ops 2 allows you to do that. While it doesn't dramatically change the competitive multiplayer, it's certainly welcomed though if you've never cared much for the multiplayer in Call of Duty games, Black Ops 2 won't change your mind any time soon. Just know that the Call of Duty multilayer is more varied than ever when it comes to giving players a larger variety of options in what to take to battle.

Competitive multiplayer and Zombie mode are still great fun.
Competitive multiplayer and Zombie mode are still great fun.

Treyarch's now signature Zombie mode returns and again it's where I found most of my multiplayer thrills. It's still your typical zombie mode seen in past Call of Duty games, but a few things have changed. The new Tranzit mode sees players shifting from one location to another through a strange but humorous bus, fighting off the hungry zombie horde as you seek to survive and meet specific requirements at each location and survival mode is there for those looking for a more traditional zombie experience. It's fun, but there's certainly potential in expanding zombie mode even further and what's on offer within Black Ops 2 feels a little bit of a let down.

So when it comes down to it Black Ops 2 is an infuriating game. The first attempts to 'revolutionise' Call of Duty feels half-hearted and thanks to awful dialogue, stupid moments of men being as macho as they possibly can and a waste of actual potential, makes it a difficult game to recommend if you haven't already jumped on board the CoD train. It's certainly not the worst we've seen from the franchise, but most certainly the worst at squandering it's potential.

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