Call of Duty: Black Ops II

box art
8.6 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Multiplayer: 9/10
Zombies: 8/10

Balances story with action I Adds more multiplayer features I Creates a believable futuristic setting

Challenges take away from the story I Prone to bugs and glitches I Lack of female characters

Written by on December 6, 2012 in [, , , , , ]

Albert Einstein once said, “I do not know with what weapons World War 3 will be fought, but World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones.” While it is true that nobody knows what weapons our future selves will be using, Call of Duty: Black Ops II sure paints a scary picture of technological supergiants and humanity looming closer to wiping itself off the face of the planet. Black Ops II delivers an action-packed campaign, an infectious zombies mode and a competitive multiplayer mode that will cater to everyone’s style. This is Call of Duty‘s first futuristic setting and Black Ops II has a lot to prove.

The story in Black Ops II picks up with David Mason, son of Black Ops protagonist Alex Mason. As David recounts the life and death of his father the setting flashes back and forth between 1973 and 2025. We witness as David interrogates the antagonist, Raul Menendez, whose painful past plays out on screen. Back in 1973, Raul’s sister burns to death and Raul swears vengeance on those who are responsible for his loss. This scene is emotional, disturbing, and does a great job of pulling players into the drama. Raul has a past and throughout the story the player is a part of his rise to power through the eyes of soldiers future and past.

Missions take place between 2025 and immediately following Black Ops. You discover Menendez’s rise to power, witness different takes on events and try to put a stop to the upcoming technological war. Brand new to the series are choices that affect the story that unfolds in front of you. On each mission, depending on how you complete objectives and side missions, the story will change. If one of your teammates go down you can spend time trying to rescue them, or you can continue with the mission, thereby changing the outcome. This adds quite a bit of replayability to the game. I finished missions after making some tough decisions, then wondered what would happen if I replayed sections with different choices. The answer is that you can go back and replay individual missions, but in order to change the entire story you will have to start a new campaign altogether. The Call of Duty franchise hasn’t had much replayability up to this point so it is great to see that Treyarch finally got it right.

Another welcome addition to the storyline are the Strike Force missions, which act as real time strategy sections where you must complete an objective using a limited number of troops and equipment. Missions range from protecting generators, to assassinating high-priority targets, to giving convoys overwatch while they drive through enemy infested territory. During each mission you can provide overwatch and order your troops to attack, advance, or defend certain locations. You can also take control of troops and take matters into your own hands. If you want to play as a land assault vehicle you can take control of it in first person and wreak havoc on the enemy.

Each mission has challenges which you can complete, such as staying in overwatch mode the entire time, keeping a predetermined amount of troops alive, or using certain tactics to take the objective. These missions go along with the story and help determine how the main storyline pans out. If you fail an objective you can choose to allow the outcome or try again, but with fewer troops to control. On normal mode you shouldn’t have much trouble completing the missions, but on the harder difficulties it takes a lot of strategy and planning to prevail. I really hope that more of these missions get released later on because Strike Force missions are a ton of fun and I can’t get enough of them.

Black Ops II’s story is full of twists and turns that will keep you in awe of what’s happening on the screen. Just when you think it’s over, the game flips the player on their head. Black Ops was full of action and drama and Black Ops II goes above and beyond to deliver a dynamic experience.There are a few glitches here and there, such as enemies defying physics by floating in midair, save points that spawn you on top of live grenades and stealth missions being ruined by AI. The only other concern has to do with the lack of females in the story. Besides the President and Raul’s sister, there aren’t any females that appear in the story as actual characters. Every person you fight alongside is a male, and it would have been nice to see an actual representation of women in the military. It is 2025 after all. Overall though, Black Ops II takes the franchise to a whole new setting, introduces unique characters, and throws the player into an action-packed experience with actual replayability.

Zombies mode is back again in Black Ops II and offers players different game modes to whet their appetite for headshots and chaotic zombie action. There are currently three zombie maps that come on the disc, each of which has two modes to play. The maps included are Bus Depot, Farm and Town. All three of these maps can be played with either four players or eight, however if you play with eight players only one team of four is allowed to win. You could work together with the other team, but you never know when that camaraderie will end. This means that players need to stick together with their team and help each other out when they need a revive. Just because there are eight players doesn’t mean that this mode is easy though. It is amazing how fast you can get flooded and downed by zombies. This mode is fun, but interacting with the other players who will stop at nothing to prevent you from reviving your teammates seems cheap and immature. I’ve had players on the opposite team try to knife me just so I won’t revive my teammates.

There are small snippets of a story in these levels, but you aren’t playing Zombies mode to hear a story. Most of the mechanics from the previous Black Ops remain intact which is good because why fix something if it ain’t broke? On each level you will find vending machines, weapon boxes, and equipment. Killing zombies and repairing barriers will give you cash that you can spend on upgrading your weapons or yourself; something that is necessary for your own survival. Overall, Zombies mode is right where it needs to be. Despite having some issues interacting with other players, I love coming back to Zombies mode to fight for my life against the undead.

It would be an understatement to say that Black Ops II multiplayer is addictive. Call of Duty has long been revered as a multiplayer powerhouse and Black Ops II is no exception. New to multiplayer is the “Pick 10″ system which allows you to build your class using 10 slots. These slots can be filled up by weapons, attachments, perks and equipment. Taking it a step further, you can also use “Wild Cards” which allow you a second perk, equipment, or a third weapon attachment. You can build your class any way you want, allowing you to play according to your own style.

With the future setting comes new futuristic weapons and “scorestreaks.” Instead of earning scorestreaks for racking up kills, you now unlock them by earning points. Scorestreaks are more than just UAV’s, Predator Missiles and Helicopters now, as players can control Lightning Strikes, Fighter PlanesDeath Machines and much more. When it comes down to it, multiplayer packs a punch. You’ll see updated versions of your favorite guns, updated mechanics and, best of all, a true Call of Duty experience. With currently over a dozen maps to play on, over dozens of gametypes and the option to play competitively in a league, Black Ops II multiplayer will keep you busy for weeks, if not months.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II is a behemoth of a game, and for those of you who think that it is just a cookie cutter game with no updates or ingenuity, I urge you to at least rent it and give it a chance. There may be issues, but they don’t detract from the overall goodness. Do you have what is necessary to take the fight to the enemy, fend off the zombie hordes and triumph over your friends on the leaderboard? Pick up Black Ops II and find out just what kind of soldier you are. Hoorah!

A copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops II was provided to The Married Gamers for review.

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Author: Loren Nikkel View all posts by
Hardcore Xbox and occasional PC gamer. I love to play multiplayer and co-op games where strategy is key.

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