> # Welcome to GameGrinOS v1.01 > # How can I help you? > # Press ` again to close
>
Hello… | Log in or sign up
Call of Duty: Black Ops II Review

Call of Duty: Black Ops II Review

When I was tasked with reviewing this year's Call of Duty fix, my first reaction was to let out an audible groan, which I had expected to last until I finally reached the credits and could breathe again. However, as cynical as I was about playing this game, I was pleasantly surprised at its ability to immerse me in the story and keep my finger firmly on the trigger.

The vast majority of people would have purchased Black Ops 2, jumped straight into Multiplayer and never left, but me, being a traditional type of guy, dipped my toe gently into the campaign before plunging headfirst into it. The campaign is set within two time frames, the cold war and 2025 (the present) and revolves around the antics of Raul Menendez, the "bad guy". During the cold war missions, you play as the original Black Ops protagonists, Alex Mason and Frank Woods and follow Raul's journey to power whilst in 2025 you play as Alex's son, David Mason and are dealing with the after-effects of Raul's domination. All of this is linked together by future Sgt. Frank Woods who is retelling the story of the past whilst advising on the present.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

Right, now that I've re-worded that previous paragraph twelve times to get that clutter of information to make sense, I can move on! The first addition that I noted was that you can now customise your loadout before each mission. You can change up your guns, grenades and perks with a small amount of limitation (there's no taking your futuristic gadgetry back to the past, sorry chaps). This sort of customisation pleased me and made it so I could fight my way through the hordes of oncoming soldiers much more comfortably rather than having to scour the floor for something I preferred.

During the campaign, you will be faced with decision moments such as deciding to take the shot or let a target live which will later affect how the narrative plays out. There are a few of these quick time-esq events but there are also heat of the moment type decisions during intense moments. This is far from the first time that I have seen this in a game but it's a nice addition to see it implemented into what is known as the king of run and guns. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of run and gun within Black Ops 2, they haven't rewritten the genre or moved away from the Call of Duty roots in this sense but at least they have at least turned their left foot in that direction. It's a nice change.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

To throw some more variation into the mix, there are a handful of Strikeforce missions in which you control a team of units and drones to defend from or attack enemies within a certain time frame. You can either control the battle from a top-down type view or jump straight into the action and take control of one of the units. Now, this is no Ghost Recon but again, it's a step outside the comfort zone of what Call of Duty is known for which is nice to see. The completion of these Strikeforce missions directly affect the story which can add to the stress involved and I had a few close calls where failure was looming. The main issue is that the AI on your team is useless so it means that you end up having to hop around from different units to retake a battle but this challenge can be fun at times.

With this diversity and changes made to the campaign, I think this has been my favourite Call of Duty campaign to play-through since World at War. Even though it doesn't have the classic World War settings, it seems that Treyarch have got it right this time around and are stepping out of their comfort zones to actually bring something to the gamer rather than just rehash an old game and take our money.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

Multi-player time, hopefully I can get past this section without a handful of threats being sent to my inbox from angry gamers. Starting off with the pre-match stuff, the way that you equip and unlock new weapons, gadgets and perks has changed from Black Ops slightly. You gain access to different equipment as you level up but you have to still unlock this equipment for use using tokens you earn as you level giving the gamer more control over what they get and when. To add to this, the loadouts now have a points system in which every loadout can have no more than 10 items within it making things much more tactical than previous titles. There have been plenty of times where I have been trying to decide whether to take an extra secondary grenade or another attachment on my gun. It can be frustrating at times but makes things a bit more flexible on the playing field. With it being a new Call of Duty title, there will be new guns, attachments and perks which I won't go into but let me just say, some of them are rather interesting and tactical.

Once you've finished equipping your guns with all the fancies, it's time to move onto picking your game mode and Treyarch have quite the selection for us to choose from. You have all the traditional deathmatches, capture the flag, domination and party games such as one in the chamber, sticks and stone and gun game but what takes center stage is league play. This game mode caught my eye when I began playing but it wasn't until recently that I took a look at it. League play allows for you to battle against your own skill level in a Starcraft II style leaderboard where as you get more kills and fewer deaths, you move up in the leagues (and down respectively). Another large change within league play is that everything is unlocked from the get go. This means that it's effectively you playing at your best. You can have any loadout that you choose from and it's entirely about skill and less about rank. For me, I wasn't a huge fan of this game mode as I like to be rewarded for my achievements rather than the game just getting more difficult but for a lot of players, this could be a perfect game mode.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

The maps themselves feel a lot different to previous titles as well. Usually, I would stick with one loadout and stay consistent in my kill-death ratio but it seems that these new maps have made that very difficult for me. I have to constantly change between loadouts depending on the map and with it, my play style. I can no longer be that lone sniper, I have had to take up a machine gun and get into the action because otherwise, my kill-death ratio plummets. This has made for quite an interesting few hours and I have had to re-teach myself how to play differently.

Another new feature to Black Ops 2 is codcasting. This feature is very similar to that seen within Halo where you can watch replays of your games from multiple different angles and different viewpoints including picture-in-picture viewing. This can allow you to increase your strategic ability within the game whilst watching how others (and yourself) have played during a match and what gave them the advantage. When I fell upon this feature, I was expecting a lot more really. I was expecting the ability to edit videos and stream them to YouTube but alas, you can only codcast your games and the only audience that can view these directly are a maximum of 5 others who you can invite to a lobby. I hope to see something more added in the near future but I'm not holding my breath.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

We also see the return of the Zombie mode in Black Ops 2, which was one of my favourite pastimes within Black Ops. Getting a few friends together and blasting the undead into oblivion was always great and to see it here again makes my trigger finger smile. The Zombie mode is luckily still how I remember it from previous titles in being both manic and comedic at times. There are two new game modes added within Black Ops 2 though which are 8 Player and Tranzit. 8 player mode pits two 4 player teams against each other, whoever can survive the longest wins. Although you can't directly hurt the opposing team, sabotage is key; if a member of their team goes down, you better quick foot it over to their downed body so you can knife their teammates as they try to help him get up. This does no physical damage but it "bumps" them slightly, stopping the revive process.. This technique can also be used to push them into fire. Mix this with "zombie training" (having a line of zombies follow you) a horde of undead into their team and you've got yourself a great new game mode which is bound to bring laughs and curse words in bags. Tranzit puts a twist on the original survival mode where there is a bus which will take you from each location. If you miss the bus, you have to either run after it or remain where you are until it rolls around again. It's a nice twist but doesn't add too much to the game as there are only three locations the bus goes and soon gets repetitive.

All in all, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is far from what I expected. The campaign is a lot more immersive than any of its predecessors and the new additions to multi-player whilst keeping the heart of it alive has made for a brilliant experience. Zombie mode has some nice changes but in essence has remained the same which isn't terrible, however, I would like to see more maps without having to pay an arm and a leg for them. If you've been fading away from Call of Duty for a while, haven't tried any of them or have been avidly following the series, there's something for everybody in the newest instalment to keep you busy for hours.

8.50/10 8½

Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

When I was tasked with reviewing this year's Call of Duty fix, my first reaction was to let out an audible groan, which I had expected to last until I finally reached the credits and could breathe again. However, as cynical as I was about playing this game, I was pleasantly surprised at its ability to immerse me in the story and keep my finger firmly on the trigger.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Kris 'Kaostic' West

Kris 'Kaostic' West

Janitor

Zombie slayer, quest completer, mouse clicker and, in his downtime, writer and editor.

Share this:

Want to read more like this? Join the newsletter…

Loading...

COMMENTS

icaruschips
icaruschips - 11:37pm, 3rd April 2015

I think it's got to the stage where reviews praising it, or shows that detail the new modes or features don't matter to me any more. Since around World at War I completely lost interest in the series, then, as a curiosity when I saw it cheap, I got MW2, laughed at the completely rubbish story, and uninstalled it.

Reply
Kaostic
Kaostic - 11:37pm, 3rd April 2015 Author

I think it's got to the stage where reviews praising it, or shows that detail the new modes or features don't matter to me any more. Since around World at War I completely lost interest in the series, then, as a curiosity when I saw it cheap, I got MW2, laughed at the completely rubbish story, and uninstalled it.

Yeah, MW2 had a **** story. As did Blops 1. Not sure about Mw3 but I would assume so. But Blops 2 is really a right move in the right direction. I was the same as you, the last one I really liked as WaW.

Reply
Platinum
Platinum - 11:37pm, 3rd April 2015

Must..., resist...., purchase...

Reply