Published on December 26th, 2012 | by Richard Motokovsky0
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – Review
Summary: Black Ops 2 dares to different but multiplayer is still king in Call of Duty
When you’ve plundered the annals of two world wars, modern day warfare, and every conflict from the past century, there really is only one way you can go. To mirror its futuristic setting, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 sees Treyarch takes bold and brave steps to usher in changes for Activision’s money-maker with mixed results.
Let’s start with multiplayer, because let’s face it: Call of Duty lives and dies by its multiplayer. Lucky for Black Ops 2 then that once again, multiplayer is top notch. A game in itself, multiplayer encompasses all the features you know and love – and then some – spread over a wealth of modes. Classes have been refined with a Pick 10 system that breaks your loadout into a 10-point system for you to spend your points where it matters. Don’t need a secondary weapon? Then swap it for some more perks.
Multiplayer is solid as it always is and the extras remain decent enough, dragged down by some half-baked ideas
It’s a much easier multiplayer experience to get into than past CODs. Killstreaks have been reworked into Score Streaks to reward other actions besides kills, and the matchmaking has been tweaked to pit you against evenly matched foes. The maps are a mixed bag but they all play to the series’ close quarters, corridor gameplay. Throw YouTube-integrated ‘CODcasting’ into the mix and this is easily COD multiplayer at its very best.
So that’s multiplayer, polished till it gleams, but what of Black Ops 2’s campaign? It’s here that Treyarch has able to break new ground, albeit with more misses than hits.
Cold War-era missions see Alex Mason and Frank Woods filling in some of the blanks as Alex’s son David tries to prevent new villain Raul Menendez’s grudge from surfacing in a war where the US’s technology-controlled defenses are turned against them. In short, it’s a mess, straining to make any sense as the narrative jumps between 2025 and the Cold War.
The 2025 missions stand out as the most enjoyable, thanks to the tech on show, arming you with futuristic variants on familiar weapons and gadgets that are fun to play around with. They’re the standout moments of the campaign sandwiched between the less-stellar Cold War-era missions. The wild cards here are the Strike Force missions. These skirmishes last around 10 minutes where you’re given a strike team made up of foot soldiers, turrets and drones you can switch between in order to defend or infiltrate a base. It’s COD with a real-time strategy design thrown in, allowing you to jump between your team through a cumbersome system that’s often too hard to keep on top of.
You can only fail a set number of times before they remain as a black mark on your perfect record, and despite being entirely optional, they’ll ultimately affect the outcome of your overall campaign.
So that leaves Treyarch’s signature Zombies to round off this mixed package. Greenrun makes up the entire map of TranZit where you’re driven from bus depot to town, to farm, to diner, and more. It’s an attempt at a campaign that certainly won’t leave its competitors wanting, lacking any real story. You’re ferried around each stop to scavenge for items and fend off the hordes before moving on. It’s more silly zombie-killing fun that fans are likely to revel in if not simply for its co-op. The added Grief mode which pits two groups of four against each other to see who can hold out the longest is a nice touch but it’s hardly a game changer.
Black Ops 2 sees Treyarch finally overtake Infinity Ward as the daddy of Call of Duty. Multiplayer is a solid as it always is and the extras remain decent enough, dragged down by some half-baked ideas. Treyarch’s just a little ways away from the perfect Call of Duty but the fact that it’s willing to take some risks with Activision’s money-maker is noble enough for us.