WTF "SAME AS LAST YEAR" brand? Riptide gets the medal, but CoD, the king of Copy and Paste, didn't receive it.
A sinister villain, some tough choices, and a new kind of multiplayer arena invigorate the reliably intense action in Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
- Great campaign scripting
- Story choices are often tough and encourage replay
- League play offers a new stage for the familiar multiplayer combat.
- Zombies mode is stagnant
- New codcasting tool is hamstrung
- Live streaming feature is not functional.
Jetpacks with rigid wings. Gloves that can adhere to any surface and support your body weight. Advertisements that feature your face when you walk by. The campaign in Call of Duty: Black Ops II has some interesting ideas about the future of technology, but what about the future of this massively popular shooter series? On the one hand, Black Ops II introduces new mission types and dramatic decision points that liven up the campaign, as well as a league play option that represents a fundamental shift in the franchise's hallowed multiplayer mode. On the other hand, the campaign hits the same satisfying rhythms, the multiplayer captures the same frenetic intensity, and the cooperative zombies mode delivers the same stale undead-massacring action. Caught between striving for the future and remaining rooted in the past, Black Ops II finds solid footing, providing another great ride on the Call of Duty rollercoaster.
The ride starts off a bit rough as Black Ops II makes good on its pre-campaign warning of graphic content. Two early scenes linger on people burning alive, and while one ends up contributing to character development, the other is just gratuitous. Later cutscenes don't flinch from depicting gory violence, though of all the unpleasant sights you see throughout the story, the playful (and not at all gory) post-credits video might be the most appalling.
Fortunately, the campaign boasts an engaging story and a lot of entertaining action. It features the lead characters from the original Call of Duty: Black Ops, and though it references events from the past, a clear narrative thread emerges that is easy to follow. You jump between two time periods: the present, which is the year 2025, and the past, which spans about a decade during the Cold War. The narrative reflections of the elderly Frank Woods (a protagonist from Black Ops) weave these two timelines together, but the character that truly drives the story is the villain, Raul Menendez. During the Cold War missions, you follow Menendez's origin story and rise to power. In the 2025 missions, you desperately try to avert his catastrophic master plan. This parallel character development is deftly handled, infusing your missions with undercurrents of curiosity and urgency.
Things get even more intense when you are asked to make a choice. Press one button to kill a target, the other to let him live. The conditions of each choice vary and there are only a few of them, but even when you aren't responding to a prompt, you might be making a choice in a dramatic moment that will have consequences later. The main course of the campaign remains constant, but these decisions do affect the fate of some key characters. A few of these moments are sure to give you pause, adding some welcome weight to the proceedings. Once you've seen the story through, there's a handy rewind feature that lets you play earlier levels in order to see how different paths play out. There are also mission-specific challenges that give you ancillary goals to complete while you do so, further increasing the replay incentive.
You can also see some variance in the available strike missions, which are a new type of campaign level. These stages put you in a squad of soldiers and drones, and then let you choose which asset to control at any given time. Defending installations against enemy assault, escorting a convoy, and rescuing a hostage are some of the endeavors you might undertake. Though you can set targets for the team under your command, strike missions are still all about you gunning down foes. Your AI allies are only good at slightly hindering your enemies, so you end up doing the heavy lifting yourself, often while tracking activity on multiple fronts and hopping around to deal with advancing enemies. Having to consider the bigger picture is a nice change of pace for a series that has mostly involved just shooting what's in front of you, and these missions are a welcome shot in the arm for the familiar campaign pacing.
Of course, familiar as it may be, that pacing is still great. The campaign ebbs and flows as you move through a variety of diverse, detailed environments using an array of powerful weaponry to dispatch your foes, occasionally hopping into a jet or on to a horse for a short jaunt, or manning a missile turret to tame a swarm of hostile drones. A few neat gadgets and surprising gameplay moments satisfy the novelty quotient, but you still get the lingering feeling that you've done this all before. The new strike missions, dramatic decision points, and memorable villain help keep this concern at bay, however, and this fiesty, enjoyable romp is more enticing to replay than other recent Call of Duty campaigns.
Black Ops II's competitive multiplayer has seen some changes as well, notably in the way you equip yourself before going into battle. The COD points system from Black Ops has been ditched in favor of a new token system that still affords you some control over the order in which you unlock new weapons and gear. The more interesting change is the new loadout system, which gives you ten points to play with and assigns a single point to every element of your loadout (guns, attachments, perks, lethal and tactical items). It offers a bit of flexibility if, say, you don't use a sidearm much but could really use an extra perk, and the new wild cards allow some limited creativity. Put one of these in your loadout, and you can go into battle with two well-equipped primary weapons, or you can load up on perks and bring just a knife and your wits.
These are two extreme examples, but tweaking your loadouts with the gear you've chosen to unlock still confers a sense of getting more powerful and better equipped for combat. These are still the fast and deadly battlefields that have drawn millions of players for years. Positioning and reflexes are king, firefights are over in the blink of an eye, and success is rewarded with deadly equipment and satisfying experience gains. New gear, new weapons, and new score streak rewards are sprinkled throughout, offering new martial capabilities and strategic wrinkles. Traditional gametypes and a few rule-bending party games all offer familiar frenetic fun, but one new mode of play holds the potential to really shake things up.
WTF "SAME AS LAST YEAR" brand? Riptide gets the medal, but CoD, the king of Copy and Paste, didn't receive it.
Good story, poor that al those kids are whining and bitching in every multipayer match that someone is a hacker while its just a player who is better then the bitching kid. I just like to play normal match with poeple that dont yell and bitch all the time and just playing a good match. Due the fact that i hate fanboys cuz their the ones who are bitching most of the time. But yeah i like battlefield games to and other games such as amnesia and fear and those kinda games. BO2 is just another cod game with just a good story, the multiplayer is rather fun unless people are bitching and the fun is also gone due the crappy lagg compensation, still its a enjoyable game.
Well I see why it got an 8, well its just a multiplayer online that's about it. I have not even touch the main story of the game yet. I only play online, but I got to say this game gets you really angry and fast!!
"Sinister Villain?" only sinister Villain is the puppet George Bush sr., Ronald Reagan, Hillary Cunton, the CIA, and the Contras who raped and killed Menendez people. After seeing what happens to the Villain in this game, you really start to feel for him. This game teaches us that terrorists don't just SNAP for no reason or because they are jealous of our freedom, they SNAP usually as a result of blowback from all of the US governments policing and terrorizing of the world.
Honestly from my own opinion, the BO2 gameplay and the visual effects are much better than MW3 however I think the stories on BO2 aren't better than MW3 but overall I think the BO2 campaign is good enough especially for those who never played any previous CoD games. Things that I really dissapointed in BO2 is the multiplayer because the MW3 multiplayer is still much better than the BO2. Okay there are a lot of new weapons variaties and new maps also in BO2, I admit that. But I didn't get the excitement and the joy from BO2 Multiplayer and definetly the MW3 multiplayer is better.
if someone wants a hack in bo2 multiplayer of 11 prestige and im not lying and if u just think that im lying u can see my prestige its 11 prestige and add me in ps3 onlinefire and send me a message in ps3 that u want 11 prestige hack
@obey21 I thought it was the weakest COD campaign yet. the hitmarkers that show up as an X every time you shoot an enemy was really distracting and made the campaign feel less immersive. Throughout the campaign, controller was constantly ripped from my hand where I was forced to watch annoying cut-scenes, when I could of been interacting myself. this game has more scripted scenes than any COD to date. overall this was the worst COD campaign yet.
This Game SUCKS!!...
I Bought the first BO aftre playing MW and i am telling u guys i broke the game cd after 4 days!!...
Tryark are peice of crap!!
After i spent my money on this rubbish BO2 i promiised my self i never buy any of there game any more!!,
and i didnt!!
i didnt buy the BO2 and N im sooooo happy...
MP are sooo bad, te engine of the game sucks, even the single player is not so good for the single game i have better games such as far cry3!
waiting to the Next MW!!!!!!
@manabmw well the campaign's still better than MW mate
@manabmw Dude this game out way better than MW ever since IW left MW sucks.
@manabmw you are right.to tell the truth i actually played the first one and it wes ok but i thought that the game planners will read or learn about what people like but they didnt and this is the worst shooter i ever played.they need to wake up those futuristic shooter is bad...
Worst COD campaign ever, each level feels like 5 minutes worth of gameplay. To make the campaign worse we have Resistance fall Of man style hitmarkers in the campaign that really took away from the immersive feeling of past COD campaigns. Please release a patch for those of us who don't wish to see an X hitmarker show up every time you make a hit. treyarch's beautiful, signature graphic violence is enough to know I hit an enemy, seeing an X show up on the screen is distracting. Leave visible hitmarkers for multiplayer or easy difficulty only.
@Dredcrumb9 The campaign is still great mate, the multiplayer is less better than MW3
@Dredcrumb9 Dude the Campaign was great.
@1337hackz must of never played a good FPS campaign if you think this campaign is great. Play Halflife 1 and 2, Goldneye 64, and Perfect Dark 64, and FEAR campaigns, than tell me this campaign is great for a FPS campaign. Black Ops 1 and W@W campaigns were good(for being cod), but this campaign is a step down. The visible X looking hitmarkers that show up for each hit, cheapened the campaign and took away the immersion. Each level is 2 mins of gameplay and the rest is cutscenes that rip the control form your hands every minute, this campaign was not great, it sucked.
@alexmason132222 it deserves less than this. Black Ops 1 was great, this sequel was supposed to be better not worse.
hahah good, i hope they go bust, BF4 will kill any shoting game, i mean BF3 turned me right of MW, i hate the fanchise, MW is for little boys while BF is for men and skilled players.
@khaos_6 BF3 isn't that good....people who act like the best FPS is either COD or BF are just as idiotic as Americans who believe Obama and Romney are different kinds of politicians. BF and Cod are equally shit.
Black Ops 2:
The good: A great and touching single player with a fantastic story - The action is bloody and extremely fun in singleplayer
The bad: The multiplayer is not fun at all, and It's not changed - Zombies is a total disappointment - The graphics engine is pretty dated - A dull sequel
Final Verdict: 5.5
Black Ops 2 is a disappointment with a dull MP and a sluggish "Zombies", but with a fantastic singleplayer.
@ElectronReviews the campaign sucks, I never thought i would say this, but MW2 and MW3 have better campaigns than this. And I am one who loved Black ops 1 and W@W more than any MW title. Each level in Black ops 2 is like 5 minutes worth of gameplay, even on veteran it's super easy. the resistance styled hitmarkers that show up as an X makes the campaign feel very cheap and less immersive than previous COD campaigns, so it no longer has that cool cinematic feel. What was touching about this campaign? I found the characters to be shallow and hard to care about. Menendez and Woods are the only decent characters in the game but even they feel superficial.
Wayyyyy better than MW3, story is great, seeing the multiple endings make the campaign worth playing, customizing your loadout is gawd's gift to CoD, Zombies and multiplayer is still fun to play, specially with friends, anyone who says this is the same as last year us lying.
This game is a waste of money! The only reason I decided to get it was to have some MP matches with and against my friends. I hadn't played a first person shooter for a while so in an attempt to get back to my previous level of skill I played through the campaign. The campaign is such an incoherent mess and even on the hardest setting a walk in the park. The main character David, has no character, he's an incredibly shallow person, no depth, not a thing is interesting about him. At times playing mission from the POV of other characters, like Alex Mason and Frank Woods is nice break from David.
The story itself is so f*cking ridiculous and uninspired and the whole time I was thinking the original Black Ops had a decent story to it, this is just garbage, if that. And then you get to the end, anti-climactic to the extreme, disappointing as hell and taking down the bad guy to end the game felt like such a cheap finish, I kinda felt like turning the game off and breaking the disc in half. Hell the "music video" at the end is probably the best part of the game.
And then there's the MP. It's a mess from start to finish. The menus are a pain in the ass, no overview whatsoever, finally do get the option to turn off aim assist, thank god for that, it screws up my shots more often than it helps, but the MP is even worse than it was in the original Black Ops. MW3 is a masterpiece compared to the level of crap BO2 is.
@NegasBlack I agree Black ops 2 had a horrible campaign and on Veteran it was extremely easy. I never thought Treyarch would make a game worse than IW but BO2 is worse than MW3, and I hated MW3. The hitmarkers that show up as an X each time you make a hit, took away from the immersion of the story and forces you to look at a stupid X every time you shoot somebody instead of seeing treyarch's beautiful blood and gore death animations. This game was an insult to me as a big fan of Black Ops 1 and W@W. This game was made for Non gamers.
I bought Black Ops II on day one, and I fail to see changes other than a campaign with choices, maps, guns, and the Pick 10 system. I also don't buy CoD for zombies. I came here expecting to see the "Same As Last Year" demerit, but am curious as to whether GS thought the changes were big enough to omit it.
I'd give it a 6 if lucky, lack of support, MP broken on release, PS3 users fucked over again, Never buying a COD game again. Back to BF3 i go
you probably say that every year lol, I said that after the abomination mw3 was but with games being so cheap these days I decided to give black ops 2 a go and so far it is pretty good. MP runs smoothly, campaign is good, the graphics look nice not as bland as past games ( except mw2 which was the best looking COD title so far) and the balance is a lot better in this game and finally a cod game without last stand.
Just finished the story mode (took less than a day). Overall, I like the new RPG elements approach - making choices that drive the story. I wish there were a little more clarify about the choices though - it's very unclear how some of them are tied to the other, and it's not clear when you make a story choice as opposed to just making a meaningless choice. Still - this boosts the SP replay value quite a bit. Good job, Treyarch!
@siarhei RPG elements aproach? i beat the game 3 times and found no such thing. This was the worst COD campaign ever. Black ops 1 is still better.
- Player Reviews: 49
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