Overall - 90%
If you're into single player titles only, I would avoid grabbing Call of Duty: Black Ops II until the price drops a bit. Despite the fact the single player campaign is one of the most exhilarating single player experiences I've ever had, it does feel rather short and doesn't offer much in the form of replay-ability unless you really want to see the varied endings. However, fans of the Call of Duty franchise will be delighted to see the return of the famous multiplayer experience, as well as a more in-depth approach to the iconic zombie mode.
Call of Duty has become a love or hate franchise over the years, endless droves of fans supporting each and every release while others throw negative comments around without even playing the game. It’s the most successful FPS franchise across all consoles and it’s popular among PC fans but is Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 a title worthy to join the franchise or is it just another episode of repeated mechanics and stale features? Captain Camper dives into the latest war ridden world from Treyarch and gives his opinions on all 3 modes, Campaign, Multiplayer and Zombies.
I’ve never been a fan of the Call of Duty single player campaigns, not due to faults of the game, I’m just not much of a single player campaign kinda guy. However, I decided to give the campaign a shot this time round and it was an experience to say the least. The campaign follows the story laid out in the original Black Ops but this time it includes two connected story lines that feature both the original protagonist, Alex Mason, and his son David Mason. The Alex Mason storyline follows the same antagonist as the future storyline Raul Menendez, a narco-terrorist and the leader of Cordis Die, a populist movement hailed as the saviors to economic equality. The story mode mixes up between the two time periods on a regular basis with Alex Mason featuring gameplay from the 1980s while his son is featured in the more futuristic 2025 timeline.
Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review – Campaign
Usually I find switching between protagonists seriously damages my immersive experience in a video-game but Treyarch have somehow managed to make it enhance the overall experience of campaign mode. Learning the background of the terrorist you’re hunting down and then doing another mission that involves direct engagements with the antagonist is a really exhilarating experience. As you play the role of Alex Mason you learn why Frank Woods (the source of intel for chasing down Raul Menendez in 2025) has such a deep hatred for the enemy, driving the player to emotionally attach themselves to the characters, their pasts and their future goals.
Outside of the amazingly intricate storyline the campaign mode also offers a variety of other attractive features such as Black Ops II Intel Collectibles and for the first time in the Call of Duty franchise, branching storyline’s. The ability to change the outcome of your experience based on the choice you make during the game is usually a feature associated with RPG titles but Treyarch have proven that this feature isn’t an RPG exclusive and they pulled it off brilliantly. I’ll avoid any spoilers but I’ve seen all 5 of the available endings, each of which is based on a number of factors from a players experience during the campaign mode. These aren’t all minor choices either, certain choices given involve the fate of some of the main characters in the storyline, having a large impact on future missions and the end cut-scenes.
Finally, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 also offers another first for the franchise, the FPS/RTS hyrbid Strike Force Missions. The Strike Force Missions are optional missions that compliment the background of the games storyline but it breaks away from the typical run and gun game play associated with the franchise and offers players an interesting strategy approach. Players are given a variety of unit types for each missions, such as basic infantry and unmanned robots, each of which can be either directly controlled or given movement and attack based objectives. It doesn’t really rewrite anything in terms of the FPS approach but it’s great to see such an established franchise willing to break the mold.
Whether you’re flying a jet around a large metropolis or dodging planes and missiles during a 30,00ft Halo Jump, the single player experience in Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 is second to none and will keep your heart pounding every step of the way.
Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review – Zombies
Having its debut in Call of Duty: World at War and returning in Call of Duty: Black Ops, Zombie Mode makes a return in the Black Ops sequel, promising to offer players an enhanced survival experience. I enjoyed the Zombie Mode in Black Ops but it wasn’t exactly the main attraction for me. However, with the introduction of the Transit Mode and the added crafting features, the Zombie Mode in Call of Duty: Black Ops II conforms to the overall “bigger and better” attitude held throughout the game.
Obviously the Transit Mode is one of the more discussed features and arguably one of the most exciting additions to the Zombie Mode. It basically offers players the same survival experience in previous Zombie Modes but with the added challenge of travel. Players begin their journey at the Bus Depot, trapped inside a room. Grabbing some nearby objects players construct a rather peculiar portable fan from the body of a mannequin, using it to open the door and escape into the wide world. This offers a very brief introduction to the construction system, which is actually pretty expansive for a new feature.
The bus acts as the form of travel, with a humorous robotic driver and a number of boarded windows. The bus travels between the 3 available maps, Bus Depot, Town and Farm. The bus stays at each location for a set period of time unless players sit on the bus after it stops, although this does lead to some awkward situations where a number of players are left behind while the others move to the next destination on the bus. The bus can be upgraded in a variety of ways, such as adding a battering ram onto the front, or a ladder at the back that makes the roof accessible. These are all created after finding a number of the materials scattered across the maps, including the highly dangerous areas in between.
There’s also a new PvP Zombie Mode were two teams compete for survival with the added threat of the walking undead. I’ve only sunk an hour or so into this as I found myself lacking the skills to be able to prioritize between slaughtering a starving zombie or another player but it’s a nice addition nonetheless.
The Zombie Mode in Black Ops 2 also sees the return of many of the features from previous entries. Players can purchase a variety of buffs such as Juggernaut and Double-Tap Cola, all of which provide buffs that last for the duration of your characters life (assuming you don’t get knocked down). Like the other Zombie Modes this one doesn’t really feature an end-goal or aim, it’s simply there to test your ability to survive. Although many find modifying the bus and collecting all of the buffs to be the primary objectives of each match.
Players less inclined to try something new will be happy to hear that all of the features and mechanics from previous entries in the Zombie Mode are carried across to this latest addition, giving players a single map to survive in with weapons and of course, the mystery box. Although the new maps in themselves do not compare in size or features when compared to the maps in Black Ops. It’s clear that each map was designed as a smaller part of the Transit Mode, over that of being complete maps in themselves. I was a little disappointed with that aspect as it severely restricts players that don’t enjoy Transit Mode, although I expect they will release a good amount of DLC content for it as the mission select mode only currently displays 1 zone, which includes all of the current maps, so there’s obvious room for expansion into other zones.
Overall the Transit Mode is great fun but for those that don’t enjoy it, they may have to hold out for some DLC before they feel the zombie experience is a definite improvement on previous editions.
Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review – Multiplayer
Arguably the most appealing aspect of the entire franchise, the iconic multiplayer returns in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. With an all new class creation system, a variety of new maps and a redesigned Scorestreak feature, it’s clear to see that Treyarch were pushing the boundaries on this one.
The new class creation system is easily my favorite aspect of the Multiplayer Mode as it removes a lot of the restrictions placed on the typical perk-centered creation system used in previous games in the franchise. Players are now allocated 10 points to invest in each class, with each item costing a single point. With the exception of Wild Cards that I’ll explain in a moment. Choosing your main weapon, secondary weapon, perks and items all contribute to your 10 point score, giving players the option of ditching certain weapons in order to equip an extra perk or carry an extra grenade. The Wild Card feature allows players to spend a point to be able to equip 2 main perks, 2 secondary perks, 3 weapon attachments and more. Sadly I’m not even close to being able to do the math but there must be thousands of possibilities at least.
I did feel a little disappointed with the map selection as the majority seem to center around close quarters combat, with only 1-2 offering any opportunity for long-range assault rifle exchange. This has also resulted in a large portion of the player base making very similar builds, despite the massive selection offered by the new 10 point class creation system.
The icing on the cake for the new multiplayer features is without a doubt the Scorestreak system. Unlike previous Call of Duty titles that required players to achieve multiple kills without dying to unlock special equipment and abilities, the new system bases the same rewards from a score streak. Players earn points towards their score for practically every action, from kills and assists to destruction of enemy equipment. This makes the special abilities and equipment available in Scorestreaks far more accessible to the average player, while also maintaining the high level reward factor for those skilled enough to get a high score streak.
Overall the multiplayer offers a similar experience to earlier Call of Duty titles but with a greatly enhanced class creation system and a much more approachable Scorestreak feature.
If you’re into single player titles only, I would avoid grabbing Call of Duty: Black Ops II until the price drops a bit. Despite the fact the single player campaign is one of the most exhilarating single player experiences I’ve ever had, it does feel rather short and doesn’t offer much in the form of replay-ability unless you really want to see the varied endings. However, fans of the Call of Duty franchise will be delighted to see the return of the famous multiplayer experience, as well as a more in-depth approach to the iconic zombie mode.