Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 satisfies shooter fans

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 satisfies shooter fans

Photo courtesy of Treyarch.

Black Ops 2 is 2012’s installment of the yearly Call of Duty franchise. The franchise gets handed off every year to one of two studios. One of those studios is Infinity Ward. Their last game, Modern Warfare 3, was mediocre and did nothing to innovate or update the series. However Treyarch, the developers of World at War (2008) and Black Ops(2010) made it clear with their newest outing that they are the superior Call of Duty development team.

The game’s events take place mostly in the near future of 2025 (with many flashback sequences taking place in the 80’s). The U.S.A. is locked in a new cold war with China over the earth’s dwindling supplies of rare earth metals, and there is a Nicaraguan narco-terrorist with billions of social network followers who is preparing for war. I won’t go into too many details as not to spoil the many twists and turns of the plot, but I will say that the campaign’s story was actually thought provoking, but nothing revolutionary. It’s a fairly typical action movie plot, but it also gives a very contemporary and bleak look at the near future. The production values are insanely good, and with it, the voice actors are as well. Some of the big name stars include Michael Rooker and Sam Worthington, with the supporting voice cast doing an admirable job.

Black Ops 2 is very clearly a Call of Duty game, and it doesn’t have any delusions about it. The core appeal of the series is here in full. You will be running around exotic environments fighting with and against various armed forces. However, unlike every other Call of Duty game before it, Black Ops 2 gives players options on how you approach every mission, and if they want to do a mission at all. It’s the first game in the series to feature open world environments with multiple paths. You also get to select your equipment before every mission, so you can always bring your favorite weapons and gear with you. There are multiple endings to the game based on decisions you make. You will want to play through the entire game twice just to make certain decisions differently. Certain characters, even important main characters, will live or die based on your actions. It’s extremely refreshing to veterans of the series. Actually having a choice in how the plot progresses makes getting invested in the story much easier, and overall makes playing the campaign a more enjoyable experience.

The competitive multiplayer is the most refined it has ever been in the series. If you played any previous Call of Duty mulitplayer and didn’t like it for whatever reason, your opinion probably won’t be changed with this one. Fans of the series however, will find the most competitively-balanced game to date. Many of the things that players have considered overpowered or not fun are completely gone; it’s obvious that a lot of work has been done to make sure that the weapons and the gear in the game are all appropriately strong and useful. Players that want to improve at the game in a safe environment can team up with human opponents vs A.I. controlled bots. There are so many game types that you are likely to find something that you enjoy.

Also included in Blops2 (short for Black Ops) is the much loved zombie mode. The new zombie map is huge and has a lot of secrets to find. The difficulty is what players should expect from a zombies game; if you don’t use teamwork and know what you’re doing, you’re going to die. However, new players can play on Easy mode, which makes the zombies much less aggressive. The new cast of survivors lack creative writing and make many pretty bland jokes, which is a shame because the cast of the previous zombie games have been so witty.

If you have ever been a fan of the series, you will find something to like in Black Ops 2. The campaign is actually worth playing, and is usually around 10 hours to complete. The multiplayer is extremely competitive, but also much more strategic and focused. Zombies is a new experience that veterans of the series will definitely want to try out.