Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review
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North American Release Date: 11/13/2012
European Release Date: 11/13/2012
Trophies: 41 | 7 | 2 | 1
Trophy Guide: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Trophy Guide by bushpig94.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is the newest iteration of the super popular Call of Duty franchise. Supporting a campaign with different endings and story-affecting choices, a revamped zombies mode and a tweaked multiplayer, it promised to deliver the definite first person shooter experience.
The gameplay is the same thing you’ve played for the past five years, having no real tweaks to it except for the new weapons featured in the various offline/online modes. Since it’s the same formula that made the series such a hit, you should have no problems whatsoever when playing any of the various modes offered by the game. If anything, the only note-worthy tweaks consist of being able to choose your equipment for the campaign missions, which ultimately falls short of expectations since it hardly changes the way you play the game, and the addition of challenges to the campaign, which, if anything, just ask you to play through the game all over again to get a couple of trophies, adding nothing to the game itself.
Although this has obviously a few pros (being able to play the game right off the bat without a tutorial being one of them) it has a very big con that outweighs them, and that is the incredibly big feeling of déjà vu, since it looks and plays exactly the same way as the previous ones except for the few (mostly) aesthetic differences the game offers.
Gameplay's pretty much the same as always, so don't worry about playing whatever mode you wish right off the bat.
In the end though, the game plays smoothly and you’ll never feel ripped-off for the way it plays. After all, you’re being given what you paid for, and that is a formula that sells because it works, regardless of it being repetitive or not.
Black Ops 2 picks up where the first one left off – but quite a few decades later. You play as Alex Mason’s son, David, leader of a Special Forces unit in the US army. Your mission? Find and stop Raul Menendez, an ex drug trafficker turned terrorist trying to enact revenge on the US while pretending to seek socioeconomic equality with a popular movement called “Cordis Die”.
The campaign is full of set-pieces that would make any Michael Bay fan shed tears of joy, stale and stereotypical characters and, like most Call of Duty games, sports the plot twist that changes the course of the game and makes you wish you could kill your teammates, resulting in a semi-predictable and very unbelievable story that, while enjoyable, falls short.
The campaign, while ambitious, isn't anything special, but still offers an enjoyable story.
However, there’s one thing that separates this CoD from all the others, and that’s the possibility of making choices throughout the story, which will change the way some events play out and, naturally, the conclusion of the game itself. Though the choices are few and the difference between endings isn’t vast, it is a nice addition that encourages you to play through the campaign more than once (which, while short, is a bit longer than today’s average).
Among the story-changing aspects are the Strike Force missions, which consist of commanding different ground units (ranging from unmanned weapons and turrets to soldiers) to either protect or attack different objectives. These missions, however, diverge from any other ones you play throughout the campaign because you’ve got a set number of tries you can give to them, meaning that, in case you fail them, they’re gone permanently, resulting in the game’s story changing. These missions aren’t really hard (unless you’re playing in Veteran, which makes them a pain in the butt), so the probabilities of failing them permanently after, say, 3 tries, are slim.
All in all, the campaign is entertaining and above-average, but the supposed big changes that the choices and Strike Forces missions would bring to the table aren’t exactly as big as one would expect.
Black Ops 2 features a “revamped” multiplayer that, aside from the same old game modes, feels different from the rest due to the way you earn killstreaks (now called scorestreaks, and like the name implies, you get them by earning points) and the way customization works now, thing that ultimately changes the way you play, but not the way everyone shoots the hell out of you with submachine guns.
The way they changed customization is rather simple. Remember how you’d always go to create a class and choose the same things: A primary and secondary weapon, grenade, special grenade, equipment, 3 perks, etc.? Well, now you can only pick up to ten items to customize your class, and you can even play without perks or without any primary and secondary weapons. This means you can create a completely different class each time, ranging from the absurd (no weapons, just your knife, and a few supporting perks) to the classic (any sniper with variable zoom, steady aim, ghost and what-not). This, ultimately, lets you play the game differently each time, which allows you to “adapt” to whatever situation is at hand (not that anyone does it anyway).
Scoretreaks on the other side are a better improvement, since you won't simply get them by mowing down enemies. This is a change for the better since now you won't have airstrikes murdering you upon respawning simply because the opposing team is more focused on killing you than on the objectives, for that grants them less points. Instead, whoever wants to call in some support will have to do so by earning points, which usually leads to people being more focused on actually protecting/attacking an objective than on just killing people like they used to.
The multiplayer is still fun to play, specially with the new scorestreaks.
Aside from the multiplayer, the other mode that was meant to be played with other people is, obviously, the Zombies mode, which has been revamped as well.
This time, the mode features different ways to play the game: Tranzit, which combines various maps which you can travel by bus and offers a set-story; Survival, which is the classical “let’s see how far you can get” mode featured in the past games; and Grief, in which 4 players battle it out against another 4 players while having to deal with the zombies surrounding them.
The two new modes (Tranzit and Grief) are as entertaining as the original was, letting you experience Zombies in a completely new way and making the game’s replayability even greater, all while revamping the Zombies mode enough to make it feel fresh for a while.
The engine used in Black Ops 2 is the tired and old IW Engine that we’ve seen in every Call of Duty for the past 5 years, meaning that the graphics, while featuring great lighting and photo-realistic character models, look rather dated and, to many, ugly. This, however, works well enough with the way the game is made.
On the other side, the sound is top-notch and the game features an enjoyable (albeit forgettable) score that fits the set and action pieces very well. Voice acting is also great, featuring the voices of reknown or semi-known actors for the main cast.
Sadly, Treyarch has once again proved that they, like Infinity Ward, don’t know to test their games completely, for during the game’s release, many people were not able to play the multiplayer portion due to a lot of connection errors. Add the fact that the servers still seem to be rather nit-picking about not letting you join a match and you might spend more minutes than needed trying to join other people in any of the game’s online modes.
BO2 features many of your typical CoD trophies, like finishing the campaign in Veteran (which isn’t as hard as it was on other games), collecting all intel, winning a certain amout of matches online, ranking up, and, as with previous Treyarch CoDs, to perform certain tasks in the Zombies mode (yes, that includes the typical easter egg one, which is luck based). The list also takes advantage of the game’s story-changing choices, tasking you with doing a few of them, which results in needing different playthroughs, plus the annoying trophy of completing every challenge in the campaign. The overall difficulty isn’t that great, but you’ll most likely need to invest a lot of time in this one.
Black Ops 2 was a very nice try from Treyarch to separate the game from all its counterparts, but the overall result feels rather disappointing. The tweaks they made in the multiplayer are uninspiring and the biggest game-changer of all, the supposed game-defining choices of the campaign, fall rather short of expectations. Still, the game is very enjoyable and both the multiplayer and the Zombies mode will surely entertain a lot of people (even non-hardcore fans), so the amount of replayability it offers is by no account small. Add the fact that there’ll be DLC coming out for it, which will most likely make the Zombies experience even more fun, and you have yourself one of those games that’ll keep you busy for a while.
Same formula as always, but still works very well.
An above-average story that offers enough replayability due to the game-changing choices.
Uninspired and pretty much the same as before, but still a lot of fun to play.
The engine is showing its age already, and the connection errors are still popping up for many people.
Overall: 8/10 - Good