Call Of Duty Black Ops 2 review

Call Of Duty Black Ops 2 review

T3 5
  • Call Of Duty Black Ops 2 provides online warriors with tons of customisaton options, while presenting story-mode fans the best plot in a COD game yet

    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2 review

    Love

    • Great campaign plot
    • Awesome competitive online mod
    • ZOMBIES

    Hate

    • Strike Missions are fiddly
    • Franchise tipping point?

    Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 is the sixth COD title to land with the seismic impact of a neutron bomb since COD 4: Modern Warfare turned Activision’s FPS franchise into a global mega-seller. It’s also the first game pumped out by Treyarch since the first Black Ops game, which to date is the biggest selling entry in the COD series.
     
    Black Ops 2, and by extension Treyarch, have a tough act to follow. They also have to impress an FPS audience, which in the last four years has become increasingly saturated by as many quality Triple A titles as it has worthy COD knock offs, with recent rivals taking the form of Halo 4, Dishonored, Resident Evil 6, Borderlands 2 and Medal of Honor: Warfighter.

    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2: Gameplay

    Perhaps aware of all this, Treyarch has made a couple of notable tweaks and innovations to the formula that shot the first Black Ops to prominence. First, it's expanded the single player campaign by splintering its narrative and adding a series of side missions that affect its final outcome.
     
    Second, it's stripped out and completely rebuilt the game’s multiplayer, offering players unparalleled customisation options, of both the cosmetic and gameplay altering variety. Finally, it's augmented and deepened the game’s co-op – Treyarch’s signature Zombies mode. It all adds up to a pretty bold and compelling package.

    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2: Story

    The Campaign Mode is split between two time lines. The first is set in the not-too-distant future in 2025 and it involves a group of soldiers tracking down a terrorist who is trying to take command of the West’s AI defence network.
     
    While this is happening, one of their number, Mason, visits his dad’s old war buddy, Woods, at a retirement home to get the full back story of their target. Players control both Mason in the future, who sports a lot of hi-tech weaponry and gadgets, and his dad, er… Mason, whose weapons are slightly less advanced, but put to no less affective service.
     
    Without giving too much away, Black Ops 2 oscillates between sticking to historical accuracy and contemporary plausibility and dumping the player into increasingly high-octane set pieces. At certain segments players are also called on to make decisions that have plot-diverging consequences.
     
    There’s also a set of ‘Strike Force’ Missions that have an impact on the ending the player gets in the game. In Strike Force Missions, players are dropped into an open-plan, multiplayer style map, given a series of objectives to accomplish – ie defend or take certain points – and then a squad of men and AI allies. They can take control of any member of their team at any point, as well as direct the movements and positions of the rest of their allies from an Overwatch position. It’s weird combination of RTS and FPS that actually works surprisingly well.

    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2: Multiplayer

    For the game’s online mode, Treyarch has instituted a massive overhaul in terms of design. The game certainly looks and plays like its predecessors, but players now have far more customisation options than ever before.
     
    To begin with, the load-out has rejigged so it now functions on a points system. Players have a certain number of points to allocate, and they can add perks, equipment and weapons depending on how they wish to customize their soldier. If, for example, you’re a player who has never used their secondary weapon in an online match before, you can dump it and use the points you collect from this to add an extra attachment for your main weapon, or extra equipment.
     
    Players can also use points to allocate themselves a Wild Card, allowing them to select extra perks. The perks are still divided across three Categories, but with a Greed Wild Card, players can select more than one Perk from the same Category. So they can march into battle using both, say, Hardline and Light Footed, or Fast Hands and Toughness, which in previous games would be impossible.
     
    KillStreaks are still present, and have been left largely untouched by the load-out point allocation – presumably to keep the online multiplayer a bit more balanced. However, in Black Ops 2, they’ve been re-imagined as ScoreStreaks; players string together actions and kills, rather than just the latter, to open up their ScoreStreak rewards.

    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2: Zombies

     

    The Zombie Mode rounds out the package. Up to four players are let loose over a series of maps in which the main objective is to survive against the undead horde. Here, though, there are two other match types other than the main one – in which players try to survive against ever-increasing waves of zombies.
     
    In Tranzit, players catch a bus that transports them between different maps where they can pick up new equipment and weapons. In Grief, players are split into sides of two, and the last side left standing wins the match.

    There are even options for players who aren’t any good at online modes – check out the COD Casting tool set and the Theatre mode for playback.

    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2: Verdict

    Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is positively stuffed with content for players, and even if one gets the impression this franchise has reached the tipping point on the current gen of consoles, Treyarch’s latest beast is a thing of beauty. Haters are always going to hate it, but Black Ops 2 is one of the best and most accessible shooters of its generation and one of 2012’s essential titles.

    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2 release date: 13 November 2012

    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2 price: From £34.99

  • Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2’s multiplayer is the silver bullet in Treyarch’s efforts to improve on the biggest selling game of the Call Of Duty franchise

    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2 review

    Love

    • Great campaign plot
    • Awesome competitive online mod
    • ZOMBIES

    Hate

    • Strike Missions are fiddly
    • Franchise tipping point?

    Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 faces a tough challenge this November. While it’s not staring down the barrel of many hardhitting shooter competitors – Halo 4 is pretty much its only competition – it is tasked with going one better than the biggest selling COD game of all time. In this case, that would be the first COD: Black Ops game, whose global sales currently stand at around 14m.

    To even stand a prayer of competing, Black Ops 2 needs to mobilise the franchise’s community, and this means its online mode needs to be rock-solid.

    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2: Plot

    Unlike its predecessor, which was set during various intervals during the Cold War, the story in Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 takes place in the not-too-distant future. The game’s weapons are more advanced, the gadgets are very high-tech, and a lot of the USA’s defence systems have become automated.

    The story kicks off when terrorist group hacks into the system that controls these robot defences and turns them on their users. Then all hell breaks loose.

    The sequence of events Treyarch reveals to T3 in the first-look demo is mind-blowing. The COD series has always had a reputation for mixing authentic shooter action with epic action set-pieces, but even so, Treyarch have outdone themselves here.

    The reveal begins inside a Hummer speeding down the Los Angeles freeway. The game’s protagonist, Mason, tries to save the life of a presidential aid choking to death on his own blood. The President Of The United States is sat beside him, talking to one of Mason’s comrades, Harper, about getting her to safety.

    Overhead, UAV drones are firing missiles into the LA traffic, and cars are being blown off the road. Suddenly the entire screen shudders and the POV tips sideways as a missile hits the Hummer.

    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2: Gameplay

     

    Mason scrambles from the wreckage, leaps onto the back of the car, and takes control of a missile turret. He quickly targets the UAV drones overhead, as Harper covers the president. After shooting a fair number of enemies down, he has to abandon the turret, as UAV shoots a hole in the raised freeway beneath the Hummer, and the vehicle goes tumbling through it.

    The action comes thick and furious. We watch, open-mouthed, as Mason and his troops avoid flying cars, rapel into the streets, commandeer a car and then hurtle into downtown LA as explosions detonate all around them.

    They then have to shoot their way through a shopping mall; here, the demo showcases some of the hardware players can expect to use, such as remote drones that strafe enemies, and guns sporting bullets powerful enough to shoot through a building’s support columns.

    The battle spills back out onto the street where T3 watches as a skyscraper comes crashing down into the middle of the street. After a brief exchange between Mason and Harper, the former leaps into a jumpjet and takes to the skies, firing missiles and explosive rounds at the unmanned bombers attacking the city

    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2: Multiplayer

    Black Ops 2 is building on solid foundations. The smooth handling, high-octane action and frenetic gameplay from the last Black Ops is present and correct and the interface has been barely tinkered with. All the maps revealed to T3 at a recent hands-on event are exquisitely details, atmospherically varied, and all of them favour the close-quarter run-and-gun style of play that COD is famous for.

    Most of the new tweaks and tucks to the mode are focused around giving players a ton of customisation, so they can approach the game’s multiplayer in the style that best suits them. To that end, the Character Classes have been re-fitted. Players now pick weapons, perks and equipment using a Point System.

    They’re assigned 10 points and they can use them any way they choose. There’s also a separate Wildcard feature that allows players to fit up to three attachments to their guns, carry extra grenades, and double up on perks.

    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2: Features

    On the battlefield, Kill Streaks have been replaced by Score Streaks. This means that equipment rewards like Care Packages and Attack Dogs aren’t solely based on kills.

    Rather, if players string together a series of cool moves – such as capturing a flag or Hotpoint zone – they’ll earn towards a Score Streak tally. Each reward has a numerical value and once the player reaches it, they can deploy the equipment.

    The new gear tallies with Black Ops 2’s near future aesthetic. Items include, The Guardian, a microwave-emitting turret thatslows down enemies allowing players to pick them off, the AGR, a four-legged armoured tank and the MQ-27 quad rotor drones,which swarm around enemies peppering them with bullets.

    Older equipment such as UAVs and Gun Turrets are still available, although players can now take control of them to better direct their bullets.

    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2: Community

    On top of the new customisation and weapons of death, Treyarch is also targeting the eSports market. To that end they’ve introduced ranked matches, online league play and a host of commentating tools so that players can offer a play-by-play on matches their mates are playing.

    Treyarch has also revealed they have a Live Streaming service in development, allowing players to watch matches on their PCs, consoles and tablets.

    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2: Verdict

    Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 has a multiplayer that can certainly hold its own with the greats of the shooter genre. Whether the developer’s foray into eSports proves to be lucrative remains to be seen, but the pieces are in place for another huge- selling title. The online mode offers players an intuitive way to try out playing styles and create load-outs around them.

    It then holds out a carrot to entice them to level up as quickly as possible. It’s an addictive, compelling but also very accessible, and it should draw the COD faithful in likes moths to a flame.

    Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 is already one of this year’s most anticipated titles. With its online mode reveal, the biggest hype in gaming just got bigger.

    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2 availability: 13 November 2012

    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2 price: TBC

    Check out our Call of Duty Black Ops 2 vs Halo 4 video:

     

    • Call of Duty Black Ops 2 review
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  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

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