Black Ops 2 is the best Call of Duty game ever made. Take that for what it’s worth – it won’t change your mind about Call of Duty if you already don’t like it – but for fans of genre
, it’s a must play. Both the campaign – and to a lesser extent, multiplayer – offer new ways of playing (for a Call of Duty game), and more or less succeeds.
I went into the game expecting the same explosion laced, big budget, Michael Bay-ish show that I’ve experienced in the last few outings. I was pleasantly surprised when I was left with a game where I’m still thinking about the decisions I made in the game, even as I write this a few days after finishing the campaign.
Treyarch took some serious risks and they pay off handsomely. The campaign offers choices that effect that story, but there very few dialogue bubbles that clearly mark a choice. You actually have to pay attention to what characters are saying, something that could be easily ignored in previous Call of Duty games. and if they mention that a place is burning that has evidence, go look for that evidence before it burns down. Or if a key antagonist is running away, don’t stop to shoot everyone in site, go chase him down! Level endings give a brief summary of what you did or didn’t do, and how it effects the story at the time. This adds another novel thing for Call of Duty – replay value.
The main negative of the campaign are the optional Strike Force missions. They involve a very weak real time strategy game, complete with tactical map and the ability to take command different units of soldiers, turrets, and and robots. However, units don’t always go or attack when commanded, and I ended up just trying to be a one man army against 10 minutes of spawning troops. It’s an idea that would have been better executed if they were traditional Call of Duty levels, but I like that Treyarch thought of the box.
I failed the first Strikeforce mission and didn’t try any others, leading to some negative portions of the campaign. You can still beat the game but you don’t get the rosiest ending. And then a strange thing happened – I wanted to get better at the Strike Force missions so that I could get a more satisfying ending. This is another another point where a Call of Duty game actually had me thinking of the ramifications of my decisions and how I could have done better – an achievement for any game, but revolutionary for this genre.
Multiplayer is the same as other Call of Duty games, with one big change: the Pick 10 system. This system allows you to create a class with any 10 items, consisting of weapons, attachments, perks, grenades, etc. This allows you to as much of your preferred gear is you like, while eliminating things that you never use. This allows for the most customized classes that the game has ever allowed. Aside from this, and an additional King of the Hill game mode called Hardpoint, the game looks and plays the same. I’m happy that the special modes from Black Ops like One in The Chamber (everyone has one bullet and a knife), Gun Game (each kills gives you a powerful weapon), and Sticks and Stones (crossbows, axes, and knives) remain.
If you like Call of Duty, get this – it’s the best one yet. If you don’t like Call of Duty, stay far away!