Call of Duty Black Ops II
Call of Duty: Black Ops II is a much
anticipated first-person shooter, developed by Treyarch and published by
Activision. I mused over the general public, the gaming fans and how
funny things have seemed with gamers for the past several games that
have come out recently. Some games get players all in a knit over how
things have changed, from the story, to the game play elements and so
on. Wishing for things to stay the same or close to the same, then you
get the Call of Duty line and you have some players saying that they
donít like it because itís the same thing only a few more weapons and
mapsÖeither way you cut it, numbers donít lie, the sales are there and
every game has something to offer. The same can be said for this latest
bombastic adventure into this franchise with Call of Duty Black Ops II.
Jumping right into the single player
campaign and introduced to the story. I am not sure what it was but the
beginning came off a bit disjointed. Like someone had a special Tourette
syndrome for writers. Or it could have just been the way the cinematic
played out, with not enough introductions to a scene or story location
change. After some stumbling things start to gel nicely in the two
interwoven/connected story lines though so never fear here. Things are
tied together nicely once things pick up after the introduction. Between
the first Game and this one, story elements tie the bow and keep you
playing and there is some continuity in the story line linking both
games. So while the narrative starts out a bit clumsy, the story is
there if you can look past the sometimes jarring presentation.
Call of Duty Black Ops IIís story uses the
story telling formula of time jumping to catch the player up on events
that shaped the present time in the game. Be that a characters outlook
on things and motivations, or events that set things in motion to an
eventual time bomb of death and destruction. The connected story lines
are set in the 1970ís and into the 1980ís, then also into what the games
present time is 2025. We get to see Alex Mason again during the Cold War
adventures in the game. Then in the 2025 part of the story we get to
meet with Alex Masonís son; David Mason and he is now part of the new
Cold War that now rages between China and the United States.
The antagonist this time around is Raul
Menendez, a Nicaraguan Narco Terrorist who is leader of a group called
Call of Duty Black Ops II throws us some
curve balls during the campaign. Ramping up the action and set piece
situations with such gee whiz toys as a Hollywood blockbuster film could
dream up. Filled with new Cyber tech, robots, unmanned combat vehicles
and all manner of cool things, including a too short breathtaking jump
and travel with a special kind of wing suit. Our hero glides at mind
bending speeds dodging cliff faces and trees to reach the infiltration
point. This is but one of the brief breath taking experiences waiting
for players here.
The folks went all out and threw everything
they could into the melting pot of the campaign this time including
charges on horseback. Rambo eat your heart out.
The graphics are looking good here, even
and smooth frame rates. Visually the graphics are subtly tweaked;
graphically itís on the same levels as the last one. Gun fire and
explosions look very satisfying, with particles of debris and dust
amongst the blasts themselves. Lighting and shadows are nice, with light
blooms and moonlight looking darn good. The game keeps on par with itís
pedigree when it comes to graphics.
Sound such as gun fire and explosions have
a nice low end sweetener to them. Voice acting is pretty solid even when
a line has cheesy words it is still delivered in a believable in the
Now that brings us to another additional
change that some will welcome, and some will just not like it. During
the campaign mode gamers get the chance in optional Strike Missions. In
these missions the players command abilities will be tested. Rather than
our own boots on the ground we are running things from an overhead
satellite kind of view from the command center. You can jump into the
action though it would be interesting to see if you can get through it
without doing that and just completing things from the command view. I
myself found these a bit difficult at times and jumping in and shooting
my way through became easier than running it from above.
It was a very welcome thing to be able to
zoom in on any of the team members and take over from them during these
missions. Now that was cool enough right? Well you can also zoom in and
take over any of the vehicle assets as well. Be those drones or robot
tanks. Deciding on what strike team member or vehicle asset to zoom in
on, in combination to keeping over watch with the satellite view is
really the key to successful missions in Strike Mission Mode. Those that
come to the party only at ease with the first person aspects of these
games may not like this mode, so the fact that you can zoom in and take
over any of the soldiers or assets is the saving grace here.
During the game play choices the player
make, do come back in different ways and affect the final outcome of the
story all together. Call of Duty Black Ops II has several different
endings that can take place. During missions the players actions and the
conditions failed or fulfilled will come back and decide on the ending
for the player.
I had a blast with Call of Duty: Black Ops
II campaign. Of course the Zombies mode is back bigger and better. I
have to admit, I am not a big fan of the Zombies mode, and I really
donít think it even belongs in the game franchise, but the fans have
embraced it. I think some extra missions would have been nice, along the
lines of different tactical challengesÖbut hey, Iíll join the Zombie
party too. It is some fun after all.
Now the multi-player, of course what would
we do without it? This brings some replay ability to the game and itís a
welcome thing of course. Gun play is very satisfying here with a good
variety to play and cause some damage with. There is nothing like
hunkering down after finding a safe spot for a few moments and raining
down death from above on the opposing team with some well-placed UAV
shots. Along with all the toys are the perks that build up and you are
able to acquire and use during the multiplayer game play.
All are designed to give players and edge
and all of them seem to have what I consider counter perks. So if a
player manages to reach level 55 or so and gests that Ghost Perk makes
enemy players harder to pin point even with a UAV, so the Ghost Perk; if
it had a counter perk may be the Awareness Perk. This may well be
countered though as well depending on the combination of Perks used by
other players. It can turn into a real Perks race rather than an arms
race. Multiplayer has all the things one would expect with a well done
multiplayer portion of a game and so much more. The maps are well done
with plenty of tactical spots to aid those players that know how to use
a map area to full advantage.
So the game is all in all darn fun.
Longtime fans may be disappointed though with the short campaign and
long in the tooth engine. I feel it does the job well and soldiers onÖ.
Final run down is there has been some touch ups done on graphics, though
not enough to be noticeable to any huge degree; whatever it lacks in
overall graphic pizzazz, it more than makes up for in the fun factor.
Touch ups have been done on the Prestige system and perks as well.
Tempting players with all kinds of goodies
for their troubles and like multiplayer crack you may just get hooked.
High points may well be the customization of the players load out before
a mission, a small thing to be sure, but itís a nice touch to be able to
play your way to some small degree. While not everything is available at
the beginning, players do unlock weapons and attachments as the game
progresses. While the game may show some battle fatigue, the designers
have made enough tweaks to keep this war horse tromping along and you
know what? You will buy it and you will have some fun.
Itís a hot button topic with some gamers
not liking it at all. With its ups and downs and rocky start I still
ended up having some massive fun.
Have fun, play games