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Call of Duty Black Ops II 360 Review - -
Call of Duty Black Ops II
Reviewed by
Edwin Millheim
Call of Duty Black Ops II 360 Review. 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.

Gameplay 8.1
Graphics 8.0
Sound 8.1
Value 9.0
Distributor: Activision
Developer: Treyarch
Rating: MA15+
Review Date: Nov 2012
Edwin Millheim


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 ďCordis DieĒ.

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 moment way.

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
Edwin Millheim


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