Call Of Duty: Black Ops II ReviewMatt Andrews
The developers at Treyarch are asked every two years to produce a better game than the last. If the last game they produced was any other game, their task would be a much simpler one, however, this year they attempt to improve upon the wildly successful Call of Duty Black Ops. The latest installment in the Call of Duty series, Black Ops II by Treyarch games, hopes to positively contribute to one of the greatest franchises in console gaming history. Without further ado, here is Realm of Gaming's review of Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
Since making the switch to modern era combat, Call of Duty campaigns have been based in hauntingly plausible and sometimes eerily familiar struggles against what the US considers terrorism. In Black Ops II you'll operate on a small team of elite soldiers asked to eradicate the world of its latest disgruntled radical. This time you're after Raul Menendez whose history and present endeavors are of relevance to the three different characters you'll play as. Your play as these characters will span more than two decades of encounters with Menendez and the story never ceases to challenge the thoughts of those who take the time to appreciate it by playing on social and economic issues, as well as family ties.
Black Ops II, unlike many successful series, did not hesitate to break the mold in order to deliver fans a unique and worthwhile installment. Rather than simply rearranging the winning formula, this campaign makes some significant additions. The campaign provides interactive briefings in which you can customize your loadout to suit your style of play or how you think the mission can be best accomplished. The feature gives some meaning to the title Black Ops II, giving gamers the ability to anticipate resistance, know that reinforcements will be scarce, and pack accordingly. Overall each mission feels like a complete experience, but at the same time this may be the most well thought out and engaging first person shooter plot line to date.
The single player campaign also contains what seem to be loosely relevant real time strategy missions unlike anything we've ever seen in a first person shooter. In these Strike Force missions, an overhead view of the landscape allows you to position soldiers and equipment in order to accomplish objectives. The feature also allows you to take control of turrets, vehicles, and even soldiers when your squad isn't getting the job done despite your strategic efforts. This unique mode of play is challenging, especially to the unacquainted, and though the missions can be skipped over, it's worth playing the as they are a key component in something no one expected from Black Ops II, a branching storyline. The choices made in these missions, and your ability to successfully complete them results in significant changes to the plot. The feature may be seen as a burden by die hard FPS fans, but it was exceptionally well done and to the open minded gamer offers some much appreciated variety. Put it all together and Black Ops delivers a campaign mode that redefines replay value. Even with two runs through the campaign you haven't come close to experiencing everything there is to offer.
Black Ops II multiplayer builds on the sound FPS mechanics that have characterized the last several installments in the Call of Duty series, but it too received more than a dash of ingenuity. Black Ops II features the pick ten system in which ten allocation points can be spent on weapons, attachments, and equipment. The system allows players greater freedom to emphasize the weapons of their loadout or the plethora of perks and equipment designed to kill and confuse the enemy. As has become the expectation, a system of promotions will make additional weapons, attachments, and perks available as well as a currency required to purchase said options. Perhaps the best feature in Black Ops II multiplayer is the perfectly balanced variety of game modes. What we loved of the previous selection is all still there, and some new modes have been added. There are some highly competitive modes for the hardcore fans and some modes that lend well to experimenting with new loadouts or even advancing in rank as quickly as possible.
One change some gamers will love is the replacement of kill streaks with score streaks. No longer are the days of hiding around dark corners with silencers praying that you get that twenty fifth kill. Capturing objectives will have you well on your way to an A30 or an air strike. This change lends to the increased freedom in loadouts, by rewarding those players who set themselves up for a supporting role rather than kill streaks. Other alterations and additions include the option to play against bots during early ranks in order to learn new features of the game, as well as a ramping up of the clan system to a league play feature. Black Ops II multiplayer is better than ever, and is truly a comprehensive, all inclusive multiplayer experience.
Perhaps no developer has created a survival mode of play as successful as the Zombies mode in the Call of Duty Black Ops games. Despite its incredible success and popularity, the Zombies mode in Black Ops II was not spared from a healthy dose of innovation that will undoubtedly be met with mixed emotions. The first addition is a Zombies mode that allows two teams to play in one shared environment to see who can both take out the most undead and survive the most waves. Though you can't directly harm your opponents, you can sabotage their efforts with some laughable and spiteful inclusions. With molten rock and scattered fires that can abruptly end your zombie-slaying efforts, fans of the old Zombies mode may not appreciate the changes that make it a little more challenging to make it to the later rounds.
In an attempt to inject a sense of purpose and progression to Zombies, Black Ops II introduces Tranzit mode. Tranzit allows player to travel from location to location to kill waves of zombies without interruption but also allowing them to collect components that can be used to build new weapons. It won't be inherently clear what parts can be combined to form weapons or where the parts are in the first place which will force players to survive long enough to experiment or get frustrated enough to hop online and Google some spoilers. The products of your hard work range from comical to horrifying and taking advantage of all the Easter eggs in Tranzit mode becomes an addicting and uniquely rewarding challenge.
The Treyarch team behind Call of Duty Black Ops II could have sold millions of copies on the game's name alone. They chose to add some major features and more impressively take some significant risks in creating a sequel in the hugely successful Black Ops series. All in all they made some great additions that will truly impress gamers who constantly want more for their sixty dollars, but the changes may offend a few diehard fans. For its value, quality, and ingenuity, Call of Duty Black Ops II earns high marks.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.