What can I say about Black Ops 2 that hasn’t already been said? Superlatives have been flung back and forth like throwing knives and, in this gamer’s opinion, only some of them have struck true. Call of Duty is a monstrous franchise that spawns new installments annually. Often a new COD game just feels like an expansion pack: new maps, new guns, same graphics, same gameplay. I remember how afraid I was when I saw the TV spots for Black Ops 2. The graphics looked years old and short of a few futuristic twists, it was the same game as the last one.
Then I played it.
Black Ops, like all of the COD games, is a lot of fun. First the campaign mode. I’ve always hated the campaigns that come with these kind of games – you too, Battlefield. They’re cheap, cliched nonsense full of scripted sequences that feel less like a game and more like a bad Michael Bay movie (seriously, pick one). The best mission was in MW2 where you were a sniper. I don’t think you fired your gun until two-thirds of the way through the mission, and it was one of the most tense and engaging experiences I’ve had with my clothes on. For Black Ops 2, the people at Treyarch have introduced that all-important gamer staple: choice. You can decide the way the story goes, and while it’s not as important in other, more character focused games, it’s a neat addition to a decent story – doubtless the influence of David S. Goyer. there are even nods to other games with extended vehicle sequences and top-down strategic scenes that can be extremely annoying.
The multiplayer is, as ever, simply excellent and even if you’re as inconsistent as me, you will still have a great time. It’s fast, responsive and sometimes brutal, but also accommodating. I died a lot at first despite being an MW3 veteran but soon got into it. The drones that featured so much in the advertising are everywhere and really put a spin on proceedings and I can honestly say this is the best multiplayer experience I have had in a COD game. In this gamer’s opinion, it’s still not as good as Battlefield 3, but that’s a whole different conversation.
Zombies are back and they’re more powerful this time, requiring better teamwork or simply godlike prowess to survive. They come in waves that get harder, and the areas you fight them in are slightly more open world, so it feels less claustrophobic, but no less terrifying.
Black ops 2 is a great game if you’re a COD fan, but it won’t take pride of place on my shelf over Battlefield 3. Not this time.