Release Date: 11/18/2012
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Here we go again, another Call of Duty. When will it ever end? Before you start the hate-mongering, just know this, Call of Duty still has some of the best online multiplayer you can get. At least Black Ops tried to change the series a bit with new modes and experimented with what Modern Warfare established, it also had a much more interesting storyline and decent characters. Black Ops II is the same way, but it’s too late to really matter.
The game picks up from where the first left off if you haven’t played it, good luck figuring it out. Alex Mason is searching for a man named Raul Menendez. This is one sick puppy. This guy is a terrorist and more evil than you can imagine. The story jumps around from Mason’s son, Alex, to David Mason back in the cold war. If you notice something, this game is more futuristic. It’s set in 2025 so there is some cool tech that’s just out of reach for today. Things like cloaking devices, VTOLs, and various other guns. The game just jumps between the first cold war and the second. During the first one you are trying to figure out what made Menendez crack, you later jump to the second one with Mason and Harper using the info you got from a guy who was in the cold war with Mason. It’s a bit confusing and seems pretty boring at first. Later on, the story really picks up and gets really interesting, I actually liked it. It’s not fantastic and it’s no Assassin’s Creed, but it’s pretty good for an FPS.
The campaign is still a shooting gallery, but it doesn’t seem that way thanks to great level design, and a lot of cinematic one-off moments. Moments like jumping on turrets, and driving various vehicles and aircraft, among others. It’s all fun and not a single level feels the same, but the underlying core is still there: shoot everything that moves. The AI is still pretty dumb, but I like how you can customize your loadout before a mission. There are many unique and fun guns, unlike the Modern Warfare series. Later on, you will be able to play through special side missions called Strike Force Missions, which is pretty much just a capture-and-hold mode or siege. Those side missions all feel the same and are pretty repetitive. It’s not as fun as online because of the dumb AI, you have to do everything yourself.
After you finish the entertaining story it’s multiplayer time! The old Black Ops modes return like One in the Chamber and Last Man Standing. Of course, all the others from the entire series are here. Honestly, the biggest change is that killstreaks have been replaced with Scorestreaks which I prefer. It was so hard to get more than 3-4 kills in a row for most players. Now you get streaks based on your score which lets you be able to use the cooler more powerful ones more often. However, I found the maps to be pretty mediocre. I learned to like a few, but they are lacking a bit in some way.
Zombies returns and is as fun as ever, there are more modes, and 8 player co-op, it also has a full-on online component, unlike the previous game. There’s quite a bit of content here and you will be coming back for hours to come. I just don’t understand why Treyarch couldn’t break the mold a bit more. I like the multiple endings and how choices in the story can change the ending. But there are things here like Jimmy Kimmel’s likeness at one end and Avenged Sevenfold at the end of one. I mean really? Are 14-year-olds really going to buy this because Avenged Sevenfold is in it? I really hate how developers do this and can’t just use their own ideas. It’s a cop-out/sell-out whatever you want to call it. I also don’t understand why the campaign can’t be a bit more intelligent gameplay-wise like Battlefield 3. I blame the young gamer’s instant gratification issue on that, but who knows.
What’s here is a solid game, and hopefully the last of the Black Ops series. The Wii U version looks a bit better than consoles and you can play the whole game on the gamepad which is nice, no shoehorned gimmicks for it. I did notice that the gamepad’s analog sticks are a bit sensitive and I had some trouble adjusting.