Another Year, Another Call of Duty. Black Ops 2 builds on the first in a number of ways.
Let's get this out of the way Black Ops 2 is improvement from the original but unlike Modern Warfare 2 or 3 all points are strong with this one. Now if your not rolling your eyes already trying to tell yourself Call of Duty never changes and at its core it is the exact same game every year let's be honest here that is true at least for a little bit, but if you want to say that then you can make the argument that all FPS' are the same thing every game and there is nothing new as the object is generally the same throughout all of them. Anyway I digress time for the review.
Black Ops 2 has three main game modes; Campaign, Multiplayer, and Zombies. The campaign in this game is a direct sequel to the original Black Ops one. This time however you will be playing as either Alex Mason, his son David, or Frank Woods as they all try to hunt down a elusive and extremely deadly and vicious enemy Menendez. Clocking in a roughly 7-8 hours the campaign is your standard length and will take longer if playing on higher difficulties. The story itself is actually quite good, considering how lacklustre MW3' was last year I was surprising just how much better and tighter the story felt this time around. Now it isn't perfect but for a COD game this is one of the best. Though brand new for this year is the edition of strike team missions and branching story paths. Strike missions is a hybrid strategy mini game in where you deploy a seal team in one of a few different missions to complete objectives, once the objectives are completed that country will no longer be willing to join the enemies cause. This addition is actually quite fun and is a good break from the story, though I do believe these are completely optional unless you want a better ending. Branching story line's is also new, at certain points during the game. While this isn't a real big deal it actually feels pretty good and depending on what you do changes the ending you get. Overall the campaign is strong, there is nothing really exceptional about it but at the same time there is nothing wrong with it either.
Multiplayer also makes a return (I know I didn't think it would come back) and it is slightly better then Black Ops version, but thats not a bad thing. Gone are cod points and instead you are given unlock tokens to spend on guns, perks, lethal, tactical, and wildcards. Wildcards are things that give you something extra, whether it is a third attachment or another perk wildcards supplement your load out and give you something extra. This time around you can also choose to not take weapons, perks, and grenades if you don't want to. Oh and did I mention no last stand, death streaks, and all that cheap stuff from games past. Gun attachments don't cost a thing, you get them for levelling up your weapon of choice. Its not a bad system, it works as intended and it is different then the others. Though a new edition is the ability for you gun's to get there own prestige levels two in fact, all this does is after hitting level 17 on the gun you can prestige it and have the ability to put your clan tag and emblem on said weapon. Speaking of prestige you can take it at level 55 and there are only 10 prestige levels. For the most part multiplayer seems fairly balanced, there is only one weapon that I can see being a issue but since its unlock late in the game it shouldn't really be a problem. I have yet to experience any real game breaking lag even when playing with two bars it feels pretty stable. All the game modes are here, gone are wager games and are replaced with party games. Killing someone actually feels satisfying in this game, just saying. The maps are all varied and different, my personal favourite are the cruise ship one and the new Nuke Town no surprise there. There is only one bug I've encounter, and thats the sound cutting out, now it fixes itself when you restart the system but I'm sure they know that already. Overall Multiplayer is by far the best in the series with little to no faults about it.
Zombies is back, but this year its a bit different there are three maps to choose ( four if you get the hardened or care package editions of the game) and they each have two game types associated with them. These modes are Grief (two teams fight for survival against the zombies and each other), Survival (a bare bones mode with just weapons), and Tranzit (a almost campaignish mode where you can travel between the three stages, tells a story). I think the maps are actually quite lacking in this one, though the Tranzit mode is probably the reason its a fun mode but it could have used a little bit more time in the cooker. There is a easy mode and the ability to change game parameters which is nice, the easy mode isn't really all that easier but its good for the casual zombies fan. There just isn't that much more to say, we know more maps will be released for it but this is more of the same from the previous releases. Overall its a solid mode, but I don't think there are enough maps and the Tranzit mode could use a little fine tuning.
Now graphically this looks good on consoles, but you can see the age of the engine and quite possibly the hardware of the current gen systems. The maps, guns, and character models look great but on closer inspection a lot of the textures look low res. Though apparently there will be a 1.8GB texture upgrade pack for the PS3 which I would assume would upgrade some of the textures these should have been implemented already. Its not unplayable but when you notice it you WILL notice it. Though you can just get it for the PC and not have these problems. The audio is good, guns all sound different as do explosions. Voice acting is top notch as you can imagine, the soundtrack is okay nothing to really talk about.
Overall Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is a solid game, nothing wrong with it and it works right out of the box. If you liked the first you will probably like this one to. My only complaint is found in Zombies, but its not enough to say anything really negative about this title. While it doesn't do anything revolutionary, what it does it does well and will satisfy anyone till they release next years version.
Call of Duty Black Ops 2: 8/10
+Balance and Fun Multiplayer
+Strike team missions and branching story paths are a nice new edition
-Textures can be low res