So that time is finally here, we’ve all been waiting for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and for the past week we have been ignoring family members, children, pets, bills and even some times the need to go to the toilet (you know who I’m talking about) but was it worth all the hype? Well lets see
The official figures haven’t been released yet but an unofficial stat from The Metro reported that COD Black Ops 2 shipped over 8 million units in the first 24 hours and that is an impressive number by anyone’s standards. To give you an idea of how big that number is during same time period, Black Ops managed to ship around 5.6 million units whereas rival HALO 4 sold 3 million (remember HALO 4 is an Xbox 360 exclusive and so it’s day one sale figure is quite impressive).
So what about the game play I hear you say? Well as ever there are three distinct sections to any COD game these days; Single player Campaign, Multiplayer and the beloved Zombies so I will go through each one to give you an overview of the whole game.
With so many different COD titles out there these days it can be hard to keep track of what storyline you’re in. Black Ops 2 has two connected plots, with one set in the 1970s through to the 80s and the other in 2025. Alex Mason returns as the protagonist in the Cold War section, and chronicles the rise to infamy of the game’s primary antagonist, Raul Menendez, a Nicaraguan narco-terrorist and the leader of “Cordis Die”, a populist movement celebrated as the champions of victims of economic inequality.
Alex’s son (David Mason) is the main protagonist of the 2025 section of the game during a new Cold War betweenChinaand theUnited States. In this era, war is defined by robotics, cyber warfare, unmanned vehicles, and other futuristic technology.
With any Call Of Duty game you can expect a solid storyline and great game-play and Black Ops 2 doesn’t disappoint. Both stories are delivered well but one downfall is that you can feel a little disconnected at times when jumping back and forth between eras. Although the campaign is fairly short, coming in at roughly 7 hours worth of game play, it still feels fairly epic and there’s something new this time round too, re-playability. In the past the only reason to replay a Call Of Duty title was to up the difficulty but now there are decisions that you make during the game that will affect your storyline and ultimately the ending.
Not wanting to spoil any of the game I will point out one of the “cosmetic” changes that can be made when making your decisions. During a mission to a luxurious floating city Harper says “If I was on my own time I would go get some hot chick action”. Later on I replayed the game and in an earlier mission while we were trying to escape Menendez I accidentally drove my car under a jet flame badly burning half of Harpers face (honestly it was a mistake!) when we eventually got back to the floating city Harper makes his “hot chick” statement and one of the other team members says “Not with that face” BURN! (quite literally in this case). As I said this is just one of the smaller changes in the game but this gives you an idea of what I mean when I say that Black Ops 2 has re-playability.
It’s not all smiles and thumbs up when it comes to the campaign mode though. With the above mentioned branching decisions comes the “Strike Force” missions. In these, the player has a tactical satellite view of the area and control over multiple units, letting you zoom into the unit and control them manually, the problem with this is the AI. You can give other units commands and tell them where to go/what to do but half the time it just makes your job that much harder. What I ended up doing was moving all my troops into the corner of the map and then select one infantry unit and do everything myself. Also the Strike Force missions tend to distract from the campaign, I said before that sometimes you could feel detached as it bounced from era to era and this just makes the feeling worse.
Now this is where COD Black Ops 2 makes it worth spending all those pennies on. COD titles usually occupies the top spot in the online gaming chart so why fix something that isn’t broke right? Well if Treyarch don’t change a few things then the game will become stale and stagnant; so what they have done is kicked it up several notches. One of the most notable changes is the “pick 10″ system which means you can only have 10 items per loadout, this includes perks and upgrades for weapons and grenades. What this does is make you constantly tinker with your loadout. In previous COD titles a player would find a loadout they were happy and stick with it, now with the “pick 10″ system you will often find yourself changing your loadout whilst sat in the lobby waiting for the next round to start.
There are multiple new attachments in the game that are unlockable as you rank up your weapons, many of which are new to the game. These include millimetre-wave scanners that can show enemies through obstacles, and shock charge grenades that stun enemies that get near them. Taking a page from Gears of War, your assault shields can now be embedded in the ground as well, giving you portable cover that you can move and place at will.
Scorestreaks replace Killstreaks, and those have been tweaked as you would expect and updated with “future” 2025 weaponry. Some of these changes are small, but extremely welcomed. Sentry Guns now fight autonomously, or you can jump into them at any time to take control. The same goes for the Autonomous Ground Robot drone that you can jump in and out of.
Easily the most useful and devious Scorestreak at your disposal is the Guardian. This sets up a microwave-based turret that can be aimed in one direction. It will cause an enemy to slow down, become disoriented, and if they don’t get out of the way of the beam fast enough it will kill them. In one of my Search & Destroy matches, a team-mate planted the bomb and set up a Guardian on the bombsite. He was subsequently killed, but the lone remaining enemy could not get close enough to disarm the bomb without cooking himself. Ultimately, he sacrificed himself while trying, giving us the win.
The multiplayer modes have had a shake up too. Thankfully the COD cash games are gone, so instead of the wager you now just have party games. This brings back the likes of Sharpshooter, one in the chamber, sticks and stones and gun game. There is also a “boot camp” where players can play with up to three live players and three AI players, how this is supposed to work though I’m not sure, as I jumped into a game of it this morning and found myself playing against eleven other live players ranking between level one and thirty eight. I might as well have just started playing a normal team death match.
There is also a new “league” system that you can play in, when you start this it will make you play a couple of “placement” matches to see what your skill level is before placing in a corresponding position in a league. It’s very similar to how the Starcraft league works and is a good marker of how your game is improving (or in my case getting worse) This would also be a good place for people to take their clans, I can easily see this section turning into something along the lines of the old Clanbase or EnemyDown ladders.
Also new to multiplayer is “multi-team” this seems such a basic idea that it’s a wonder that it hasn’t been introduced before. In this mode you can have up to eighteen players and six teams all fighting each other, some times with so many different teams on the map this can get very hectic and confusing and you will some times find yourself needing to team up with other teams but this isn’t always easy in a game like COD when the usual rule of thumb is very American in that you shoot first and ask for help later.
Prestige has also been revamped here, with level 55 as the target number for Prestige, and at 10 levels deep. But this time hitting Prestige does not wipe your slate clean. It now continues your level progression, and your weapon XP and attachments are not reset, nor are the challenges. Your unlocks stay unlocked. You’ll be able to choose one of three rewards whenever you hit the magic number, allowing you to add a new Create a Class slot (up to 5), get a Refund of unlock tokens, or get a Fresh Start which actually does reset all of your stats and kicks you back to level one. Having said all this though I don’t expect to ever test this out myself as I’ll be happy getting to level 30.
This feels like the part of the game that has had the biggest change. In previous games you would be locked in a house or building and try to get to a room while keeping the zombies out which worked well but Treyarch have decided to change a few little things that end up making a big difference. Now you have a choice of three maps and each map has two choices of game type. All maps have “survival” on them, which is self explanatory, but there are two other game modes.
Transit mode feels like a campaign in itself. You start off in a bus station with your team and a bus outside beeping it’s horn (this guy obviously has never seen ANY zombie movie …… ever) you can either stay in one place, but we all know how that ends in COD zombie games, or you can get on the bus and make your way through the 3 other stops on the bus route. This gives you the opportunity to investigate areas and find cool new weapons as well as find upgrades for your bus including a snow plough to attach to the front for a little bit of zombie surfing. Whilst you are making your rounds you will find parts that aren’t for your bus, these parts can be used at crafting tables (the ones with the blueprints on them) to make anything from switches to turn power on to gun turrets to help you mow down zombies (if you’ve played the game you’ll get the pun there). In all this mode makes it feel more like a survival game, it also makes you feel like you are actually on the run. At one point when me and the guys were playing the group got separated with me and Cagedaxewound being left behind in a tunnel and the other two guys sitting on the bus till the next time it came around. Let me tell you that it got very hairy on a number of occasions.
The second game type is Grief which, for the first time, can have up to eight players in zombie mode. There are two teams of four and the idea is to last longer than the other team but if you want you can actually help each other out, the only thing you can’t do is revive a member of the opposite team. This game mode is a lot of fun but with the power ups, points and ammo being split between the two teams you might find it hard to get past wave ten but get the right people on and this is side splittingly fun.
Here at Nerfed we’d have to say that this is a must buy game. It has some down sides and the single player campaign is not as strong/long as it could be but you would be quite happy to pay full price for just the multiplayer or even just the zombies, so to get all three for this price is a bargain.