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Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

Johannesburg, 10 Dec 2012
Read time 3min 10sec
Treyarch has made subtle changes to the story, gameplay and multiplayer that have significantly improved the already popular game.
Treyarch has made subtle changes to the story, gameplay and multiplayer that have significantly improved the already popular game.

Black Ops 2 is the ninth game in the highly successful Call of Duty series. Treyarch, the developer, has made subtle changes to the story, gameplay and multiplayer that have significantly improved the already popular game.

The story follows two different timelines - in the Cold War era, it follows Alex Mason and Frank Woods as they track the rise of a new villain, Raul Menendez. In the 2025 timeline, Alex's son, David, chases down Menendez as he threatens world peace. Menendez is a complex character, and while he is clearly the villain, it is also very easy to understand his plight. This duality is at the core of what makes the game brilliant.

Choices play a big role in the story. For example, choosing to spare or kill people has an effect on the course of the story. Even failing missions opens new, harder missions rather than just offering a replay of the same stage. There is a sense of finality in every decision and there's no clear path to the happiest ending.

The "strike force" missions are a new game mode. This mode provides a top-down view of a map and allows control over a number of soldiers, drones and turrets as waves of baddies attack. While these units can be moved or positioned on the map quite easily, it is more exciting to zoom into a unit, take direct control of it, and engage in battle directly. I found the control systems rather frustrating, and since the AI wasn't too bright, I often took control of a soldier and killed off the hordes of baddies myself.

Choices play a big role in the story. There is a sense of finality in every decision and there's no clear path to the happiest ending.
Choices play a big role in the story. There is a sense of finality in every decision and there's no clear path to the happiest ending.

The multiplayer also sees a number of improvements. The revamped class system allows the character to select 10 items, including a variety of weapons, attachments, grenades and/or perks. In addition to the traditional game types, like 'Deathmatch' and 'Search and Destroy', there are a few new modes, like Hardpoint (a kill-the-king mode), 'Sticks and Stones', 'Sharpshooter', as well as 'One in the Chamber' (which was ?rst introduced in Modern Warfare 3) - both more casual party modes. There is also an option for multi-team matches: four teams of three make for interesting gameplay. They can still be played in four-player local split-screen play, or two-man, split-screen online play.

In summary

Pros: Choices affect the end, brilliant multiplayer, Zombie mode Cons: Story was confusing, lag on the multiplayer Rating: 9/10 Recommended retail price: R699 (Xbox and PS3) R499 (PC)

In the third game mode, "Zombies", a team of up to ?ve players has to fight waves of the undead. This can be done in a number of modes, including Survival, Tranzit (where the player takes a bus ride and explores a massive area), and Grief (which pits the player against another team to see who survives longer). Zombies mode is a brilliant addition to the Black Ops world and is massive amounts of fun. I might end up spending more time playing this mode than the regular multiplayer.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (http://www.callofduty.com/blackops2) sets a new bar for first-person shooters. The way choices affect one's progression and the course of the game makes for a deeply engaging story; the action is tense and it has huge replay-ability. The massive multiplayer content and Zombie mode makes this a title diehard fans can really sink their teeth into. This is the best Call of Duty game yet.

See also