Black Ops 2: A No Bullshit Staff Review

From Barrie Matthews – The Campaign

It was my first midnight opening game back in late 2010, after a few short hours stood in a queue with some fellow gamers/17 year old kids that had snuck out of their mothers basement it was all mine.  From that moment I had the Black Ops bug, many sleepless nights ensued.   Ever aspect of the game was completely epic so needless to say the squeal had some pretty big shoes to fill, especially since the very forgettable MW3.

It has to be said that when it comes to pure story telling Treyarch really are second to none, playing one of their games really is like living inside a movie.  A good one where you always the bad ass. The foundations set in the original Blops were undeniably very solid, with excellent character development and plenty of twists and turns (I still cant believe I didn’t click when you first went into the cave system).  Rather than take it in a brand new direction, which would have been a mistake Treyarch chose to continue the story.  Much of the same characters made an appearance and even if seen as a stand alone game Black Ops II did not fall short of the standard set in the previous title.  I am however talking about the overall story here, once you have completed the game everything falls into place.  Before you get to that mark however, things can seem to drag a little.  The campaign starts off as expected, very high action and fast paced however things soon start to slow down and even become a little sluggish.  Its not until the very later levels that things start to pick up again, I would even go as far as saying things got a little repetitive and rushed.  Now if you were to only look at the later levels I would feel a lot differently about it, Treyarch even took the time to build in some alternate endings which you set in motion throughout the game.  This of course has never been attempted before in either the original or any of the other COD games.  Apart from the achievements available this gives the game a lot more playability on the campaign which I think is an awesome little idea.  There are three events which take place during the campaign which decide what ending your going to get, much like in fallout but not to that scale.  One thing I will say is you do build up one huge hatred for the main protagonist so come the last act of the game you either have to choose your head or your heart.

As far as looks wise Black Ops II is a gorgeous looking game, the visuals are 100% stunning which is only complimented by the excellent job the voice actors did on the title.  Most noticeably from Micheal Rooker (Merle Dixon from the Walking Dead), he sells the character of Harper fantastically.  A no bullshit seal with an attitude, I loved him from the start.  For me he was the real high point of the campaign from beginning to end.    But in all honesty I have to say that my favorite levels of the campaign (apart from the final level) are the levels where you go back in time to events directly after Blops.  You take control of Alex Mason one last time and yeah, it feels real good.  And of course who could forget the now infamous Frank Woods, hes still very much the badass and very much alive (which was of course my first surprise).  Apart from the flashback levels he plays more of a narrator of the game and helpful old man to the son of Alex Mason in this title.  Even though hes in a wheel chair you still get the feeling he could kick your ass.  The Black Ops II campaign is a very good one, with a fantastic and blood pumping ending (in more ways than one) but does it compare to the original?  No.  Even with the introduction of futuristic weapons and gadgets plus the multiple endings it still does not have the same edgy grip that the original had.  Yes its pretty original and totally gorgeous but I even found that I was forcing myself to play at points just to get it out the way.  There was not enough variation in the game play, yes you get to ride a horse but in the original you flew an Apache gunship.  Now you do get the chance to fly a new jet around the city in the later levels but it just feels too staged.  You have to work pretty hard to crash so there is not much of a challenge there.  I give the campaign portion of Black Ops II a solid 6 out of 10, nothing compared to the original but a fun attempt at it.  Now the multiplayer of Black Ops II… That’s a whole other story.

black_ops_multiplayerFrom Stephanie Vivian – Multiplayer

What can I say, they did it again, and my love story continues. I  will say I had my doubts about Black Ops 2, why? Let me tell you. It seemed to me they were doing overkill, trying so much to top the sales, instead of top the game, I was worried.  But with each video released, my anticipation grew more and more. The passion that went into this multiplayer is incredible, to say the least. For me, this time around it was the weapons that just sucked me in. Right off the bat I felt the accuracy was probably the best out of any of the COD’s to date, from the hit markers to the distance to the way the gun feels, yes feels. And I love the shotguns! They are spot on.

Black Ops II has delivered the most “playable by anyone” experience to date. From the most hardcore player to the most inexperienced, this game enables everyone to have a great experience.  This is one of the features that will and has kept the Call of Duty franchise as a front runner. Not just catering to veterans of the game, but being able to pull in the not so weathered FPS gamer.  One of the features that gives everyone a level playing ground is being able to replace Kill Streaks with Score Streaks. You dont have to be the sharpest knife in the drawer to be able to meet objectives.

The game modes are, as always, diverse. Giving everyone a bit of what they desire, even carrying over Kill Confirmed from MW3. Combat [pullquote_right]What does Black Ops II have that MW3 didnt, Treyarch. [/pullquote_right]Training has taken a new turn, being fully integrated into the Black Ops II game and has 3 different game modes; Boot Camp, Bot Storm and Objective, all working with humans and bots combined. Regular game modes include Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Hardpoint, Demolition, Free for All, Domination, Kill Confirmed, Headquarters and Search and Destroy.

Can we talk maps?! Im a map junkie, I love the details in them, and like always Treyarch left nothing to be desired in the maps for Black Ops 2, from the streets of Kyrgyzstan to a luxery boat in Hijacked, these maps are diverse and fun. Honestly, there is so much to this new Black Ops 2 that a month in I am still discovering and trying things out, like League Mode for commentators, and being able to COD-cast gameplay is just one of the innovative things Treyarch has done.

I love it, I have no gripes about it, I love discovering new things about the game. When Treyarch made this game they didnt just package something to be sold at a store, they packaged an ongoing user experience. Something that does not get old after the single player mode is done, its competitive for all skill levels, its like Multiplayer on steroids.

What does Black Ops II have that MW3 didnt, Treyarch.

Zombies…. now thats a whole nother story.

 

 

 

 

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Stephanie Vivian

CEO and Editor in Chief for Rebel Gaming @Irgrl on twitter

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