Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review – Opening a can of Trolls

I’ve never been one for midnight releases for anything let alone video games. Just the idea of going shopping on Black Friday makes me want to throat punch a baby. That being said, I was excited about the game and I even pre-ordered Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. I had every intention of going to pick it up on the release night, but when I saw a line of about hundred people standing outside of the store I turned my car around and went home disappointed. Moral of the story, nothing is so good you can’t wait until the next day for it. Now enough about me ranting about the sociological impact of the human need to be the first at everything.

These aren’t zombies, they’re Black Friday shoppers. Fun!

I started my online multiplayer experience with Call of Duty: World at War back in 2007. I’ve played games like Everquest before on the computer, but this was my first FPS that I would play against human opponents. It was fast paced and addictive, and I’ll be honest I sucked at first. It took me quite a bit of time to get killstreaks regularly and by the time that happened my K/D ratio was in the toilet. So much so that in the upcoming installments of the franchise my main objective was my K/D ratio.

We live and learn though. As my online friend base expanded I started to learn that K/D was not everything. Especially playing in a team dynamic. It wasn’t until the first Black Ops came out that my experience started to change.  Playing modes like Domination and Headquarters became the staple and it was all about winning games no matter how ugly your K/D was.  That is the one thing that Black Ops 2 is moving every player towards. They want a more enjoyable experience not for just the good players, but for the so-called “noobs” too.

Yeah, I’m sure he’s an avid gamer…

For example, Killstreaks are no more. They have been replaced by the much friendlier sounding Scorestreaks. It’s kind of a mix between the different killstreak types they had in Modern Warfare 3, but with less of a selection. I don’t mind it either, because it makes the people you play with now more helpful during the game.

The class system too has had an overhaul. Every class now is based on a 10 point system. Meaning that you have 10 points to assign different things to for each class. For instance, a primary weapon costs a point, and each perk costs a point. It leads to some interesting class builds and really breaks the mold on how you can create your individual style for play. The only real disappointment I have with it is they have removed the Perk Pros. Yes, they were incredibly hard to get in the original Black Ops, but that’s what made them cool. Not everyone always had them unlocked and already having the real difficult ones unlocked was a huge deciding factor on when someone would prestige.

Prestiging itself has become easier as well. With a level cap of 55 it’s easy to get there and now when you unlock a gun during a prestige run all the attachments that you have unlocked previously are now available. I’ve always been a prestiger though. I need some kind of leveling system in a game for me to play it long term no matter what the genre is. Otherwise I just get bored with a game and stop playing it all together.

My only real complaint about the multiplayer is that the knifing system is simply atrocious. I can’t tell you how many times I have missed with that fucking thing. It just does not have a good  hit sensor on it and even if you are in someone’s face you can miss. My favorite is when you sneak up on a sniper and miss him twice in the back at point blank range just for him to turn around and quick scope you. It is definitely a part of the game that needs to be patched.

For those who pick up this game for the campaign mode will also not be disappointed. It is simply gorgeous and has a wealth of varied gameplay from riding horses to flying in a wing-suit. The most noticeable change, however, is the addition of a choose your own path story. It’s not as deep as say an RPG, but it’s a first for Call of Duty and a welcomed upgrade. I didn’t even finish Modern Warfare 3’s campaign mode and in the short time I’ve played this one I have really enjoyed it. All that is left is for them to add co-op play.

Riding a horse felt very “Last Crusade-ish”

Zombies once again makes its round in Black Ops 2. Honestly I am surprised they haven’t made this a separate game entirely yet? I can see CEOs with dollar signs in their eyes saying, “let’s make twice the amount of money makng two games instead of one!” I personally loved the zombies in all previous Treyarch games and it’s the same this go around. It is a game mode that truly needs uniformed teamwork to get far into. The easter eggs are fun to find and the overall atmosphere has always been creepy. This time around they opened up the zombie world a bit more. The Tranzit board is massive and gives you a real world experience. You travel around on a bus and venture from one place to another. Most of this mode’s play-style remains intact with the addition of both a place to save weapons and money for future playthroughs. This, in my opinion, is a true game changer. Just imagine starting a zombies game with weapons and money!

If you have surround sound or a good pair of headphones one of things that will surprise you is the sound. The sound effects in this game are simply incredible. Whatever they did to change the sound of each explosion during a battle is a huge difference. Every time a grenade goes off or a car explodes it sounds so realistic. It’s not longer like those cheesy action movies where every punch that or every sword that is drawn is incredibly absurd. Kudos to Treyarch for this small and maybe unnoticeable improvement to the overall quality of the game.

In a movie this punch would sound like a nuclear bomb going off…

With all the improvements that Treyarch made with the new game, my biggest gripe however is that they dumbed the game down way to much. This is a recent trend I’m noticing with developers once a game gains popularity. They have done the same thing with games like Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age 2, and Skyrim. These are games that were deep and involving that took me hours to learn the interface, but then were turned into simple point and click menus. I understand why it’s done, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. It’s not my problem some casual gamers will get turned off from the difficulty. If that’s your thing go get a Nintendo, and stop with the pussification of hardcore games.

Over all I give Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 a 8.5 severed heads out of 10. It’s fast, addictive, and looks gorgeous. The new class system works great in multiplayer and the ability to choose you own path in the campaign mode is a welcomed addition. Zombies also adds another layer of fun that the Modern Warfare games miss out on. Once again Treyarch has outshone their Modern Warfare contemporaries and shown them there is a better way to make the same game.


Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review – Opening a can of Trolls — 1 Comment

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