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COD: Black Ops 2 review -- The Future has everything. Literally.

Last year

Killing is my business and business is good.

Traveling to the future must be like going on a trip to an unknown destination. Rather than pack the essentials you know you’ll need like clothes and practical shoes, you apparently need to cram everything you’ve ever owned into that small pack, including speakers, rulers, fishing rods, a wrench, ice cream scoopers, espresso machine, dishwasher tablets, Christmas wrapping from the 80’s and a stuffed albatross you got for your birthday once when you’re Auntie heard you liked birds.

Because this is the experience greeting you when you play COD: Black Ops 2. Activision has made the bold move to leap players into the future, but apparently they weren’t really sure what they were going to find there so decided to throw every possible experience they have ever produced or thought of into one game.

Perhaps it was the fear around their fans expectations after delivering such massively popular games year after year, but Activision apparently didn’t want to leave out ANYONE’s favourite experience. It’s all in here.

But it’s not unenjoyable. In fact, it’s downright fun as hell.

Zip lining mechanics, wing suits, RTS style unit coordination, vehicles including horses, helicopters, tanks, drones, more drones, drones again, head cams you can use to take control of any unit on the field and others I won’t ruin the surprise for you (hint: drones) which you can both command and move in any style you like.

Usually this would be a cluster bomb of half assed attempts to engage players on the surface without really letting them get a feel for any one type of style, but that’s what the multi-player is for and I could only keep playing mission after mission to find out what would be next with a fat smile on my face.

To the story, you are in the not to distant future despite what a lot of internet trolls seemed to think is the right decision. Activision have made the same conclusion which Diehard 4, Terminator and a bunch of other action Hollywood movies made where technology namely computing power is the key to balance of power in the world. Plus something about Twitter and YouTube showcasing the villain’s internet prowess, which made no sense but I’m sure helped gain them street cred.

As in Black Ops original you are jumping back and forth through time with an interactive storyline. So get ready for current day missions in Afghanistan or random ones in Vietnam where you find out the origins which created the super villain you are tasked with stopping.

This tactic is still delivering in keeping audiences engaged in the storyline without just lengthy cut-scenes we normally hit skip on and find out the rest later, whilst keeping the gameplay and weapon style fresh and changing.

What I liked about it:

Everything you walk past, see or touch you can pretty much expect to be controlling at some point within the game, be it helicopter missiles, tanks, horses, drones or even other soldiers, which of course makes no sense but was fun anyway.

The characters are actually enjoyable to play as or watch. They are gritty, harsh, murderous villains who you would expect to have vendettas against people. Except Michael Rooker’s character Harper who got on my nerves hard core in every scene he was in. Someone shoot Harper in the face already.

Its random fun. I kept getting caught up in the randomness of mission objectives and weaponry to care about how nothing seemed to really fit together and I was moving back and forth through time so much I felt like I was in the Butterfly Effect.

What I didn’t like:

The battles feel very 90’s action film. I had to turn the difficulty way up just so I couldn’t plant my feet in the open and take on the army chasing me with nothing but a bear trap and handgun whilst their bullets seemingly hit nothing.

Mission objectives feel mostly pointless. There is a point where freedom of choice can dissolve into carnage of ‘who cares what I do as long as everyone is dead and I hit the F key when needed’, and Black Ops 2 slips over that edge in too many missions. I didn’t feel satisfied for winning the game. I just felt like I completed another mission and after spending hours trying to get involved that was a bit of a letdown.

Multiplayer

As for the multiplayer, currently it’s full of players shooting my in-experienced face off (as it should be) but it delivers the same fast paced and high adrenalin impact which COD is known for.

The close quarter maps is where it really shines as COD Multiplayer has always been about reactions and blind shooting than abusing map knowledge because you have worked out the best camp spots. Which I’m sure is still happening making newcomers hate themselves and COD after they become fodder and go 0/25 every match.

Verdict

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 delivers on its promise of raw entertainment. Although it feels like a stepping stone into a more polished Black Ops 3 (we all know its coming people), it’s got so much to it that players will never get bored testing themselves with fresh challenges every level.

Its overzealous attempt to include a hundred types of experiences is noble and has done a great job in distracting players from the average storyline but should be considered the exception to the rule rather than something to follow. No copycats please.

Its control and interaction with weapons and the environment felt well planned and kept me thinking that although I could just shoot my way through whatever the enemy threw at me, it would be more fun if I use the weapons/devices it had chosen for me.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 receives an 8.5/10 and won’t disappoint kids and adults alike should it find its way into their stockings. 

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