follow us:

Latest News

TGS 2014: Meet MGS5's Quiet
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain was a prominent game at this year Tokyo Game Show. Hideo Kojima took the stage with other members of Kojima Productions to show the game in action and one of the controversial characters of the game, Quiet. ... [read more]
TGS 2014: Mix Dark Souls with Assassin's Creed and you get Deep Down
Deep Down, an upcoming Capcom Online Games production, looks like a faster and brighter Dark Souls with a touch of the “Animus” from Assassin’s Creed.... [read more]
Sir Hammerlock and Torgue introduce you to the world of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
Sir Hammerlock and Torgue serve as your guides in a new trailer for the upcoming Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. ... [read more]

Latest Articles

gamescom 2014: Sony shows off more indie games and hidden Silent Hill game
Lots of games ranging from AAA to Indie along with some shocking surprises were revealed at this year’s Sony Press Conference at gamescom in Cologne, Germany.... [read more]
gamescom 2014: Microsoft comes out fighting
After falling behind Sony again and again, Microsoft finally put on a show for gamers at gamescom 2014 to remind everyone that they are still in the fight.... [read more]
When a Good Cause Gets Tainted
This June was an important month for Nintendo. Prior to them winning the hearts of gamers across the globe at E3, they were in some hot water over a game that came out just a few days before. That game, Tomodachi Life, became the center of a world of drama that was not only ... [read more]

Latest Reviews

Gods Will Be Watching Review
Don't let the looks fool you, this is not a regular adventure game and it's definitely not for the squeamish. ... [read more]
Demon Gaze Review
To put it simply, Demon Gaze is old school RPG action with a bit of fan service thrown in. ... [read more]
Metro Redux Review
Deep Silver, who bought the Metro series after THQ filed bankruptcy, decided to get next gen gamers up to speed with the franchise by giving both games a next gen makeover in Metro Redux.... [read more]

Latest Videos

8-Bit Eric: Underrated Sega Genesis Games
The Genesis had a large library of great games, but some of those great games overshadowed some other quality games that ended up getting lost in the bargain bin. 8-Bit Eric is here to show you some of the hidden gems on the Genesis that you may want to give a try. ... [read more]
8-Bit Eric: Super Retro Trio Review
For some gamers, conserving space is becoming harder to do. With more consoles coming out, those older consoles can take far too much space. That's where multi-system consoles like Retro-bit's Super Retro Trio console come into play. 8-Bit Eric shows you how well the console... [read more]
8-Bit Eric: Sega Genesis Shmups
Get ready for a little bullet hell as 8-Bit Eric takes a look at the shmups for the Sega Genesis. ... [read more]
Black Ops II Review
Posted on November 30, 2012 by Oscar Gonzalez

Another year, another Call of Duty.  Black Ops II is the sequel to 2010’s Call of Duty game, Black Ops, developed by Treyarch who has done their share of games in the franchise right behind Infinity Ward.  Does Black Ops II have enough “new” to keep the series from going stale or is this just another entry for a series that’s been milked way too much?

A NEW DAY, A NEW DUTY

Adding Choice to Campaign - The two most common reasons people hate the CoD single player campaign is the subpar plot and the linearity of the missions.  Although the former is still in effect, the latter has been pleasantly changed.  There are several points in the campaign where you have a choice that does affect the storyline.  Some are simple "Do X or do Y" but others require you to act a certain way during an action sequence.  Depending on your actions, you'll get one of several endings.  Say what you will about the series, Treyarch did try to improve on the campaign and it worked.

More to do in Missions - Another nice addition is the multiple objectives added to each mission.  From finding certain items throughout the mission to killing a certain amount of enemies in a specific way, there's a bit more to the campaign that many people have criticized in the last couple iterations. With these objectives and multiple endings, Black Ops II's campaign has a much needed increase in replay value. Granted, most people will not even touch the campaign but for those times when the internet is out, you can replay the campaign to earn a new result.  The action, however, still does have that on-rail shooter feel to it so those having issues with that aspect of the game will still have that to complain about.

Getting Multiplayer Right - In Modern Warfare 3, multiplayer was dramatically changed to give players a variety of choices to match their play style, and while interesting, it didn't have an impact on the multiplayer.  Infinity Ward strived to get players that don't make a lot of kills involved in the game, but after all was said in done, they still weren't involved.  With Black Ops II, killstreaks have been replaced by scorestreaks, keeping the same concept of rewarding players for kicking ass but focusing on points instead of kills.  Due to this change, kills are still held king since they give you the most points, but helping out your teammates can also be rewarding.  Throw a concussion grenade out and you'll get assist points for enemies killed by your teammate, or call for a UAV and receive points whenever your team scores kills.  This new multiplayer won't help the sucky players become a major asset to their team, but it'll help them to contribute a bit more.

More Run with Zombies - Zombies mode returns once again.  This time, two additions have been made to spice things up:  Tranzit and Grief.  Tranzit expands on the size of the zombie map as you can now travel between multiple areas in order to figure out how to complete the level.  In Tranzit, you can also build items to help you get to new areas or fend off zombies.  Grief has two teams of 4 face-off against each other AND the zombies.  As the name implies, this mode is about causing the other team as much grief as possible since the two teams can't kill each other.  This is a great extra mode for those veteran Zombies mode teams that know the ins and outs of each map.

Who Pput a RTS in My Black Ops? - Now here's something that through me for a loop.  A brand new addition to the campaign are Strikeforce missions.  There are several of these missions where you controls multiple squads of soldiers.  You have a goal to complete with each mission whether it be destroying targets, defending buildings, or saving a prisoner within an allotted time.  To complete the goal, you'll have to direct your squads to various points on the map.  If need be, you can directly control a soldier or robot that makes up the squad since an experienced player can do much more damage than when the squad is left on auto-pilot.

At first, as expected, I was completely thrown off by having to control multiple squads instead of trying to run-and-gun through a mission.  Once you get used to it, it does play like a very simple RTS.  By no means is this some great innovation on the part of Treyarch, but it does show that they're willing to experiment by providing something different from the same ol' routine expected in a Call of Duty game.

Not an Oscar Winner, More Like an Emmy Nominee - I won't beat around the bush here, but the Black Ops II campaign wasn't bad.  It's not an in-depth piece of gaming bliss like Spec Ops: The Line.  Instead, it follows the structure of the first Black Ops game, play as two characters that are linked to each other, as well as one or two ancillary characters for a short period of time, rather than have multiple soldiers from different countries who are all on the same side but fighting different parts of the war.

You'll play as Alex Mason, from Black Ops I, and his son David Mason.  As Alex, you'll be playing through missions that take place in the 1980s where the Cold War was still happening while David is in 2025 where a new Cold War is happening.  There will be betrayals, tender moments, and some surprises while playing through the game.  Although it won't be winning awards for "best story" anytime soon, Black Ops II provides a story that could work as a good TV show, and is not NEARLY as bad as some people will say it is.

LAME-OPS

Getting Multiplayer Wrong - As much as I have praised the Black Ops II multiplayer, people are going to have problems with it.  For some people, the maps aren't good for sniping, but others say the maps will push you to camp.  Point is, everyone will not be happy with the multiplayer, simple as that.  Whether it's the CoD expert or the newbie, this multiplayer will not make everyone happy.  If there is one glaring issue that I can tell after playing several hours of multiplayer, it would be that spawn points on certain maps aren't as dynamic as I would hope.  There were times in which I spawned right behind an enemy running away meaning that I could have been spawn-killed.  

Not Enough to Change Minds - Even though Black Ops II is probably the best CoD games since CoD 4 with improvement to the single player campaign, multiplayer and zombie mode, it's still not enough to change the minds of those that have come to detest the series.  Granted, these people would probably never change their minds unless Activision's CEO Bobby Kotick kissed their feet, the game is still not grand enough to change people's minds.  It's good enough to make a lot of people happy, yet not amazing enough to stop people from declaring Call of Duty the biggest ill to hit video games.

What the Hell Was That After the Ending?! - I can't really say much about what happened since that would be major spoilers.  What I can say is that Treyarch completely dropped the ball in their post-credits segment they added.  You have to see it for yourself, and I'm sure you'll agree with me that it was an exceptionally poor decision to go along with it.





As I mentioned, I think Black Ops II is the best Call of Duty game since Call of Duty 4:  Modern Warfare.  There's been so many great additions and changes made to where you know it's a Call of Duty game although you're surprised it's an actual Call of Duty game. The game does have flaws, but don't flaws will range in severity depending on your preconceived notions about the series.

*This review was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game with a review copy provided by the publisher.*

Oscar Gonzalez - Editor-in-Chief og (@) original-gamer.com | all author's articles

What do you think of #Gamergate?

There's a problem in the industry that is being covered up by those with the loudest voices.
It's nothing but a bunch of misogynists hating that women are talking about games.
Can't we all just get along?
View Results - View Comments

Podcast


More Gamergate, the iPhone 6 and a pinch of Destiny


Zombies go on tour in the Black Ops 2 Zombie reveal trailer, multiplayer modes explained

Black Ops II Review

Black Ops II Review

Other Gaming News From The Web