• Language
  • £
  • Login

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review

The Call of Duty series has been a monster hit ever since its updating back in 2007, ditching the World War setting and giving gamers a more modern action experience and though sales suggest otherwise, there may be a few of you out there still undecided as to whether to give this newest version a go. Considering it is nigh on impossible to develop an anticipated annual release of Modern Warfare, Activision rather sensibly split the series into two distinct areas, Modern Warfare and Black Ops. The first Black Ops took us to the 1960's with the fate of the world on a knife edge what with the Cold War, detailing the exploits of Alex Mason. This time around, Treyarch have taken a risky gamble with the action now being thrust into a future conflict.

Past Call of Duty games have had a lot of concern regarding the length of the story and whilst it is still a little short, it never lets up with the Black Ops 2 campaign being mainly set around a new conflict in 2025, this time it's a family affair, with David Mason stepping into his dads boots whilst trying to take down the newest threat to world stability, Raul Menendez, a terrorist who has somehow accumulated a huge military force. In true Call of Duty fashion the story has been split into numerous scenarios, the 2025 setting progressing through the current threat from Menendez whilst there are also plenty of opportunities to play as Alex Mason yet again, hot on the heels of Menendez and adding a little back story, taking us to Nicaragua and Afghanistan during the 1980's and yes, you do get to ride horses and shoot rockets at tanks Rambo III style.

The action is what we can all expect form the series, snap-to aiming through plenty of high octane battles, a sniper bit, a sneaking bit, rock climbing (although with a futuristic edge) and lots and lots of gruesome deaths. It is all done expertly well, though the game does hold your hands a little too much, rather than allowing direct input the game seamlessly and often will take control, acting out important moments of the game; but even so Black Ops 2 shows the many wannabees (cough Medal of Honor cough) how it should be done. Midway through the game a rather unexpected change of pace occurs and though slightly off from the usual style, it is a welcome addition to the series; Call of Duty goes Real Time Strategy. With one mission explaining how to play and the remaining entirely up to you if you want to partake (I believe these do affect the final game endings) the Strike Force levels are a simple take on the RTS genre but with a twist. Allowing you to view the action from a safe high point, most these missions require you to protect specific items from a full on attack from enemy troops, with them throwing infantry, robotic vehicles and aerial bots at you. Thankfully you have a decent arsenal yourself to use including your own infantry and gun turrets. From the aerial view it is nice and easy to select and command the units by way of the d-pad and trigger buttons.?If the action is not going your way you can always jump straight in, warping into the troops on the ground, or if you fancy, taking direct control of the gun turrets and even a huge robotic tank. This addition alone gives the edge over what could have been just yet another Call of Duty game and shows there are still plenty of fresh ideas out there. As with previous versions the campaign comes feature packed allowing for replays across the varied difficulty settings, lots of Intel to locate plus the ability to select your own gear before taking on the enemy.

With the decent campaign offering loads of replayability this is already a solid game, but of course there is the online multiplayer, where yet again Black Ops 2 manages to show just how to do online frag fests. I will mention the Zombie mode first as this came across as a little disappointing. With a crazed scientist spreading his undead test subjects all over the world, it is down to you to survive for as long as possible in these horde modes. There are three game modes available, each play in similar fashion however there are a few differences, in Tranzit you play as a team of four, working together to survive in a zombie campaign mode, traveling to different areas, collecting upgrades and trying to find out what is going on. In Grief there are two teams of four, working against each other to be the last man standing and finally the classic Survival mode, just team up with three other players and see how many waves of zombie horde you can survive.?

The zombie action is set in a rather small arena and starts you off with just a pistol and knife with it being down to you and your teammates to board up entrances and shoot whatever undead beast walks into your sights, with each hit and kill earning points which can then be used for purchasing new weapons and even powerups that will assist you. Like most horde style games there will be a short respite from the incoming enemies once you have felled the last one from the wave, allowing you to gather your senses and build back the defences and maybe even purchase access to even more areas of the level. Though there are plenty of zombies to kill with a decent assortment of weapons my disappointment came with the annoying lack of direction, leaving many struggling to find out how to progress through the game plus a major bugbear of mine, the difficulty of headshots, with many a direct shot not even making the undead blink, if you are going to do zombies, do it right.

Of course the multiplayer aspect is where most of the time will be spent on Call of Duty Black Ops 2 and rightfully so as this is just one huge blast, never letting up with expertly crafted maps, small in size unlike other games and feeling more akin to another great frag classic, Quake Arena, each map meticulously created, allowing plenty of hide holes, double backs and sniper positions that every player will get a few easy kills from. Starting off with just a couple of pre-set classes, it's only once you start ranking up, be it via the training games against Bots or full on multiplayer modes, you start to gradually unlock more and more and more. Experience from games is earned from kills and carrying out objectives which gradually earn you more items which you can then purchase with Unlock Tokens. The ranking up is also included in each weapon, from shotguns to light machine guns, the more kills you earn, the more experience you will gain, unlocking many different add-ons like a support stock, tipped bullets and various sights; the level of customisation for players with the addition of Perks and Wildcards, weapon upgrades and of course the game changing Score Streaks is very impressive, allowing you to swap perks and weapons to create your own personal class. As mentioned earlier there are plenty of maps to play through, each one with a distinct feel like a train station, aircraft carrier, millionaires pleasure yacht or cargo depot with each map allowing for a multitude of game modes from your standard Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch to more tactical modes like Domination.

Away from all of the action there is also a large focus on community, with a league starting up in a few weeks and also a replay theatre, allowing you to save and share your best or most humiliating moments.

The initial fears that this was going to be just another Call of Duty game churned out are quickly quashed as Black Ops 2 is one of the stronger of the series and yet another Call of Duty game for you collection.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: Xbox 360)


- Be it on or offline, the action never lets up.
- A deep and enjoyable multiplayer experience.
- The game looks fantastic.


- Campaign is too scripted.
- Some of the best bits you just sit and watch rather than participate.

Edited On 22 Nov, 2012

( 9 )
HappyNoodleBoy's avatar
HappyNoodleBoy 4 years ago
Am I blind or is there no mention of the horrendous lag and piss poor hit detection?
Crunch70's avatar
No HappyNoodleBoy, I can't quote on this for the PS3 as I play the Xbox version and last night I didn't experience the lag like I have during the first week. But I agree the hit detection really needs addressing. Good review though.
Crunch70 4 years ago
adwan's avatar
Hit detection has never been very good on CoD games, and unfortunately some will experience lag whilst others won't. It's one of those things that isn't caused by the game directly but by the people playing it and their connection at the time.
adwan 4 years ago
0000000000's avatar
1 of the many reasons I did not pick this game up.. same old same old nothing every really new enough to spend the 45 quid
0000000000 4 years ago
Barada's avatar
Barada 4 years ago
The Campaign is typically over-the-top gung-ho nonsense. Not convinced Multiplayer is the draw for me, like millions of other drones. Graphically, it's a visual treat in Campaign mode. Seems rather sparse in Multiplayer. I like the addition of the humorous Zombie mode; far more interesting than the traditional multiplayer - which usually consists of running around souless levels with people who don't know what playing as a team is all about. After playing just two multiplayer levels, I only made one kill - couldn't really zero any opponents in-play - maybe this mode isn't for me! ;)
madeinwales's avatar
madeinwales 4 years ago
Overhyped game of 2012, very disapointing. I didnt like BO1 and this series peaked at MW2, even though its diff publishers, the whole multiplayer seems to hectic and fast. Its just one big barrage of respawns
Datastatic's avatar
Datastatic 4 years ago
Thing is with COD if you don't know what you are getting by now you never will. I picked this up because of the 'boot camp' because I am terrible at multi player but wanted to learn and get better. Even in Boot Camp I get blazed as soon as I spawn but thats down to me being rubbish. Zombies is the poor mans Left 4 Dead but still OK as something to do and a nice extra. Campaign is what it is. I was kind of enjoying it until it decided to become XCOM. I am tired of games that use too many buttons to do too many things and are still giving you tutorials 4 hours into a game. On the plus side COD is one of the few PS£ games where people use mic's which can be endlessly entertaining and I have seen no lag in the few hours I have played it. On the minus side £42 for a season pass? Really? Thats more than twice as much as Borderlands 2. It's Cod, it always has been and always will be. There's not a lot anyone can do about that other than not buy it and play a game you like.
0000000000's avatar
0000000000 4 years ago
well having spent 2 hours playing this round my brother in laws I am 100% confident that I made the right decision in NOT getting this game. there are issues galore with it, and the fact they have already took nuke town 2025 of which was the biggest advertising branch for the game is a joke, weather its coming back or not its still saft that they use it to get sales and take it away! far cry 3 and halo 4 are the shooters of 2012 I know that's only my personal opinion but I think people would agree with me!
Barada's avatar
Barada 4 years ago
The longer I've spent with this game, the more I've got out of it. It is a military FPS so if that is your genre then you will probably get a lot from this. The main area of contention for many players is they feel multiplayer has let them down - based on the fact of certain accounts of players claiming it isn't like this or that game from previous years. Well, they are correct, it WON'T be the same as before, if they want that, then put the older games back on and play them! Whining that their K/D rate is down on a brand new setup is frankly ridiculous. Who ever made you the best player on Earth anyway!? About time gamers realised there's always a bigger fish!

Please describe the nature of the abuse: