Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review - A Killer Sequel

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Time to nut-up or shut-up -

The last major addition to the game is the zombie campaign where up to 8 players work together to get through each level and not succumb to a bite from the undead. There are three modes, including the official campaign "Tranzit", and Survival and Grief - the latter of which is competitive.

Tranzit's environment is 1950s-esque, and looks quite good overall. You're rewarded for exploration, with hidden easter eggs to find along with vending machines to purchase weapons and other perks. The story here is delivered in a minimal way, with subtle hints thrown at you from time to time. What makes the campaign intriguing is that you're not simply stuck in a small environment like in Black Ops and World at War. You're free to explore and move onto brand-new areas.

Call 4 Dead - Killing zombies with up to 7 friends.  Good times.

For fans of zombie games, and especially survivor mode, there will be a lot to love here. The zombies and other characters utter humorous lines from time to time, so it's clear that Treyarch really wanted this to be different from the rest of the game. While I'm not particularly a fan of zombie modes such as survival, I'd be much more apt to hook up with some friends and push through Tranzit together.

PC platform performance and graphics; minor upgrades -

Let's talk a bit about the technical details. A pet peeve of mine has been the lack of multi-monitor support in the series. Once again, fans with 3x1 setups are forced to use a hack that fixes a problem that shouldn't even exist. As an online game, this is never an ideal route for someone to take, but it's necessary if anyone wants to enjoy it on the setup they've invested in.

Graphics-wise, there haven't been major improvements - though this is undeniably the best-looking Call of Duty to date. We don't have anything close to Battlefield 3's level of detail in the high-end, but what's here is still quite good. It's a console port, yes, but definitely one of the better ones.

Improved configuration options in Black Ops II

While previous Call of Duty titles only allowed up to a 4x anti-aliasing setting, Black Ops II offers 8xMSAA and 16xCSAA options as well. It's about time. Also new are ambient occlusion and depth of field options. Treyarch has taken strides to improve the game on the PC, and it's much appreciated.

On my PC, equipped with a six-core Intel Core i7-980X, 12GB of DDR3-1600 memory and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580, I averaged out to 110 FPS during a multiplayer match with maxed-out settings (16xCSAA) at 1920x1200. If you could run previous Call of Duty games, you can assuredly run this one just as well.

When all said and done - Black Ops II brings a lot to the table. It offers a refreshing single-player campaign that adds a bit of complexity and consequence, multiplayer that doesn't stray from its proven formula but does add some extra flair and of course, a seriously-improved zombie mode that fans of the previous games will undoubtedly enjoy - even if it's not the richest zombie experience out there.

Treyarch is offering a tremendous package with Black Ops II. If you're a fan of the Call of Duty series or first-person shooters in general, be prepared to clear off an embarrassing amount of time from your schedule.

  • Features a lot of content
  • Great story-telling
  • Huge replayability in SP
  • Additions to multiplayer keep things interesting
  • A robust zombie mode
  • Strike Force tactile commands hit-or-miss

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Kidbest100 2 years ago

Im glad that they made the Campaign re-playable.

The ability to make decisions within the actual campaign that change the overall outcome of the story is something that has been around for a while in these kinds of games, however fairly non-existent in most Call Of Duty titles.

altereDad 2 years ago

I've been involved in the series since MW2. Honestly, I like the multi-player options. I like the shortness of the games. The ability to waste an hour or ten minutes at the end of the day.

twistedfate 2 years ago

This game is decent... I just hate how they have you customize the load out for each mission now :(

RWilliams 2 years ago

For the most part, I just ended up taking what was default. But for the second playthrough, I'll spend more time on customizing the loadouts. I'd hate this feature if the guns they gave you by default were horrible, but they're not. And, you can always pick up an enemy weapon throughout the level to replace what you -do- have.

dinkman72 2 years ago

Treyarch in a way has tried to re invigorate a stale series with new gameplay options. With a lackluster try at a built in RTS and a somewhat welcome to a pre mission load out it seems that they have tried to freshen up the single player campaign a bit but fell short on the goal. I have to admit that I have not played much of the multiplayer but for what I have played it seems to be more of the same as previous versions of this game. In all I would say that the fact you have re-playability in the single player, and have a larger zombie experience that it is worth getting on those merits alone. I will stick with other shooters for multiplayer however.

RWilliams 2 years ago

That faux RTS element could have been implemented so much better. If the AI was a bit improved, and a certain squad actually went where I told them to, it'd feel more like actual strategy is involved, not just luck. It wouldn't surprise me if Treyarch released a patch sooner than later to improve those levels a wee bit.

Manduh 2 years ago

The ability to make decisions in story mode is very cool for COD, it will probably make people more likely to play it and maybe even more than once. I still know some people who don't even touch story mode at all though, they just jump right in to online multiplayer.

I have only played it a couple times and I SUCK haha! But it gets played for hours here and I still hear the same laughing, yelling and swearing with BO2 as all the rest in the COD series so it must be good. It sounds to me like a love-to-hate game lol

Thanks for the review.

tompettibone 2 years ago

Would like to play this game but I don't think my 5 year old computer could handle it. It looks and sounds cool. I like the idea that decisions affect the out come. Always liked games that did that. Makes it easier to re-play.

tinner3 2 years ago

Read online forums. Just built a new i5 system, Fresh install of Win 7.  In game crashes a big problem.

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