Zombies, Technical Details & Conclusion
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.
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.
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.