Game: Black Ops 2
Platform : Xbox360/Ps3/PC
Genre: FPS

Overview

Heres Activisions biggest selling game franchise of all time, and that means after the modern warfare release, treyarch had its turn to step up to the plate, the new call of duty: Black Ops 2 carries on the story of Mason and Woods who appear in the first part of this series, the timeline alternates from the past to the future (at present in game the year is 2025). and tells of a story that follows a similar plot to that of MW3 and Makarov. infact you could say that the storyline pretty much is a carbon copy with a few alterations here and there. When we heard of its release, our team almost wet ourselves with excitement as we were massive fans of the first black ops and were eager to see how treyarch would continue the story and top the hype and awesomeness that we got given from infinityward with MW3.

Gameplay

As you've come to expect, game play is more of the same, we see the return of the dolphin dive and the controls can now be altered to accomodate up to sensitivity 14, which gives players a bit more play when finding the sensitivity they prefer.

Campaign

having played through the campaign on veteran and watching everything that happens, i can honestly say the campaign was thrilling to go through, the storyline was well structured and there were references to the original black ops in there which players will like, the main objective of the campaign is to put an end to Raul Menendez who is the Makarov of black ops 2, he's a drug cartel leader who aims to destroy the super power nations heirachy to ensure global domination by controling and taking over countries and tech owned by the superspowers (america and china). The storyline is about the struggle of both Woods and Mason to take him out, and new to the scene is David Mason (Masons son)who is out to stop Menendez in 2025. The game itself is fluent and there are objectives in addition to completing each level you can do, and certain actions affect how the game plays out. There are even a few missions where you play in a sort of "Comand and Conquer" style where you can go into an ariel view and take control of one or more units of soldiers/sentries and Claws. This gives the game a much needed break from the norm and really adds some strategy to it.

Treyarch have done an excellent job at the campaign and veteran doesn't seem as challenging as in previous treyarch titles like "world at war" but that maybe down to improvements in my own playstyle. however with that said, there are many challenging parts that you will die on a few times before mastering the game.

One thing that we found when playing the campaign is that on one level there was a glitch where you were told to raid a cocaine bunker but you couldn't go down the trapdoor because of an invisible wall. upon restarting the level and doing something different (going up the bell tower) we were able to continue. This is the only bug that we found that was kind of annoying as it meant we had to start the entire mission again on veteran.

The campaign also allows you to create and edit your loadout before each mission, meaning you can customize what you start the mission with and set it up as you would a multiplayer, you unlock new items by doing objectives and beating certain missions. you can choose up to 3 attachments on your primary, 3 perks, a combinations of any two lethal or tactical grenades and a secondary with up to 2 attachments. I really liked this addition as it meant you could experiment with different loadouts to see which one got you further in the level. and some levels required you to have certain weapons for trophies.

The campaign lasts around 3-5 hours tops if you are on veteran but this can easily be reduced if your a good player and skip all the cut scenes. I strongly recomend playing the campaign before the multiplayer as its well worth it. It's fun and theres a sense of achievement saving the world (again) from those pesky drug barrons. The only thing dissapointing about the campaign is that it doesn't feel like you've played enough of it, sure its a good playtime of around 3 hours but your left feeling that the campaign could of been a bit longer or there could of been a few more extra missions, thats not to say the game was lacking any for this but because it was so fun it left you wanting far more than it seemed to deliver.

Multiplayer

Zombies

Thats right ZOMBIES IS BACK! and boy are you in for a treat. There are 3 zombie maps to play and each has 2 game modes which is completely new to the zombies area, Treyarch have decided to refresh and update the zombies we know and love and turn it into something new and exciting, so whats new you ask? well aside from using the same engine as the multiplayer meaning zombies is able to support up to 8 players in a match, the fact you can play against each other for survival and have a rank system for your zombies online, theres also a new mode called tranZit in which we will look at later.

Survival: Your bog standard single map mode where your pitched against hordes of Zombies, you aim is to survive as long as possible

Grief: A new additions that allows players to be in teams in which they can work together OR slaughter each other as well as the hordes of zombies, only one team will survive.

TranZit: a completely radical new way to play zombies, in TranZit you can freely move from map to map to one of 5 locations, where your against growing hordes of zombies but you can also build things to aid you as well as unlock the mysteries behind the zombies game by opening area's and completing different challenges in the game, there are also hidden items and a boss you can face when playing, 4 people at a time can try and complete this almost campaign like mode. In TranZit you can find items scattered around on the floors and walls in each location and using a workbench you can create different items to help you, such as a lawnmower gatling sentry gun, a Zombie roit shield, an electric mine and a manaquin fan that blows open doors and powers perk vending machines. This new way to play zombies really is fun and brings a refreshing overhaul to what we are already used to, this stops zombies from becoming a stale addition that you can easily get bored of after so many rounds in the previous versions, but this new zombies and competative zombies mode really spices things up and keeps you coming back for more.

Multiplayer online

Now here comes the most eagerly anticipated review ever, the multiplayer, and boy do i have a lot to talk about here. Where shall we begin, Multiplayer offers a completely new way to play CoD, this time Treyarch has followed a new route to setting up classes, heres how it all works:

Each class has a total of 10 points you can spend on anything you like the 10 points adds up so that you can use one primary with one attachment, 3 perks 2 tactical grenades, one lethal grenade and one secondary with an attachment, ok great so whats new? well you can spend points on what ever you wish, so if you don't use lethal grenades you can remove them and use that point to give your gun a second attachment, don't use the first line perks? no problem choose something else, you can even choose extra perks instead of lethals, secondaries and primarys, to do this you need to use a wildcard which takes up an additional point. So say you wanted to use Scavenger and Blind eye and both are on line 1 perks, you'd take a wildcard and the second perk on the same line would cost 2 (one for wildcard and one for the perk) so 3 points for 2 perks.

This new way adds countless customizations for classes, whats great about this too is prestiging doesn't mean you loose your guns attachments or camo, instead each gun gains a level up the more you use it (as with MW3) only you can prestige your guns so you can unlock camos and extra things for them (prestiging guns makes you lose all attachment unlocks but not camo's) so really its up to you to make the choice.

Scorestreaks

Ok we've covered the classes a bit now onto the killstreaks, in Black Ops 2 the killstreaks are now called scorestreaks and you cannot choose support/specialist ones like you could in mw3, however although you lose you scorestreak if you die, you get points for a number of additional things that count toward your scorestreak, as with Mw3 you gain points towards your scorestreak by capturing objectives, but you also gain them from assists, Team mates who kill enemies while your UAV is active, kills from other score streaks and destroying scorestreaks. so you can build a good scorestreak by combining scorestreaks that will gain you the most points to use the harder to achieve scorestreaks (EG Swarm which costs like 1900 points). You can use scorestreaks in any 3 combinations but those three scorestreaks are for ALL classes which means that unlike Mw3 where each class could have different killstreaks, you get just the one. With a lot of scorestreaks (IE Sentry guns) you can leave them to be AI controlled or you can control them yourself (applies to most remote scorestreaks).

Playing online

Now here comes the lengthy discussion about online play, now as your all probably thinking "I bet the online is awesome and even better than the others" you'd be wrong, online is HIDEOUS! Treyarch have done everything they can in Black Ops 1 to stamp out n00b tubers and Quick Scopers which worked well, in this edition they have now targeted campers and made a fatal error in doing so. The spawning system isn't great (as with most CoD games, but this spawn system is the most ridiculous by far.) so you'll find that enemies spawn next to you quite often, but what really ruins the online play for me is the fact you are rewarded for being crap at the game. Treyarch have got it into their heads that the world is complaining about campers, and to a degree i probably agree with that, camping is bad, but trying to stamp that out is going to have some affect on the game, and now its a case of rush and die, camp and die, do anything and die.

The maps are not too great either, most are small meaning that your only going to be using shotguns and SMG's as LMG's are pointless and Assult rifles only work well on a few levels. There are a few good ones like Hijacked (cruise liner ship level) and Express (Rail way station level) but most are either too small or have too many obstacles that you get caught on or too many corners that everyone fires their gun before walking around, so sods law states that you will die almost certainly if you are walking around a corner by some spray and pray n00b who has no concept of the game.

Now with BLOPS2 The game is heavily reliant on UAV and Treyarch have decided to remove any form of UAV protection that is useful, you'll find that the perk to prevent detection against UAV is available at level 55 (When you'll be prestiging as its the last level) and even still you HAVE to be moving for the perk to work, standing still still shows you up on radar because its designed to stop people camping. Ok thats great but what about game modes where you actually have to camp to achieve your objective, whats wrong with guarding a flag and camping near it? its not possible anymore so Treyarch are basically trying to get you to be more objective orientated but also ruining that by saying you can't sit around protecting an objective.....What where they thinking? The only salvation in reaching first prestige is you can permenantly unlock whatever you like with a prestige token, so most sane people will unlock Ghost first and stick it on straight away.

To make matters a little worse, unlocking a silencer on most guns takes a good long time too (only SMG's seem to have silencer as one of the starting attachments), couple this with the fact near enough all guns have next to no recoil means its ridiculously easy for n00bs and crap players to earn high points just for getting a UAV. If your blood hasn't boiled already it looks no better with the party games either, the "Fun" game modes like Gun game, one in the chamber and sticks and stones all have constant UAV so its impossible to have any other tactic rather than rush in and hope you don't get butchered by hails of bullets coming from every corner you go near.

That for me ruins multiplayer and that is why i was so dissapointed with it even though i really like the new systems with scorestreaks and the points system for classes, what makes me annoyed the most is that Treyarch kept the UAV at 3 kills (to gain the points to use it) whereas counter UAV is still higher in points to use so its almost certain you'll forever be getting pounded by the bad spawns and not being able to stealthily kill anyone without being instantly killed afterwards to gain enough points to use a counter UAV. Treyarch if your reading this, go hang your heads in shame that you ruined a perfectly good multiplayer!

Now lets move onto one of the most interestingly rubbish part of multiplayer.....the Knife, and in this installment you can have 3 ways of knifing someone, holding a gun/tactical knife, Combat knife without a gun (makes melee faster), or using a balistics knife (projectile knife that can be retrieved and melee faster). Ok whats bad about that you say? well heres the thing, while its a cool idea to be able to not take a primary/secondary weapon and use the knife as your weapon its actually pretty useless, you will have better luck marrying cameron diaz than you will actually killing someone with a knife. Treyarch has tried to make panic stabbing less effective and to a degree i think that its not a bad idea, but again they have completely ruined it by making the knife out of butter, the only method i seem to find that kinda works now and again is to make sure you look behind you when you knife someone so that your character does a 180 spin. Better still i find looking the wrong way to knife someone also is effective for some reason (since head on in-your-face knifing seems to have no affect when you lunge at someone and miss but they can knife you not even having you in their screen view).

Another interesting thing to note about BLOPS2 is the overpowering bouncing betty, in the last BLOPS game the betty was pretty good but could easily be spotted and shot, this new betty looks like scenery unless you spot the three red/green lights on the top of the disc which is difficult when your running around, couple this with the fact that everyone is using them so no matter where you run you'll likely be killed by one makes the game not very fun at all, sure there are a few things that will help (Flak jacket is vital since it takes 2 explosions to kill you, including point blank rockets) and technician lets you see where equipment is placed, another good way to stop a betty is to use the hacker tactical equipment which make the betty yours is handy but all in all you'll find most of your deaths will be by enemy betty's, the best way to learn how to avoid being killed by betties is listening out for the noise before it explodes and pressing [O] which will make you crouch and avoid the explosion, timing is everything so a bit of practice and you should be able to avoid being blown up easily.

Ok i'm sure your all bored of hearing the bad things about the multiplayer so lets touch on some good things. new to COD is the mute all feature in lobbies which is probably the BEST thing ever in a COD game, the fact you can one touch mute all those annoying chavs and kids shouting down their mics is a much welcomed feature, this means you can freely talk to your party members without having to listen to the drivel spouted by anyone else. Alternatively if you like hearing a bunch of 6 year old americans you can flip to unmute all and listen away till your ears bleed. But don't say we didn't warn you.

Another cool addition is League play where you earn no experience for matches however everything is unlocked in league play so you can set up your classes how you want with everything at your disposal, you can enter one of 3 leagues which has their own rules and regulations and once you've completed 5 matches you'll be then ranked into a roster by which you are pitted against people of roughly equal skill level to you based on your public match results, and you can climb the ladders to be top of the leaderboards. certain calling cards can be unlocked by doing this so if your a competitive soul who likes to prove your worth, then this mode is one for you.

Ok we'll have a look at some new additions to attachments now and theres a fair few that we really enjoyed having, from laser sights to balistic CPUs theres a lot to unlock and choose from. heres what they do:

Millimeter scanner: Scans the area within the sight and will detect personel hiding behind walls and scenery
Balistics CPU: Steadies the aim of sniper rifles so there less sway when aiming (vital for sniping with scopes as theres next to no sway when prone and hardly any when crouched)
Long barrel: Increase the range and slightly increases the damage of a gun, very useful on shotguns and SMG's with high fire rate and low damage.
FMJ: make a return and increases bullet damage against enemy scorestreaks and bullet penetration kills, also slightly increases normal bullet damage.
Fast Mags: allows fast reloading (same as dual mags in BLOPS 1)
Target Finder: Reduces ADS viewing but anyone within the sight has a red target diamond around them making them easier to spot and fire at, works well on LMG's and Assult Rifles but not so well on SMG's due to short range. cold blooded prevents the diamond showing up when targeted.
Iron Sight: Some snipers can have the scopes replaced with an iron sight making them a very powerful assult rifle, however the ability to snipe at long distances is limited due to accuracy loss compared with a scope, however brilliant for mid and close quarters.
Adjustable Stock: Lets you move faster will in ADS, useful on LMG's and Assult rifles.
Quick Draw: Lets you aim faster by replacing the grip handle with a more ergonomic design and increases accuracy slightly while in ADS.
Variable Zoom: Although this isn't new as such, it is new for LMG's which means you can zoom in with LMG's
Select Fire: allows you to change your guns fire rate to Single, Burst or Fully Auto. useful for changing single shot assult rifles to fully auto.
Rapid fire: Again not that new but can be put on a variety of guns to increase fire rate dramatically, however recoil is also increased.
Laser sight: Make it easier to hip fire more accuratly as the laser shows where the bullets will hit however enemies can see the laser to a degree so sometimes can be a giveaway if your hiding behind a door/obstacle.

Heres a list of all the perks available and what they do:

Perks

Perk 1
Flak Jacket — Take less explosive damage.
Ghost — Cannot be detected by enemy UAVs while moving.
Blind Eye — Unaffected by AI-controlled perks.
Hardline — Receive bonus score points.
Lightweight — Move faster, take no damage from falling.

Perk 2
Hard-wired — Immune to counter-UAV and enemy EMPs.
Scavenger — Replenish ammo and grenades from fallen enemies.
Cold-blooded — Resistance to targeting systems including Dual Band, Target Finder, Sensor Grenades and player-controlled aircraft.
Toughness — Flinch less when shot.
Fast Hands — Swap grenades faster, use grenades and equipment faster, and safely throw back frag grenades.

Perk 3
Engineer — Show enemy equipment in the world, delay explosives and re-roll and booby trap care packages.
Dead Silence — Move silently.
Extreme Conditioning — Sprint for a longer duration.
Tactical Mask — Reduce the effect of flash, concussion and shock charges.
Awareness — Enemy movements are easier to hear.
Dexterity — Climb ladders and mantle over objects faster, recover from melee faster and aim faster after sprinting.

Heres all the score streaks and what they do:
Scorestreaks
RC XD — 325 points — A remote-controlled car packed with explosives.
UAV — 375 points — Shows enemies on the mini-map.
Hunter Killer — 400 points — Airborne drone that seeks out and destroys a nearby target.
Care Package — 450 points — Air drop a random Scorestreak.
Counter-UAV — 475 points — Temporarily disables enemy radar.
Guardian — 500 points — Projects microwave field which stuns and impairs enemies.
Hellstorm Missile — 525 points — An air-to-surface missile which can be scattered into a cluster bomb while falling.
Lightning Strike — 550 points — Launch a coordinated lightning strike on three locations.
Death Machine — 600 points — Your own personal handheld mini-gun.
Sentry Gun — 650 points — An automatic sentry gun which can be remote-controlled.
War Machine — 700 points — Grenade launcher with rapid, semi-automatic firing.
Dragonfire — 725 points — Remote-controlled quad-rotor with lightweight machine gun.
AGR — 800 points — Air drop an autonomous ground robot that searches for and destroys enemies and can be remote controlled.
Stealth Chopper — 850 points — Call in a stealth helicopter which does not appear on the enemy's mini-map.
Orbital VSAT — 900 points — Shows both enemy position and direction on the mini-map, cannot be shot down.
Escort Drone — 1000 points — Get personal air support from an escort drone.
Warthog — 1025 points — Jet aircraft that provides close air support with several strafe runs.
EMP Systems — 1050 points — Temporarily disables enemy electronics.
Lodestar — 1150 points — Lase missile targets remotely from the Lodestar.
VTOL Warship — 1200 points — Be the gunner of a powerful VTOL Warship.
Canine Unit — 1275 points — Attack dogs that hunt down the enemy.
Swarm — 1400 points — Call in a swarm of lethal Hunter Killer drones that search and destroy enemies.

The multiplayer experience isn't too bad but the monumental flaws in the anti-camping means that multiplayer is no longer enjoyable and i would strongly advise giving multiplayer a miss unless your completely useless at the game, then i would say go for it as you will do well.

Graphics

The game graphics are by far the best in comparison with the other CoD titles, and rightly so since this is the newest one and should have improved, there are places in the game where the characters look a bit cartoony but the graphics on the new tech and guns look fabulous, the visuals on cut scenes as well as in-game play are pleasing on the eye, the blending and sharpness of the images are great and scenery looks that bit more realistic compared to other CoD titles, however i did happen to notice that CoD games have an age old tradition of material matter not working as it should, in some area's of the game (multiplayer especially) i found shooting through a cardboard box impossible yet shooting through a 6ft concrete wall easy, not sure why that is but i could kill people hiding behind a steel truck yet fail to hit marker someone behind a carbaord or wooden bilboard which to me makes no sense.
Scores
Gameplay: 10/10
Graphics: 9.2/10
Multiplayer: 9.5/10 (Zombies getting most of the point here)
Longevity: 8.3/10 (if you can stomach online multiplayer then this maybe higher)

Total: 37/40 {92.5%}