Call of Duty Black Ops II – Too Much Change? [Review]

  • Platform: Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PS3, PC
  • Published by: Activision
  • Developed by: Treyarch Studios
  • Genre: FPS
  • ESRB Rating: M For Mature
  • Number of Players: 1-4,Co-Op 2-4 Online Multiplayer 2-18
  • Release Date: November 13th, 2012

It’s a new year, which means it is time for a new Call Of Duty game, gamer’s have been gearing up for Black Ops 2 since the beginning of the year, which was about the time people started to complain and realize Modern Warfare 3 wasn’t all that we had been promised. People were complaining that Call Of Duty had quickly become a copy and paste job each and every year, when we saw the reveal for Black Ops 2, I knew it would be drastically different, but if we’ve leaned anything throughout history, you have to be careful what you wish for.

I waited a bit longer to start this review because I wanted to fully play the game, all modes and spend a lot of time with the online multiplayer modes as well. After I had a good idea as to what I thought, I asked some of my gaming friends, my gaming clan mates and my gaming family what they all thought about the game. Keep in mind that I’ve been a huge Call Of Duty fan, I own all eight current generation Call Of Duty games for consoles, and I have bought all of them pretty much day one. All of the people I asked pretty much confirmed what I thought, which was that Treyarch changed the game too much, I’m not sure who they talked to, or who led them on with the direction that the game takes, but they were way, way off. This review is strictly based off the game as it released, I don’t review games on what the future potential might be, we have to judge games honestly and we have to judge them on the content that is present at the time we actually play the game. Black Ops 2 has some interesting ideas, but misses what makes Call Of Duty games so fun and addicting.

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We start off with the campaign, which was actually the high point, the game doesn’t look bad at all. I was very surprised that Treyarch used a newer engine than they used in their previous game, and it really improved on the environment and character models. The time line jumps around a bit, but it’s actually fairly good, some characters make a return from the first Black Ops game, but honestly you could have named this game something else entirely, I think they were just trying to capitalize on the success of the first Black Ops. The campaign is very short, around four hours or so and you’ll completely beat the game, even on the harder game modes, there isn’t much of a challenge. To break up the standard game play of the Call Of Duty games, they implemented a new part to the game called “Strike Force”, which adds this awkward real-time strategy levels to the game. The real problem is that these levels are tedious and boring, it really breaks up the campaign and slows it down to a crawl, escort missions and defending areas with computer controlled AI that is slow and unresponsive isn’t exactly a recipe for a good time. I can see why they tried to change things up, but in my opinion its worse to change for the sake of change than it is to keep giving the people what they’ve come to expect. Strike Force was a decent idea, implemented poorly on all fronts, you can skip these missions, except for the first one, which leads me to believe that Treyarch knew some people would hate them.

So you already have a jumbled campaign that tries too hard to offer people something new, then you also have the game breaking glitches that cause you to lose hours of game play time. I first noticed a glitch when I was riding a horse and an enemy was standing a hundred feet in the air and shooting down at me, he was just randomly in the air, and I couldn’t shoot him. There were other times later on in the game when you have to avoid a drone with a spotlight, several times I would get spotted by the light, just as the game hit a check point, so I would die instantly, spawn back in to the same part and die instantly yet again. Later on in that same level, you use a mech and take out hoards of enemies, eventually the mech goes down and they tell you to use the other mech, I’d advise against that because the game will glitch and you’ll end up stuck yet again. Usually the Call Of Duty campaigns are short and action packed, but they have relatively few glitches and almost never have game breaking glitches like the ones here.

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So while the campaign struggles, the Zombie modes actually offer some fun entertainment. If this game has any kind of saving grace, it’s that the Zombie modes have been beefed up, you can play a campaign of sorts, and now you can play against another team of four. Although you can’t act to interfere directly with the other team, you can sabotage their efforts and lay some basic traps. The campaign isn’t exactly what I expected and isn’t a true campaign per say, but it is fun nonetheless. If Treyarch has done one great thing for the Call Of Duty series, it’s adding in the Zombie modes, they are truly fun and can eat up hours and days of your life at a time. The transit system is pretty interesting and I like how they allow you to ride to different areas in the game via the transit system. It makes it easily the largest zombie map ever in a Call Of Duty game.

The online multiplayer is what most people are interested in, Treyarch went and totally redid that portion of the game from the ground up, some of the ideas are great and really well thought out, but the problem is that the hit detection is atrocious to put it mildly, there aren’t any guns that actually work, they took out a lot of the really great guns from the first Black Ops game and we are left with pellet guns that take a full clip to kill anyone with. I wasn’t the only one with this problem, everyone in my gaming clan has the same issues. The spawns are beyond broken, I literally spawned in four straight times in front of the same enemy on a game of Domination, and that is unacceptable to me. The way the maps are designed, there is not a single safe place to defend a point in most game modes, people are pretty much everywhere thanks to the spawns and it makes things incredibly tough for tactical and team based gamer’s. I really wanted to like Black Ops 2, I gave it a lot of chances and it could very well end up being a solid entry into the Call Of Duty series, but right now its a mess and the online is a complete and utter joke. I’m not sure why there is no more Stopping Power or better hit detection, but Black Ops 2 has the worst hit detection of any of the COD games. With all of the money these games make, I’m not sure why we haven’t seen dedicated servers or some kind of smoothing for the game hosts, I get a migrated host on almost every single map.

At the end of the day Black Ops 2 tried too hard to change, the setting of the future was a worthy risk, and if that had been where the risks stopped I would be fawning all over this game, but there is a reason Call Of Duty is the biggest game every year, people liked what it was, I hope Treyarch didn’t listen to jealous trolls when it came to crafting their game. People love COD, I love the franchise very much, but this is one of the worst entries at this particular time. I hope some of these issues can get patched, but the hit detection and lack of quality weapons is going to be difficult to fix. One day if they do address some of these issues the game could be fun and I’d grade it a bit higher, as it stands its mediocre.

FINAL SCORE: 6.5/10

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5 Responses to “Call of Duty Black Ops II – Too Much Change? [Review]”

  1. Fan of the site, but I have to say this review is a joke. For starters, the amount of run-ons is ridiculous. Secondly, the improper game design terms is sad for someone reviewing.

    I am yet to experience these “glitches.” Checkpoints are pretty screwy, but those aren’t glitches and definitely aren’t game breaking. Plus, they can easily be avoided and walked out of. I do agree that Strike Force missions suck, but calling the story a mess because of optional missions is a joke in itself.

    While I do agree that spawning is a mess, I am yet to have ANY issues with hit detection and weak weapons. Even early weapons such as the Type 25, MP7 and PDW are powerful, and those
    are earned early on. If you aren’t good at
    the game, that doesn’t mean you rant
    about the actual product being bad, but
    focus on bettering your skills.

    Treyarch did something the series needed-innovated. Changed. And the game was better because of it. And this is coming from someone wo isn’t a fan

    • The problem with the glitches in the campaign forced several re-starts, which were time consuming and boring. This was the shortest COD campaign to date, and the Strike Force Missions felt forced and were also boring. I did applaud Treyarch for attempting new ideas, but they weren’t fully realized ideas.

      I enjoyed the zombie modes, like always they were spot of, so I praised that. The online multiplayer has broken spawns and the hosts that are picked are all very bad most of the time. Even when you choose to play with local hosts, most of the people on my team will run two or three bar connections and lag, eventually the host will migrate, which leads to further disruptions in game play.

      As a reviewer I’ve played all of the Call Of Duty games this generation, and I made sure to check with other gamer’s, friends and family to get their take and they all basically said the same things. I graded the game on how it performed at launch and it wasn’t pretty. It has nothing to do with my skill as a gamer, I’ve been a competitive gamer for almost 10 years now, when you spawn in over and over in the same spot, the multiplayer is broken. The hit detection is the worst I’ve seen in a competitive game and the fact that perks like Ghost aren’t achieved until high levels gives an unfair advantage to certain people.

      This is purely opinion based, if you don’t agree with it, that is fine, we all are entitled to our own opinions.

    • thinktwiceagainstme November 16, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      What glitches? Again, yet to see anything game breaking in the campaign, despite the numerous you claimed to have encountered. And while the campaign may be short (which I can’t fully judge yet), it has the strongest writing, voice acting and actual storytelling to date in the COD series. Not to mention the branching storyline idea with multiple paths that make for some serious replay value. Also, I agreed with you – Strike Force missions are very boring.

      However, aside from spawning issues, Multiplayer is ANYTHING from broken. I still don’t know where you’re pulling the idea that hit detection sucks. Sniper shots finally kill in a single shot to the head, chest, etc. A first in the series from what I have experienced. Bullets travel to the true location. If anything, this is probably the strongest I’ve seen the hit detection. And perks like Ghost are achieved at a high level to better balance the game. In no way does that give players an unfair advantage in the least. The statement doesn’t even make sense. How does something powerful being unlocked later give players an unfair advantage? Treyarch notably nerfed the perks to better balance the game, and you complain?

      In the end, yes it is based on opinion. However, opinions are to be backed up by powerful claims. A lot of yours are borderline nonsensical and questionable in the least.

    • Ghost as a perk for high level players, who’ve spent more time on the game, as opposed to the average gamer who hasn’t, does give that player an advantage. Ghost should still be a perk you unlock earlier in my opinion.

      When you have to go back and replay levels because you’ve been caught in a glitch, I would call that game breaking. There were times when I wanted to stop playing because it gets old having to go through the same levels over and over again. I agree the voice acting was solid, but that didn’t make up for the terrible Strike Missions and shortness of the campaign.

      The online is broken because of the spawn system, the menu system and the fact that the game never picks an appropriate host, I’ve rarely started and finished a game on the same host without migration, sometimes multiple migrations.

      I think nerfing some perks is good, but the ones that are left are useless for the most part. They took out the Famas and MP5 for some strange reason, and replaced other weapons with ones that aren’t nearly as good. One of my bigger complaints was the map design, which is pretty terrible, and the hit detection is something that I’ve seen a lot of people complain about. I have a very good connection, yet it takes a full clip to kill someone and it doesn’t matter the gun that I’m using. I actually kill people faster in Halo 4, which is an arcade shooter.

      Anyway, thanks for the constructive criticism, hopefully they address some of these issues and the game and community will be better for it, but as a competitive gamer, this one doesn’t stack up.

  2. This is seriously one of the worst written reviews I have seen in general. Poor writing aside, the reviewer must be clueless based on some of his points. A lot of his complaints are likely based on how he plays the actual game, not game flaws. Treyarch took the series in the best direction its ever been. Go back to Modern Warfare 3 to remember the real crap game and then come back to realize this is EASILY the best released in the longest.

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