Video Game Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops II (2012)

Caution: Zombies may explode, 4.5 stars

Garett McCollough | Sports Editor

ass=”size-full wp-image-4177″ title=”"Call of Duty: Black Ops II" (2012), Activision.” src=”” alt=”"Call of Duty: Black Ops II" (2012), Activision.” width=”625″ height=”339″ /> “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” (2012), Activision.

Unlike the fans of “Halo 4” and “Assassin’s Creed 3,” who usually go home and play the campaign first, “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” players want to get into that multiplayer action as fast as possible. I was no different and as soon as two game updates were complete, I immediately selected play online and was ready to have my mind blown. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
The three classes “Call of Duty” starts every player off with were terrible, and all of the gadgets had new names, leaving me confused as to what their uses were. I was basically stuck in the corner figuring out what my gadgets did for half of my first game. Fortunately, I was able to rank up in that game and unlocked the sniper class, which I used until I was high enough to create my own class and experience the coolest new feature.
We all remember the standard class personalization screen of years, but this year I was legitimately confused as to what was happening on my TV screen. I realized that I was allowed to carry 10 items, including my gun, sidearm, tactical and lethal grenades and whatever perks I wanted.  I could also choose not to carry any of those items.  So I got rid of my tactical grenades in favor of weapon attachments and multiple perks.

"Call of Duty: Black Ops II" (2012), Activision.

“Call of Duty: Black Ops II” (2012), Activision.

While the class personalization was the best new feature, the maps were the same old, tired crap. The maps are unoriginal in design and structure, essentially they seem to be slightly tweaked “Call of Duty” maps from years past. However, this isn’t a new problem, as many “Call of Duty” games have similar flaws. My real problem with the maps is the symmetry.  Every map looked as if one side mirrored the other in structure, the only differences being the textures.
My second favorite game mode in “Black Ops II” is the zombie mode and Treyarch outdid itself this year. They designed multiple maps and each one is unique and has different styles of fending off zombies.  Sometimes I was out in the streets going “Walking Dead” on zombies; at other times, I was holed up in a room guarding a door and a couple of windows while 100 zombies tried to devour me. The coolest feature by far was jumping on a bus and killing zombies on the move. One thing I did have to learn to watch out for was the exploding zombie.  Any zombie that walked through lava would catch fire, and when it was killed it blew up, which practically killed you if you were within arm’s reach.
After testing my favorite features of the game, I found time to give the campaign a go.  It was clear to me that Treyarch was trying to connect me with the antagonist as well as the protagonist, and they did a good job with it. This was key to keeping me interested, since I am not someone who buys “Call of Duty” for the campaign.  They also had cutscenes at the proper time to illustrate the intensity of a situation. This helped me get into the campaign, and, unlike many of the previous installments, the campaign was easy to follow, allowing the player to understand exactly why you are shooting at the soldiers on the other end of your gun.

Exploding zombies in "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" (2012), Activision.

Exploding zombies in “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” (2012), Activision.

The campaign didn’t compare to “Halo 4,” but for a game that comes out every year, it’s highly original and a good complement to the other game modes. Zombies have never been anything I was into, but this year’s installment certainly will keep me entertained for multiple gaming periods.  The multiplayer mode was improved in almost every way, outside of the maps and graphics, which were just slightly better than “Black Ops I.”  There is great parity among the guns, the sound is life-like and the hit detection is spot-on.
The biggest letdown of the game, however, was how difficult it was to start a match. I understand that an incredible number of people are flooding the servers right now, but that should be expected. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to experience all of the features yet due to the difficulty of getting into games. Still, this game is worth the money and I would certainly buy it used, if I had the patience to wait a week or so.

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