Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review (Xbox 360)

     Hello fellow internetians, I have not made a review recently (thanks to school and the production of a lot of videos) so I figured I would do another on the most recent installment to the the first person shooter most infamous for its cult following of nine year-old children; CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 2. Also I'm reviewing in a different format today, tell me if you like it. If you all don't like it, then it will go away!

      Most critical reviewers absolutely loathe this franchise, saying it craps out new sequels each year *cough, right before Christmas, cough* to milk money out of the idea as a cash cow. I do believe most of what I just said, despite the loathing part. What reviewers should look at is what a first person shooter is trying to convey to them, which is a real, action-filled, experience that tries to out-do other games on the market. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 does that very well, and very grotesquely if the profanity filter is off. Reviewers also argue that there is no innovation in the repeated iterations of the series. I tend to agree to that statement, which is supported by this little cartoon...
    Black Ops 2 delivers differently though, keeping the old "shoot people with new guns logic" and adding a very free class building system, which is what the game seems to revolve around nowadays. This class system is called the "Pick -10" system, where each addition to your class costs you 1 point, and you have 10 points to spend. Here's an example of a class in Black Ops 2.
     This does change this up quite a bit, which was expected. As I stated earlier, the game revolves around class building. So if the class building is changed, that changes a large portion of the game. 1 grenade on your class is equal to 1 of your perks. Treyarch, realizing this unfair balance in class building has super-powered semtexes and frags as well as a whole lot of other stuff you think this logic could apply to. Most tacticals? Check. New, hidden effects in perks unmentioned within their description? Check. Secondaries that sucked in the previous games now are amazing? Check with a capital, YOU BET YOUR BOOTIES, GRANDMA!

     Now that the big change from the previous game is out of the way, I would like to let you know that I have never actually fully played through a Call of Duty game before, I've played at friends' houses, but have never owned an entry from the series. But don't leave just yet, I can still review this game quite legitimately. My importance in saying that  though is because I would like to describe the gameplay. There are multiple modes, but I'll start out on the popular multiplayer mode.

     In multiplayer, you choose a class (setup of weapons and powers) you've created  and enter a game mode you choose. The game modes range from self explainitory modes like capture the flag, team deathmactch, and free-for-all, to creative modes like sticks and stones, one in the chamber, and sharpshooter. There are a lot of these modes and it will take a while to get tired of all of them. When you finally begin the game, you're faced from a first person view of your soldier on the battlefield. You'll be able to see the weapon in his hands and a heads-up display that shows you your ammo, score, and emblem which you can fully customize. When the game starts, a one sentence explanation on what-to-do will pop-up and you are pretty much on your own from there. The core mechanic is to kill the players of the opposing team though.

     The next, critically acclaimed, section of the game is zombies. Zombies has a whole complicated story behind it which you could only enjoy if you are a devoted fan, but otherwise, it's a very entertaining thing to do when you tire of multiplayer or the next mode I will explain. The whole shabang with zombies is that you and your fellow players are placed in a predetermined area where you must survive as long as you can, find weapons, and reveal secrets of the story. Even a few people I know enjoy zombies more than multiplayer, which says something about more of  this minigame-like part of the package really being a selling point. Not really much to say here about the complexity of gameplay... Just mow down as many zombies as you can while trying to stay alive.

     Lastly, the campaign, a very underrated part of the game, which is an opinion that prove to be a fact at many points, proves to be where the "M" rating of the game comes from. Now parents, please, please, please don't listen to those reviews of angry parents saying "CALL OF DUTY WILL MAKE YOUR CHILD INTO A SERIAL KILLER WITH ROIDS AND CHRONIC URGES TO HAVE EXPLOSIVE DIARRHEA!" It honestly won't, and if you are not tolerant of violence of the nature, the developers knew non-mature kids were going to play the game. So there is a profanity and violence filter for the game on start up which you can turn on and remove some the close-up, bloody, kill scenes from the campaign, the swearing and etc. But past the angry parents' butthurt, campaign is a very well thought out linear mode where you complete a variety of objectives and kill a whole bunch of enemy infantry, which is usually composed up of Nazis and Terrorists. This is paired with a surprisingly excellent story that has characters that have been called great despite the lack of time and personal time we have had with them to develop.

     After figuring-out the basic mechanics of each game mode, it gets pretty simple after you get your personal play-style down. Specifically, what the gameplay is varies depending on what weapon you are using and how you use it, or even if you have a weapon at all, but it is moving from target to target, aiming down sights, and shooting. Afterwards you move toward your next target and rinse and repeat. That's the core of it, but in between taking down targets, you can throw grenades, set-up equipment, sneak behind the foe, or do a variety of other things. Really, the gameplay of Black Ops: 2 is what you make of it.


  • The music is just average. For almost every FPS game I've seen, the music is nothing special. If Black Ops 2 was so revolutionary, why wasn't the music at least on par? 
  • The ridiculous animations your character models make in any game mode seen by others are just so choppy and broken. Reloading, switching weapons, etc. they're all goofy looking.
  • When you get damaged, you can immediately shrug the lead you have in your chest off in a few seconds of waiting. This is a part of the game which is vital to survival of the player, but it can really take you aback and out of immersion.
  • The "Prestige" mode was enfuriating. Having to back through the same 55 levels, unlock the same things... Seriously, we needed a longer  development cycle here. If the developers expected you to play the game to Prestige Master, we needed 550 levels worth of content. Also, I absolutely despise when the game takes away power from you, having to unlock all of those weapons, perks, and equips... It just was another way they could get 10 times the amount of gameplay for the amount of content they created.
  • Campaign is a decent length, but just feels short. It needs to have more replay value and feel like a more open world. I enjoyed the linear aspect, but there needs to be a hub you can walk around in before all of the missions, where you can buy weapons, check out side missions, and do a couple other things. I just request an open world, RPG sort of element within campaign. 

  • There were enough easter eggs that the Otaku would have a hard time finding all of them.
  • In Black Ops 2, there is just about a weapon for everyone. LMG rushing? QBB LSW for you my friend. Wholesale close-up slaughter? PDW-57. Fancy a quickscope? Ballista. Almost every play-style has a weapon suited for it. 
  • Objectives now count to your scorestreaks (used to be called killstreaks) which makes objective playing a whole lot more doable.
  • Zombies has made a triumphant return. I really don't have all that much to say bad about it, it's just a solid gameplay mode that can entertain anyone who likes the FPS genre.
  • Wildcards in create-a-class were needed in the first place. Finally, we got 'em, here in blops 2!

THE RESULT: 8.2/10 B-

Not bad, but not exactly perfect. A longer development cycle was needed to increase immersion and the amount of equipment. But I guess Treyarch's wallet comes first eh?

Graphics are great in general, but goofy animations and mouths that don't move during talking get in the way of putting this game in the limelight for its good picture. Also, don't forget the realistic violence. It is gross, yet portrayed so well that I almost have to give the game points for it.

MUSIC 6.5/10
Average. The music normally consists of undertone rock music loops, which constantly get blocked out by explosions or gunfire. None of the tracks are remotely memorable except the dubstep club music, which was kind of cool.

The trigger buttons on the Xbox even make it feel like you're firing a real gun. The control layout is just fine, but if one size does not fit all, you can customize the controls in the options. 

FUN 7.3/10
Strange really, but I've never really had an elated fun sensation while playing Black Ops 2. I mostly just get frustrated at the unforgiving difficulty in campaign, the people ruining my scorestreaks in multiplayer, and straight-up dying in zombies. But I guess the only fun of this game comes from playing it with other people and having satisfaction of winning or advancing in rank. If you want to be relaxed and have some fun though, play some Kirby, or just a more forgiving game. 

     So I guess I liked Black Ops 2, but I'm not sure. It's a very competitive shooter that lets you be creative with how you go about making your weapon set-up to devastate your foes, but past that... It's just a really addictive shooter. The addictive aspect probably comes from the fact that you keep on ranking up to try to be the best as you can. So I would recommend this game to those with lots of time to eat up because this game will be like a time machine. You put it in the console, and it only seems like a minute later you have to go to a rest home. 

    Thanks for reading my Black Ops 2 review everybody, tell me what you think in the comments or the "WHAT DID YOU THINK?" module below. Also, in other news, I'm building my own computer to start PC gaming on. I should get it up and running in a couple months!

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