The Score: "This Isn't Just A Fantastic Call of Duty Game, But One Of The Best Shooters Of The Last Decade"

Tuesday, Nov 13, 2012 5:00PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

THE SCORE
THE SCORE 8.6/10
Buy Now
  • Playstation 3, X-Box 360
  • Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2
  • November 13, 2012
Game Trailers 9.4/10
Gamespot 8/10
Joystiq 4/5
NY Daily News 4/5
Planet X-Box 360 9.3/10

Video game heads around the world thirsting to let their digital guns unleash mayhem into the future finally get their chance as the long-awaited Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 first-person shooter explodes onto store shelves today.

The latest shoot-first-ask-questions-last follows its predecessor which dropped two years ago.

With 2010's Black Ops, it managed to take the series in its own direction, shying away from the modern war theme that Infinity Ward had followed and instead twisting a bit into the past, without going full World War II on the franchise as it did with the very good World At War. And with Black Ops II, their reach goes even further. (Planet XBox 360)

Call of Duty fans are thrown right into an ever-changing story campaign which juggles the past, present and future into its narrative.

The story behind Black Ops II is all about the power of revenge. Raul Menendez had a couple bad run-ins with Alex Mason and Frank Woods back in the '80s, and his thirst for retribution has turned him into the world's most dangerous man. Jump ahead to 2025, and Mason's son David visits Woods in a nursing home to try and piece together clues that will lead to the villain. He's trying to unleash a cyber weapon that will bring the world's technology infrastructure to its knees, and wants to utilize the US' unmanned drone force to make it happen. The time-jumping prose is full of twists and betrayal that are only bolstered by the game's branching story paths. (Game Trailers)

Once engaged in the action-packed thrill ride, characters' fates rest solely in your hands this time around.

Things get even more intense when you are asked to make a choice. Press one button to kill a target, the other to let him live. The conditions of each choice vary and there are only a few of them, but even when you aren't responding to a prompt, you might be making a choice in a dramatic moment that will have consequences later. The main course of the campaign remains constant, but these decisions do affect the fate of some key characters. A few of these moments are sure to give you pause, adding some welcome weight to the proceedings, and there's a handy story rewind feature that lets you play earlier levels in order to see how different paths play out. There are also mission-specific challenges that give you ancillary goals to complete while you do so, further increasing the replay incentive. (Game Spot)

Continuing to improve each year, notable adjustments and advancements in gameplay are displayed in Black Ops 2.

The team at Treyarch could have played it safe and Black Ops II would have sold well, but instead they challenged assumptions and pushed the series forward in awesome new directions. It'll be hard to return to a campaign where I don't have the ability to shape it, and I simply can't imagine going back to the old loadout system now that Pick 10 exists. Combined with the host of subtle and overt improvements to the array of other systems, the additions to make it more appealing to Esports, and the more fleshed out Zombies mode, this is not just a fantastic Call of Duty game, but one of the best shooters of the last decade. (IGN)

Despite high praise by many, some game critics found a few flaws in this year's edition.

Multiplayer is king in Black Ops 2, offering plenty of in-game and inherent rewards for its ravenous online community. It's paired with a lackluster story that fails the ambition shown by the branching campaign, reflecting the overall game's forward-thinking but imperfectly executed ideas. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 isn't the best or most charming entry in the franchise, then, but it takes risks, exploring more than is strictly required for an inevitably annual franchise. (Joystiq)
The thing is, some of the new weapons are poorly explained. You'll use those gloves, but the game doesn't convey exactly how you're supposed to use them. And then, once you seem to be in a groove, you're done with them. The invisible camouflage, meanwhile, hardly works in battle. While certain additions (battle drones) truly enhance fighting and make this game feel futuristic, too many feel gratuitous, making you ponder the future of war, perhaps, but doing nothing to enhance gameplay. (New York Daily News)

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