Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review
“You killed many men today, eh? Haha! Yes, we all did!” one character triumphantly shouts at the end of the first mission. He was right, I’d killed scores. It started when I mowed down wave after wave of machete wielding enemies with my fully automatic rifle. Later on, they realized they were outgunned and turned to run. The game then encouraged me to shoot them in the back as they fled. “They are weak! We must finish them!” the same character cries.
Such is Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, a nonstop rush of slaughter. It’s filled with one action packed set piece after another, a flurry of bullets from each side of the battlefield, and enough explosions to make Michael Bay blush. It’s as if developer Treyarch thinks that people who play their game all have ADD. “What are you doing?!” Treyach would yell. “You can’t stand around not doing anything for five seconds! Here, have some explosions! Kills these men! No time to dilly dally! Kill, kill, kill!” The violence is so over the top and assaulting it’s honestly baffling at some points.
One particularly brutal scene is when you take over the game’s villain. At this point the character is in a rage, you can’t be killed, your shotgun has unlimited ammo and never needs to be reloaded, and the game sends loads of good guys (GOOD GUYS) for you to slaughter. At several points during this scene the game literally forces you to remove your machete and cut down soldier after soldier after soldier. Call of Duty hasn’t had a scene this needlessly brutal since the infamous scene in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 where you can shoot up an entire airport of civilians.
“But Matt,” you may say, “Aren’t you being hypocritical? How can you condemn a first person shooter for being hyper-violent when you love Halo 4 and other shooters?” It’s because no game revels in the gore the way that Black Ops 2 does. The game is a savage celebration of all things bloody and heartless. With other games you shoot things because you have to, but here you shoot things because you want to. It’s the difference between an occupation and a hobby.
Don’t get me wrong, Black Ops 2 is very fun and quite addicting. There’s a reason why it sold over 8 million copies in its first 24 hours. The shooting is solid, the gameplay is fast and never boring, and there’s a great variety of weapons and attachments. The game takes place in the early 80’s and in 2025, so the contrast between the old guns and the futuristic guns adds a lot to the game.
The quality of the multiplayer is at its peak with the new “Pick 10,” feature. In old games your loadout would consist of a primary and secondary gun with attachments, two types of grenades, and a few perks. Black Ops 2 gives you the most freedom with your loadouts yet. You can have one main gun with two attachments, that would equal three, a secondary gun with one attachment, to make five, three grenades, which makes eight, and two perks for a total of ten, hence “Pick 10,” but what’s great is you can have any combination of these. Want six perks? You can do that? Want so much you have no room left for grenades? Who needs grenades anyway? It really does a great job at letting you make your loadout exactly how you want it.
The feel of multiplayer still fast and frenetic. Would you expect any different from a Call of Duty game? You play multiplayer the way kids play with water guns: you run around with little regard for self-preservation and whoever sprays the others the most wins. It’s fun if you’re looking for fast paced, quick twitch gaming, but if you want strategy I’d suggest you look elsewhere.
The third major facet to Black Ops 2 is its Zombies mode. You and up to three other people defend yourself from a repeating waves of zombies with each wave getting progressively more difficult. That’s the standard mode, which is a bit like milk at this point. It’s nice, nothing wrong with it, but it is a bit boring.
Enter Tranzit mode. In Tranzit you and your team attempt to survive among the horde of zombies with a bus that will shuttle you from one area to another. There is a bit of story in the mode, but it’s so minuscule it’s hardly worth mentioning.
The third Zombies mode is the new Grief mode. Think 4 v. 4 v. zombies. Two teams of up to four battle it out to see who can kill the most zombies and last the longest. You can’t directly impact the other team, you can’t hurt them, but there is a small feature allowing you to interrupt the other teams revives. The Zombies mode is now more robust than ever, and easily my favorite aspect of Black Ops 2.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is fast, gruesome, and in your face. If you can handle the mindless killing and explosions every half second then there’s enough here to last you for years. But if you’re like me and want a little more substance, save your money. You won’t miss it.