BlackOps2

Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

There are plenty of great ideas here…

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Let’s start this off with a fact: some people are getting sick of Call of Duty games. With the majority of gamers only buying them for the competitive multiplayer modes, gamers seem to be mostly sitting in one of two camps: those who lap it up year after year and play nothing else, and those who are getting bored and looking for something new to crop up in the series. Before Black Ops 2, that was a very valid concern. Despite Infinity Ward’s Spec Ops in Modern Warfare 2 and 3, and Treyarch’s zombie modes in their last couple of efforts everything has started to feel a bit stale for some. But this year we have something quite intriguing: a Call of Duty game that not only appeals to those who are a bit afraid of change and like to do the same thing over and over again, but also those who are looking for something new and worthwhile.

The main issue with Call of Duty is how difficult it is to get a decent, balanced game online. With so many people obsessing about spending every spare minute online, ranking up and hitting those prestige levels (my weapon is bigger than your weapon, and so on…) the likelihood of jumping online and getting a close fought and fair game is practically zero. Black Ops 2 looks to get round this with League Play, dropping each player into a certain ranked league based on an initial 5 match assessment. From here, poorer players drop down the leagues, with the cream rising to the top and giving everyone a series of games against those with a similar ability. Or at least that’s the theory. In practice things don’t work quite so well. Despite finishing in the bottom half of my team in all of my assessment matches, I ended up in a gold league near the top of the tree. Confused, I played on to see what would happen when I carried on my usual less-than-average performances, and it quickly became clear that it was the team performance being judged, not mine. Despite some players getting huge scores, being on the losing team meant they dropped down the league, which clearly isn’t really mirroring the point of the game…

But that said, there are other toys to play with. The co-op zombie mode is back again and lets you team up with friends to take out hoardes of zombies which climb out of the ground, gang up on you and generally do their zombie-like pain in the arse stuff. It’s a nice diversion, and one that I’d rolled my eyes at in my frequent “zombies don’t fit into this type of game, surely” way, but it’s genuinely good fun once you get into it, even if it’s a rerun of the previous zombie modes. It’s another example of how co-op gaming is, for many, taking over the reins when it comes to multiplayer gaming options. There’s more elsewhere, such as the party modes previously seen in the last Black Ops, including the brilliantly tense One In the Chamber mode where you’re only given one bullet to use initially. These modes (leagues included) are relatively quiet though with most hardcore gamers sticking rigidly to what they know and love in the game’s main online rankathons.

And I suspect that’s where

 
 

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