Review by skeletorissatan

Reviewed: 11/14/12

More Of The Same? Yes Please.

Call Of Duty is somewhat of a business in its own right, with annual installments making sure that Activision can fill their pockets whilst people are treated to a never changing formula of run and gun game play. This is the formula that has carried it throughout its illustrious history, However, things seemed to be changing around the announcement of Black Ops II, with a whole campaign having been announced for the popular Zombies mode and branching story lines having been introduced. The first Black Ops was a fun enough if not revolutionary experience that managed to at least feel fresh unlike the installments that had preceded it since the fourth one that had began the series downhill spiral.

Black Ops II manages to not only beat out its predecessor but go far better than it. The corridor based shooting environments are there once again and in correct order, but this time the environments feel a lot more vibrant and interactive due to the updated graphics. This game looks absolutely beautiful from start to finish, with the shadow effects in particular standing out as being utterly breath taking. The game play is still the same system of run into a room and kill everything in there but it feels a little more fresh due to the fact that the AI has been massively improved. Gone are the days when the enemies would happily walk in front of your machine gun aimed directly at their face, and in place is a much more difficult experience that makes every encountered enemy feel all the more rewarding when you dispatch them.

The story line is nothing short of amazing, with enough turns to make for one visceral game that rarely lets go off the players throat, and even when it does it is still just as impacting. The difficulty level has really been revamped, with the previous games feeling like a walk in the park and the campaigns just feeling like a tag-on to the online modes. However in Black Ops II this is not the case, with an eight hour campaign feeling much longer than that and having plenty of replay value in its genuine difficulty that makes it nearly impossible to work through start to finish in one sitting. This is a thoroughly enjoyable experience that takes what it can and gives nothing at all back and is one of the most entertaining single player experiences in recent years, perhaps only topped by the recent release of Halo 4. It is games such as these that will no doubt cause an all time low in pregnancies whilst people are busy playing these absolutely incredible games.

The zombies mode has, as promised, been reworked to incorporate eight players and with its own campaign which feels completely crazy and thrilling as should be experienced from a Call Of Duty Zombies game. This time the Zombies mode has multiple different in game options of its own, none of which shall be described for the reasons of spoilers. However, it is definitely something that needs to be played as it produces the most adrenaline soaked, action packed game play that will likely be found in a game for a long time yet. Activision has taken what made Black Ops 1 and World At War so great and upped the ante hugely with the Zombies mode on Black Ops 2, which embraces the policy that bigger is better and quantity is better than quality, and pulls it off in spectacular fashion.

The online mode is business as usual for Call Of Duty, a franchise that knows what it is doing with such matters having long since established itself as the cream of the crop for a laugh with your friends and never takes its foot off your throat. The game play for online is fast paced no-nonsense shooting in all its glorious grandeur. This is one to pick up if only for its online capabilities, already having a vibrant online community that shows no signs of dying off. Yes, folks, this is the one online game of the year to watch, with the finest experience online of our generation.

All in all this is possibly one of the best shooters of the year. Whether it is better than Halo 4, the other juggernaut game of the year, is a matter of opinion, but it undoubtedly plays to its strengths with the one teeny flaw being the PC specifications, which are far higher than a mid-tier PC is used to. However, make sure to pick this up as it will not disappoint.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Call of Duty: Black Ops II (EU, 11/13/12)

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