Tis' the season to be doing Game of the Year awards and dealing with loads of school work for the end of the first semester, but since I already did my Game of the Year Awards and am a procrastinating idiot, I'd say it's time to finally getting around to that Black Ops II review I promised over a year ago, and of course it's Black Ops II
because Ghosts is a load of grey unimpressive horribly written mess so screw that game until I actually bother to play it! (I've played it now and should have a review coming later)
Black Ops II's campaign still absolutely shines. Treyarch already has a reputation from me for having the best campaigns as it is undeniable they actually put more effort into the writing than Infinity Ward did ever since Call of Duty 2's console counter-part Big Red One, and this one goes above and beyond the Call of Duty trend.
Black Ops II's story follows off of Black Ops 1, but takes the fun and stupid bits out, instead taking itself far more seriously which works because it's actually competently made and written. The antagonist is a surprisingly good character with a surprisingly good motivation that is passionate about his goals for very apparent reasons. Resourceful and powerful as well as well developed he is the best bad guy this series has ever seen and is the biggest part in driving the plot, as well as James C. Burns's excellent performance as the returning Frank Woods, a character who also has become infinitely more likable then he was in Black Ops 1.
The optional missions where the game tries to be a bit of an RTS do suck but at least Treyarch tried something new. What they did do a good job with is adding in more fun ways to enjoy the campaign as well as more replay value with things like the customizable load-outs and the challenges, as well as a surprisingly well designed system that allowed player actions to cause the story to play out in different ways. I am not ashamed to admit I did indeed get the worst ending possible my first playthrough but even then I wasn't unsatisfied. The multiple endings all fit the game's narrative really well and don't feel shoved in without care just for the sake of claiming there is replay value.
The level designs are still generally good even though some of the gimmicks fall really flat such as the spider-bot or flying squirrel suit thingies, and the gun mechanics are still as fluid and fun as ever. While the gun sound effects aren't the best Call of Duty has ever had they are certainly a heck of a lot better then World at War's. The music is of course great my favorite track being "Savimbi's Pride" used in the very first battle of the game.
Overall this was and is still the best Call of Duty campaign hands down and the writers should be proud of themselves for being able to so easily best what can be boiled down to "generic WW2 shooters with no story at all," "Generic WW2 shooters with effort put into characters," "Modern military shooters with a James Bond and Michael Bay flare," and "Overly cartoonish cold war romp."
Treyarch also amazed everyone by actually trying to innovate with the multiplayer for the first time since Infinity Ward made MW2. It still boiled down to just another Call of Duty but for what it's worth Treyarch did do a pretty good job. The pick ten system is vastly superior to everything before it, the higher amount of creativity that can go into custom classes really adds to the game, and also the point streaks work really well for the most part sort of kind of in most game modes and stuff. Admittedly the balancing is a little off in some modes but that's just something to fix in the next game NOT REMOVED ENTIRELY FROM THE NEXT GAME IN A WAY THAT BASICALLY SAYS "F*** it, we don't care you'll buy it anyway."
The maps... well the thing is while some of the maps like "Standoff" are like freshly made Waffles bathed in glistening maple syrup you've also got maps like "Raid" that are a pile of poo-poo pancakes. However at least that's better then MW3 where every map could be summed up as "meh" and the dlc maps from the second map packs as "good." Variety in the maps is one of the main driving forces to keep coming back, lack of variety is why I didn't spend as much time on games like Fall of Cybertron as I other wise would have liked to. So as much as I don't care for certain maps at least they are there and at least the good maps are d*** good.
This is the hardest part to review because it brings into question as to whether or not I want to bring the dlc into account. While Mob of the Dead and Origins were amazing and Buried was also pretty good they have the issue of having a $15 dollar price tag over each of them so that leaves us with Green Run.
How is Green Run?
These maps are a waste of time as they are simplified to the point of ensuring that you are bored to tears. Simple isn't bad in a zombie map considering Nacht der Untoten started the whole thing but it's very clear no effort was put into these arenas and they only exist so that marketing can boast about how there is more content when there really isn't.
A decent concept very much hindered by player's tendency to not stay in the game for the entire duration and the fact that if you never buy the second and third map packs you are stuck on one low effort overly simple map lazily cut out of the main mode.
The only part worth caring about. Say what you like about Tranzit I enjoyed myself with it quite a bit despite how nerve-rackenly annoying the two of the four new characters are, the new characters being a she-man hillbilly who's full of herself, a nerd who makes all fellow nerd want to bludgeon his head in with a calculator and is full of himself, a paranoid man obsessed with rather amusing conspiracies who's full of himself, and a hobo who talks somewhat funny and is full of himself. You can say that the original four had the same problems but honestly the original four had a charm to them that cannot be found in these soulless and mostly unenjoyable idiots.
The map itself is quite fun if you can get past some of the rather odd design decisions, such as how incredibly difficult it is to acquire the new Wonder Weapon and how easy it is for said Wonder Weapon to disintegrate after using it around three times. While I would say I personally prefer it over the previous game's non-dlc zombie maps it still perhaps intentionally very much pales in comparison to what the likes of Mob of the Dead and Origins have to offer.
- Best Written Call of Duty campaign to date
- Well implemented story altering mechanics
- Pick ten system
- Good multiplayer maps
- Well-balanced multiplayer (Seriously, just because a hard core pro likes a certain weapon and kills you with it multiple times doesn't mean it's OP, shut up. Nothing is no where near as bad as the FAMAS was)
- Far less frustrating and annoying then Black Ops 1 or MW2 MP was
- It's Call of Duty, of course the gameplay is some of the best the genre can offer
- Spec Ops missions or whatever they were called fell a bit flat
- Bad multiplayer maps
- Zombies experience still sub par to any dlc maps from any of the two previous games
- New zombies characters are mostly unlikable and annoying
Not a perfect game a but a darn good one, and still the best the franchise has to offer except maybe Ghosts as I haven't played it yet but I seriously doubt it based on the massive amounts of gameplay I've wasted my time watching on Youtube on all three of it's major modes. It's campaign is undeniably the best one in the series, the multiplayer is still my personal favorite iteration, with the best weapons, perks, etc. and the pick ten system, and zombies is alright although the dlc maps are much better. I highly recommend this game and of course I think any price you find it for is worth paying seeing as I spent collectively $136 on it not counting taxes for my wondrous government that evidently is also going to start taking money out of my pay check by my next birthday too even though all they can do is raise the national debt and not fix the economy.
Can you tell I wrote this at 4 in the morning?