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It’s not perfect, but ‘Black Ops II’ elevates ‘Call of Duty’ franchise

By Brad Steel, Staff Writer

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The highly anticipated game Call of Duty: Black Ops II came out Nov. 13 and I didn’t hesitate to get my hands on a copy. That being said, I didn’t wait outside until midnight like other die-hard gamers might have; I still have some self-respect.

The game takes place in the near future of 2025. The creating company, Treyarch, did a fantastic job creating and using these near-future scenarios to bring the game to life and bolster the Call of Duty franchise’s already-renowned reputation. The three types of gameplay included in the game are Campaign, Multiplayer and Cooperative Zombie mode.

Campaign:

Ever since Call of Duty: World at War, Treyarch has done an incredible job of creating a storyline that is suspenseful, exciting and engaging. Black Ops II is no exception. Throughout the entire 7 consecutive hours that I spent traversing the huge maps and multiple approaches to levels, I had no idea what was going to be thrown at me next.

The writers of the storyline behind Black Ops 2 should (and probably will) win dozens of awards. This time around, Treyarch implemented a “pick your own destiny” system that fits into the campaign flawlessly. This system used in many RPG’s, such as Skyrim, gives you more control over the fate of your character in a campaign. By choosing to kill or capture particular individuals or choosing who to kill, you effectively change the outcome of your campaign.

This creates a whole new feel for Call of Duty. In the past, Call of Duty’s campaigns were something to be completed, talked about the next day, and forgotten; now they are something to be re-played in order to explore the different possibilities.

To add to that, Treyarch has added to the campaign the ability to customize your loadouts before missions. This was popular in previous SOCOM games. You unlock guns, attachments, and camouflages as well as different equipment and “perks” to use going into missions. You can change these loadouts between every mission. This makes gameplay much more interactive by letting you choose how to approach certain missions. Will you equip the Light Machine Gun with extended mags? Or the 50 Cal. Sniper rifle with a silencer? The possibilities are endless.

As if it could possibly get any more sophisticated, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 features “Strikeforce” missions. These missions implement a much- needed tactical gameplay into the franchise. It gives you the ability to control different types of soldiers, such as regular infantry squads, groups of flying assault drones, and four-legged walking tanks called “Claws.” These side missions, while perhaps a little out of place, give a new feel to the campaign and are a nice change of pace from the aim-down-sights-and-shoot-a-bunch-of guys feel that Call of Duty has kind of fallen back on in recent years.

The overall storyline combined with the creative gameplay opportunities, unique side missions and thrilling cinematics come together to give Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 a a rating of:

Multiplayer:

The interactive multiplayer experience that put the Call of Duty franchise on the map (Particularly in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare) has come back even stronger and more creative in Black Ops. The familiar system of “Create-A-Class” is back. However, it has been drastically improved. Instead of choosing a primary, secondary, equipment, grenades and perk package as in previous games, you are allotted 10 “slots” in which you can choose whatever combination of the above listed items you want. You can also choose to use “wildcards” that provide different advantages such as “Greed,” which gives you extra perks, and “Overkill” (previously a perk) that gives an extra primary weapon.

This system, nicknamed “The Pick 10” is pure genius. It allows so much versatility in gameplay by letting you choose precisely what you want. Are tactical grenades useless to you? Now you have the choice to completely get rid of them and either add another attachment or another perk. The weapons fit into the multiplayer rather smoothly.

However, the gameplay aspect of multiplayer is unfortunately a slight disappointment. While the actual gameplay is good, there are some aspects from previous Call of Duty that have not been corrected — a major one being spawn killing, which is being killed before you have a chance to do anything. While I realize that some of this is inevitable, I am astonished that after three games, Treyarch has still not limited it. Spawning is a very complicated mechanism in games, but still I think that Treyarch should put more emphasis on this in the future.

In addition, the maps are average. Some of them are just repainted versions of previous maps with slight tune-ups, and others are very original and provide exciting new gameplay. The remake of the classic map Nuketown in the futuristic setting is pretty cool. It is visually pleasing and still has great close-quarters action.

A variety of game types has been implemented, including “Hardpoint.” In this game mode, you and your team attempt to control a certain piece of the map known as the “hardpoint.” For avid Call of Duty players, this game type is kind of a combination between headquarters and domination. Another feature coming back from the first Black Ops is the ability to create your own emblem. You are allotted 32 layers in which you can use a variety of different shapes and objects to make your own unique emblem.

All in all, the multiplayer is exactly what is to be expected from Call of Duty:  great gameplay with amazing graphics on sub-par maps with the too prevalent feeling that you’ll get shot before you can aim down your sights. Overall, I give Online Multiplayer:

Zombies:

The unique cooperative mode implemented by Treyarch in Call of Duty: World at War that exploded with success in Black Ops makes an incredible entrance in Black Ops 2. The nostalgic “survive as long as you can” element is still around, without too much tampering to the general structure of the “Zombie” game type.

There are 3 maps (as of right now), including “Farm,” “Town,” and “TranZit,” which encompasses “Farm” and “Town” and includes many other areas. “Farm” and “Town” are the typical “Zombie” maps. You just survive as long as you can while collecting points, weapons and miscellaneous zombie-killing devices along the way. These maps also have a new Grief mode, which is the anticipated 4 vs. 4 game type. While these two maps lack creativity and physical space to explore and move around in, “TranZit” more than makes up for it.

“TranZit” is an innovative twist on the zombie saga. The gameplay is the same, but now you are on a map that encompasses “Farm” and “Town,” as well as other areas. The sheer size of the map is overwhelming. Combine that with the fact that you have to create different equipment by picking up parts scattered through out the map to advance to other parts of the map, and you are in for a hell of a game.

Simply put, the “Zombies” game mode is hard. Not that that’s a bad thing. There is so much exploring to do and so many Easter Eggs to find that you will never be thinking, “What should I do next?” Treyarch definitely hit the nail on the head with “Zombies” in Black Ops 2. For its combination of creativity, gameplay, amazing structures and scenery, and limitless special content, “Zombies” scores a solid:

Overall, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 does a great job of upholding the Call of Duty franchise’s reputation and expanding Treyarch’s reputation. The game does a great job relaying and tying together multiple storylines, while providing great gameplay with phenomenal graphics. The verdict on Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 in total is:

Brad Steel, Editor-in-Chief

This is my second year on The Flyer and my first year as Editor-in-Chief.  I'm a senior and a member of the Offensive Line for THE Kettering Fairmont...

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It’s not perfect, but ‘Black Ops II’ elevates ‘Call of Duty’ franchise