OXCGN’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review (Single Player)

OXCGN’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review (Single Player)

Is the story sacrificed on the multiplayer altar? 

by Kent Sobey

© 2012 Kent Sobey

Love it or hate it, the fact is that there’s never been a more successful franchise in the history of gaming. Some people might disagree, but Call of Duty has gone from strength to strength – especially when you look at the number of copies sold and the size of the multiplayer community.

Like it or not, Call of Duty is probably going to be around for a while yet.

Fortunately for me, I love it, and have done since the first release of Call of Duty so I expect a lot more from each new release to keep me hooked.

Black Ops 2 may be the sequel to 2010’s Black Ops, but release-wise, it is following Modern Warfare 3.

Since this is a single player review only, I will say that following Modern Warfare 3 will not be easy because it was fantastic.

We have a Black Ops down, a Black Ops down

Things kick off shortly after the end of Black Ops. Alex Mason and his buddies saved the world and now of course a new threat has emerged. You jump between Alex Mason in the late 80’s and his son, David Mason, in 2025.

The story is set out very nicely, giving you background information from the past, which you then follow-up in the future. The biggest downside of this is that it becomes somewhat convoluted, and only towards the end of the game do you really figure out what’s really going on – much like the first Black Ops game.

For some this might be what keeps you invested in the game, but personally I didn’t like the complexity of it and would have preferred a simpler story.

That’s not to say that it is by any means bad, because the opposite is actually true, it is in fact very well written and gripping. David S. Goyer, who some of you might know from The Dark Knight Rises film, was involved in the writing of the story, so it’s no surprise that it’s not half bad.

The link between this game and its prequel is about as tenuous as the one between Black Ops and World at War. About the only thing that really matters is that some of the same characters are in both – that’s it.

There are a few references to what happened in Black Ops but if you haven’t played it you probably won’t even notice them, and it won’t make the slightest difference to you.

It’s a nice way to tie the two games together, but ultimately pointless because let’s face it, people would have bought it whether it was Black Ops 2 or not.


You jump between the past and the future a lot, which gives the player a chance to play with vastly different weapons and tech along the way which is something lacking in a lot of games.

Sometimes all assault rifles start to feel the same, but this gap in technology really separates the weapons. New scopes, grenade types, attachments and vehicles all add something special to the Call of Duty franchise. It’s going to be difficult for them to go back in time after this, that’s for sure.

Graphically the game is about what you would expect – pretty much in line with the last 2 COD titles.

There is nothing ground breaking here, but what can be said is that there are very few graphical glitches, which isn’t true of most new games these days (…cough… Assassins Creed 3).

I would happily sacrifice a little realism in the graphics to have a glitch free experience any day, as long as the game still looks good, which this one does.

More of the same?  

Some might argue that the game play here is the same as all previous COD games, but I would then submit to them that could in fact be true of any military shooter.

Like I mentioned earlier, the new tech and weapons do change things up a bit, however, for the most part it is still a Call of Duty game – which is something I am very thankful for. It’s fun to play, it’s not stupidly difficult on a normal setting (which some people like, but I don’t at all) and the story moves at a good pace so I can get through it quickly.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a long game and a long story sometimes, but it’s not what I am looking for in a COD game. The extra hours I need from the game will all come from the Multiplayer or Zombie modes.

The point I am making here is that they haven’t changed the franchise so much that I don’t recognise it anymore, but they have changed enough to keep me interested – which is exactly what I ask from them each and every year.

If you are sitting on the fence about this one then I would happily stick my neck out and say give it a chance.

You’re not likely to be disappointed, unless you’re looking for Call of Duty to have changed.

The old saying, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ comes to mind.

It deserves a solid 8.5 out of 10


© 2012 Kent Sobey

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Co-owner and EIC of oxcgn.com

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