The Good, The Bad and the Black Ops
Setting & Hero
Mostly set in 2025, a future where todays experimental military tech could be a reality, but not to distant that it’s a total Halo clone. But as with a number of recent FPS games, there is another wildly different time zone with some missions set during the 1980s starring Woods and Mason from the original Black Ops. The story is narrated by Woods who is surprisingly alive after the events of the first game. In 2025 you’ll be David Mason, son of Alex and a Black Ops operative just like dad. In the 1980s, you’ll be back in the boots of Mason Snr.
The Powers That Be
The main conflict is between the US and China, who are locked in a second Cold War. China is tightening its grip on rare earth elements, which are vital for building many pieces of modern technology. Against the backdrop of that face-off, bad guy Raul Menendez has set into motion a plan 30 years in the making, which aims to piss off both the US and China by hijacking America’s fleet of automated military drones and using them to cause havoc in cities around the world, which kinda sounds like a familiar plot for some reason…
Storyline & Guns
The big news is it’s a branching storyline complete with multiple endings – you’ll be forced into tough situations where action is required and often it’ll be your own skill will be the deciding factor. Friends and enemies will live or die based on these moments, so in theory, you’ll feel like what you do actually makes a difference, rather that pre-scripted scenes where no matter how hard you try, you can’t save the girl. As we’ve all seen in the trailer, the game is futuristic, with stupid mech vehicle and such. Fortunatley this is no Halo, but there interesting technology, including a sniper rifle that packs a backscatter scope that allows you to see through walls and a charged shot that sends several bullets out in quick succession to be able to penetrate what you can now see through. Campers paradise by the sounds of it.
Multiplayer & Zombies
Keeping in line with Activision policy, Treyarch is keeping its cards close to its chest regarding multiplayer, but some things are known. First, the Treyarch’s priority is to make sure Black Ops 2 multiplayer is fun not just for vets but also newcomers and everyone in between. Secondly, with the rise of e-sports, Treyarch is working out how to make CoD matches as fun to watch as they are to play. Treyarch is being a lot more open with the Zombies this time round by saying up front, yes there will be zombies in Black Ops 2. This time however the zombies make the leap to the multiplayer engine which promise even greater numbers of zombies, twice the number of co-operative players and larger maps. Of course, the problem with having more co-operative players is the biggest problem with the Zombies is that COD players are not generally the co-operative type, and won’t loose any sleep in leaving you in the lurch.
An Open World
The Strikeforce missions are set to shake up the Call of Duty formula more than any other element. Removing scripting from the equation, they are objectives within a sandbox level that more resembles a multiplayer map than a regular CoD mission. The way you complete those objectives is potentially different too. While you can just run around FPS style, there’s the option to switch to a tactical Overwatch view that handles like a real-time strategy game. You can also assume direct control of any of the drones on your team and whizz around the sky shooting things up.
Whilst some of the new elements in Black Ops II sound interesting, I’m not convinced it’s going to be all that much better than Modern Warfare 3. If you do have real choices that affect the storyline, I’m picking an even shorter single player story that Modern Warfare 3, which was embarrassingly short. It’s also going to be massively American-centric, which removes a great deal of the emotional impact of the game for anyone living IN THE REST OF THE WORLD! And whilst we’re talking about the single player storyline, why are Treyarch even bothering with these apparent sandbox options, as everyone knows that a lot of players don’t even bother with single player, preferring to jump straight into multiplayer. I’d see more value in putting more effort into doing something interesting with the online play, whilst remaining a solid FPS.
There’s also a couple of things not being talked about, but then this is a Call of Duty game, and well, with Activision leading them, they tend to have blinkers on and only see things the way they are in their world. But with these new mech vehicles and other new tech, will we actually get to control anything past a remote drone when it comes to multiplayer. And as for the sniper rifle that can shoot through thick concrete, will there be a rocket launcher that can blast holes in the walls? Or will it be the same old same old Call of Duty with fancier guns?