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Call of Duty Black Ops 2. © Activision Publishing

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 was developed by Treyarch and released in November 13, 2012 on computers powered by Windows operating systems. Five days later, Activision released the game for PlayStation 3 as well as Xbox 360 and on November 13, 2012 the game was also available for Wii U. The 9th installment in the celebrated franchise, Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is the sequel to the title released in 2010

Key facts about Call of Duty Black Ops 2

  • Call of Duty Black Ops 2 has an excellent campaign scripting, with dozens of different challenges and just as many outcomes.
  • Players are challenged to make difficult decisions, knowing that these choices will influence the outcome.
  • Call of Duty Black Ops 2 offers league play, which presents players with a brand-new stage to experience innovative multiplayer combat.
  • The game also has a zombies mode, which has its own storyline, but some missions seem bland and dull.
  • Call of Duty Black Ops 2 introduced the Pick 10 system that greatly enhanced the quality of multiplier games and made it more suitable for Esports

The Call of Duty Black Ops 2 games

The campaign in Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is so thick that many players will feel the need to go over the missions again after completing them once. The game makes numerous references to events from the past, but the narrative manages to stay clear and players are not lost in details. The single player campaign is at the cornerstone of this game and provides all the re-playability developers were counting on.

Screenshot of Call of Duty Black Ops 2. © Activision Publishing
Screenshot of Call of Duty Black Ops 2. © Activision Publishing

Action shifts from 2025 missions to the Cold War Era, with players following the development of parallel characters and intertwined stories. The Call of Duty Black Ops 2 story evolves differently depending on the decisions made by players and the central characters develop accordingly.

After players extinguish all the possible outcomes by making different decisions throughout the campaign, they can switch to zombies mode. It feels like a standalone expansion for Call of Duty Black Ops 2, with its own narrative and immersive missions.

What is Call of Duty Black Ops 2?

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 builds on the popularity of the original title, but it is the first in the franchise that has a branching storyline. Nonlinear gameplay was regarded as highly innovative at the time and the game promoted the fascinating concept of multiple endings. Action takes place both in the past and in the future, while the narrative in the zombies expansion is completely original and it grows on its own volition. Players are caught between experiencing the authenticity of the past and saving the future, while the content dedicated to undead creatures satisfies the bloodlust of those seeking nonstop action.

If you are interested to find out more about the other games in the Call of Duty series, check out the following reviews:

Gameplay of Call of Duty Black Ops 2

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 developers didn’t dwell exclusively on the popularity of the original title and chose to introduce original concepts in the sequel. Strike Force missions are the branching storylines that start in 2025 and their outcome is so severe that it affect the entire campaign arch. Players are supposed to sign up for one mission or the other, knowing that this decision means that they will be locked out from some assignments. The only way to undo this process is by starting a new campaign.

The gameplay changes in Call of Duty Black Ops 2 are significant and players are granted access to robots, jet fighters and drones. One key change in these special missions is that if players die during the campaign, those assignments are recorded as a loss and there are no checkpoints to reload. The game also allows players to see the impact of their actions and they are also being shown the alternative endings.

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 set a couple of milestones, including the fact that it was the first game allowing players to customize the load-out in anticipation of a mission. This makes each assignment feel special, as players choose the war assets based on how they plan to approach the mission.

Screenshot of Call of Duty Black Ops 2. © Activision Publishing
Screenshot of Call of Duty Black Ops 2. © Activision Publishing

Plot of Call of Duty Black Ops 2

The storyline in Call of Duty Black Ops 2 begins in 2025 with Frank Woods narrating his missions from a distant past. Players will hear his experiences and also learn more about Raul Menendez, while following the development of David Mason. As players get familiar with the key characters, they participate in dangerous missions in Angola, South Africa and then shift to South America, Afghanistan and Africa.

As players complete different assignments, they are also pit against the difficult decision of capturing or killing foes. Players are also given freedom in how to interrogate key prisoners and in the end the possible outcomes are revealed to them. The central characters are caught in the war between drug cartels in South America and personal conflicts cloud their judgment.

A mix of real and fictional

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 doesn’t shy away from bringing real characters in the spotlight, such as Manuel Noriega, the Panamanian dictator. Real events of the Cold War and fictional ones are intertwined so smoothly, that players get fully immersed into the atmosphere of the game, while also learning valuable historical facts. The story progresses and some of the central characters reemerge in the future, leading massive populist movements and pursuing a different agenda.

In Call of Duty Black Ops 2 players are not completely locked in with one character and are occasionally expected to take seemingly opposing decisions. Developers and scriptwriters chose the system to help players get a better look at the big picture and put the entire narrative into perspective. The transition from past to future is also silky smooth, with the only things that change being the weaponry used and the age of the characters.

Each step of the way, players decide if they want to focus on the main campaign or participate in Strike Missions, which are optional. Players who are willing to spend the time and energy completing all these assignments will eventually benefit from the assistance of Chinese operatives as new alliances are formed

Screenshot of Call of Duty Black Ops 2. © Activision Publishing
Screenshot of Call of Duty Black Ops 2. © Activision Publishing

Development of Call of Duty Black Ops 2

Treyarch was given a lot of freedom to develop Call of Duty Black Ops 2, but all the changes made to the original format caused delays for the release. Script writer David Goyer worked closely with the developing team and Jack Wall was largely responsible for composing the award-winning sidetrack. The main theme was produced by Trent Reznor and the end result was a product that exceeded expectations and set the bar high in terms of visual and audio effects.

Where can I download Call of Duty Black Ops 2?

Despite being released more than three years ago, Call of Duty Black Ops 2 hasn’t fallen from grace and is regarded as an important game in the franchise. It turned the first-person shooter into something more than mindless killing of enemies and emerged as a campaign driven title. Activision still markets the game and any serious fan will want to have this game in his or her collection. The game can also be downloaded for free from various websites and players get to enjoy the zombies content as well.

What are others saying about Call of Duty Black Ops 2?

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 enjoyed a warm welcome when it hit the stores back in 2012, with critics appreciating the effort put into developing the campaign. The Strike Force mode received a mixed reception, with some reviewers criticizing the artificial intelligence. The fact that players were given a real choice to make in important missions and those decisions reverberated throughout the campaign, greatly improved the rating of this installment.

Storytelling was one of the most appreciating elements of Call of Duty Black Ops 2, with the branching storylines getting players more involved than ever before. The zombie mode was generally appreciated by reviewers, although there were some critics who weren’t convinced by the mindless killing of undead.

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 tournaments

Pick 10 was the innovative feature added to multiplier games, with players being presented with 10 slots to fill with grenades, perks and guns. The concept quickly gained traction not only over the Internet but also in massive tournaments and turned the first-person shooter into a highly strategical game.

Tournaments also branched out in terms of objectives, with players being expected to defuse bombs, defend key positions and capture the flag in addition to annihilating opponents. Call of Duty Black Ops 2 marked the beginning of League Play, a competitive mode that spurred massive tournaments. Players of similar skill level were pit against each other and the games follow the Major League Gaming rules.

My rating of Call of Duty Black Ops 2

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 gets my praise for challenging assumptions and not hesitating to introduce new and untested concepts. The story driven campaign keeps players hooked for hundreds of hours as it also has extraordinary re-playability. As for multiplayer, it was truly a giant leap forward and brought the franchise into the Esports spotlight. For all these reasons, a rating of 8.5/10 is well deserved.

If you are interested to find out more about the other games in the Call of Duty series, check out the following reviews:

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall Score
8.5
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