REVIEW – Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (Wii U)
A review by Gamer Greg
Game – Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Version – Wii U (retail)
ESRB Rating: ‘M’ – Mature, 18+
Release Date: 11/18/2012
Obtained – Review copy courtesy of Activision
Probably regarded as one of the most successful series in video games, we have the newest edition of the game; Black Ops 2. Believe-it-or-not, this is actually my FIRST entry into the series. So in this review I cannot compare it to the series as a whole, but as an individual game. How does this game stack up? Continue reading to find out!
Here’s a gun, knife and some ammo. Now go kill people! Well, that is an over-simplified single sentence version of the game. This game is actually much deeper than that. There’s a very deep and compelling story surrounding a soldier and the player lives through their eyes. The player is given a variety of missions from destroying enemy bases to vehicles to soldiers. The player can only handle 2 weapons at a time, however they can also equip attachments and perks to those weapons. They can also handle grenades to launch at their foes. In addition, the player can swap out guns with ones from enemies, so if you are running low on ammo, it can be traded for a new weapon.
The story is not just running through level. The player will be riding on horseback, boat, helicopter as they make their way through each level. In addition to the various modes of transportation, the player can also control other devices. This can range from mini-vehicles that can detonate, or even a rocket once launched. There is many different aspects to this game and there is always variety, even though the goal is simple, completing it is the complex part.
I found that the variety of gameplay options made both the multiplayer and campaign to be very enjoying and maintained fresh to play between levels. I found it not to be clear cut and easy as well. Even though I entered this game as a first-timer, I still went through the regular difficulty (there’s just something wrong about selecting “easy” for me). I found it to be somewhat challenging at times, but the checkpoints really assisted so I could go through that segment as many times as I needed. This is to be expected as I can’t just be a pro the first time playing the campaign.
As I mentioned, there is the standard campaign mode and obvious multiplayer mode, though new to this game is a another mode called Zombie mode. In addition to all the gameplay variations of campaign mode, after each level the game presents you with a score on how many enemies you killed, blew up and a number of other statistics. This total score is presented, and then it even ranks you with your friend’s list with those that have the game. Clicking on their Nintendo Network ID shows you their breakdown. I found this to be quite enjoyable that you were able to compare scores to your friends and compete for the highest score.
Next up, is the highlight of the series from what I’ve gathered from the hard-core fan base, the multiplayer portion. Without even starting the campaign, the player can choose to jump right into the action with fellow gamers from around the world. Despite this game being a launch title on a new console, there were still plenty of people to play with in the various modes. There are a variety of solo modes and team modes. It ranges from simple defeat other players or the other team to capture the flag, search and destroy, and a headquarters mode. The game gives a brief summary for each of the 17 different types. Finally, there is even hard versions of some of the modes which adds in features like friendly fire, extra bullet damage, no respawning, or no health regeneration.
One of the aspects of playing online, was that I obviously felt out of my league. Most matches had players that were level 20-something all the way to 40-something. I realize it is from my inexperience to the series and starting multiplayer a few weeks after this game has been out on the market, but I also found it to be difficult to learn from my mistakes. I realized that the radar only shows those that are firing, which allowed you to get shot from behind pretty easily. One part I did not enjoy were the amount of players that just camped and sniped from their safe locations. When I did play first person shooters on classic Nintendo consoles, I had loved the aspect of wandering around and only allowing certain weapons. COD allows each player to customize their starting weapons, perks and grenade choices. You unlock better weapons by earning experience points from each online match, so I was having to play with those that had powerful 1-shot kill sniping weapons and faster firing machine gun weapons. I found it harder to get kills by having to be stuck inferior weapons. I realize I could play for dozens of hours to get the experience and unlock credits for those weapons, but I also find it harder to enjoy the game when you are ranking last or near last for basically every match.
Last but not least was the Zombie mode. This can be played as a solo player or online depending on your preferences. You can choose to have limited ammo or just play the standard Zombie mode. Both played similarly, with the player having to kill all the zombies and also patch up their spawn location. This would be like boarding up a broken window or doorway. After so many areas were patched, the player would advance levels, meaning more zombies and experience points. The experience points could be spent on leaving the location, or being able to switch guns. With the limited amount of ammo, the player would basically need to get a different gun at some point. Overall this mode was interesting as zombies will continually arrive and the player is tasked with staying alive.
The controls for this game worked quite well. In the pause menu it displayed the various controls in case you were new to the game like I was. The control sticks are used for controlling the character and strafing and pressing down on the left joystick allowed the player to run for a brief period. Pressing down the right joystick allowed the player to do a quick knife slash. A is used to switch between your two weapons, B is used to put in a new clip (reload), Y makes the player jump with X using to crouch/stand. On the top of the controller, ZL is used to Aim with both hands, L throws grenades, and ZR fires your weapon. I don’t remember nor could find what the R button did, but each and every button had a purpose.
I thought the control scheme worked pretty well. I didn’t really agree with the pressing down on the control stick to run but no other function would fit in its place. In the campaign mode, the game helped learn these controls within the first few levels. The same control scheme matched on the Wii U Pro controller. I felt that the GamePad was optimal for short periods of time or for playing with the game displaying on the screen. For longer periods, the Pro controller was better suited. I got about 3 hours using the GamePad showing all the action on the screen. This is no fault with the game, but with the controller.
The graphics and visuals were top notch. Obviously the best visuals were on the TV, but those shown on the GamePad were pretty good as well. All characters and backgrounds were displayed beautifully and perfectly on the television screen. All vehicles and level designs looked incredibly realistic. With such beautiful graphics, it helped make the player more immersed into the game. Another cool feature was with the multiplayer mode, when you are killed, the game shows you kill cam so you can see through the eyes of the player that killed you.
The music, sound effects and voice acting was done incredibly well. The background music fit the levels, even though you are more likely to hear gun shots majority of the time. In the campaign mode, the voice acting adds that something extra to the high quality visuals that are displayed. The voice actors chosen match perfectly with the character designs. All of the weapon sound effects along with vehicle sound effects sounded very realistic, adding to the immersive gameplay and visuals shown.
Concluding Overall Impressions
Overall Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is an excellent game. The main point I have against the game is that it felt like it caters more to those that have played previous titles, and does make it easy for new players. I realize this is a minority, but there will always be new players not only for this game, but for future titles as well. I would recommend this game to fans of the first-person shooter genre and those that enjoy a good story, have high quality graphics, music and sound effects. This game will not disappoint fans of the series and provides plenty of entertainment to everyone.
9 out of 10