by Gregory Squires
previewed on PC
Back to the Future
Black Ops 2 is a unique new take on both age-old play mechanics used by Treyarch in previous Call of Duty games and the same old story telling techniques. As many anti Call of Duty fanboys will attest, almost every Call of Duty is a carbon copy of its predecessor with new guns and story. Black Ops 2 will be the first game in the series to actually innovate upon the classic first person shooter franchise.
The game follows two main storylines, the first 1/3 of the game in the 1980’s continuing Alex Mason’s adventure after the end of Black Ops; and the second 2/3rds in 2025 following Alex Mason’s son, David Mason, as he attempts to de-throne a Nicaraguan terrorist who takes control of the U.S’s automated drones and uses them to attack its cities. The whole game is narrated by the NOT dead Frank Woods, a soldier who was long thought to have died in Black Ops.
David Mason will mainly combat soldiers and mercenaries of the People’s Republic of China, who have invaded the U.S. due to a global struggle involving rare earth minerals. All of Black Ops 2’s future events will take place in a decimated, war-torn Los Angeles. Your duties will include destroying rogue drones and even escorting the President of the United States to safety.
Many characters from Black Ops will return as playable characters, specifically Alex Mason, Frank Woods and Jason Hudson.
In Call of Duty, as in any other first person shooter, it’s the weapons that make the game fun, and while we don’t know much about the weapons of Black Ops 2, we do know quite a bit about the array of vehicles you’ll see.
The only guns that have been confirmed for this game are the new KAP-40, a semi-automatic 12 round pistol, and the classic AK-47.
On the vehicle side, there is a plethora of fun to be had with the numerous vehicles. The UAV for this time period is the X-47 Pegasus. This is what you’ll be using to blast baddies away from the air. The CLAW, or Cognitive Land Assault Weapon is a quadrupedal walking tank. It is completely immune to bullet fire, and is armed with a Gatling gun and grenade launchers.
The drones that you will know as both friend and foe are called quadrotors. They are flying drones with mounted guns and self-destruct capabilities.
Multiple Personality Disorder
In an attempt to disrupt the usual linear Call of Duty game formula, Treyarch has implemented an ingenious game mechanic akin to a Real Time Strategy game…but better.
`Strike Force´ is the name of a game mode in Black Ops 2 which will occasionally pop up during the Single player storyline. It’s more than just an RTS mode with a shiny new coat of paint, however. You can carry out the standard orders, such as protecting targets, achieving objectives and taking out enemy positions but the real gem in this mode is being able to switch from the RTS aspect back to the First Person Shooter game. You can select whichever unit you want, and then be transferred into the metaphorical shoes of that unit. This applies to both infantry and ordinance.
For example, if you notice a VIP’s squad being overrun by enemy tanks, you can transfer to the First Person view of a nearby unit and take control. After eliminating all immediate hostiles, you can then leave the unit to have it continue under AI control. The best part? If you die, you are simply transferred back to the RTS viewpoint, or to another nearby unit.
In addition to this new game mode, it is also possible to fail one of these levels. In a usual Call of Duty game if you died you restarted, but while in a `Strike Force´ game mode, if you fail, the story carries on. This allows for not only the implementation of Multiple endings, but for players to try their hardest to beat their own records.
Treyarch announced that the popular `Zombies´ game mode in Black Ops will make a new and improved debut in the sequel. They made very clear that `Zombies´ will no longer be an add-on for Call of Duty, as they wish for gamers to regard 3 major game modes in Black Ops 2, Single Player, Multiplayer and Zombies.
The most notable change this implies is the new engine. `Zombies´ in Black Ops 2 will run on Call of Duty’s Multiplayer engine, rather than the Single Player engine. This allows a number of new features, including more zombies, 8 player co-op games and even 4 versus 4 matches.
4 v 4 Zombies matches will be a completely new addition to the Call of Duty franchise. It will feature 2 teams of 4 squaring off in a number of game modes, most of which are team based objective games such as `Capture the Flag´ and `King of the Hill´.
Pick a Card, Any Card
One of the new an exciting features you’re going to see in Black Ops 2 is the implementation of multiple endings. Depending on the outcome of your `Strike Force´ missions, it is possible to alter the storyline to give you one of a number of endings. (The number has not yet been released.) This does great things for Black Ops 2, besides making it an invigorating and fun new experience. It adds an excuse to replay the game, beyond playing on a harder difficulty. Many games with multiple endings have shown fantastic numbers in not only sales, but player satisfaction, and if this has anything to say about the already popular franchise it’s that Black Ops 2 is a fantastic new take on a classic game.