Call of Duty has seen iteration after iteration since the release of the rather excellent of Modern Warfare, but never with any new innovation for gamers. With Black Ops II, Treyarch, Activision and many media outlets have dubbed it as the best Call of Duty yet, but we decided to see if the multiplayer portion of the title stacks up to these claims.
Sat in my team of three, I took the few minutes I had spare while others positioned themselves at their stations to check out the new load-out options and was welcomed with some fan favourite weapons with an updated look to match the game’s futuristic 2025 plot. Aside from a new look, load-outs have seen a small change from the set limit of equips seen in previous titles to a more expressive set. I had to carefully choose my weapons, attachments, equipments and perks without exceeding the ten equip limit, giving me the tactical responsibility of choosing between a soldier armed to the teeth or an Sub-Machinegun (SMG) equipped gunman with five perks. I swiftly opted for the fleet-footed SMG equipped soldier and began to earn points for my team and my score-streak.
Like last year, you gain special rewards for decimating enemy forces but the 2012 iteration requires players to earn points rather than kills to earn these rewards. Points can be earned from assists, capturing flags and generally everything you earn XP for, meaning newcomers and less able players are able to get a taste of the one-off items including old favourites such as UAV drones and care packages, to new ones like the Hunter Killer, a bird-like drone that seeks out and explodes the nearest enemy; or the Guardian, a sonic emitting shield that dazes and impairs hostile vision.
As I darted in between ship containers taking down enemy forces, the teamwork required to success in the game’s new 3v3v3v3 mode became apparent. With nine enemies going all out to murder me and my allies, I had to make sure we stuck together, keeping an eye on each other’s backs while making sure we also kept a steady kill streak going. It provided for a great feeling of accomplishment during Kill Confirmed, when we came across two enemy squads locked in their own fire-fight, one of which became an unwitting temporary ally of ours.
Aside from new maps, score-streaks and equipment, there was little else that was on show for the multiplayer preview. It seems Treyarch, like their Call of Duty developing partners Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games, have once again employed the ‘If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ attitude that has seen the franchise selling millions of copies on launch day and with a new world record year after year. You can’t blame them for that. The series may have stagnated for some but for the majority of gamers, Call of Duty is one of the best online shooters on the market and Black Ops II will do little to shake that faith but it won’t win over any of the haters either.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II is due out November 13 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. The shooter will launch three weeks later on November 30 for Nintendo Wii U.