Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hi Tech Hate, a Black Ops II Review


Recruit 

...and the next November is here! Another COD fish, right on schedule! Now these games just got to be getting worse and worse. A Call of Duty every year? There is not enough time to make a good game. Only spending a year, what a joke! Well, realize that each of two developments teams that switch off making a game with two different story arch's get 2 years to make their game. A lot of 2's, huh? Is two years enough to make necessary changes to game that has been the same for 9 other games? Let's get our barrings first.

Treyarch has made Black Ops II, not the automated shell of Infinity Ward, oh sorry, that's the truth. I will admit a have overrated a game during the course of my reviews, and I think we know which one that is. Anyway, World At War was Treyarch first good COD game and Black Ops and Black Ops II have followed in the same wide story arch, heh, I guess you could say Tri-arch. In Black Ops II we hit the future and now everything is automated and computer controlled and which case, is hackable. Black Ops II also makes a commentary on the development of new technology for destruction and death. The game also wants us to realize that something like this could happen in real life! No, not the zombies, the threat of turning our machines for our protection against us, hence the title, Hi Tech Hate, a song by Fear Factory. Does Tryarch's game make a bold enough statement to be meaningful and have a positive improvement on a long overdue series? Will I ever stop asking questions and review this damn game?

This image gave me the first impression of the graphics. An improvement, but meh...

Regular

This word above, to show progression in the review, and pretty much describes the art, graphics, and music of Black Ops II, just regular. Well, Call Of Duty is no Halo and certainly no Crysis, graphics and art is not always a strong point in any Call of Duty or even a Battlefield type game. The graphics utilize the MW3 graphics engine, not physics; we know how outdated that is. A grand improvment over the first Black Ops and even a little from MW3, but it's not as nearly as good looking as Halo 4 or any new retail game for the current consoles. I will give props to the designs of the Colossus ship (floating city Sci-Fi enough?) and the drones. This stuff looks very believable and realistic to come out in the next ten years, but that's all I give credit to.

The music is also a "meh" in my book, or I mean in my music player. The music was composed by Nine Inch Nails front man, Trent Reznor and he knows how to make some good sounding epic action movie-esque music. One issue with me is it does not really stand out on it's own. I mean he's no Hans Zimmer, but the music by Zimmer can sound grand and epic, yet still being very recognizable and unique like the music in MW2, which was by Hans Zimmer. The games sound effects have a realistic, well sound to them. I feel that the explosions and gun shots sounded too realistic, but that maybe preference  I do like when different guns sound different and explosions go off with more than one salable. So meh, it's all regular, nothing great.


Hardened

Is exactly the word to use for the overall gameplay of Black Ops II. It still feels and plays all like COD should: 60 fps, great controls, easy to play and hard to master. There is really nothing to say about the general gameplay, except that s feels just as good as should and has before. Nothing to improve and improvements where still made. The only way to review the gameplay of a game like this is to look at the changes and if it still feels the same. The campaign's story can change with the objectives you chose to ignore or complete. The game gives you choices that affect the ending! Now kids, that's what we call a non-linear story-line, can you say that? Yes really! I still can't believe it. You can also drive and ride  a wide assortment of vehicles including any drone, jet, car, and even horse. The campaign is the easiest it has ever been, and like that these additions and level challenges will actually keep me coming back to the campaign again and again.

Black Ops II's campaign also features what are called Strike Force missions, that are essentially a mix of FPS and RTS games. What the? I don't even... In these missions you can either pass or fail to affect the continuing story-line. The player can use the a overhead view and play it just like a RTS game and/or go into the view of the other units and control them in first person. Unfortunately these missions can be almost impossible on Veteran and just possible on Recruit. Thanks to the stupid AI in the RTS view you might as well gran the MG guy and Walker thing and blast your way to victory. It's very bold and cool, but Treyarch has got something here if they polish it up a bit more. The gameplay of Black Ops II is hardened and bold, but is not amazing and game changing. It's is good enough to keep COD more fresh and actually a bit interesting.



Veteran

The more recent COD games have been renowned for a having a good story, and non have disappointed  except MW3 was a bit too predicable. Going from the 60's to the 2025 was a huge freaking jump and how could anyone pull that off? Well, it was done. Woods did not really die in Black Ops, he survived and thank God, he was so awesome! In this story you play as Alex Mason's son David who is obviously Black Ops for the US Government. A guy by the name of Raul Menedez is the bad guy who is known as a messiah to millions of his YouTube subscribers and Twitter followers. I can't remember if he had tumblr or not. Anyway he is really a terrorist leader who has plans to hack the US Defense Network to turn it against us. Of course he does not to do it alone, he's got some gooks helping him. Like I said the game also has it's own commentary of our dependence on technology that has never been in a game before. The story is gripping, emotional, action-full with some commentary, just like Taken. It is one of those stereotypical looking action movies that is very, very good.



Later in the game, you will learn and understand both sides of the game of the good and bad guys. Raul Menedez is just angry at the world for being a crappy place for him and wants to make it the better place he thinks it should be. David is fighting for what he thinks is right and those who have feeling they are "protecting" the world before. You soon see where these two characters come together and how big of an impact they have had on each other's lives, Like in Spec Ops: The Line, the barrier of morality gets so effed-up and blurred, it's just fantastic. The story is great, the characters are great; Treyach really knows where to find and work with some amazing writers to make an equally amazing storyline.



Original (Difficulty)

For most current COD gamers, the mainstream absorption began with Call Of Duty 4's multiplayer. The exact smooth feeling of the campaign was right in multiplayer with the fun of messing around with customization to be your own soldier. Without competition, COD4 was and still is the best COD multiplayer ever and I believe ever will be. Black Ops made a very bold move by removing the Stopping Power perk and the certainly changed the way most of us played multiplayer. During that time there was a distinction between Infinity Ward and Treyarch's multiplayer games and both good and bad in some ways. Black Ops II tries to get an even more statement by creating the "pick ten" system that let the player choose, at most, ten items in each class. You can also choose to put "wild cards" on; these allow more additions to certain items, like another perk of the same tier, two primaries, or adding an extra grenade. Although bold in appearance, I was overall not really impressed by this new class system. It's different and interesting, but still is not the great enough change to bring the freshness back to the best old days of COD4. It's still very fun for the veteran and teh noobs, but nothing too fresh.


Easy (Zombie Difficulty)

All a board the zambie bus, one and only stop to Hell! It's a free ride! Zombies was a joke back during the first year of World At War. Now it's some serous business and has it's own story arch too. Not an amazing story, but a cool action-horror-scifi story to it. It was a zombie surviving adventure, trying to find all the clues and Easter eggs scattered across the maps. Now we get the ride a bus with a driver oddly like the Johnny Taxi service from Total Recall, but damaged and burned up. So the robot did survive the explosion and is now a bus driver. Cool! Anyway, Tranzit, as it's called, has small areas that act as stops for the bus and you could find all bunch of stuff to survive and/or find out the story. I would say that this first map is just like Nacht Der Untoten, but on wheels! In fact, you could say there is a little bit, I mean, a big part of the original Nazi Zombies map in Tranzit. That's for me to know and you to find out. I did hear some rustling about how the first map was not that good. I agree only when you choose to Survive in each little area (the bus stops) smaller than Nuketown. Play the way it's meant to be played. I also got a Counter Strike Zombie Escape Mod vibe from this map too, except it's COD Zombies and there is no escape! Overall, I am impressed and I can't to ride the bus to hell and shoot some zombies on the way down. I don't see many more ideas with the bus, but I still can't wait for a new one.


Uh, last part?

MW3 was not the last oily fish and it wasn't to great with the aftertaste. Even COD is trying to cloud my biases. MW3 was a stinker for me personally, but don't let this review either hinder or hate the current enjoy-ers of the newest Call of Duty games. Just take some of my notes into cosideration. I'd say most anyone would know if they would want another one of these or not. So, just to say, you like COD, rent it for now; you will know in a short time if you enjoy it enough to buy. If you like Treyarch's COD's, definitely get it. You don't know, I can't tell you what to do. Black Ops II is a game that gives the much needed improvement to COD, without scaring off any veteran and new players. The story and gameplay are what makes COD so enjoyable and immersive and Blacks Ops II certainly delivers. Although mutltiplayer is still much the same, it still can be fun and zombies is so fresh it is to die for.  Call of Duty Black Ops II scores a 4 and half out of 6 eggs.


We are losing, weapons controlling
This is the hour of your reckoning
No more arsenal threatens all
Heading for a downfall
Mass destruction, mass destruction
Mass destruction for all

-Hi Tech Hate by Fear Factory


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