There are few things in life which are certain…

One of them you can count on though, is that a Call of Duty title will be… AWESOME.

I decided to cave on the evening of November 12th, and make an attempt to find something that could break my Minecraft habit (note: I still play it when I need a break from CoD).  The past handful of games I’ve invested in, besides Minecraft, have been stinkers.  Skyrim, Sleeping Dogs, Dishonored, all big titles with huge fan bases that managed to lose my interest within a few hours, if not days of game play.  Most times I purchase games, I wait for a sale and then buy a title at a heavy discount.  Investing several hours of hard earned pay is a risk.  I’m paying a premium in the hopes that I get gameplay which encourages me to see it through until the end.  I don’t even care if I’ve spent countless hours playing a game only to move on… My rule of thumb for a good game is that from the moment I install it, I can’t stop playing until I’ve completed it.

Call of Duty – Black Ops 2 had me from the first gunshot.  Above the cut scenes, plot, graphics, professional voice overs, the game play had me sold.  The entire plot revolves around a new terrorist, 25 years in the future who has plans on (what else) getting the remaining superpowers to kill each other off so he can walk in and take control.  Not a new idea, but who cares?  The story takes you forward and backward in time, as you fight through key events in the timeline that lead to the rise of the terrorist and his eventual grand assault.

Weapon selection varies depending on the time period.  I’m having more fun with the future weapons which include sights which pick up the heat signature of an enemy and make it easier to target them…  One of my favorite aspects of a CoD title is that depending on the weapon and the wall – if an enemy is taking cover, you get to shoot them THROUGH THE WALL.  It never gets old.  Another perk which has made a return is the ability to change the fire mode of a weapon.  I don’t like wasting ammunition, I don’t like running and gunning, I like to put the bullets where they need to go as efficiently as possible.  Earn the add-on through game-play, and you can modify compatible weapons with any number of features including select fire.

I’ve seen a few glitches so far, the occasional AI character who just sits idly by as you approach with a mandate to take their life… A mission where you operate a drone aircraft which fails for no apparent reason, then returns you to the fray with an inability to fire that leaves you stuck on the map, and fairly vague controls of a mainframe computer where you need to hold down a specific key on the keyboard while swiping your mouse.  Nothing major, nothing that can’t be overcome with a Google search or a quick save/quit/reload, but annoying nonetheless.

The game is scripted, at times you are limited in your movements and actions, but overall the developers have successfully hidden most of the script.  You have to get to the destination, and while you are able to leave the mission area which results in a reset – overall you can choose your own path to get there.  I’ve also found many places where the game is utterly chaotic, like the missions where you assist the Mujaheddin in pushing back a Soviet assault.  You get a horse, a gun, a stinger, and a huge freaking map to lay waste to.

One last complaint about an otherwise stellar title is the inclusion of strategic/squad combat missions.  When I first saw this, and went through the tutorial I quietly cursed under my breath…  I don’t like squad combat games.  I want a mission, a target, and a gun…  The squad combat involves several objects that must be protected with a handful of soldiers and equipment in a geographically diverse map.  At any point you can zoom out to a tactical view, select a unit, and reposition them as needed.  You can also take manual control of any individual unit and join the fight.  Since its not my bag, I just moved everyone to the central location, let the enemy destroy everything else, and held out until the time ran out.  I found it all rather clumsy – but again, it’s not my bag.  I was also very satisfied when I discovered that the squad assault missions are optional.

Once I finish running through the game this time, I think I’ll even venture online for some multiplayer just to mix things up a bit, but I can honestly say that they’ve done it again, and what you get for the $59.99 sticker price (please don’t take this as a suggestion that they should charge more) is MORE than what you pay for.  It’s a blood and guts tactical shooter that has yet again set the bar…. until Modern Warfare 5 comes out. 🙂

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