Black Ops 2

Posted on September 26, 2015 by Richard Goulter

I play CoD for the single player. (Since my computer is usually too bad for the latest, and my internet connection can be sporadic at times).

Since CoD 4, (CoD:MW2, CoD:BLOPS, CoD:MW3) the series has really loved its ‘one-trick-pony’ mechanics. Explosions-and-gunfire-everywhere-omg-intense-action (to the point where you can’t tell what’s going on), and way-too-many-helicopters, etc. have also been staples of the series. – But, I mean like: MW2 iconically begins with climbing up a cliff-face, click-this-button-then-that-button; BLOPS features a section where you control a helicopter gunship; CoD4 ends with quick-time-event cutscene. – These kinds of things, where the action isn’t the “point a gun at enemies, shoot” mechanic.
BLOPS 2 continues many of the same tropes. (Stealth missions, view from a gunship, etc.). But, significantly, it adds on a bunch of things: ‘strikeforce missions’ kindof feel like a ‘one-trick-pony’ thing; customising loadout into a mission (even on first playthrough) / unlocking weapons/perks; a branching storyline.

I’m not a big fan of branching storylines. I hate to feel like I missed out on anything if it wasn’t particularly obvious to find. (Yeah, RPGs aren’t my thing).
And CoD: BLOPS 2 is particularly obnoxious about its storyline; cutscenes are unskippable (even if you’ve seen them before), and can last several minutes before the action starts. – This severely limits the replayability of the campaign/story missions, unfortunately. (But, hey, I guess people buy BLOPS for the zombies mode, anyway).
– The story carries on with characters from the first BLOPS game. (Who cares?). But also has some levels which take place in the future.

Customising weapon loadout is something I do adore.
I liked Crysis’ style better, where you can customise on-the-fly. I guess that’s more reminiscent of the old-school shooters where you could carry more than two guns, so you end up a walking arsenal.
CoD’s gameplay (at least, on the easier levels) doesn’t demand too much strategy from this, though. Weapons/Attachments unlock anyway, so it’s never a scavenger hunt to “find weapon X with attachments Y, Z”. And it’s rarely a question of “should I carry around a bazooka?”, since anytime you encounter a tank, the level design provides such heavy weaponry for you.
But having the choice is fun: choose up-to 3 attachments for a weapon. (Fast reload? Laser sight? Fore-grip? Some kind of scope/sight?); sub-machinegun? assault rifle? sniper rifle? etc.

I was initially confused by the strikeforce missions; I quit the game, which counted as a ‘mission fail’, and so the story progress as a failure. (I didn’t, for some time, figure out how to then ‘select’ the strikeforce mission after ‘rewinding’ the story).
The idea is kinda cool: you play as a soldier who isn’t as invincible as the main character of the story. But, the AI isn’t all that competent, and the RTS-ish controls aren’t all that great. – It certainly doesn’t ‘stand’ as a game in its own right.

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