Platform: Wii U, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: Treyarch/ Infinity Ward
This review is based on the Wii U version of the game. Any information presented all relates to this version of the game however most of the points mentioned do relate to other versions of the game. If you are not interested in the Wii U version this game is also available for the PS3, PC and Xbox 360, also online will most likely have more players as there is a bigger install base on the other platforms.
For a yearly franchise, Call of Duty games have never been big on Nintendo’s consoles and as such the Wii never received anything more than an underrated port of what the other consoles got. However with this latest instalment it is nice to see that Nintendo fans finally get a proper Call of Duty game with the Wii U’s experience.
There is a problem that has plagued Call of Duty games for quite some time, namely the single player campaign. The campaigns have often been unappealing to play through but it seems Treyarch has put forward an attempt to make them more interesting.
The campaign remains with a simple premise: it is the year 2025 and a big terrorist leader is planning world domination. Seeing this issue, Navy seals agent David Mason and his team set out to take him out before he can claim total domination. On the other side of the scale Alex Mason and his team set out to do the same years before.
The campaign is a jumble of story events set between two different time periods. Often these stories are confusing and lead the player on a journey that will leave them wondering what is going on due to the constant insistence on time jumping. This campaign remains as unappealing as before but this is where the developers have done something right. It is a small thing but it makes thing more interesting.
The campaign often relies on the merits of personal choice and preference. Often choices end up determining whether you are a cold blooded killer or an agent of peace but that is a nice way to say it. The idea of choices is not seen very often during the campaign but the little decisions made at times do help to make the campaign somewhat interesting. Choices even come down to whether the villain Menendez gets to kill or fatally wound a certain character.
This has added a new layer of replayability that hasn’t been seen before in other entries in the series. Because of this choice it became interesting to go through again and see how a different line of decisions impacted the story. There aren’t many choices but it does mean you can vary the experience by play and have a different experience to your friends.
The only problems that exist with this idea is to see a different ending you must replay the entire campaign in order to make changes effective. Also the story in the campaign is not that exciting, so playing through the campaign again fully does not always remain enjoyable in parts but to play through again for different endings is somewhat worth it.
During the campaign the developers have also added the new strikeforce missions. These missions are strategy based and require completing a specific objective by strategically managing units in order to defeat incoming enemies on the multiplayer maps. These missions never really added anything to the campaign and while there were very few of these missions they never were interesting to play. However you can avoid all but one of these as they are not mandatory missions.
The campaign has never fully delivered on a great experience and does leave much to be desired for the single player gamer. If these people need something to play then the multiplayer section of the game still remains the most fun piece of recent Call of Duty games. Whether a fan of local play or even online the offerings are quite good. For these people without online access, local play is quite a fun thing to play particularly if you can gather a couple of friends around. On the other side of the scale playing local play alone is still somewhat satisfying with the ability to change the difficulty of enemy AI to provide a challenge.
If you can gather a few friends around there are several great modes to play in local mode. Several fun party games such as one in the chamber and gun game add a further layer of strategy to how you can play and can throw players off balance and out of their element which keeps things interesting. Standard modes such as Team Deathmatch and Free for All still continue to be completely satisfying. A new mode has also been added known as Hardpoint which sees players race to a specific location and attempt to hold it down as long as possible until it moves elsewhere. The local play is fun but is always better if you can get some friends around as there is the possibility of making up your own fun matches with activities such as hide and seek (This mode doesn’t exist in the game, it is one I made up for the Team Deathmatch mode when you have friends).
If you can’t gather friends but you want to face real people and you have a stable internet connection, Online play is certainly a great place to go. There is a problem with this as I review this game on the Wii U the online play is mostly barren and devoid of players. If you don’t want to play team deathmatch there is not much on offer otherwise and depending on the time of day you may not even be able to get a match. When you can, though, the online play is certainly fun and offers a rewarding experience and plenty of variety in players from the new and less skilled to the great players who add a fun challenge.
If you don’t want to play Zombi U then Call of Duty Zombies returns for you to play. The mode is basically see how long you can survive but instead of being a strictly single player experience Treyarch have opted to make this an online two player experience and one that is great in small bursts. Personally though I will stick with Zombi U.
Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is still the same basic game we have seen countless times before. The changes made does at least make things more interesting but the real question of this game is does it deliver a quality Call of Duty game on Nintendo’s platforms and the answer is yes, it does. Treyarch may not have made much use of the gamepad but the map, ability to play on the gamepad while another player uses the TV in Multiplayer matches and Off TV play features do at least give us a little something. Black Ops 2 is a fun game, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but it is still a great game for people to play. Plus it was great that I could sensor all of the bad language in the game, it’s a small thing but it’s better then constantly hearing all the language.
Author’s note: I have played both the Wii U and the 360 versions of the game and I personally find the Wii U version to be the better version thanks to Off TV play which is a very nice feature and means I don’t have to use the TV or can just listen to something while I am playing.