Review: Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Campaign

It’s that time again! Another “gaming season” means another “Call of Duty” game. This year, we get the sequel to Treyarch’s Black Ops from 2010. Call of Duty Black Ops 2 campaign picks up in the future but ties back to the past in a very cool way. You will be playing as both Alex Mason from the original Black Ops (in that time era) and as his son, David Mason aka “Section” in the year 2025. The villain, Raul Menendez spans through both their stories as you get to witness (and play as Menendez) how he became the monster that he is in the future for David’s era, and you MIGHT side with him. The campaign took me 5 hours on first playthrough.

Without any spoilers, I will do my best to review the game from a few perspectives; Graphics, Sound, Entertainment, Gameplay and Replay value. My review style comes from a casual love of gaming and I am not a professional. This means, I am honest but at the end of the day, this is my opinion.

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Campaign Video Review


Graphics: The graphics in Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is not the best on the market but it is the best that this engine has looked to date, as it should. At some points of the campaign the face animations are very good. Some levels look amazing and others look great. Most of the things you won’t notice because you are captivated by the flow of the story of the campaign.

The landscapes of certain missions look great and I cannot really say anything other than… “These are not the best graphics on the market.” But believe me, that is not a diss nor a bad thing.

Sounds: Call of Duty Black Ops 2 must have beefed up their sound design team as they hit it on all angles of the campaign. For my play style, after 2 or 3 completed missions I tweaked the sound effects and music to be significantly lower than the voices. Again, for my play style. Other than that, the voice acting is superb and the script is well written.

Guns sound great, the organic noise on levels are good and all of the audio plays with the tone of this campaign, even the music is well placed. Sound is a big thing for me and Call of Duty Black Ops 2 sound is very good. There are other games out there with superior sound but when you play this game, you will look at me and say “Motherfucker, what?” Yup. I said it.

Gameplay: Call of Duty Black Ops 2 gameplay mechanics are very functional and tight for the most part. I mean, its Call of Duty. The engine does not change so the shooting doesn’t change either, however. There is one part in this campaign that I am THANKFUL for it to be optional. The “Strike Missions” in the game are great in theory, but just does not execute well.

The idea of doing a command & conquer / xcom style of play while still being able to jump into the action and DO IT YOURSELF is awesome. I mean, you can take control of the drones, army & etc at ANY POINT. Sounds cool but you will see that phrase “you can” change for “you have to” in order to win… If you can win. Yes, there is a tutorial level, but it will take some time. Like I said, optional… but a price is paid for “optional.” End of the day, I tip my hat off to Treyarch for attempting this & if it could be patched to flow a little better, I will welcome the side missions as a “fourth” mode (Campaign / Multiplayer / Zombies / Strike Missions).

Shooting in the campaign is great as always. So I can’t say anything plus or negative about it. Although, Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is touting the “Pick Ten System” this year and it also bleeds into the campaign mode too. It’s not the full experience but a warm up. You can edit your loadout for the mission available. This is a first for the series (but is NOT new to gaming). For me, I like my COD to give me the best weapons to handle the job at hand, so I did not care for it. This does not mean I will take points away from it as it is a dope feature in general, just not for me.

Another first for the series is the “choices” made can affect the outcome of your ending. So there are multiple endings. In my 2 ½ playthroughs, I got two endings. Both endings were completely opposite. While doing the campaign, I remembered a few of my choices so I went back to one level to correct or “change” a decision that I made. There is a “rewind” feature that allows you to do this. To be honest, I am not sure how the “rewind” feature is different that just selecting that mission and moving forward from there. Anyway, this adds to the replay value of the game. Without spoiling anything, but saving you from missing something, DO NOT PRESS THE BUTTON TOO MANY TIMES WHEN THE CREDITS START ROLLING. If you can, let it play all the way out.

Other than the Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Strike Force missions, I had one problem with the game that the professional reviewers do not touch on whenever they review a COD game but they MAKE SURE they say something about it on any “rival” shooter, the AI. The enemy AI in this game is terrible. Yes, you can raise the play level, but I will get to that in a minute. The enemy in this game can vary, but the majority of the time, you are playing against a fleet of elite soldiers that have cloaking technology and more. These are not some type of villagers (or whatever) that just happen to have guns. These dudes have SPECIAL training but they are STUPID. The stupid doesn’t stop with enemies, it actually rolls with your allies/brothers on the field too. Basically, you are RAMBO in modern times.

Also making a return to the COD franchise is the cheap deaths. My friends, this cheap tactic is not going anywhere! No matter what level you are on, somehow someway an enemy will drop you from behind or some far off location. Noted.

Campaign is still fun. The set pieces in the game are awesome but a few of them are still over the top as usual. If there were ten of them, I would’ve loved to actually participate in at least 2-3 of them. Just a note.

Entertainment: Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is full of moments to take away and do over and over again. The game is fun and entertaining all the way, even if you don’t care about the characters. Even through the eyes of Menendez, its fun. To play a COD game is to be in an interactive movie, end of story.

Replay Value: Well, beyond the trophy/achievement hunting, there is replay value here. The different endings which I am pretty sure ONE of them involve beating the dreaded Strike Missions, will have you going back to play it again and again. Though I am not clear on what parameters will trigger different experiences, I don’t care because the adventure of not knowing is worth the ride. Then, when it is all said and done, I will research those parameters and execute them so I can be done with it all together.

Final Thoughts: If you are the annual Call of Duty purchaser, you will not be upset at this campaign. You’ve played the last Black Ops? Then you have to play this. It is important to note, I did not run through this COD game as I’ve done the others, I just didn’t feel the same urgency about getting to the end (until after I knew there was multiple endings). The campaign took me 5 hours with deaths included and only 1 strike force mission attempted.

Never played a COD or haven’t played one in a while? This is a sweet package for a campaign and is worth the playing. Some of your primary games may have incredible campaigns but this is a worthy one to add to the list. Stop looking for best and enjoy the games as they come.

I enjoyed the game, hopefully, you will or have too!


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