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Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Preview – Best CoD Yet?
So I got to play Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 for several hours, and it was awesome. It was so awesome, in fact, that I dare say it was the most fun I’ve had with a Call of Duty title since the original Modern Warfare… if not more.
Let me elaborate.
Operation Play Tons of Black Ops 2
Pvt. D. Veselka
Treyarch Headquarters, Santa Monica, LA
1000h Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Upon arriving at our destination on a sunny Tuesday morning, our platoon made up of fellow website owners, CoD forum moderators, live streamers, members of Optic gaming and YouTubers, the likes of Hutch, SeaNanners, TmarTn and PrestigeIsKey, were escorted to the Black Ops 2 media room deep within the Treyarch headquarters. The festivities began with an introduction by studio head Mark Lamia who then gave the floor to a digitalized David Vonderhaar, senior game design director. Via a subscription/like/favorite-worthy video presentation, he filled us in on all the good stuff there is to know about Black Ops 2 multiplayer. No worries. You can read up on everything we learned in this detailed recap!
Afterwards, the gaming began. Set up on two rows of Xbox 360′s, we were treated to hours of Black Ops 2 multiplayer. Lucky for us, absolutely every weapon, perk and piece of equipment was unlocked, giving us complete free reign over the Pick 10 create-a-class system. Speaking of the create-a-class system, I personally found the simplicity and freedom that Pick 10 has to offer very enjoyable. The lack of Pro Perks is a welcome addition (or take-away) in my books and brought back those fond memories of Modern Warfare and World at War. Same goes for Scorestreaks. I, for one, didn’t even notice the lack of “Strike Packages,” introduced by Modern Warfare 3, nor did I feel restricted in anyway. Others may feel different, but as the saying goes, sometimes less is more.
Since you can read about the plethora of features being added to Black Ops 2 multiplayer in my earlier report, I’d like to strictly speak of the gameplay we experienced in my impressions below. I’ll also lay out right away that since we were playing over a LAN connection, lag or network complications were non-existent, and therefore, will not be judged in these impressions.
I’ll start off by saying the gameplay in Black Ops 2 is fast – much faster than the original. I could compare it to Modern Warfare 3, but I’d be hesitant to considering the insufficient amount hours I’ve put into it. The last Call of Duty I sunk some good hours into was the original Black Ops, and this blows it out of the water. Improvements in every aspect greet you with a shiny smile as bright as a police officer’s tac-light. Improvements to the presentation, the visuals, the sound (oh my god, the sound) are all apparent. The menu and in-game HUD both feature that slick 2025-design, textures have been upped while the new lighting is just gorgeous and the sound design will blow you out of the water. Weapons, grenades and explosions now have that “kick” and “boom” they’ve been missing in almost all previous Call of Duty titles while some of the realistic Scorestreak sounds are just plain frightening. The Stealth Chopper in particular had me jump in my seat a few times.
Though the gameplay itself is very fast-paced, you’ll find that most of it tends to be gun-on-gun. Previous Call of Duty titles will have touted this as a focus in their game design, but I think Treyarch has really found the sweet-spot here. Scorestreaks are much harder to obtain since their transition to scorestreaks, rather than killstreaks. If you’re set on playing that “Slayer” role, you’ll find yourself climbing the Scorestreak ladder rather slowly, as kills don’t earn you a whole lot. However, start killin’ fools occupying the “Hardpoint” or capturing and defending Domination points and now we’re talkin’. Of course, though being more objective-minded will build your score rather quickly, it’s also a much more risky style of play, meaning you could very well die before reaching that K9 Unit or Drone Swarm. I can safely say that you can say goodbye to the days of old when wave after wave of attack dogs ruled the battlefield.
The guns in Black Ops 2 felt great. As mentioned earlier, they grew some balls and now have that satisfying kick. They also look great thanks to the many engine improvements. In my time with the game, it seemed that many of us found the most comfort using the SMG class of weapons. They were simply bad-ass. I especially favored the MP7 with the silencer, fast mag, and laser sight attachments. This made hip firing a breeze. (I should also quickly mention that adding a suppressor to your weapon no longer makes it sound like a beebee gun.) And, yes, this also meant that I needed to employ the use of the “Primary Warfighter” Wildcard which would allow me up to three attachments on my primary. In fact, most of my loadouts were focused on the use of attachments as they provided some real nifty benefits like aiming down sight faster, reloading faster and better hip-fire accuracy, all attributes that used to be Perks in previous titles. This, of course, didn’t allow me much room to experiment with normal Perks or equipment as a trade-off. Like the SMG’s, Shotguns, once again, have a mean bite. The R-870 MCS in particular was rather beastly, especially with the laser sight attachment.
My favorite class set-up by far, however, was this:
DSR 50 - Bolt-action sniper rifle [Carbon camoflauge]
Variable Zoom | Ballistics CPU | Fast Mag
B23R - Burst-fire pistol
Primary Gunfighter - Use up to three attachments on your primary weapon | None | None
Hardline - Earn Score Faster
Fast Hands - Swap Weapons Faster
Dexterity - ADS After Sprinting Faster
UAV | Hunter Killer | Care Package
That’s 10 points right there, plus your Scorestreaks.
Now, when it comes to Call of Duty, I can safely say that I haven’t touched a sniper rifle since World at War. It just wasn’t my style since then as I never found the same sense of enjoyment post-WaW. However, in Black Ops 2, once I went DSR 50, I couldn’t go back. This gun (as do all sniper rifles) just feels and sounds bloody amazing. I don’t care that I wasn’t the best with it. It was just so much fun and so satisfying to use.
Turn up your speakers and have a listen to its ferocity below.
You’ll notice that this map in particular, Hijacked, is very action packed. It’s design is very familiar and really rocks that old-school Call of Duty feel. Modern Warfare 3 this is not. Not to mention, the new game mode Hardpoint (aka King-of-the-Hill, displayed here) really focuses all the action in one particular spot and is sure to become a favorite for both myself and many others. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Turbine, a rather large map, was also one of my personal favorites. Its layout lent perfectly to the Capture-the-Flag game mode which we primarily played when on this map. The many paths one could take to and from the objective created tense situations at all times – not knowing where the enemy could come from, while trying to find the perfect route to your objective. Turbine also happened to be the most visually stunning of the locations we sampled. However, I was generally impressed anywhere we played. There were no maps whatsoever (of the six that we tried anyway) that I would have put on my “ignore” list.
Now, I’ll admit that within the several hours of time I spent with Black Ops 2, I was unable to get any indication as to what sort of connection or network issues might pop up once millions of gamers get their hands on it this fall. I also cannot tell you if any particular class set-up is unbalanced or unfair, as all that will be discovered in due time. But in all, Black Ops 2 filled me with enjoyment and satisfaction on many fronts – more so than any of the more recent Call of Duty titles. Will it surpass WaW, MW2, BO1 and MW3? I think yes. Will it surpass the original, highly-acclaimed Modern Warfare? Tough to say, but if there is one title to beat it, it would be Black Ops 2.
I know I’ll be cheering for this guy as best CoD yet when Black Ops 2 hits this November 13, 2012.