I decided to write a review based on experiences I have had since release, both good and bad, because this is the first CoD I have felt I have had to do a second write up. For my first write up, see this link: http://community.callofduty.com/thread/200537274
Now let me say first that I have wrote this based on my experiences, and have therefore formed my own opinions. This is not in any way fact, and I don't want any b*tchin' and moanin about "I'm wrong" and "This has no truth at all", because it's opinions, not facts. Also, this is strictly a review of Black Ops 2 multiplayer. I have played the Campaign on Veteran, and cleared it, and I've played Zombies too, so I have played the whole package. But, where most press reviews only focus on the Campaign, I will only focus on the MP, as that is what most people play. OK, on we go.
I have played many, many computer games over many, many years. I started with one of the Sega's when I was young, playing Ecco the Dolphin and Paperboy. Then the PS1, with Oddworld, Crash Bandicoot and Gran Turismo. PS2 and XBOX soon followed, with the first Halo and WWII shooter Brothers In Arms making me fall completely for FPS's. Also, I do consider myself a CoD vet, having played CoD4, MW2, BO1, MW3, and finally BO2. I didn't get WaW, I personally thought it was terrible, and this is the beginning of my hate for Treyarch, and conversely my love for IW, and maybe even some grudging respect for Sledgehammer for MW3. I was sceptical about buying this game at launch week after the first Black Ops, and all the problems it had. But I had played BO2 at a launch event in London the weekend before release, and it won me over. Anyway, sadly, the latter may be the last. Because, never in the history of man has anything ever invented been so addictive, yet so broken and so annoying. This game is actually making me a bad person.
Now, lets not get completely get on a downer, because there are things this game does fantastically. Firstly, the graphics are a huge step up from the first Black Ops, although IMO graphically it's still slightly behind MW2. The guns look decent enough, the character models don't look like they came from the PS2, and the scenery looks alright aswell. Secondly, the Pick 10 Create-a-Class system, as its own entity, is very balanced (with the exception of the B23R). All the weaponry, equipment, killstreaks and perks, have their strong points and weak points; And there isn't one OP weapon that everyone uses, i.e. a FAMAS, or UMP45, or one OP class setup. Everything is useful for different situations. Also, every gun is unique in the way it handles, almost like each one has it's own personality. And the Killstreaks are both balanced and useful (except VTOL, should be below Warthog and Lodestar).
But, there are faults, one of which is a game breaker. Firstly, the maps are all poorly designed, and far far FAR TOO SMALL!!! In every single CoD, everyone has a map that they love, and will always vote for.For me, in CoD4, my favourite was Bloc . In MW2, it was Afghan and Wasteland. BO1 had Firing Range, Grid and Summit. MW3 had Dome and Seatown. But on BO2, there isn't a map I love, a map I'll always vote for. About the only map I like is Standoff. All the rest are maps I either dislike, hate, or just meh. Just as bad as the small size of the maps is the layout of them. They all seem far too random and maze-like. You don't know what direction enemies will come from when playing an Obj, it's just completely random. And the head-camping spots are far too great in number. And couple the badly designed and very small maps with the terrible spawning system, and you have the ultimate recipe to get agitated. I've lost count of how many times I've killed someone, then five seconds later that person has killed me from behind because they've spawned in my anus. Or, I've been killed by an enemy, and then killed again by the same enemy instantly because I've spawned infront of his gun barrel, or I've spawned ontop of his Bouncing Betty, or I've spawned directly underneath his Lightning Strike just as it's coming in. Also, I can't stop for 5 seconds in an empty part of the map to reload my gun, or somehow all of Napoleon's armies will show up and completely f**k me. Secondly, this game is not much fun. It seems I have to always sweat, or I'll be f**ked over by everyone. What happened to the days when I could stick CoD on, and just chat with my mates, chill out with a game and just have a giggle? When me and my friends put MW2 on, we are laughing all the time and spitballing jokes and banter and whatnot. When BO2 goes in the tray, everything goes quiet because veryone has to concectrate, apart from the frequent cursing and expletives. Thirdly, it seems that the POV cameras are not where someone's eyes would be. They seem to be flying around about a Foot above the character models heads, and about 6 inches to the right. This results in all this head-camping and generally unreliable sightlines. I can't understand how someone would see me first by half a second when I'm going round a right corner, but then I can see people about half a second before they do when they round a right corner. The last small problem, I would appreciate a couple more Hardcore modes. Just a couple.
But the biggest problem, by a country mile, is the connection. We all seem to have been told two things. ONE: The Internet is worse now then it was three, four years ago. According to Treyarch, and all tech heads, it's slower, it's less reliable, the hardware has all got worse, and the WWW is just about worse in every conceivable way. TWO: Any problems are all in our heads, we are all delusional, and no problems exist. I don't buy any of that. I believe that Treyarch have implemented what I'm going to call an Artificial Lag system, which noone can agree exists, what's causing it, or how to fix it. Apparantly, everything I see on my screen, everything I see on Killcams, everything I see in Theater; None of that is actually happening. So, you have to ask yourself, what is real?!? But it goes further than this. Because of this Artificial Lag system, everything else gets a domino effect. These include:
- Knifing, which dosn't work at all
- Hit markers and detection, this is especially bad on burst fire and semi auto weapons.
- Trip detection for mines, more so Claymores which don't go off all the time (non-engineer)
- InstaKills, no red screen, just dieing straight away
There are other consequences which I can't remember off the top of my head. Add this to the Russian Roulette that is the Hotfix, and the experience is very inconsistent. Hmmm, I think to myself, what experience will I have today?? Will the game work properly today or not?? Hmmm....... All this results in an experience that is very annoying. Also, I frequently feel I get handicapped by the connection/netcode when I'm doing well. I mean, how can I go 30-5 in one round of Domination, with three captures, two VSAT's and a VTOL, and in the the second round I can't put together a Bloodthirsty medal?? And when Treyarch are saying they are trying to make a competitive game, an eSports game, something that will last for years, putting in a system that makes the game feel like it's fixed is not the best way to go about doing things.
As a whole, the game just feels incomplete, rushed, made with little effort, and unfair.
And there we have it. An in-depth review from someone who, unlike the press, has actually played the game for a considerable time, not 10 mins before proceeding to lick Kotick's a**hole. Someone who has formed an unbiased opinion, which is especially hard to do after the dire state of the first Black Ops. Someone who felt the experience was so bad that he had to write a massive write up to express his feelings. This could have been a world beater. It could have been the best. But, an effort like this is not good. Nor is it very well timed, considering the NextGen consoles are about to be announced. I just don't understand how Treyarch got so close to making the perfect CoD, but one single problem has made it the very worst. I hope Treyarch are proud of themselves, because they may just have killed the single most successful franchise in history.
Call of Duty, next year you may have a new friend. And his name is Guitar Hero.