COLUMN: Aaron's Backstage Pass: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review

Updated: 11/21/2012 10:00 AM KSTP.com By: Aaron Chalich

I got the chance to play one of the most anticipated games of the year this past weekend. Activision sent me a review copy of “Call of Duty Black Ops 2” to try for the PS3. I do have to say it was worth the wait. I have played all of the other “Call of Duty” games and this one is by far my favorite.

“Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” is a first person military themed shooter. The story takes place in the year 2025. One of the world’s most dangerous villains has just hijacked an arsenal of futuristic weapons. It is your mission to get them back and to save the world. The story is written by Oscar-winning screenwriter David S. Goyer and the story is a continuation of the first “Call of Duty” game.

I really liked the action packed story a lot in the single-player campaign. Another thing that I really liked about the story was that if you were successful or failed a certain mission the story continued which lead to multiple endings. You could also choose if you wanted a certain character to live or die and that also determined which ending you got at the end of the game. This is a new feature in the Call of Duty games and I really thought it was great. It makes you want to play the game several times and see what the different endings are.

The graphics of “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” are unbelievable. Everything is so realistic and detailed. The cut scenes in between game play are also amazing. All of the characters look lifelike and I felt I was watching a movie instead of playing a game.

The controls were easy to learn. The in game tutorial made everything pretty simple and easy to follow. I think just about anyone could pick the game up and play it right away. 

Another new feature in the single player campaign is the “Strike Force Missions.” This is the first time this feature has been used in a “Call of Duty” game. You can now take control of any element of your squad at any time during the level and control them. You can also control the drones and robots that are on the field with you. 

In “Overwatch mode” which is a feature in the “Strike Force Mission” you can set waypoints and command the different members of your squad to take over the battlefield. If you fail the game still continues and this will also determine what ending you get in the game.

I really liked these new features a lot and I had a lot of fun testing out different strategies and spots to move my squad in the level.

The multiplayer is really great in “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.” I played several games online and it did take me a little while to connect to a game I could join. You can play a number of different games online. You can play a free for all where everyone can kill everyone and the person with the most kills in the time limit wins. You can also play as a team and compete against other teams to see who the best are. 

There are also a bunch of new features for multiplayer and online games. 

There is something called “Pick 10” where you can equip yourself with any number of combinations of weapons, attachments and more. I thought that this was a very helpful feature because it gave me the chance to carry more weapons. I always have the problem of running out of ammo, because I shoot a lot and with this feature, I had enough weapons to choose from that I hardly ever ran out. 

You can also do “COD casting,” which is a video mode where you create or watch movies that people made while playing “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.” Players can COD cast previously-recorded games and can create video-on-demand videos where they can give tips and pointers on how to play the game. 

I thought that was also very helpful. Everyone plays the game differently and they discover different things in the game that other people probably have not discovered yet. I learned a lot from watching these videos and it helped me win a bunch of matches.

You can also join leagues online and can be matched with people of the same skill as you.

As you play online and compete, you gain skill points and you can use these points to upgrade your weapons and items.

Another new feature in “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” that I really enjoyed were the “Zombie” games. You play online either by yourself or with other people. The object is to survive as long as you can while zombies are attacking you. You can set the difficulty of the game and what time of scenario you want to be in. 

As you are fighting off zombies you can points for everyone you kill and you get more points for head shots. You can also build barricades and you get points for that as well. You can use these points to get stronger weapons, refill your energy or access new areas. I really liked this mode a lot and I think a lot of people will like it as well. I was really surprised to see this kind of scenario in a war game like “Call of Duty.” 

I really liked Activision’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” a lot. The story in campaign mode was great and I liked the fact that there are multiple endings. The graphics were amazing and controls were easy to learn. It was action packed and it felt like you really were in the middle of the battlefield. The online multiplayer is a lot of fun. 

There are so many game play options that it will keep players busy for a long time. Plus there is the zombie mode, what more can I say about that. Any game where you get the chance to fight off zombies is a winner in my book.

I highly recommend this game to everyone who is a “Call of Duty” fan or someone who wants to play a fun, intense and very entertaining game.

Aaron Chalich is a columnist for KSTP.com blogging about the latest entertainment news.