Call of Duty Black Ops II begins in the year 2025 and Special Forces unit members David Mason and his partner Harper have arrived at The Vault, home to retired Sgt Frank Woods, who tells you about this game’s major bad guy, Raul Menendez. Woods tells you that Menendez visited him, and gives you a locket that Menendez had left behind. Woods also narrates all of the 1980s missions, and the scene is set.
Well, I say you are David Mason, but that’s how it felt in these particular scenes because, when it comes to playing those missions during the decade that fashion forgot, you take the role of Alex Mason (Sam Worthington), from the previous ‘Black Ops’ title.
When it comes to who’s playing who, this time round, I remember the previous title saw Ed Harris playing the role of your partner-in-war Hudson, yet I can’t see him named in this year’s game and it doesn’t sound like him again. However, one of Hollywood’s meanest-looking bad guys, the superb Michael Rooker, still best-known for the wonderful Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, plays Harper/Nelson here. Additional star names come from Candyman‘s Tony Todd as Briggs and Shawshank Redemption‘s Clancy Brown as a Strike Force Soldier.
The 1080p high-definition graphics and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound are unsurpassable as always, the latter providing explosive (literally) sound effects and the ambience is brilliantly performed, even in the quietest moments. You die a lot in this game but it certainly has that ‘one more go’ factor and it’s hard to tear yourself away.
It’s very well-annointed with checkpoints – which is good due to, as I mentioned, the fact that you’ll die frequently if you don’t pay attention.
Grenades will drop at your feet from time to time, particuarly if you’re in a position where you can hide behind something as the enemy will want to rub you out. Press the right shoulder button to pick them up and toss ‘em back!
Random irritiations about the game include the fact that you have to reload some of your weapons far too quickly – every few seconds, it seems, so unless you reduce the difficulty level, you’re bound to die often as the enemy seems to have tons of ammo. At least this time I haven’t had the same problem with ‘World at War’ where I couldn’t enter open enemy huts, due to the odd programming, but I have got trapped in the graphics once or twice when trying to get right down on the ground to avoid gunfire.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the game plus conclusions.