Earlier in the week I wrote a quick first thoughts review for the Multiplayer mode of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. After my initial hour of gameplay I was not impressed by the latest edition in the CoD series. However after several more hours of play and leveling to 20 my opinion has changed quite a bit. After many deaths I was left feeling angry at the game and I realised that it would be unfair to base my review off of my nerd rage, as it would cloud my judgement. I changed my loadout and weapon choice and began to win again, which increased my enjoyment of the game and as such I started to see the game in a different light.

Call of Duty is probably most well known for it’s online mode, with millions of players logging on daily to play against other players from around the World. Each new game in the series brings with it new features and content to keep the games feeling fresh and the new Black Ops 2 brings quite a few to the table. These new features include futuristic weapons and killstreaks and increased loadout customisation. There has also been a change to the Prestige system which means you will now keep your progress when you Prestige, meaning you take all of your gun experience with you, allowing you to instantly customise your weapon when you unlock it in the next Prestige level.

One of my criticism’s with the new game is that it doesn’t feel that much of a new game, to me it felt like Black Ops 1.5. This thought first came to me when playing the campaign as I killed someone and picked up their AK47 seeing as my weapon was out of ammo and noticing that it looked exactly the same as the one from the first game, camo and everything. It literally looked like a copy and paste from one to the other. Lucky however the guns featured in the online mode appeared to be brand new and fresh, bringing with them new textures and graphics. I like the looks of the new guns, they remind me of the guns from Crysis 2, which I thought looked amazing as they captured the essence of a gun which is futuristic but also holds onto the classic designs of guns from the past.

The gameplay is much like its predecessors but somehow it feels different and fresh. It offers all of the usual game types you would expect to see, such as Team Deathmatch, Domination and Search and Destroy. Wager matches make an appearance again but this time called Party Games, offering the awesome game type Stick and Stones which was highly applauded during the original game. There is also two new game types which have been added to the game, these include Multi Team which allows teams of three to play against several other teams of three, making for a much more teamwork oriented game. The other new game type is Hardpoint which is much like King of the Hill from the Halo series. Players have to capture a ‘hardpoint’ to acquire game score whilst defending it against opposing players trying to also capture this point. This game type is awesome for getting scorestreaks as you are constantly acquiring it once inside the ‘hardpoint’ as well as any additional score you get from defending and killing other players.

Another criticism I have with the game is that it isn’t very newcomer friendly. As Call of Duty is a long running series consisting of many games which are online orientated their are a lot of veteran players who have played most, if not all of the games and therefore have a fair bit of experience when it comes to the series. These players bring their experience with them to Black Ops 2 racking up vast hours of gameplay in the first week of the game being released. This becomes a serious problem for those new players who haven’t played the game before, as they now have to play against other players with hundreds of hours more experience than them. Call of Duty has no system to make sure that new players are faced against other new players, instead they are put into the normal queues alongside the aforementioned veteran players.

Black Ops 2 offers Combat Training much like the original. I guess this is Treyarch’s way of easing new players into the game before their left on their own in the normal playlists. The Combat Training in the first game was really fun and allowed you to play against idiotic AI’s, which meant you could practice before you played against real players. However this has been changed in the new game, you are put into a matchmaking system much like the normal playlists which will find you other players to accompany you in your Combat Training, as usual against moronic AI’s. This new mode is called ‘Boot Camp’ and it designed for rookies to the game, as it only allows players under level 10 to join. Another change to this playlist is that you can earn experience as you would in the normal playlists but at half the rate you would normally would, this allows you to unlock weapons to use in matchmaking. I like this change to Combat Training as it is a good way to introduce new players to the game and give them the experience they need to feel comfortable going into normal matchmaking.

There has been a major change to loadouts which I think will change the gameplay massively. This new feature is called ‘Pick Ten’. Before hand the CoD games allowed you to have a standard loadout with customisation allowed, but this was very restricted, the standard loadout was primary weapon, secondary weapon, 3 perks and grenades. With the introduction of  ‘Pick Ten’ you can now choose ten options for your loadout using Wildcards, these allow you to swap out parts of the loadout you do not want in place of parts you do want. For example, swapping out your Flashbangs for another perk or two. This allows for unique loadouts exactly how you like. A very good idea on Treyarch’s part and we can expect to see some awesome loadouts in the future.

Finally on to the maps, the new maps look amazing. There is so much detail on each map, the games are so fast paced and players are usually too busy concentrating on the game you would not expect them to be looking at the maps too closely. Even still there has been a lot of time and effort put in to making the maps look there best. The best example of this is ‘Hijacked’ which is the nicest looking map I have seen in the Call of Duty series, set on a billionaires yacht in the middle of the sea. Containing a smaller speedboat, swimming pool and Jacuzzi, a Kitchen with food and cutlery in and a bedroom over looking the whole map. This map is probably the smallest of all of the new maps. This makes for fast paced, close quarters fighting, which is exactly how I like to play the game.

Overall my opinion of the game has changed vastly from my first review. This new Black Ops is actually quite good, after my initial losing streak I began to enjoy playing the game and wanted to keep playing more. As I have mentioned the game feels new and fresh which I was surprised about. Even though I have a few criticisms about the game most of these are rectified in some way or another, showing that Treyarch do listen to the fans and know what they want from the game. In my opinion it is worth a buy and as it is Christmas soon it makes it a perfect time to get it or put it on your list.

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