First of all, I must admit that for the past few years I haven’t been the biggest Call of Duty fan. But that may be about to change really soon when Call of Duty Black Ops II comes out in November 13th. Not in the sense that I’ll play Black Ops II and I’ll hopefully like it and that’s it, but maybe the excitement of playing a different kind of first-person shooter will encourage me to catch up with the series and see what all the fuss has been about. But why is Black Ops II different to previous titles in the series?
Before answering that question let’s make reference to the vital information we have about the upcoming first-person shooter. Recently, Activision has officially confirmed that Black Ops II is actually the name of their game which will be coming out for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on November 13th. Interestingly enough, the first-person shooter will be set in the near future (2025 to be more precise) as many were speculating. It’s worth noting that the original Black Ops was the best-selling Call of Duty game ever released, so a direct sequel makes a lot of sense from a marketing perspective.
But hey, stay focused Eric! Why is Black Ops II different titles in the series? Allow the official reveal trailer to speak for itself:
Needless to say, the narrator paints a really bleak picture about the future. In 2025, Los Angeles is in ruins, there is a second Cold War taking place, drones play a very important part in combat and on top of that China has the rarest materials on Earth (that among other things allow them to create military weapons.) But wait there’s more, as the game also allows you to go to the 1980s right after the Cold War and assume the role of Alex Mason. The possibility of going back and forth between the two timelines (2025 and the 1980s) seems like a very interesting device to tell this kind story.
Apart from the story itself there are many other new features about this new Call of Duty game. For starters, Black Ops II is a much more detailed game, with highly improved graphics. Facial animations look smooth, the title seems to run at 60 frames per seconds and the futuristic setting looks simply stunning. Also, it has been confirmed that the on-rails/scripted events will be changed in a meaningful way, providing the player with more choices and control. The Call of Duty games have always been overly linear and that is why going back to play the same campaign campaign all over again has never been very compelling, but this is about to change drastically.
In basic terms, the way in which the development team is addressing this is with a branching campaign, allowing players to select one of various paths to change the ultimate outcome of a given mission. Finally and regarding multiplayer, the only thing we know is that all of it will be set in the futuristic setting. Oh and Combat Training, zombie and a new mode named Strikeforce will also be featured in this game.
For the past few years I tried to consciously stay away from the Call of Duty franchise. Maybe this game won’t be able to convince me to become a fan of the series, but I can assure you that I’m cautiously optimistic about it. Although some of the ideas the team has are more refreshingly unique than others, it’s still nice to see that they are working to capture the attention of both loyal fans and those who have never played a Call of Duty after the original Modern Warfare. We’ll definitely have more information about the game at E3 in just a few weeks.