Saturday, December 15, 2012

Call of Duty Black Ops II: Campaign

Bits and Pieces

Let me start out by saying I'm not the biggest Call of Duty fan. I played a couple of the old WWII ones and Modern Warfare 1-3, oh, and World at War because my cousin and uncle got it and I took the opportunity to bond online with family I don't live nearby. Killing zee Germans. I didn't even buy MW3, I just borrowed it from my cousin to play the campaign since they're notoriously short. I was pretty tired of getting dominated in multiplayer by 8-year-olds with mouths that would make NWA blush. Somehow, some way, that lost it's charm for me. Hard to believe, isn't it? 

That said, G did a great write-up of the multiplayer aspect of the game and since I'm really more of a campaign guy, anyway, I figured, what the hey? IGN gave it a 9.3. How bad could it be? I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this game. After all the flack that Treyarch caught for making bad Modern Warfare games, this is a really creative step, both into the past and the future. I enjoyed the interesting alternate histories they provided. 

This game covers events from Vietnam to 2025, stopping at Afghanistan (The first time, in the 80s when we weren't really helping the Mujaheddin kill Russians, remember?), Nicaragua, and a slightly futuristic Los Angeles. Capturing Noriega before he could escape on a Lear was a kick. I enjoyed working from the aircraft carrier Obama for some missions. They missed the mark in one spot, though, as they had David Petreus as acting Secretary of Defense. Oops! Any fan of Big Trouble in Little China would also have got a kick out of James Hong's portrayal of the Prime Minister of China. 

This really pisses me off to no end, Mr. Burton!

Notable Voice Acting

Oliver North as himself was a stroke of genius. He shows up early in the game to personally give you orders. Jimmy Kimmel makes a cameo, too. Sam Worthington provides a serviceable job as the main character's voice (Alex Mason). He's as good as he was in Terminator: Salvation and Clash of the Titans, which is to say not horrible. My favorite "Aha!" moment was when I recognized the voice of Michael Rooker. I couldn't place his name immediately, but when he started talking I was instantly returned in my mind to the scene in Cliffhanger where Sly drops his girlfriend off a mountain. Now you know who I'm talking about? Merle from Walking Dead!

There is also a dead-on look-alike voiced by Tony Todd, known most prominently for his appearance as Candyman. He voices a completely believable badass Navy Admiral that would be able to scare me into combat if the options were face him or pick up a gun. Sometime I'll tell you about my infamous trip to Cabrini Green, the most dangerous ghetto in America, at 4am, by accident. 

Love/Hate Relationship

I didn't really care for the Strike Force Missions. Mr. Todd gave the intro to each of these. He had quite a Navy mouth on him, which is to say he cursed like a sailor. These were more of an attempt at a strategy-type game where you control squads, drones, tanks, and turrets instead of a single human character. I might not have liked them as much because I only managed to complete two of the four. By the way,  if anyone has extra money left over after Christmas and Hanakkuh, get me one of these. 

What I did like about the game was that the non-player characters like those voiced by Rooker and Worthington were actually worth their salt on the battlefield. In most games like this you have to take care of close to 90% of the actual killing because of incompetent help by the computer. Not so in Black Ops 2. One of them actually ran into a room and wiped out two guys before I had time to fire a round. 

The story is actually pretty decent. Whereas I'm usually pretty confused as to exactly who I'm shooting and why in Modern Warfare games, this one managed to hold a halfway understandable plot between firefights. Evil genius, bent on world destruction, doesn't care who he hurts. It kind of reminds me of some of the Bond villains. Wasn't one of them facially disfigured like the bad guy in this game?

Yup. That guy. 

The Math

Objective Score: 8/10 - But remember, I'm not a huge fan of the series so this is a pretty high score for me.

Bonuses: +1 for taking some chances and succeeding on most accounts.

Penalties: -1 for having a Avenged Sevenfold video after the credits. I'm not kidding in the least. After the ending ran and the credits rolled, two of the characters from the game joined the band to play a song called Carry On. I will not link it here. It was...awkward.

Nerd Coeffecient: 8/10 Well worth your time and attention if you like FPS games. Not really worth it without the multiplayer aspects, though. I was done in under ten hours, easily.