Ah good ol’ Call of Duty...The biggest first person shooter and war game of all time, everyone expects Activision to throw out a triple-A shooter around November and it continued to defy the odds with the release of Black Ops 2. The Call of Duty brand really stepped up to a whole new level back in 2007 when Modern Warfare was released. The game being a massive commercial and critical success and an impressive cult following came along. Since then the annual titles have broken various records year on year with its sales numbers. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 was no exception, it grossed over $500 million in just 24 hours making it the biggest entertainment launch of all time, beating the company’s previous release Modern Warfare 3. On top of that, the game had grossed over $1 billion just 15 days after its launch. It was clearly a commercial success with those incredible figures and critics also fell in love with the game and it received high scores/ratings from most magazines etc. However, the consumers and general public were pretty divided, many people loved it but others couldn’t stand it and if you check on Metacritic you can see that the user reviews are very much split.

The campaign, as with all the recent Call of Duty’s is probably the last thing on peoples agenda(unless those Special Ops missions are in the game) so I won’t go into too much detail here cause I don’t want to ruin the story either. The story is split and you have missions based in the 1980s just after the first cold war, in these missions you play as the familiar Alex Mason who many of you will remember was the main protagonist in the first Black Ops who was brain washed with “the numbers” etc. The other side of the campaign is based in 2025 where you step into the boots of David Mason, the son of Alex Mason. Both sides of the campaign tell the story of Raul Menendez who has a massive hated for America. Every level has a pretty similar aim, kill the enemy advance to the next checkpoint, rinse and repeat. It’s just like any other Call of Duty campaign in that they are constantly just throwing enemies at you for you to gun down and more often than not you’re outnumbered but somehow manage find a way out. But what makes this campaign different to previous ones is that now your decisions will affect the ending of the game, the non-linear story means there is a lot more playing time available in the campaign if you wish to find out all the different endings.

Everyone buys a Call of Duty title to join the online masses in battle! The maps over the years have had their ups and downs and this year compiles a bit of everything really. I personally thought that Modern Warfare 3 didn’t have enough sniping places on its maps and also I think that none of the CoDs had better maps than Modern Warfare 2. But anyway, Black Ops 2 has some half decent maps, they cater for all styles of play really as they have plenty of sniping points but also many different side routes to run down. I find that way too many people use shotguns online though so if you’re struggling then just copy them! A lot of the maps are also very camper friendly which ruins the online for me, I like to get stuck in and see my team mates doing the same, a bit like a Spartan battle! But with so many campers on the maps it sucks the fun out of it. Plaza and Aftermath are two of my personal favourite maps so look out for those when online! As for weapons its back to the “reach a certain level and get this gun/attachment” system which can be annoying when you want a certain gun but have to level up stupid amounts just to get it. The original Black Ops was way better in this aspect as you only purchased the guns you wanted.

ZOMBIES! It’s back for Black Ops 2 but they have made it absolutely enormous! There are about 5 different locations you can visit in one zombie’s campaign session. The fact they have turned it into more of a campaign as sucked some of the fun out of it for me as before you would just play it as a bit of a joke around but now it’s gone super competitive. The big new feature of zombies is that is certain modes you can now have up to 8 players which makes it easier to survive the hoards that come your way as you progress further.

Overall, Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is a good game. But it’s nothing we haven’t seen before and just feels too similar to its earlier titles. Maybe with the next gen consoles just around the corner the games will finally get a much needed upgrade and polish!

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is available now on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U and PC.

Review in association with Subsonic Gaming Accessories, which are available from Amazon, Play.com and Zavvi.com. Review by Thomas Thompsett, White Room Games.