Black Ops II: Answering the Call
Call of Duty: Black Ops is another superb shooter. Photo: Foo1
Those expecting the Call of Duty juggernaut to run out of steam will have to wait another year.
Available now on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and Wii U, Black Ops II is a superb shooter that is prepared to innovate and features a multiplayer mode that's certain to be popular for the next 12 months.
The exciting solo campaign mode has been bolstered to offer more long-term appeal.
There are branching paths and multiple endings to encourage replay, much more freedom to explore and try different tactics within levels, and you get to experiment with different weapons for each mission just like choosing your loadout before a multiplayer bout.
You are also coaxed back via online leaderboards and various level-specific challenges that also differ according to your chosen arsenal.
An unusual new addition is Strike Force missions that see players commanding multiple units, vehicles and turrets using an overhead view.
They make for a refreshing change of pace, although there's little room for genuine strategy and the limited intelligence of your troops can cause genuine frustration.
It's also doubtful you will be absorbed by the campaign's silly story, which features an over-the-top Bond-style villain.
The biggest change for multiplayer is the "Pick 10" system which provides much more freedom to choose your loadout of guns, attachments, grenades and perks.
The scoring system now rewards team-focused players who are good at completing tasks in the objective-based modes such as Capture the Flag and Demolition, rather than just deadly snipers.
Earning new items as you progress is as satisfying and addictive as ever, but a new League mode provides a level playing field by giving everyone equal access to all the toys.
The maze-like multiplayer stages are cleverly designed and will play host to countless entertaining matches.
There's also more zombie-killing antics, with battles against the undead now given a dedicated campaign with multiple stages to add further value to the package.
What have you been playing lately?
- Jason Hill