It's Call of Duty time! With Black Ops II, it's once again Treyarch's time to release a game in the long running series. Have they managed to release something new and innovative, or is this another exercise in mediocre repetition?

Call of Duty: Black Ops II has not precisely been at the top of my wish list. After Modern Warfare 3, I became quite disillusioned by the entire Call of Duty franchise. Playing the same Michael Bay-esque explosion fest over and over, is simply not all that fun any more. But this game isn't developed by Infinity Ward, and it departs from the standard formula that's worn out the Modern Warfare series. In fact, it's predecessor, the original Black Ops, did a pretty good job of setting itself apart as well; so could this game actually be good?

At it's base, it's still CoD, and that's a good thing. That's what we came here for. But can Black Ops II rise to become more than the sum of it's parts? I think so, and that's very good news for a stagnating game series that I figured had jumped the shark a long time ago.

 

 

STORY PT. 1

(spoilers)

Black Ops II's story begins in 2025, when David Mason, son of the protagonist from the original Black Ops, tracks down Frank Woods (also of the previous game). Woods is in a care facility, and looks to be well into his final years. The reason Mason and his team are there is because they are looking for information on Menendez, a Nicaraguan terrorist who rose to power after the first Cold War, and today is at the head of a global political group known as Cordis Die, whose purpose is to cripple capitalist governments, in particular the USA. Menendez has a hatred for America which largely stems from his childhood in the 1960's, during which the US became involved in the Nicaraguan revolution, supporting the rebel group known as the Contras; as well as from his sister being badly burned in a warehouse fire set ablaze by it's American owner.

 

Menendez

 

Mason's team need to track down and stop Menendez, who has a massive military at his disposal and has invested in cyber warfare. The latter eventually lets him conduct an attack against the now heavily mechanized US military, turning their own drones and robots against them. During the game,you'll not only hunt Menendez, but also experience missions during the 1980's, essentially playing through the stories that Frank Woods tells Mason, and seeing the events which lay the foundation for what happens in 2025.

(end spoilers)