I won’t lie. I haven’t put a significant amount of time into the single player campaign outside of the first couple of chapters. I’m still working through the huge amount of content in Assassin’s Creed III along side of Halo 4 so it’s been tricky to say the least. With that said, I have played a bunch of multiplayer and experienced the changes Treyarch has tried to implement. While subtle, they do alter the formula enough to be noticed.
I’m not going to go into much detail with the actual gameplay as it’s a situation where if you’ve played any of the previous entries, there’s not too much that changes anything. The hit boxes seem to be a little wonky every now and again but for the most part, this feels like a normal CoD game. The progression system is firmly in place as your gun gains experience along with your profile. When you level, you unlock new items like guns, equipment, perks, etc. Gun experience goes towards new items for that gun including camo and attachments. Fairly standard stuff.
At the time of this writing, the maps have not really stood out. I believe this is a situation where the more I play and become familiar with them, the better it will get. From what’s I’ve played so far, the maps seems pretty small even for Call of Duty. Carrier is a standout for me as it seems to be well-balanced and is pretty interesting as you’re fighting on top of a huge air craft carrier complete with fighter jets on deck. Also worth noting is that the multiplayer is set firmly in the 2025 setting so expect lots of futuristic type visuals.
I’m a big fan of the pick 10 system however and it could be one of the single most important advances made for the franchise. Instead of a rigid create a class system, Treyarch came up with their “Pick 10” which basically lets you pick 10 items to use. Whatever you want, no strings attached. So if you don’t feel like using a secondary weapon, use that point on something else. The basic premise is you have 10 credits to spend on whatever you want to use. It’s a system that gives players the freedom to really create unique classes. Some people will take a ton of equipment with them, while other may use the points to really deck out their gun, or people may use special modifiers called wildcards to really mix up their class. Wildcards are essentially rule breakers so for example, you can use a wildcard that will let you use 2 tier 1 perks instead of the usual 1.
I’m not sure how hardcore players are taking to the new scorestreak system, but as someone who just can’t manage to chain an extreme amount of kills together, this is another huge improvement in my eyes. Now, instead of just kills counting towards streak rewards, any action you complete whether it’s an assist, a kill, capturing a flag (and so much more), the meter will rise. It still resets when you die, but I find it easier to get to the better rewards now. Still, if you want the really powerful items, it’s definitely not a cake walk and will require some skill to get to.
Overall, it’s Call of Duty. The engine is in need of an upgrade after all these previous entries, but if there’s one thing Activision and it’s studios know how to do, it’s create an addictive and competitive multiplayer mode. The changes Treyarch have implemented may not be a huge overhaul but they add enough to provide some freshness to an experience we get every year. It’s proven to me that it’s something that continues to be at the very least, entertaining. If you’ve grown tired of the grind, I don’t think Black Ops II does enough to really pull you back in, but if you’re on the fence or a current fan, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here.