Call of Duty: Black Ops II is the latest foray of the Call of Duty franchise, picking up soon after the events of the original Black Ops released only 2 years ago. Does this next incarnation provide gamers with the features they have come to cherish or is time for this developer to go back to drawing board?
The graphics in Black Ops II are greatly improved over the original. The biggest improvement has been with the textures; they don’t look washed out this time around. The biggest limitation of the engine is still present though and that is the draw distance. I found that you have to be no further away than 6.4 meters from an object for details to come through, which is very low considering the requirements for just running those Extra textures.
I noticed quite a few bugs with the lighting and shadows. On occasion, I’d see someone walking around that would go dark and then bright, after just one step. I went back to replay a particular level where I knew the problem existed, and the bug didn’t present itself the second time. These video problems are likely a limitation caused by the console’s lack of resources where the code was never updated for PCs.
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The biggest personal complaint I have for the graphics is the absolute lack of the multi-monitor support (as some of these screenshots can attest). I have to run two separate memory hacks; one for single player and one for multiplayer. The problem with running a hack to fix this is that I could be flagged for using a memory hack for cheating, when it isn’t a cheat by any stretch of the imagination. This is something we should have full support in our AAA games, especially since this tech has been pushed for several years and there have been several Call of Duty games.
The only other major bug I noticed had to do with lip-syncing. There were times when a character’s lips would start moving and the audio would run for a second or two after. This could be another coding issue since it only crept up a few times during long dialogue situations on one map. There were no audible music, dialogue or sound effect issues throughout the game. The music and voice acting was all top-notch. The actors gave me a great sense of urgency or an ominous vibe throughout the game, and the music played on those feelings even more. I have to give props to Treyarch, it really set the game’s mood throughout, and the audio never missed a step in this regard.
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During the course of the review. I did try the Zombie mode. I found this type of gameplay to be very boring because it felt restrictive with the money earned, access to ammo and the overall pacing. I am a big enough man to admit that not every game or game mode is going to appeal to me, but zombies feel overdone and I might just be burnt out on just the entire premise.
In the end, Call of Duty: Black Ops II added much to the single player that gives you a lot more bang for your buck, but the company also took a lot away from the multiplayer – so much so that I cannot consider recommending it. I would recommend any one on the fence about Black Ops II to hold off until it hits the bargain bin; sadly that might not happen until a few years after release, unless a particular store has it on sale. Those who love Call of Duty and are upset to see these features disappear, I would say start complaining to Treyarch and Activision if you want thesm back. I know I will.