BlackOps2 single player first impressions: It's actually not bad!

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.393743-BlackOps2-single-player-first-impressions-Its-actually-not-shit - Go here. Same thing, I just failed and created 2 posts.

First a little context:I like CoD2 and I love MW1, both single player and multi-player. I've also disliked or downright hated (BlackOps1) every other game the franchise has put out.

I've only played some of the single player (several hours) and no multi-player so far since I'm on a friend's laptop/steam account and this is what I think of the game so far:

First off it's a Call of Duty game. If you're expecting anything else than modern military gun-wank, you're in the wrong place. There's iron-sights aiming galore and you'll spend a lot of time in cover (at least it's not the "back velcroed to a chest-high wall kind of cover). It's a very directed experience full of "cinematic" set pieces with a strictly linear progression.

First point in it's favour right off the bat is the toning down from the hyper-chaotic and utterly bat-shit crazy action of the later games in the series. The level design and overall action is very reminiscent of CoD2 and MW1 - the shooting galleries aren't horribly linear, there are usually 2-3 cover-paths that you can take to advance and flank your enemies and you are generally encouraged to take them . Enemies don't spawn in ridiculous numbers in these levels and the action is fairly intense... but not migraine inducing. The support characters keep shouting in your ear-piece to an acceptable level and you are generally not over-stimulated by 20 enemies,grenades, order and objectives at once. There is also PACING, both within the levels and across the entire campaign.

The regular shooting-gallery levels are broken up often enough (and at good intervals) by completely over-the-top but surprisingly fun set pieces. The game has dropped all pretence to "realism" and it doesn't play it's story (which is little more than context for all the crazy stuff you get to do - without being utterly impenetrable and retarded like Blops1) straight. The game has embraced it's action movie direction and goes all out: You get to run around killing entire battalions of enemies armed with a machete and screaming more incoherent rage than the Hulk, Or you go galloping across the desert on horseback armed with an RPG and more missiles than a bloody attack helicopter taking out tanks and...actual attack helicopters.

Again, once you adjust for the utter silliness of the whole thing, these set pieces are very well made and very fun, offering both a break from the standard iron-sight/cover shooting and a chance to go nuts. Neither the set pieces nor the standard levels drag on too long or are repeated too often. I feel the developers have struck an excellent balance.

Speaking of diversions, there are also fairly interesting "semi-tactical" missions where you are given several objectives and control over a few units (ranging from foot soldiers, drones, the guard bots from Deus Ex and a bloody 4-legged mech) which you can either order around rts style and/or take direct control over. Obviously the "tactical" elements are very simplistic, but it's a refreshing break from the norm nonetheless.

The game isn't painfully directed and linear either (like MoH: Warfighter, where putting one toe out of line will get you an instant game over). At least one of the mandatory stealth sections gives you the freedom to move at your own pace as long as you're not spotted and it doesn't just force you to just follow the leader. You also get to choose your load-out at the start of almost every mission (a very neat option indeed).

The gunplay is generally solid and very standard CoD fare. Some of the weapon attachments are fun and actually useful and being able to CHOOSE at the start of the mission to get rid of some of the shittier ones is, once again, a very nice little option. If there's one complaint to be made is that some weapons lack impact (most notably the Barett 50 cal which instead of firing the manifestation of Zeus' rage, feels like a pellet gun).

The graphics and aesthetics are very good. In keeping with tradition the graphics engine isn't particularly impressive in order to keep performance high (I get a nearly constant 60 FPS on max detail on a medium-low end pc) but good design and aesthetics make it a visually attractive game. It also somehow manages to find other colours than the standard brown and gun-metal grey. It won't turn any heads, but it's nice and functional and certainly the best looking game of the series.

A complaint can be found with in-game cinematics over which you have zero control. It's a pretty sad day when a QTE would actually be a marginal improvement, but overall it's not that bad.

Oh, and I was pleasantly impressed by the near-future technology present in the game. All the gadgets and tools are actually quite cool and useful (I don't think I've ever felt like this about a modern warfare game) and, again, I feel that Treyarch has found a very good balance between "cool-factor" and plausibility.

As a bottom line I've found myself having fun with the CoD franchise again, something that hasn't happened since MW1. So much so that I'm actually seriously considering buying the game (I've played on a friend's laptop/steam account) if the multiplayer is anything close to MW1.

As noted above, this is all a first-impressions type thing. I haven't finished the campaign mission nor have I tried any of the multiplayer modes. Take it as it is.

note: I've made another thread that for some reason doesn't show up in the forums. Not sure why, but hopefully there won't be 2 of these.

My apologies, it seems there's some significant delay for posts actually showing up and now there's 2 of them. This one is just right for deleting.

 

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