Black Ops II: Real Life Review

2 Jun

black ops II Mike Harper

Black Ops II:

Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Wii U

Released: 2012

Age certificate: 18+

Real Life Review GirlfriendGirlfriend test

(This tests how much freedom the game gives you to turn it off and to go and do the laundry. The test considers how much the game allows you to play for an indeterminable amount of time while your girlfriend does her make-up. It also rates how important sound is – will your girlfriend’s hairdryer or music be the matter of life and death for your character?)

Black Ops II and Call of Duty in general does not have a positive relationship with girlfriend’s of gamers. The phrase ‘COD widow’ is not thrown around without any reason. However, I think that when compared with other games, it is not that bad in terms of time consumption. If your girlfriend needs constant attention then the Campaign is not a problem, as auto saves occur constantly. You can pick up and play for ten minutes and turn off without any regret.

Lets face it; Black Ops II is all about multiplayer. Each game takes about ten minutes, but you will often be committed to the game for the WHOLE ten minutes. If you get into COD and play with friends you inevitably start to care about statistics. You will not want to leave a game if you are ‘in the zone’ as this will be detrimental to your kill-death ratio, and if you leave a game it counts as a loss, which is bad for your win-loss ratio. It takes a lot more than love for a guy to leave a game when he has just earned a K9 unit.

Your girlfriend will legitimately want to play some music to mask the fairly brutal sound effects of gunshots and your unrestrained outbursts of rage aimed at enemy players who have just painted a wall with the contents of your character’s head. This can cause terrible consequences for you and your kill-death ratio. You should never underestimate the importance of hearing footsteps or being able to estimate how close that bullet was to your head based on the sound effects. In campaign mode, enemies love to scream at you so you know where to chuck that final grenade and sound in zombie mode is a full on requirement for success. Those adorable decomposing chaps make a racket from the moment when they start to smash barriers to the moment when they try to smash your spleen. If you want to play seriously, your girlfriend can’t play music or chat to friends, end of. Black Ops II will cause some arguments with the other half.

Score: 6/10

Girlfriend: “Does my new dress make me look fat?”

Me: “I will not be able to tell you until we kill 75 people.”

The problem of Black Ops II requiring your full attention is negated by the fact that multiplayer matches are quite short. Zombie mode requires you to play in a silent room. If you are one of the few that buy the game for the campaign your girlfriend will have no qualms.

Real Life Review GirlfriendMate test

(You are playing the game and your housemate walks in. Apart from Fifa they are pretty much uneducated in gaming. This test is a mix of the coolness rating, pick-up-and-play-ability and most importantly: same console multiplayer. Anything that could be called ‘gayyyyy’ loses points in this test.)


Black Ops II is all about multiplayer for me. If a housemate walks in your room and wants to play you will throw the controller at them in your barely controlled excitement. Playing online multiplayer alone or even with online mates does not even compare to playing local multiplayer. Few things can compare with a getting a high five off a group of your mates after they witness you get a triple kill headshot.

A typical ‘uneducated gamer’ as I like to call them, will initially struggle if you play online. As you dive into prone after sending a throwing knife into the eye socket of a Russian, your mate will walk past looking at his feet, then they will kill themselves with a rocket launcher shot at a harmless flower, and remember that is AFTER they have been killed 23 times by unsympathetic enemy players. If you care about your win/loss ratio too much then don’t bother playing with an uneducated gamer. I do not care much, so I make a point of celebrating every single kill a mate makes when they start their COD apprenticeship, especially as they are often hilariously accidental.  Thankfully Black Ops II accommodates for the casual gamer as it has a great feature known as combat training, which is where you hone your skills against AI enemies. You can play this even if you are offline. This is a great way to train your friends without caring if your character is relentlessly slaughtered.

Black Ops II has good pick-up-and-playability as it has the standard first person shooter controls. Having said that, a mate new to Call of Duty will struggle to use the sticks to stab and sprint and you may as well give up on trying to teach them how to bring in that UAV they somehow earned. Black Ops II is treated with reverence by all housemates, as with most COD games. Being skillful in COD at this is considered to be one of many tests of manliness. Now I only play this game with a mate as nothing compares (when playing games) to the virtual reality of being brothers in arms.

The zombie mode is a true test of your mate’s patience. I would not even bother trying it if you don’t think you can stay in there for the long haul. Having said that, if your Internet connection is being dodgy, zombie mode is the next best thing to online multiplayer. I suggest you check out walkthroughs, as it is way more confusing than previous zombie installments.

Score: 10/10

Mate: “I was thinking about doing something productive but then I heard you got Black Ops II. Fancy a game?”

A king of games when it comes to the mate test. My only concerns are to do with the fact multiplayer should have more arcade style game modes, I can’t believe there is no infected mode. Current generation console games are pretty terrible when it comes to local multiplayer so Black Ops II still stands out.

Real life review Parent TestParent test

(Imagine you have parents that are easily offended – especially by sexual themes and swearing; and at random intervals they invade your room.)

Black Op II is actually pretty inoffensive if your parents have grown insensitive to video game violence by now. If your room is randomly invaded the worse word they are likely to hear is ‘shit’ when your American dude is skewered by a crossbow bolt. I personally think the game should be a 15 certificate. If your parents are Russian then they will be a little shocked by what those Russian guys are shouting out (I have Russian speaking friends). The campaign is pretty inoffensive compared to any other 18+ as long as you ignore painfully stereotypical racial profiling. Zombie mode should not cause any problems either. There is nothing embarrassing about playing this game apart from the fact you openly enjoy simulating shooting several thousand people.

Score: 8/10

Parent: “Are you killing Russians?”

Me: “Yes.”

Parent: “Good.”

Me: “Actually you are not supposed to feel good about it.”

It’s no Super Mario happy fun land, but there is not the slightest hint of an artificially designed boob, and morphine injections are not advertised as medicinal and not recreational. As violence is now pretty standard your parents will be fine with this games as long as you don’t play it in the middle of the lounge on full volume.

Real life review inner rageThe Inner Rage Test

(You have had a bad day and you want to feel a sense of achievement. This section talks about how frustrating them game is.)

              I experienced my fair share of frustrating experiences while playing Black Ops II, but I did not come away frustrated. Anyone familiar with COD is used to being treated with instant death when they stray away from the linear path in a world that appears to be open. I died several times while on a horse in Afghanistan when I moved more than five metres away from the butt hole of my AI teammate’s stallion. This pissed me off but I eventually conformed so I may survive and progress. I was annoyed by unexpected storyline changing moments, such as when I burnt my squad mates face off by driving through what I though was ‘artistic’ fire effects. When I play Call of Duty I just play as a soldier, with a couple of missions thrown in where I am an invincible pilot in control of flying battleship. Instead I am forced to play strike force missions, which require a completely different skill type to first person shooters. I did not like those missions and they have prevented me from replaying the game. My play through on veteran was stymied when I encountered a mission where I played a man armed with a machete who has to navigate his way through a fully armed battlefield. I eventually put aside the campaign after a completion on regular.

I really play Black Ops II for the multiplayer. This triggers most of my gaming pleasure senses. I now know where to throw a grenade at the start of a game so that it lands on someone’s face. I know which gun to use and which parts of the map to haunt. Gameplay is much more even than previous COD installments and people do not tend to dominate the game or get high level killstreaks, I am much more in favour of this system. You do occasionally come across a player that will kill you with one shot that misses by a metre and the spawning system is a bit chaotic. I do not like the maps as much as Black Ops I or Modern Warfare II, but they are OK. Zombie mode is annoying but I only play it casually so it does not bother me.

Score: 7/10

Black Ops II has some seriously annoying aspects but I like multiplayer so much I am willing to overlook it.

real life review overallOverall

(I briefly rate games on a number of factors such as graphics, storyline, entertainment and longevity irrespective of the other tests.)

Overall, I prefer Black Ops I and Modern Warfare II, but no one plays them anymore and luckily the multiplayer maps are nothing like the chaotic atrocities of Modern Warfare III. The campaign is fun but I do not appreciate the large parts of the game that do not involve shooting someone. In multiplayer the guns are much more evenly powered and the decent killstreaks are much harder to obtain. As usual the graphics are great and you will get your money’s worth. I also find the servers are way more up to scratch now.  A great online multiplayer game.

Score: 8/10

The second best Call of Duty game to play with a mate sat next to you.


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