Why Black Ops 2 is the Last Call of Duty to Own

Black Ops 2

The 6th modern Call of Duty (CoD) installment, Black Ops 2 (BO2) is the last in the series of 9 that you should own. After the immense criticism of the previous CoD, Modern Warfare 3 (MW3), Black Ops 2 was the series’ last chance of revival. Though BO2 is a solid game, its moderate improvements imply that Activision does not know how to make the game better, and gamers have no reason to expect there to be a better title in the Call of Duty series.

The evolution of CoD titles has met its end. Modern Warfare (CoD4) is considered the first “modern” Call of Duty by introducing the Quake 3 engine to CoD and incorporating killstreak rewards and player perks. Treyarch Studio’s response to Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare was much of the same in World at War. The next evolution revitalized the series with Modern Warfare 2 by Infinity Ward which introduced customizable killstreaks. Treyarch refined the concept with fairer gameplay and better maps a year later in the original Black Ops. Then, the evolution ceased.

Modern Warfare 3 was widely panned to be “Modern Warfare 2.5” copying and pasting game of MW2 mechanics exactly. The difference was a more balanced gameplay with the absence of the obvious problems while leaving in and introducing new ones. MW3 was cursed with a poor connection and having deathstreaks and killstreaks that did not require kills to be paired together known as the Support Package – rewarding bad players. Since Call of Duty’s rise in popularity, it has been loved for being fun yet hated for being so imperfect. Players waited for BO2 hoping it would revitalize the franchise with its next evolution and refinement.

Black Ops 2 shows that while game makers can refine features, they do not make the effort to refine gameplay. Maps and scorestreaks were poorly executed resulting in radar (UAV) spam and being flanked constantly resulting in frustrating gameplay yet again. Treyarch’s failure to repeat their past success in making great maps and guns with recoil makes the gameplay too much like MW3. In truth, it does not feel like a true sequel to Black Ops, but instead MW4.

The Pick 10 System in BO2 that allows for further customization is a flawed addition that takes the place of the next evolution in CoD. Instead of making gameplay more fun, it creates too many things for players to defend against and therefore a good player cannot go on a streak for as long as previous titles. Since this is Treyarch’s only evolution, it shows how there is no next step for the series.  Infinity Ward cannot be trusted to revitalize the franchise after “MW2.5” and its unyielding pandering to players lacking skill.

Multiplayer is the major selling point of Call of Duty games and shows no signs of improvement. Campaign mode in Black Ops 2 is as good as it has ever been, but the current installment is enough.  The story alone does not warrant a sequel buy while it is so unclear where it will go next and not just be a copy. The Zombie game mode will be rehashed, but cannot be different enough to be worth another $65 buy.

Despite this, Call of Duty will continue to be bought and sold. It holds a major stake in YouTube popularity and most people will always be playing the current Call of Duty. Being where the large gaming community is appealing. However, for one that is not willing to throw around money and merely desires a good game, Black Ops 2 is the last Call of Duty to own.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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J. Bryan Jones is a prospective writer-editor in both prose and graphic novel media. He created "Leather Wing Media" and currently lives in Los Angeles, CA.

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  1. Nilson Thomas Carroll

    I think a better thesis would be: why one should only buy Treyarch COD games.

    Interesting read.

  2. This seems to be consistent with a number of fairly large franchises from the early to mid-2000s.

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