Well it’s getting colder out; the days are getting shorter, and everyone’s back in school – guess that means the next Call of Duty game is just around the corner. While there was a predictable amount of excitement last year for Modern Warfare 3, this year’s Black Ops 2 seems to have fans more excited than usual. Perhaps everyone’s excited for the zombies or all of the new multiplayer features in Black Ops 2, or maybe everyone’s just all modern warfare-d out, but either way it seems that this year’s release is going to be another big one for Treyarch. Every year I pick up the newest Call of Duty game and tell myself that it will be my last, yet every year there I am on release day, trudging through a sea of cursing teenagers for a bit of mindless fun. Ah yes, it must be Fall.
I don’t know if I keep falling for the same trick or if I genuinely do enjoy the CoD franchise. I rarely play through the single player campaigns, opting to figure out each game online with everyone else. It’s actually one of the only games in which I ignore the single player and jump right into the multiplayer. Maybe it’s because there’s no learning curve and that the same skill set is used in every game, or maybe I just like the tradition of getting chewed out by pre-teens and their cracking voices. This time though I think I’m actually a bit excited to play the game as Treyarch seems to be breaking down the traditional multiplayer formula that has served the series so well.
They’ve gone out of their way, it seems, to give players more freedom when deciding how to create their classes, with less emphasis on the very linear level-up system that’s been a cornerstone in the franchise. This is a good thing for players like me who like to play my way with the loadouts that I like instead of being forced to use all sorts of things I don’t to get to the things I do. I’m surprised it took this long to be honest. In the past few years more open customization in all sorts of games has been the focus for many developers, and I’m glad that CoD is finally getting on board. It may not be as diverse as games like Skyrim, but hey, it’s a start.
Of course the one thing that was missing from last years’ release was the zombies. Anyone who has played CoD since MW1 knows that it would take a lot to get people to stop killing each other in normal multiplayer, but Black Ops’ zombie co-op mode has always been fun and engaging enough to do just that. I had more fun in the last Black Ops’ zombie mode than I thought I would have, and it looks as if this one will be at least as good as its predecessor. I appreciate the heavy metal zaniness that’s part of the co-op vs. zombies experience; it’s a stark contrast to the hyper seriousness that sometimes permeates the more traditional multiplayer.
I’m sure the next few weeks will be full of all sorts of multiplayer previews and breakdown videos in an effort to make sure no one forget that the game is being released in a few weeks. While I appreciate the enthusiasm I doubt it really matters at this point; most have decided if they’re going to get the game or not, and I doubt yet another teaser video will change anyone’s mind one way or another. Still I guess if you want to get a jump start on how you’re going to play the game they could be useful, but I think the community would be a much better place if everyone watched anger management videos for the next few weeks instead. Too hopeful?