Remembering "Black Ops 2"
Hello "Black Ops 4"
So, another year, another installment in the Call of Duty franchise - somewhat well received by players this time, to my surprise; technical issues on PC notwithstanding. Before buying my copy and playing a few rounds, I was just as skeptical as others with the sketchy approaches the developers took; removal of the single-player mode, addition of a battle royale mode and a more character/specialist centric multiplayer. However, the more I played, the more I enjoyed the game and how it went from an arcade shooter to a more tactical one where teamwork is needed for victory; irradiating a capture point as Firebreak as my team rushes and locks it down.
Black Ops 4 is a pleasant surprise. Playing the game got me thinking about the previous installments in the Black Ops subseries; which in my opinion, had better campaigns than multiplayer; leading us to the main event - the worst Call of Duty game in my opinion: Black Ops 2. Now keep in mind, as a game to itself, it is good but as a Call of Duty title - it is bad where the only aspect that didn't make me hate life was the campaign mode. Finally, I feel it's worth mentioning that I play on PC.
Blowing the Cover
Before we blow Black Ops 2's cover, I want to mention the good things about it; it had an amazing single player campaign with multiple endings, likeable characters, a movie-caliber story and a beautiful presentation across the board: graphics and music. As dark as the story was, the graphics were colorful, clean and vibrant - complete with historic and futuristic locations where you get to fight off the Soviets in 1970s Afghanistan one minute and infiltrate a glamorous resort in search of a wanted terrorist in the next. Meeting familiar characters from the first Black Ops title along your journey.
Unfortunately, this is where the praise ends and destruction begins; I really wanted to like this game, in the 70+ hours I put into it; prestiging my account and even joining a clan. Even playing the Zombies mode which I strongly dislike (why play that when Killing Floor 2 exists?!) All that didn't win me over and solidified BO2 as a disappointment.
My main issue with BO2 lies with Treyarch's desire to appeal to the esports crowd i.e. the 1% of the CoD playerbase, meaning, coding the game as "advised" by pro-gaming clans and YouTubers - FaZe and OptiC clan members. We all remember how stupidly overpowered the sniper rifles were and still are in the game, combined with the Tactical Insertion equipment, this allows players to exploit the game and get almost no penalty for getting killed. The infamous "quickscoping" and "trickshotting" came from this very title, to my knowledge.
In 2012, I saw many kids identifying as "FaZe" clan members and therefore, abusing the glitch where zooming in and out and firing the sniper rifle counts as an instant kill - quickscoping. Insult to injury, the killcam shows that I dodged the bullet by several meters. Terrible hit detection on top of a broken mechanic.
The hit detection that breaks its back to show how much BO2 hates casual CoD players applies also to shotguns and pistols; making assault rifles next to useless. For example, wielding the MTAR Bullpup assault rifle and getting ambushed in a hallway - one shot kill. The kicker here is that you moved away and as seen on the enemy's killcam, he should have been the one to fall.
A sniper rifle, up-close beats an assault rifle. While I am not expecting realism in an arcade shooter, some form of logic must prevail. Instead, a clear bias in favor of snipers and campers. Finally, despite getting fired at, the sniper player doesn't flinch and always gets a kill - even if he misses.
Using mostly assault rifles and submachine guns, I noticed that most of those guns are underpowered and pathetically, kill with their rate of fire and magazine size. Burst-fire guns are worse than they ever been in the series. Overall, guns play second fiddle to coding exploits and other tricks unskilled players choose to memorise and win almost by cheating or cheesing your way through a match.
Coming into a game regardless of its mode, the teams are mostly populated by snipers, shotguns and light machine guns, however, breaking the guns is not my only issue as cheats are disguised as weapon furniture - sights, grips and muzzles. Older FPS players may remember the wallhack and autofire among other notorious cheats giving even the worst player the upper hand - former sees through walls and latter makes the weapon fire upon seeing the enemy on-screen with no need to aim.
Examples of those in BO2 are the target finder and the millimeter scanner attachments; the former is especially overpowered where the sight stays on your target with a slight degree of aim assist - highlighting the target; the only thing missing is for the weapon to fire by itself sans player input. The millimeter scanner, when the player aims down sight, shows positions through walls akin to a light wallhack. The final word on weapons in BO2 is the knife; players can equip a knife instead of a secondary weapon, run with it and get easy kills because the knife seems to omit all incoming fire - emptying an entire SMG clip and still getting killed by said knife.
BO2, in my memory, had the worst maps in the series where they were too big and flat out poorly designed. Aftermath plays like a Battlefield map - taking too long to return to combat and dragging out the fight. Forget about playing domination and search and destroy - camping snipers pretty much get easy kills and an easier victory.
Carrier is also guilty of the camping sniper problem but made more annoying with the nonsense clutter of obstacles that hinder all attempts to outmaneuver and dodge their fire. Turbine just combines the above with questionable placement of usables - gun emplacements that face places where 1) snipers can get easy kills, 2) minimal traffic. All maps have headglitching spots - only the head is visible and the shooter is harder to hit - but he can easily get kills.
The final nail in the coffin is that in 2018, this game is sadly unplayable due to an abundance of players using mods/hacks where the whole thing turns into a colossal test of patience, however, I think this happens only on consoles. Regardless, PC is no better with tryhard clans of players who seem to have no life besides playing BO2 24/7/365 although I did see a killcam where the bullet hit me from across the map and at times, through a wall.
In conclusion, BO2 was an ongoing, slow-motion trainwreck that at best was mildly irritating and at worst absolutely unplayable. Treyarch clearly wanted us, casual players to know that the game is not made for us as everything crammed into this package rewarded only one playstyle - the camping sniper. Campers were given many tools to fortify their positions while others got only the EMP grenade that wasn't even that effective.
This logic prevails with the weak non-sniper weapons and large maps - big enough to hide and get easy kills without worrying about flanking or any kind of tactics - how can you bypass a funnel?! Overall, BO2 is the worst in the CoD series because it wasn't made for the casual fan who is decent at shooters, instead, it was made for esports sniper clans and them alone. Skill is not rewarded here, the challenge is absent; how can it be a challenge if the only way to overcome it in a real way is to cheese your way around it? Bugs and exploits win gunfights here.
Buy Black Ops 2 on PC - if you want. You Were Warned.
© 2018 Jake Clawson