8 Reasons Why Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 Multiplayer Is The Best Yet - Hands-On
We’ve played Black Ops 2 multiplayer – here’s why it’s the series at its best.
Published on Aug 14, 2012
We’ve spent hours playing the Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 multiplayer and it’s fair to say that it’s shaping up to be the best in the series yet. Treyarch has approached the sequel with a renewed enthusiasm, redesigning fundamental gameplay features and introducing a swathe of new weapons, kill streaks and user-generated content.
Taking a look at the most radical, innovative and exciting new changes to the formula, here’s NowGamer’s essential guide to Black Ops 2 multiplayer.
Multiplayer is set exclusively in 2025
Much like the single-player campaign, Black Ops 2’s multiplayer takes place exclusively in the year 2025. Treyarch has really gone to town with this setting in multiplayer, embracing advanced military technology and imagining a near-future world populated with flying sentry guns, ravaged by war and serenaded by an intense Trent Reznor soundtrack.
Treyarch has been galvanised by the sci-fi possibilities, enabling the studio to take a fresh look at the series’ multiplayer. It has lead to some of the most drastic changes to both the gameplay and the system since Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
Create-A-Class gives you an unprecedented level of freedom
Create-a-class is the first stop in Black Ops 2’s complete redesign. Clearly inspired by board games, each piece of your loadout is now displayed clearly in pictures and spread across your customisation screen in copious detail. Here you can mix-and-match ten items from every category, which in turn gives unprecedented freedom for players to tweak their setup to their precise play style.
This system enables more weapon combinations than ever before and introduces a wicked twist in the new wild card system. Again, just like a board game, wild cards can be used as a substitute for another item. For instance: if you’d rather focus on fast-paced perks, you can drop your primary weapon and use a wild card that enables you to pick two perks from the same category.
Each wild card takes one of your ten slots in addition to its bonus, so you’ll have to decide whether it’s worth the sacrifice. It’ll also come as much distress to some players to learn that Treyarch has also removed all perk pros to support this new system. Hardline Pro, we miss you already.
Map details: Aftermath, Cargo, Countdown, Turbine and Yemen
During our time with the game we managed to explore four of the maps that will ship with Black Ops II in November. The first of which was Aftermath, set within the ruins of a decimated 2025 Los Angeles.
It’s mid-sized stage with plenty of variety in terms of routes for players to discover. The interior segments lead to high vantage points and low routes that emerge through the sub-level of battered buildings. The exterior is quite varied, with large streets to the sides and a busy central route that cuts through a dilapidated office block. All-in-all, it’s a rather safe map design that wouldn’t feel out of place in Modern Warfare 3.
Next we blasted through Cargo. Another mid-sized map, this has a steadier balance between interior and exterior, with a central hub styled as a large circular arena similar to Modern Warfare’s Countdown map, but with cranes moving large crates across the map. Fast-paced players will make this most out of this stage with its multiple tunnels and narrow walkways. Equally, there’s plenty of high-ground for players to hide, so it should also attract its fair share of camping snipers.
Yemen felt a bit more varied than the other maps on offer. It’s definitely one for shotgun runners, with close-quarters corridors and tight urban alleyways. There’s also an abundance of ledges for agile players to leap across and pounce on unsuspecting players.
Finally, Turbine is a large-scale map that has some striking similarities to Modern Warfare 2’s Afghan. With a dustland backdrop featuring large wind turbines on the periphery and a downed aircraft laying in the centre of the map, this is a stage perfect for large team-orientated objective modes.
There are two interior elements at play as well, and a mounted rifle perched on a ledge that’ll tear through enemies instantly. The most tantalising aspect is that you can climb on anything and everything featured in the map – so keep your eyes on the top of that plane.
Scorestreaks Are The New Killstreaks
Scorestreaks replace Killstreaks in Black Ops II. Working in much the same way as the Assault Strike Package in Modern Warfare 3, performing actions and supporting your team will reward the player with points that contribute to powerful weapon streaks.
Read our coverage on Scorestreaks here.
COD Points are out, Ranks are in
You know those accolades you receive at the end of a match that either praise your heroics or ridicule your failings? Well now these will be turned into medals that will reward players with XP in much the same way as challenges, except they’re completely repeatable.
It’s also worth noting that Treyarch has dispensed with CoD Points and changed levelling up slightly so that content is gated by ranks. Players will be rewarded with 1 unlock per level-up, as Treyarch found that players unlocked most of the content too early in Black Ops.
Treyarch also confirmed that there will be more content than the 55 levels (over 100), indicating that players will have to prestige multiple times to get their hands on all of the unlocks.
Future tech makes BLOPS 2 multiplayer better
Weapon attachments have a little more kick to them in Black Ops II. The standout of the new line-up is the Millimetre Scanner, which sends a small pulse wave around the environment to spot stationary players behind walls and concealed in smoke.
Treyarch has really embraced the setting for Black Ops II and it’s also meant that they have integrated previous weapon perks into the attachments themselves. Another weapon sight that typifies this approach is the Target Finder, which instantly identifies enemies within view so they can quickly be targeted (and destroyed).
There’s some small improvements to other equipment in the game. Assault Shields can now be deployed to create mobile cover on the fly. Never much use for upping your KD ratio before, so the ability to create quick cover and fire a few rounds from your secondary weapon should guarantee a greater presence from this piece of kit when the game goes live.
Multi-Team enables up to six teams to play together
Game modes won’t just be restricted to two teams in Black Ops II. The sequel features new mode Multi-Team, which supports – as you might have guessed – multiple teams facing-off against one another. With six factions (SEALS, SDC, FBI, Mercs, ISA and Militia), you can have up to six teams battling it out in one match.
It’s quite difficult to distinguish teams on the actual battlefield. Often we’ll encounter a group of enemies, but unless they were actively firing at one another, it was difficult to gauge their designated teams. Hopefully this can be sorted out with some UI tweaking.
Hard Point is another new mode inspired by traditional King Of The Hill game types. Here, you fight for supremacy of one area in an absolutely chaotic brawl. You can also play Multi-Team in this mode, making the contention for the target area quite intense.
Black Ops 2 is set up as an eSport
One of the big focus points for Black Ops II is making the game into a competitive sport. Obviously it already is one, but now it needs an arena, personality and somewhere to broadcast.
Players can now enter League Play, where they will be entered into a division based on their skill level. The more you play, the greater your skill rating and the higher in the divisions you’ll climb.
We’re not sure how Treyarch and Activision are going to support this mode in terms of events and prizes, but it’s an encouraging step that was bolstered by some new Theatre Mode features.
The biggest of which is CODcast. Players can become specialised spectators, providing commentary for any match either live or previously played. There’s options for picture-in-picture, map view and other display options that really immersive the player into the game with a clearer perspective of the action.
Activision is also developing a new live game-streaming feature that will enable players to watch matches from their PC, laptop or mobile devices. No platforms have been confirmed, but we saw it running on the latest iPad and we were told that you can watch any game anywhere.
It appears that Treyarch are really trying something different with every aspect of this year’s Call Of Duty entry. There’s some bold and inevitably contentious decisions made in the multiplayer, but it’s looking like the most exciting multiplayer shooter we’ve seen in years.