As well as changing the story's final conclusion, your choices also have an effect on the direction the main campaign takes. For example, fail to take out a target in one mission and you run the risk that they will appear later, or kill the target prematurely and you might not get crucial intel that would make your next mission far easier.
The effects of choices are best showcased in Black Ops 2's new Strike Force missions. Strike Force missions are shorter objective-based segments of the game that add a real time strategy element to Black Ops 2's core first-person shooter gameplay. The segments give you control over a group of soldiers and various drone units and generally have simple directives like protect this area.
The missions let you either take direct command of one of your units and play the mission as a shooter or take a more strategic view, ordering squads' movements from an overhead map screen. You can switch between the two modes at any time, creating a hybrid RTS/FPS experience similar to the one seen in titles like Carrier Commander.
The difficulties of the missions are determined by your perfomance in earlier missions, with the success or failure to accomplish certain tasks informing how many enemies you face.
While the strategy mode sounds great, we found that the strategy features were a letdown, with AI controlled units proving woefully ineffective, often rushing directly into enemy fire and being incapable of putting up even modest resistance against enemy forces. This meant that more often than not we found that the best way to complete the mission was to ignore the strategy features and go John Rambo, taking direct control of one of our units.
Treyarch has also added the loadout dynamics previously limited to Call of Duty's multiplayer modes to Black Ops 2's campaign. This means that before each mission you can customise what weapons, accessories and even perks you'll be bringing to the fray.
While this was not a massive improvement, we found the tweak a welcome one, with the ability to customise our arsenal pre-mission adding yet another layer of depth to Black Ops 2's single player mode, helping differentiate it from previous Call of Duty titles' shallow campaigns.