SINCE THE FIRST CALL OF DUTY game came out all those years ago the franchise has dominated the gaming charts with every title in the series proving an instant hit.
However, because of this creator Treyarch has in recent years become somewhat lazy with the series. While still impressive games in their own right, the first Call of Duty: Black Ops and previous Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 added little to the series past new settings and increasingly short campaign modes.
Because of this we didn't have high hopes for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, expecting another repackaged version of the same old Call of Duty formula. However to our pleasure, for Black Ops 2 Treyarch has broken the mould, adding a host of new features that make the game feel fresh, despite its familiar run and gun gameplay.
Chief among the positive changes is the addition of an actually compelling single player story. Split between Cold War and near future plot lines, to our surprise the Black Ops 2 story is one of its best features.
The story is told from the two perspectives, with one plot arc following the antics of original Black Ops characters Alex Mason and Sgt Frank Woods during the Cold War and the second Mason's son in 2025 missions.
Both plot arcs revolve around the characters' fights against Bond-level super villain Raul Menendez and his terrorist organisation Cordis Die.
What makes the plot interesting is that, unlike old Call of Duty games' villains, Menendez isn't entirely evil. If anything Menendez is a tragic, Frankenstein's monster style character, whose hatred of the Western world and the existing world order is entirely understandable.
While we don't want to give any spoilers away we really can't emphasise enough how good Black Ops 2's writing is.
The strength of Black Ops 2's plot is helped by the addition of player choice and consequence features. Taking a lesson from most modern role-playing games, Black Ops 2's single player campaign has several different possible endings. Which ending you get is informed by your choices and success during the campaign's missions. These can include everything from successfully completing side missions to refraining from killing a certain character.