The trailers have been everywhere. It was a big deal when they aired all over TV that the return of “Call of Duty: Black Ops” was imminent in this newest installment of the “Call of Duty” franchise. I won’t talk about how somehow Woods survived jumping out a window with a man holding a grenade in his hand, or the crazy Michael Bay-esque cornucopia of explosions that filled television screens. What was interesting was what the commercial didn’t show and what gaming press got a taste of at E3 2012.
In the bowels of the Activision pavilion, a demo was shown to display the shiny new “Call of Duty.” “Black Ops” developer Treyarch has really worked hard to compete with what Infinity Ward, of “Modern Warfare” fame, has laid down over the last decade. With “Battlefield 3” storming through shelves there’s been a lot of worry in the competitive multiplayer shooter bracket as to what can now become the new giant.
“Black Ops” took place in the Vietnam and Cold War era, while “Black Ops 2” seems to have leaped forward into the near future. The pitch a Treyarch spokesman gave was the what-if scenario that of all the world’s nations’ automated and un-manned technology being turned against them in a full-scale attack.
The setting: Los Angeles. Appropriate for the expo and ironic as the demo showed a demolished skyline, a smouldering Staples Center and a battered freeway. Escorting the president through this hellish glimpse into the future, the player was assaulted by drones running strafing patterns and camouflaged enemies hiding behind freeway walls and broken-down cars.
Luckily for Mason, the player character with the same name as the hero from the original “Black Ops” (relation or coincidence is up for interpretation until more is known), he wields a rifle that fires charged rounds through cover and swats his enemies down.
While the game asked Mason to provide cover for the president and her guard, the spokesman for Treyarch mentioned that it was entirely possible for the player to rappel down and fight alongside the honor-guard as opposed to provide covering fire from above.
|“Black Ops 2” depicts a future with quadrupedal war mechs.
After driving through a crowded freeway tunnel full of enemies, Mason and his team enter L.A. proper and begin to fight their way through city streets while drones bomb and strafe from above. That’s the least of their worries as boar sized quadruped mechs ram and blast their way through the local forces.
Explosions! Violence! Tiny little RC helicopters that attack the enemies you target from the first-person-perspective! But that’s not all! Taking a page from “Battlefield 3’s” book, Mason jumps into a hover-jet to provide air support.
It looks like Treyarch has hit everything on the checklist for a current shooter. The most impressive addition to the game was a group of missions where the player can command ground forces to take objectives.
Now, it’s hard to describe exactly how this works, but it works almost completely like the mission in the first “Black Ops” where the player positions the team from the Blackbird above. Except instead of a jet thousands of feet above the team, it looks like there’s a helicopter. As the mission goes on, mechs or small helicopters can be sent to assist the ground forces. Not only that, but the player can control any of these from the first-person perspective, humans and robots alike. Alternatively, the entire mission can be played from the overwatch perspective.
|Unmanned drones are now part of the player’s arsenal.
Of course, the shooter fans who mainly buy this franchise may not enjoy this micromanagement. It’s a risky move, but it might be what is needed to reinvigorate the shooter franchise by proving this method may work and then incorporating it into future games. Fans of other games like “Total War” or “Company of Heroes” may become interested in a shooter like “Call of Duty” if this works.