Call of Duty: Black Ops II - Review

.box_heights { width: 610px; margin-bottom: 30px; }

Release Date: 15/11/2012

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC

Ready Up

Is it that time of year already? No, not the annual rush to plaster Christmas all over every shopping centre as soon as the last embers of Bonfire Night have died down, but the traditional November release of a new Call of Duty game. Turning out a new title in a series every twelve months should lead to creative inertia but against the odds, in Black Ops II developer Treyarch has delivered the most invigorated and interesting COD in years.

Fight The Future

As always, the game is divided neatly between its single player campaign and multiplayer modes, with each offering familiar pleasures alongside exciting new flourishes. The story mode, for instance, splits itself between past and future. Some of the missions are told in flashbacks to the 1980s as previous Black Ops heroes Frank Woods and Alex Mason chase down a dangerous terrorist called Raul Menendez against a backdrop of Cold War paranoia. The other missions are set in 2025, and follow David Mason, Alex's son, as he continues the pursuit, with Menendez now older and more calculating, pitching himself as an anti-capitalist cult leader.

All the Call of Duty bombast you expect is here, from the grungy punchiness of the retro missions to the sci-fi tinged thrills of the future levels. There are reliable old weapons here, as well as brilliant new toys that allow you to see and shoot through walls, track enemy heat signatures and more. Fancy adding some spark to your melee attacks? Grab the electric knuckledusters that leave enemies vomiting themselves to death. Nice.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC

Choose Your Own Adventure

There are changes afoot in the campaign structure as well. There are now six different endings, depending on your choices and actions. Don't worry, COD hasn't gone RPG, but moments of moral choice as well as mission objectives now carry greater weight as you know they can shift the course of the story. This also adds much-needed replay value to the single player side of the game, as do level-specific challenges and leaderboards that track your performance in each stage against your friends. In previous COD games, the campaign was something to bash through on Veteran before sinking into multiplayer. In Black Ops II, Treyarch offers a campaign that you'll come back to more than once.

The maps, too, are more ambitious than before. The old corridor construction still rears its head, along with some annoying checkpoints and a few too many showboating scenes that play out without your input, but frequently there are multiple routes to be found, as well as hidden caches of weapons and intel that genuinely change the way battles play out.

There's even a splash of real-time strategy in the form of Strike Force missions, optional levels that put you in charge of squads, vehicles and turrets. You can hop between each for the personal touch, or issue orders from an overhead tactical map. The AI isn't really up to the task, but as a change of pace and a halfway house between single and multiplayer, they're a welcome addition.

Boot Camp

The changes to multiplayer are less dramatic, but no less noticeable. Matches are still fast and brutal, and the maps follow the tight COD template that fans love. What's changed are the systems around the matches. You can now completely customise your loadout, choosing any ten weapons, items, perks and attachments, freeing players from the rigid confines of combat classes (though those are still here).

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC

Killstreaks are gone, replaced by Scorestreaks which reward consistent good play rather than simply the player who is best at headshots. If you're more of a slow and steady player, better suited to meeting objectives and supporting teammates, Black Ops II finally recognises your contribution. Also making the often daunting conflicts more approachable are Combat Training playlists, which mix low level players and AI bots, allowing for an easier climb for new players up to Level 10, after which you'll have unlocked enough features and toys to slip into the main public matches. Think of it as the nursery slopes of multiplayer shooting.

Rise From Your Grave!

Even Zombies mode has been built up into something more substantial. Once a throwaway extra at the end of the single player game, it's rapidly becoming an entire game in its own right. Here, you travel between different locations on a bus, fighting off waves of the undead, unlocking buildings and weapons as you go. It's not quite as robust as the other two sections of Black Ops II, but it's much more than the trivial distraction of old. The best new feature is Grief mode, in which two teams of four players fight the zombies in the same area - but only one human team can leave. Frantic and ruthless, it won't be a surprise to see this branch out into its own title soon.

What's most impressive is how much effort Treyarch has put into addressing long-standing criticisms of the COD formula, and how it's managed to broaden the game's appeal without sacrificing the hardcore on the altar of mainstream gaming. It really is the strongest and most surprising Call of Duty game since the first Modern Warfare, and comes highly recommended to both fans and newcomers alike.

GAME's Verdict

The Good:

  • Vastly improved single player campaign
  • Zombies mode is seriously meaty
  • Smart, subtle multiplayer tweaks make it fun for everyone

The Bad:

  • Strike Force missions could be better
  • Some balancing required for multiplayer
  • A couple of frustrating single player checkpoints
Show more Show less

Pegi Rating:

Suitable for people aged and over.



Customer Rating:

No rating yet



Please note: Click & Collect is currently not available in England or Wales.
We have a wide range of Delivery options, please see the table below.

Delivery type Delivery Time Cost
Standard Orders 2 working days** £4.99
Pre-Orders 1 working day** £4.99
Priority Insured* Console Pre-orders For Playstation 5, Xbox Series X|S 1 working day** £19.99
Console Pre-orders For Playstation 5, Xbox Series X|S 1 working day** £14.99
Console Pre-orders For Playstation 5, Xbox Series X|S 2 working days** £9.99
Next Day incl. Saturday (Royal Mail Tracked 24) 1 working day** £7.99 per order
Next Day (DPD Tracked) 1 working day** £9.99 per order
Next Day (pre 12pm) (DPD Tracked) 1 working day** £11.99 per order
Saturday (DPD Tracked) 1 working day** £10.99 per order
Click & Collect 1-2 working days £4.99
(Pay online, delivered to store, plus receive a £5 voucher to spend in store when you collect)
Click & Collect Console Pre-Orders PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X | S 1-2 working days £9.99 per order
(Pay online, delivered to store, plus receive a £5 voucher to spend in store when you collect)
Click & Reserve 2 hours from order FREE
(Order online, pick up and pay in store)
For items ordered from Marketplace sellers, please refer to their specific delivery types, times & cost

Small Print


• Order up to 4pm for next day delivery and up to 7pm for same day dispatch


• Orders placed before 7pm receive next day dispatch. Monday to Friday, except on Bank Holidays.


• Orders placed after 7pm Friday to 1pm Sunday will be dispatched Sunday


• Whilst we will do everything we can to meet the delivery times above, there may be factors outside of our control and we cannot guarantee delivery within this timeframe


• Working day definition: Monday-Friday (Excludes Weekends and Bank Holidays)


• Digital purchases are excluded from the total order value for tracked courier services.


*Priority Insured

  Subject to customer submitting a Royal Mail Lost In Transit claim via GAME customer services and Royal Mail validate such claim. Priority Insured Delivery entitles customers to either:

• a) a free of charge replacement console and a partial refund of £50 to the original method of paymant or

• b) a full refund of the price paid for the console ordered and the £19.99 delivery charge (payable to the original method of payment) together with £50 compensation (payable at customer's choice, either by BACS, Cheque or onto a GAME gift card

Please note that Royal Mails Lost in Transit claim proceedure can take up to 21 days to complete


**Remote Area Delivery Times


• Deliveries to non-mainland UK addresses and remote locations (such as the Scottish Isles, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Northern Ireland and the Scottish Highlands) may take longer to reach you.


To see all of our delivery options click here

Sign up for a GAME Reward Account online for FREE, via the GAME App or in your local store.

Earn points whenever you trade-in or buy at GAME. Use your points to save on the stuff you want in-store.

Join Today - £3 per Month

Join GAME Elite today and earn up to 10% points back with GAME Elite - Our exclusive membership service from GAME. With extra points and more cash to spend, this deal is seriously on point.

Our promise to you - you can’t lose – join today and if you receive less points back from purchases than the fee you have paid for your membership for 12 months, we will give you the difference back in points.

Receive exclusive deals and offers and we will even send you a gift around your birthday.

Key Benefits:
  • 10% points back on all physical games, merchandise and accessories
  • 2% points back on all consoles, PC, VR, phones and tablets
  • 2% points back on trade-in and digital
  • Exclusive deals and offers
  • Birthday gift
  • Our promise to you – you can’t lose

    Terms and conditions apply

    Please note: You will not receive Reward points for your purchase of GAME Elite Membership

  • Important Terms and Conditions: Except as required by law, codes cannot be redeemed or exchanged for cash and are not reloadable or refundable. Microsoft Digital Credit is refundable in line with GAME’s Returns and Refunds policy.