Black Ops II is the ninth game in the Call of Duty franchise of video games, a sequel to the 2010 game Call of Duty: Black Ops and the first Call of Duty game for the Wii U. A corresponding game for the PlayStation Vita, Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified, was developed by nStigate Games and also released on November 13.
The game’s campaign follows up the story of Black Ops and is set in two different time periods; the late 1980s and 2025. In the ’80s, the player switches control between Alex Mason and Frank Woods, two of the protagonists from Black Ops, while in 2025, the player assumes control of Mason’s son, David (codenamed “Section”). Both time periods involve the characters pursuing Raul Menendez, a Nicaraguan cartel leader, who is responsible for kidnapping Woods in the 80s and later sparking a second Cold War in 2025. The campaign features nonlinear gameplay and has multiple endings.
Development for the game began sometime after the release of Black Ops, with Activision promising that the follow-up would bring “meaningful innovation” to the Call of Duty franchise. Black Ops II is the first game in the series to feature futuristic warfare technology and the first to present branching storylines driven by player choice as well as selecting weapons before starting story mode missions. It also offers a 3D display option. The game was officially revealed on May 1, 2012, following a set of leaked information released during the previous months.
Black Ops II is the first Call of Duty video game to feature branching storylines, in which the player’s choice affects both the current mission and in turn, the overall course of the story. Known as “Strike Force missions”, these branching storylines appear during the 2025 storyline and feature permanent death. The success or failure of these missions can have ramifications for the wider campaign storyline. Choosing one of the missions locks out the others unless the player begins a fresh campaign.
Strike Force missions allow the player to control a number of different war assets, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, jet fighters and robots. If the player dies in a Strike Force mission, the campaign continues recording that loss, as opposed to letting the player load a previously saved checkpoint. The player’s progress in the Strike Force missions may go on to change even the plans of the story’s antagonist, Raul Menendez. By the end of the game, the player may have changed the results of the new Cold War.
Similarly, in the main story missions, there are certain points where the player is given different choices and paths to progress, which could have an effect on the gameplay, as well as the story. Black Ops II is also the first game in the series to allow the player to customize their loadout before beginning a mission, creating freedom in choosing how to approach a mission.
One of the biggest changes added to multiplayer in Black Ops II is the introduction of Pick 10, a new system within the Create-a-Class menu. Pick 10 gives the player a total of 10 allocation slots in a class, which are used for guns, perks, grenades, etc. … The player can choose to allocate the slots however they like, to either have more attachments for a gun, or more perks.
Killstreaks from previous Call of Duty games are renamed as Scorestreaks, which are now earned by gaining points, rather than kills. This allows the player to focus on objective modes, which also earn points towards Scorestreaks.
Unlike past games, weapons in Black Ops II have a progression system, which is used to unlock weapon attachments. After maxing out a weapon’s level, the player can choose to “prestige” the gun, similar to how they can prestige the player level, and reset their attachment progress. In exchange, the player can customize their weapons with custom clan tags and emblems.
Black Ops II is also the first Call of Duty game to include a competitive mode. Known as League Play, the mode allows players of similar skill level to be matched together, and play according to the rules of Major League Gaming.
Treyarch confirmed that the Zombies mode would return for Black Ops II with new game modes. This is the third Call of Duty game to feature a Zombies mode, following Call of Duty: World at War and Call of Duty: Black Ops, and the first to have game modes other than the traditional Survival mode. Treyarch also confirmed that Zombies would run on the game’s multiplayer engine, allowing for a deeper community experience, along with new features. A new, 8 player co-op game called “Grief” is also supported, featuring 2 teams of 4 players competing to survive, unlike the previous games which only supported 4 player online co-op. As with the previous installments, each Zombies map contains “Easter eggs” side quests, which is used to progress the story. Another new mode, “Turned”, is introduced with several downloadable content maps, in which one player attempts to survive three player-controlled zombies who must turn the other player into a zombie.