I intended to wait for the reviews for this one -- after MW3, Diablo 3 and Medal Honor 2012 all being disappointments...
But I went to the midnight release anyway.
Where the store was sold out...
Sold out. On midnight release. Where 90% of the people had pre-ordered, and there only were 30 people in line...
Oh well. That was no fault of the game.
I got it the very next morning, and jumped online that evening.
It took a while to get used to the maps, and the cover placed everywhere -- absolutely everywhere -- but when I did, I learned to respect some of the maps I hated from the get-go.
It took several nights of gaming to get used to the new map design, with elaborate pieces of cover at literally every corner.
Overall, even after having the map design sink in, I'm a bit disappointed.
What I didn't want more of was mazes -- maps that are considered large because you never find the enemy.
What I wanted more of doesn't exist in the game: Large maps that are considered medium or small, because there's so little clutter that you find enemies fast.
My favorite map is definitely Standoff, with it's long streets and building to building crossfire.
Second in line is three way split between Raid, Hijacked, and Aftermath, all of which allow for assault rifle usage.
When I unlocked create a class, I fell in love.
While I thought the system to be gimmicky at first, I realized that it's ingenious -- after a while.
I have DREAMED (well, not literally) of being able to carry a sniper on my back on an SMG profile ever since CoD4: Modern Warfare 1, where you severely gimped yourself by doing so.
... Finally, the game lets me. I love the game for that, alone: Overkill, at a reasonable price.
The amount of customization is overwhelming, and I feel just like when playing CoD4 for the first time:
It revolutionizes customization to the point where I won't be able to play a call of duty game without the same customization ever again.
-A SMG class with a sniper.
-A sniper class with two bouncing betties and a pistol sidearm.
-A sniper class with a shotgun secondary, a SILENCED shotgun!
-An assault rifle class with an optical sight, silencer AND grip -- with TWO perk 1s!
I could write about how I love the class system in Black Ops 2 all night long... and for another day.
but there were some icebergs before the Harbor of Bliss:
-Weapon class unbalances
-Desynchronization (between enemies in your sight and on the server)
-Weapon class unbalances.
The developers have clearly taken quite some time on making the current weapon statistics.
Like in Black Ops, snipers are ONLY good for sniping, and cannot save your life in close quarters.
The problem occurs when the SMGs aren't only good for short range combat, but extend to even extreme ranges:
Perhaps the SMGs had to be made accurate because of the cover placed everywhere.
Both the Vector and Chicom CQB are capable of killing opponents at extreme speeds on very long range, much like the MP7 in MW3.
The MP7, MSMC and PDW-57 are also more than capable of "sniping", although not to the same effect.
Sub-machine guns are dominating the game, forcing everyone not using one to HUG cover at any time, all the while snipers shoot anyone sitting still in once place too long through one of the many random long sightlines.
The sounds in the game are very good. Guns sound like guns on my turtlebeaches, explosions sound like explosions.
There's two problems, however: Footsteps are inaudible, and gunfire from unsilenced weapons can often not be heard even when the said fire is directed at you from a modest distance in open terrain.
Everyone has experienced this, unless they only use SMGs:
You aim at an opponent, and fire -- and miss even though your sight DEFINITELY was on your opponent, and the killcam show you aiming far behind said opponent.
The problem is easily solved: We can always accept missing an opponent -- for as long as he doesn't kill us WHILE we miss him.
The only way he can kill us while moving so that we can't hit him is by strafing, so the easy fix to all the hit-detection problems is simply reducing strafe-speed, especially for SMGs.
That will make the strafe-speed attachment more useful, and improve hit-detection for everyone.
Maps will likely improve with map packs.
The developers promised to look into weapon usage statistics and tweak weapons if some stand out or fall behind, so I choose to believe the weapon unbalance is a temporary nuisance.
Back on the positives, however, maps actually have colors this time around.
For the first time since Black Ops' last map pack, containing Hazard, have I seen green grass in a Call of Duty game.
I want to see more of that in the future.
The graphics resolution is decent enough, but it is the colors make this the best looking CoD I have ever played.
Killstreaks are extremely powerful, but are rarer.
That is good, in my humble opinion, as a dedicated anti-aircraft fanatic.
UAV always on makes the anti-air secondary very useful, as you always have the chance to collect 75 points towards your next killstreak.
With full metal jacket, you can take down the UAV with your primary with ease.
While futuristic, most of them are awesome, awe-inspiring or better than ever.
The Lodestar is a reaper on steroids.
The stealth helicopter takes enemies out as if only needs to fart in their general direction.
The swarm makes the MOAB look like a blessing.
The Warthog is the best airstrike ever seen in a Call of Duty game, and I could go on for hours about the time I got the [insert killstreak here].
Sounds are very nice. Guns sound like guns.
The headshot sound is very satisfying.
Private matches now can have bots, and while the bots aren't the sharpest tools in the shed, it can be fun to test out killstreaks on them or learn the maps playing against them, before taking on human opponents on said maps.
Recruit difficulty bots can even serve as comedic relief, while veteran bots can pose a serious challenge in objective based games -- especially if you handicap your team by having less players / bots on your team.
The lack of "impossible" difficulty bots is slightly disappointing -- but I won't hold that against the developers;
Playing against "impossible" bots in Perfect Dark for extended periods of time on the N64 made me partially inhuman, forever.
... and then there's Zombies.
I'm not a massive fan of zombies, but the mode is entertaining.
The sheer amount of content is astounding, and while the current flaws are annoying -- ALL of them can be fixed with changing a few numbers.
That makes me confident that Treyarch -- with it's history of community interaction -- will turn this game from "good" to "the BEST", making it the best Call of Duty game in the process.
If I'm going to give numerical values to the game's different elements and the game itself, I would have to give the following scores:
Sounds: 7/10 (9/10 once the bugs have been fixed)
Gameplay: 7/10 (9/10 once the weapon balance and synch issues are in order)
Maps: 6/10 (Will improve with maps packs, to be sure)
Overall: 7/10 with it's flaws.
I will give it a solid 9/10 once the flaws have been straightened out -- if the first map pack is decent.