Call of Duty: Black Ops II was offered in eyes-on fashion. Us media folks were ushered into a dark room equipped with a few chairs and a humongous television.
The biggest complaint running for fans of the military shooter genre is that Call of Duty is the same game, year after year. I consider myself a member of that camp.
It's no surprise, then, that the unveiling of Treyarch's futuristic take on the series got me psyched. I liked that we were being removed from the "modern" or past settings, and futuristic weaponry sounds great to me.
Despite the fact that they've added a few choices to level challenging, this game looks like the same effort. If you love, love, love Call of Duty, you're in luck.
War stays the same, folks.
My biggest complaint when it comes to the Call of Duty franchise is that the games are rarely paced properly. In our demo, the action was non-stop. Bullets flying everywhere, constant explosions, collapsing freeways, dropping buildings and a fury of foul language.
Here's pacing, in a nutshell. If you have your game running at a volume of nine constantly, turning it up to ten for key moments doesn't do much for players. However, if you pace your game and let players enjoy moments of one, two or three before jacking the intensity up to ten, you've delivered a stronger sense of pacing.
Exactly how surprising is the destruction of a building when stuff is blowing up around you every second of the game? Not at all. Setpieces are dismantled by the chaos around players.
That war of constant violence was here in full force for the preview Activision hosted at E3.
It was a futuristic war with new guns and robots, but the pacing (what I consider the most important element) felt the same.
Strike Ops and tactics.
The best and most unique thing about the presentation came when Treyarch moved to their Strike Ops gametype. This is a mode that will affect the single player campaign. Players are tasked with capturing objectives on a battlefield in order to either win or lose. Winning and losing both alter the way the campaign twists and turns.
The cool thing about Stike Ops is that players will switch between whatever role they want on the battlefield in order to win. So, you'll take command of the overwatch drone and position your troops. Or, maybe you'd rather jump into an unmanned vehicle and fight that way. Anything on the field is yours to control, and that actually makes for a unique experience within the Call of Duty universe.
Don't worry, zombies are coming.
As our demo closed, the Treyarch rep told us to watch out for more information to drop between now and launch. Part of that lineup of goodies is, according to him, the new zombie mode.
As more comes for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, we'll have it.