Well, shortly after writing this I’ll be rummaging through my cupboards looking for a hat I don’t need so I can sprinkle it with pepper and eat it. After seeing the Black Ops 2 debut trailer, I’d be lying if I said I still stand by the sentiments made in my last Call of Duty related post where I said Black Ops 2 would probably be a rubbish rehash with nothing original. Treyarch have really gone up in my estimations and it almost seems like they secretly share my feelings about Call of Duty needing a shake-up.
Where do I begin after seeing the trailer that has rekindled my interest in the series that has fallen into a mould riddled stale formula? I think the future setting and robot dog tanks would be a good place. Leaping into 2025, Black Ops 2 looks like it will feature plenty of robot based warfare, with quadrotor drones and equally nasty ground based counterparts roaming the battlefield. It already looks more Metal Gear than Modern Warfare. I like it.
Okay, the setting isn’t super original, with Ghost Recon Future Soldier also due for release this year, but it's new to Call of Duty and does give Treyarch more creative license over equipment design. And it looks like they’ve fed that license through the original ideas machine two or three times, with the trailer featuring conventional looking weapons given a slight twist of future in their looks.
Black Ops 2 will feature a similar interrogation storyline mechanic as was used in the first Black Ops, which gives them the handy ability to jump entire continents and time periods without heavy strains on the narrative. Apparently it will revisit time periods as early as the 1980s, showcased by the horse bound sections of the trailer, which again, look to be something different.
From reading the previews this morning, it doesn’t just seem to be the setting or inclusion of horseback riding that Black Ops 2 will use to separate itself from prior entries. Treyarch look to be derailing the non-stop linear action train and introducing branching storylines that depend on whether you accomplish or fail mission objectives. If they can make these consequences big and unique enough to encourage multiple run-throughs, then I might even be happy to award Black Ops 2 and (urgh) Activision the first-person shooter crown of awesomeness this year. There’s even talk of small sandboxed areas within the campaign, something that will change-up the pacing nicely.
EA have a lot of impressing to do with Medal of Honor: Warfighter if it is to compete with Black Ops 2. From what I’ve seen of so far, Warfighter just looks to be another copy and paste job of the Modern Warfare setting, exactly what I feared Black Ops 2 would be. If Treyarch can keep mission structure as off the rails as possible, then this new setting could be enough to entice me back and bring in a new age for Call of Duty. I’d like to hope it would also encourage Infinite Ward to try something new with their next inevitable Call of Duty game. If Black Ops 2 can pull off what’s been promised, a 2013 Modern Warfare 4 would go down like a lead balloon with a basket full of elephants.