By Leo Stevenson
GAME NAME: Call of Duty: Black Ops II
PLATFORM(S): PC, PS3, Xbox 360
RELEASE DATE(S): 13 November 2012
Feast your eyes upon the latest screens from Call of Duty: Black Ops II's multiplayer while we fill you in on all the new features you can expect while playing this year's installment in incredibly popular franchise.
This year, rather than simply rehashing what worked last time, Treyarch are trying to change things up and encourage those who have been hesitant to get involved with competitive multiplayer to have a go.
Firstly, "Combat Training" has been revamped and refined. The idea is that for those unfamiliar with Call of Duty's multiplayer can compete in matches in three different playlists:
- Bootcamp lets players rank up from 1-10 and gives full XP while playing Team Deathmatch only. Teams must be include combinations of 3 human players and 3 AI bots in an attempt to reduce the difficulty and ease new players in;
- Objective is a combination of humans and bots in a variety of objective based modes playable beyond level 10 but with only 1/2 XP awarded; and
- Bot Stomp is a mode whereby you must defeat an AI team without earning XP as a way of practicing skills and learning maps without the pressure of an online environment.
While the theater mode in previous Call of Duty games has given the dedicated player the ability to create videos and show off their skills it was difficult for everyone to get involved with. The new eSPORTS focus included within Black Ops II and the new "Codcasting" features are an attempt to get everyone involved with the social aspect of the game and to truly make something as enjoyable to watch as to play.
The "codcaster" is a special spectator who becomes the commentator for any recorded game video, providing a play-by-play breakdown of the match. A variety of shoutcasting features built into the game assist this role;
- Picture-in-picture shows a list of every player in the game, their current score streak and their status;
- Map view shows both sides of the battle from a top-down perspective;
- Score panel is similar to that currently in professional sports and shows the "big picture" information regarding the teams, their scores and objective info;
- Name plate is similar to the name on a players jersey, easily identifying the player being spotlighted; and
- Listen in allows drop in/out of player conversations to listen to the action as it happens.
Livestreaming is now possible from within the game and players need only an internet connection and the required bandwidth to stream the match.
Finally, Treyarch has introduced Leagues to Black Ops II. These leagues offer skill-based matchmaking and seasonal ladders. To enter simply play some matches to have your skill rating determined, from there you are placed in a division with players of similar skill. Play well, win matches and you move up the ladder and into upper divisions.
With Black Ops II, Treyarch has rebooted "Create-a-class", introducing the brand new "pick-10" allocation system. "Pick-10" allows an unprecedented level of customisation options and combinations of loadouts than ever before. Players are no longer restricted to having to take content from each category and instead, trade items from one category for extra items from another. Any combination of 10 items makes almost any loadout you can imagine a possibility.
With 10 points to spend, the combination of equipment is nearly endless. You can spend your 10 points in any way you like, allowing you to play your way. Costing one point each or "Wildcards". The "wildcards" allow players to configure classes more uniquely, allowing multiple perks to be taken from the same category, equip their primary weapon with three attachments, carry two lethals and much more.
The freedom of customisation within Black Ops II is staggering and is likely to ensure that old pros and newbies together can enjoy the multiplayer experience.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II launches for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on 13 November 2012. It will be available on Wii U 30 November 2012.
How do these changes sound to you guys? Good? Bad? Indifferent? Let us know what you think.