Metascore
83

Generally favorable reviews - based on 73 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 67 out of 73
  2. Negative: 0 out of 73
  1. Nov 13, 2012
    93
    Combined with the host of subtle and overt improvements to the array of other systems, the additions to make it more appealing to Esports, and the more fleshed out Zombies mode, this is not just a fantastic Call of Duty game, but one of the best shooters of the last decade.
  2. Nov 13, 2012
    80
    The campaign hits the same satisfying rhythms, the multiplayer captures the same frenetic intensity, and the cooperative zombies mode delivers the same stale undead-massacring action. Caught between striving for the future and remaining rooted in the past, Black Ops II finds solid footing, providing another great ride on the Call of Duty rollercoaster.
  3. Nov 13, 2012
    90
    In a lot of ways, it feels like Treyarch is giving a gigantic middle finger to Infinity Ward, the Modern Warfare developer that always seems to dominate the spotlight. Black Ops 2 isn't just the culmination of the Black Ops series, it might become the most-loved title in the Call of Duty franchise. Either way, fans won't be disappointed this year.
  4. Nov 13, 2012
    85
    For shooter fans that don't require as deep of a dive, Black Ops II's multiplayer may feel like more of the same. No significant new match types are present, and the Pick 10 system doesn't drastically change the gameplay experience. Most of the changes to the Call of Duty formula come in campaign mode, and they are executed with mixed results. Despite some frustrations, Black Ops II is yet another massive, polished, finely tuned entry in a series that shows no signs of slowing down.
  5. Nov 15, 2012
    80
    Ultimately, ambition is the word that best describes Black Ops 2 - and that's remarkable enough in itself. This is still Call of Duty, with all that entails, and anyone who has resisted the series so far likely won't be won over this time either. For the fans, though, Black Ops 2 offers the rare sight of a series at its height choosing to experiment and change rather than stay loyal to a proven, but tired, formula.
  6. Dec 7, 2012
    75
    Despite all of these changes in Call of Duty: Black Ops II, the single- and multiplayer aspects can't quite shake the feeling of déjà vu. On the other hand, it's the same experience that many players have known since Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare.
  7. Nov 19, 2012
    91
    I'm not going to go so far as to say that this it the best Call of Duty yet, but I certainly find myself more compelled to spend a lot more time with this than I did Modern Warfare 3. Both the campaign and multiplayer portions of the game feel like a step above the previous entry, and if early sales and online player base are any indication, this is going to be the game your friends will playing for months to come. So if you're on the fence, I'd definitely suggest picking this up, it delivers enough changes to keep the series relevant and fun, while retaining everything that makes Call of Duty what you've come to expect.
  8. Nov 19, 2012
    80
    So if you're looking for an excuse to cave and buy yet another Call of Duty? Go ahead! There's enough new to explore and enjoy. But if you're tired of Call of Duty, that's what you're gonna get here, so don't bother feigning surprise when you're disappointed yet again.
  9. Dec 18, 2012
    89
    A daring step forward for CoD that goes some way towards reinvigorating the series. [Jan 2013, p.59]
  10. Nov 13, 2012
    90
    Zombies drops you into an intense, expansive world with untold secrets to discover, multiplayer's Pick 10 system and Scorestreaks open up new strategies to exploit, and the single-player campaign warrants repeat visits from its captivating, branching storyline.
  11. Nov 13, 2012
    92
    Call of Duty: Black Ops II is not just the usual CoD sequel. The campaign has great replay value thanks to to multiple endings, branching storylines, twists and tough choices, and the multiplayer adds a brand new cooperative vibe to the gameplay.
  12. Dec 18, 2012
    90
    Treyarch did an amazing job, creating another high intensity experience that sets the standard for every other shooter to aspire to.
  13. Nov 13, 2012
    90
    A ton of work has gone into this game from top to bottom, and it stands as a real testament to the developers who didn't want to just coattail this one into the books. Nearly every system and aspect of the game has been tweaked or overhauled, and it certainly shows in the final product.
  14. Nov 13, 2012
    90
    Exactly what we expected. The campaign struggles to surprise, but the multiplayer and zombie modes have been greatly improved, and they are the ones to credit for making it an outstanding title. Some people will complain about the lack of evolution, while some others will enjoy the hundreds of hours of fun it offers.
  15. Nov 14, 2012
    80
    Backed by Activision's fantastic investment and support, Treyarch has succeeded, and made a sort of ultimate current-gen Call Of Duty. Not a reinvention – that, hopefully, comes next year, on box-fresh hardware and a new engine – but a refinement of the most successful series of its generation. Black Ops II is an excellent Call Of Duty game, then, but it's only a Call Of Duty game, with all that implies.
  16. 85
    Call of Duty's three-pronged attack serves it well in Black Ops II, with the superb online play and Zombies co-op making up for a less-essential campaign this time - though its many changes and occasional high points still warrant a playthrough (or two) to see Treyarch's spin on the well-worn template.
  17. Nov 19, 2012
    88
    There are enough new and fresh ideas here to make it stand out, and there is certainly plenty of content to keep you playing. Black Ops 2 will easily be the best-selling game this year, but it will also be remembered for changing the way we look at the CoD series.
  18. Nov 13, 2012
    80
    I prioritise the giddy highs of the Black Ops II's exhilarating multiplayer over the disappointment of its poor and brief campaign. Be very careful if you don't.
  19. Nov 13, 2012
    88
    If you love shooters, this is a videogame full of content, with an inspired story in the campaign, a great villain and some new ingredients that enhance the Call of Duty experience. Overall it's a great title, but the gameplay formula is getting old.
  20. Dec 5, 2012
    90
    Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has got to be one of the year's best first person shooters. It's got enough to give every kind of gamer more than enough to keep them happy.
  21. Nov 13, 2012
    91
    With a single-player campaign that finally lives up to the hype of movie level quality and a solid multiplayer experience that clearly shows the benefits of a yearly iterative cycle, Call of Duty: Black Ops II comes close to being one of the best titles in the series.
  22. Nov 13, 2012
    90
    Don't miss the opportunity to play one of the best chapters in the series.
  23. Nov 13, 2012
    92
    A truly complete gaming package. The multiplayer game is excellent, the expanded Zombies mode is an enjoyable and very welcome addition, and the single player campaign is a fun ride that will have you yelling "Josephina!" at random times for weeks to come. About the only miss is the addition of the Strike Force missions, but they don't drag down the overall experience with them.
  24. Nov 18, 2012
    80
    It's still very much a game rooted in past successes, but the bold changes it makes on the campaign side shows Treyarch aren't quite prepared to rest on their laurels.
  25. Nov 13, 2012
    85
    It's a great game from a studio that's done everything it can with the tools at its disposal to reinvigorate Call of Duty, even if it doesn't refashion the series completely. You won't appreciate that just by playing its online mode, and you will be disappointed if you're wanting the property to be turned inside out and spun on its head. Those that simply love to play military first-person shooters, and were looking for something that finds what life is left in the genre, however, should find themselves perfectly catered to.
  26. Dec 12, 2012
    85
    Black Ops II is a mixed bag. The single-player features the most coherent and engaging storyline seen in the series so far. While the story really shines, the campaign itself feels over-scripted and underwhelming. It's hard not to enjoy the multiplayer, though. While one could argue it's the same old Ground War, it's still a lot of fun. [Dec 2012]
  27. Nov 13, 2012
    92
    The best Call of Duty since the first Modern Warfare.
  28. Nov 18, 2012
    80
    This game feels like Call of Duty which means its a good shooter. However it has some bugs and its innovative but not really innovative. Do you understand? Its a good shooter but its not the best game this year.
  29. Nov 13, 2012
    90
    Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is simply awesome. The single player Campaign Mode is an incredible surprise and is worth a few play throughs. Treyarch did a great job balancing the multiplayer experience, playing simple and focused. The final result with the CODcasting is something great and the online streaming as a nice bonus. This is the best year to buy a CoD game.
  30. Nov 14, 2012
    80
    Black Ops 2 is a good and complete Call of Duty-game. The Zombie-mode is once again very entertaining and the single player the best yet thanks to the moral choices it presents players with. The multiplayer still plays the same way after all these years, which makes sense, but is slightly disappointing for those who hoped that the new setting and structure would've caused it to change. All of the modes are a lot of fun though, but to enjoy it you'll have to bite through pretty outdated graphics.
  31. Nov 13, 2012
    80
    Overall Black Ops II is the most ambitious and innovative Call Of Duty for years, but it's also the most inconsistent. But that may well be the short term price for trying to do things differently.
  32. Nov 13, 2012
    94
    The elastic story provides plenty of incentive to replay the campaign, the strikeforce levels aren't executed perfectly, but they're a glimpse at the future, and the multiplayer features are tweaked to make every play style relevant and to level the playing field. It does so many new things so very well, making it the most groundbreaking Call of Duty since the first Modern Warfare. Shooters simply don't get much more deep, varied, surprising, or rewarding than this.
  33. Nov 13, 2012
    85
    If you like Call of Duty, Black Ops II is your new game. It doesn't innovate, it invents nothing, and it plays to war as always. Multiplayer mode is amazing again and zombies cause more problems this time around. The AI​​, graphics and minimal improvement spoil an indispensable title for you, if you're a fan.
  34. Nov 14, 2012
    86
    That Treyarch and Activision aren't just resting on their laurels, and are happy to inject new ideas into the experience, is something that should be rewarded by your interest. Interactivity in the way the campaign flows, in particular, is rewarding and fresh, and is something I hope we see more of.
  35. 80
    As a multiplayer game, Black Ops 2 is one of the best shooters around - sprawling and sagging under the weight of interesting systems. Offline, however, it's merely adequate. Despite some commendable ambition, Black Ops 2 isn't quite the match-stealing assault on Infinity Ward's turf we hoped it would be.
  36. Nov 15, 2012
    80
    This is Call Of Duty, nothing more, nothing less. Fans of the series will lap it up, those who didn't like the previous games will not be swayed by anything it does. It has a target audience and Activision know what they want. Black Ops II doesn't disappoint, it just doesn't push the series on any further.
  37. Jan 19, 2013
    80
    It's fun, and an indication that Treyarch is willing to explore ideas that Infinity Ward has thus far ignored. [Issue#93, p.74]
  38. Dec 4, 2012
    83
    Black Ops II presents interesting backdrops and fine shooter action. The game hits its stride when it presents features that move beyond your traditional shooter, whether that be shooting at helicopters from horseback or diving out the back of a crippled plane.
  39. Nov 13, 2012
    80
    Treyarch did well in introducing Call of Duty to new approaches. The solo, especially, is surprisingly replayable thanks to story variations based on both player chance and performance. The multiplayer seems to have found the definitive system for custom classes with Pick-10, and the new Zombies mode called Tranzit offers new surprises and and open-world feeling that surely make it better. The graphics engine really starts to look old though, and the solo suffers from big plot holes, less polished scripting, and less spectacular sequences.
  40. Nov 13, 2012
    70
    Good enough, but after six years in these trenches, Treyarch and Infinity Ward should be getting back to the drawing board.
  41. 80
    Call of Duty: Black Ops II continues the trend of a Michael Bay action film packed into a video game format. There's spectacle, voice talent, zombies, and finally a story with a good set up and player agency to boot. It may lack significant innovation, and the missions set in the 20th century are far from compelling story pieces, but with a robust multiplayer experience and a half-decent story, Black Ops II does the series proud.
  42. Nov 13, 2012
    90
    While not everything that Treyarch has introduced with this edition of Black Ops works, the 'outside of the box thinking' they've done has made this experience fun and fascinating.
  43. Nov 13, 2012
    74
    Right now military shooters share the problem of the WWII action games from about five years ago: Eventually you have seen everything and played everything, over and over, again and again. Sure, the campaign has its moments, but nonetheless Black Ops 2 would love to be Modern Warfare – and that is a five-year-old game. And so it is once again the established multiplayer with its plethora of modes and personalization option (all of which are basically known) that comes to the rescue of this run-of-the-mill shooter.
  44. Nov 16, 2012
    82
    Ultimately though, a large portion of the experience still feels like a classic Call of Duty titles. We can't complain about it much, because no matter how many times you've played a game like this, each time you can't help but just enjoy the thrill of the ride, the vibrant new and impressive set-pieces and the adrenaline-pumping action.
  45. Nov 27, 2012
    80
    There is a lot contained within Call of Duty: Black ops 2 and I am glad I bit the bullet and made the purchase. The team at Treyarch definitely feel like they are winning the race in terms of trying to bring innovation to the series compared to the very worn-out Modern Warfare franchise. The multiplayer experience is starting to feel old now, even with the fact that when you prestige you don't loose all your weapons. However with multiple endings for the campaign, Strikeforce missions, and an improved Zombie mode, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 was worth the wait and was an enjoyable game. The single player campaign is short at about 6 -8 hours, but there is plenty to keep people interested if they enjoy the multiplayer aspect of the game.
  46. Nov 13, 2012
    80
    It's got its share of flaws, but overall Treyarch has assembled a great, fast, and fun first-person shooter that, even if you were thinking about finally skipping a year, is still worth your time.
  47. Nov 26, 2012
    83
    Black Ops 2 isn't the game it could have been; there hasn't been enough change in the multiplayer mode. The game does offer an interesting single player experience and a cool zombie mode, unfortunately with dated graphics.
  48. Jan 7, 2013
    95
    If the original Black Ops was Treyarch's coming-out party, then Black Ops 2 is the studio's affirmation that their COD expertise was no flash in the pan. If you're one of the 16 people who hasn't played this gem yet, go buy it now. Conversely, if you're among those who bought the game but hasn't ventured into the single-player campaign (yes, it happens), there's a great narrative and divergent gameplay awaiting your experimentation, so check it out.
  49. Nov 29, 2012
    85
    In terms of technology it's not so fresh anymore, but the rest is really likeable. Thanks to the necessity of making choices (some of which are 'hidden' and not obvious) this time I didn't feel like a puppet in the hands of the writers and the multiplayer is amazing. [13/2012, p.42]
  50. Nov 13, 2012
    93
    Graphical hitches and gameplay tweaks aside, it's still one of the best first-person shooters out there, loaded with exciting moments and a story that – wait for it – is actually worth experiencing. Throw in the hours' worth of addictive multiplayer and you have something that'll hook you well into the next generation.
  51. Nov 13, 2012
    90
    This time around, Treyarch was seriously devoted into the creation of a plot that emphasized the importance of characters and storytelling. For multiplayer fans, new modes like League Play, CODcasting and being able to live stream their games on YouTube is enough to get them excited. And, on top of that, a revamped zombies mode is there for any co-operative shooter lover.
  52. Nov 13, 2012
    80
    Multiplayer is king in Black Ops 2, offering plenty of in-game and inherent rewards for its ravenous online community. It's paired with a lackluster story that fails the ambition shown by the branching campaign, reflecting the overall game's forward-thinking but imperfectly executed ideas.
  53. Nov 14, 2012
    70
    Call of Duty: Black Ops II doesn't offer a huge amount of surprises and fits rather neatly in with the rest of the series' later releases. The small changes to the formula ensure that the game is among the more interesting Call of Duty releases in a while. The robust multiplayer is among the best of the best, and will quench trigger-happy gamers' thirst for a while.
  54. Nov 16, 2012
    80
    All in all, Black Ops II is a solid game, but it feels kind of tired at this point in many respects. The new additions to the single player, zombie, and multiplayer components are a good effort, but they're not enough to transcend the series to a new level (like Halo 4 did for the Halo series). But if you enjoyed Black Ops, odds are you'll also enjoy Black Ops II - albeit a little less so.
  55. Nov 13, 2012
    90
    Treyarch is striving to give the players even more content than before, which results in a campaign and a zombie mode that gives you a lot of replay value. The best of the best is their "Take Ten" concept in multiplayer, which sets a new standard for a genre that already has evolved so much in recent years. Battlefield is for the first time not the king of the hill – Call of Duty is.
  56. Nov 20, 2012
    92
    With Black Ops 2 Treyarch packaged a great and content-rich game with an intense and exciting campaign and a great multiplayer experience with a very strong selection of maps; the Zombie mode is the only underwhelming part of the game. If you like CoD's adrenalinic and frantic style, you'll love this.
  57. 80
    This is not to say it's a bad game, it's just not different enough from previous Call of Duty titles. The story isn't memorable, the maps and weapons aren't any different to what we've previously experienced, the gameplay is near identical to previous games, and when it's not identical it falls flat and fails to impress.
  58. 80
    Black Ops II might not be perfect, but the entertainment value far outweighs some questionable design choices.
  59. Nov 13, 2012
    90
    Black Ops 2 is a very impressive achievement both from the audacity of its slightly flawed single-player narrative to the massive construction of its multiplayer offerings, and so, Black Ops 2 scores.
  60. Nov 15, 2012
    80
    Black Ops 2 is conflicted. It wants to move in bold new directions, but it falls back on safe, but aging, mechanics.
  61. Nov 13, 2012
    80
    Don't make the mistake of confusing the near-future setting and the attempts at branching narrative for innovation. It's more like Treyarch has had a spring clean and got the decorators round: Black Ops II is still ostensibly built on the same foundations that powered 2008's Call of Duty 4 and every annual instalment of the series thereafter. The thrill of Call of Duty's rollercoaster ride is starting to diminish, then, but few will feel too short-changed by buying this year's ticket.
  62. Dec 17, 2012
    70
    Depending on what you're after, it's either the best or worst CoD ever. If you only play multiplayer, jump in without reservations. [Jan 2013, p.62]
  63. Nov 13, 2012
    90
    The first Black Ops put Treyarch on par with Infinity Ward; with Black Ops II, they surpass them. This is the most impressed I've been with Call of Duty since the first Modern Warfare; aside from some problems with the Strike Force missions, this is a shining moment for the franchise.
  64. 94
    There is no doubt many will turn their nose at yet another Call of Duty game running on the same engine at 60 frames per second. The "ain't broke don't fix" path has certainly been taken again. This being said, Treyarch has undeniably been able to up the ante in nearly every facet of the Call of Duty experience with Black Ops 2. The riveting single player storyline features the wonderfully-designed strategic Strike Force Missions; the online Multiplayer experience is much more robust than ever before and the Zombies mode has also received significant upgrades. It is quite amazing how the development team managed to fit this much content onto one disk. Needless to say, shooter fans can purchase Black Ops 2 with confidence.
  65. Nov 14, 2012
    80
    It's hard to recommend Black Ops II to fans of story-based single player campaigns. Treyarch had problems connecting a story with strong characters, with a dynamic, linear shooter. The result is chaotic, but a mediocre single player mode cannot weigh heavily on a final opinion about this game. The most important thing in Black Ops II is an incredible multiplayer - a classic, fast-paced game with many innovations. The Pick 10 system opens up a metric ton of possibilities, and really good maps and play styles create a package never before seen in a Call of Duty game. If that's the thing you want in a modern shooter, you couldn't have picked better.
  66. Nov 13, 2012
    80
    Black Ops 2's campaign and Zombies mode are disappointments, especially coming off the across-the-board success of its predecessor...But it's a testament to the extraordinary quality of its multiplayer that Black Ops 2 won't go down as a forgotten entry.
  67. Nov 13, 2012
    85
    This is the biggest movement in any direction we've seen from a Call of Duty game since Modern Warfare - but unlike Infinity Ward's game changer, Black Ops 2 lacks a little in both the polish and conviction areas. It's going to be hard to go back to the same corridor shooters after Black Ops 2 - and it's going to be harder still for someone to convince me to play generic Team Deathmatch - but the game still feels like it falls short in some areas.
  68. Nov 12, 2012
    94
    As far as value for your money goes, Black Ops II is a veritable waterslide of enjoyment, and for a change, actually does a lot different to what we've come to expect.
  69. Nov 13, 2012
    89
    The common thread of all of the subgames is that they are very hard to master. Most of them are easy to pick up and start playing, with the exception of Strike Force. But you'll want to play them over and over again until you finally conquer a mission. Once you get that mastery, you'll feel great.
  70. Nov 16, 2012
    60
    Black Ops II isn't a lazy annual update – it deserves credit for trying to play around with gaming's most winning formula. Yet this engine is showing its age, creaking at times as the jets fly overhead. Its new strategy levels don't need strategy. And the best parts are tweaked copies of what has been before. In the end, Black Ops II doesn't give us meaningful innovation, and it suggests COD's future success will depend on much more than fiddling around with the past.
  71. Nov 16, 2012
    80
    Minor objections about design decisions aside, Black Ops II is another great shooter in a year of great shooters. It's a competent, confident, generous package, true to its core values, but with enough new to carve out its own identity, enough variety to appeal to a wide range of players, and enough content to belong on your shelf for more than just a quick playthrough. This is the way to do a yearly installment without just phoning it in.
  72. Nov 18, 2012
    80
    Not everything new that Black Ops 2 introduces is a success, but what works - from the branching narrative to more flexible multiplayer customisation - makes it the most unique Call of Duty yet.
  73. Black Ops 2...may very well be the preeminent first-person shooter game on the market – and it will sell well to reflect that – but it definitely suffers from that same boring sameness. There's hardly a moment of the game that doesn't drip with that old, been-there-done-that feeling.
User Score
4.6

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 2027 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Nov 13, 2012
    2
    Same game as any other Call of Duty after COD 4, adds absolutely nothing new. Campaign fells like a boring B-movie. What a huge disappointment and a waste of money. Full Review »
  2. Nov 13, 2012
    4
    Look at my review history. Am I someone who jumps on a bandwagon in any way? Look at my review of mw3, and by the way, BO1 was mt favorite COD. BO2 is a compete waste of my money and it makes me happy mw3 was so poorly recieved. Granted, I've only played it for 1 night. But, the campaign is as most basic as possible, and the multiplayer is so steriotyplical that I amost knew what was going to happen next based on a game I played 5 years ago, and that game is blah blah blah. I let mw3 slide even though I knew it was the same as usual but I can't let this slide because now I have to sell this and accept a $30 dollar loss because I didn't listen to a !,000,000,000,000 other gamers. Full Review »
  3. Nov 13, 2012
    0
    The game is extremely weak, repetitive. The campaing is awful, the multiplayer is boring, every year a Call of Duty game is release and every year it's basically the same thing: tedious and awful. Full Review »