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.
User Score
4.5

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 2022 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 »