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
    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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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]
  9. 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.
  10. Nov 15, 2012
    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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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]
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. Nov 16, 2012
    80
    Black Ops II might not be perfect, but the entertainment value far outweighs some questionable design choices.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
User Score
4.6

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 2081 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 »