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
    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.
  2. Dec 17, 2012
    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]
  3. Nov 13, 2012
    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.
  4. 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.
  5. Nov 14, 2012
    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.
  6. Nov 13, 2012
    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.
  7. Nov 13, 2012
    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.
  8. Nov 12, 2012
    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.
  9. Nov 13, 2012
    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.
  10. Nov 16, 2012
    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.
  11. Nov 16, 2012
    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.
  12. Nov 18, 2012
    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.
  13. 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

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 2022 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Nov 13, 2012
    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
    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
    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 »