Call of Duty: Black Ops II (PC/PS3/360 - November 13th)
In a surefire bid to reinvigorate a quickly stagnating property, Activision and Treyarch are embracing something rather uncommon in the Call of Duty series: change. The biggest retooling would be the developer’s use of choice-oriented tactical missions that are spread throughout the story campaign. These Strike Force missions are more than interesting distractions, as their outcomes and your performance in them changes the overarching story, even down to who makes it through the war alive. There’s several different branches to take during a Strike Force mission, finally promoting single-player replay.
Co-written by one of Hollywood’s favorite genre screenwriters, David S. Goyer, the narrative pushes forward with the events of the 2010 original, bringing back familiar faces Mason and Woods (Sam Worthington and James Burns reprising their roles respectively) in covert ops taking place in the ‘80’s, while the bulk of the campaign sees Mason’s offspring, David, fending off the escalating conflict between the U.S. and China in the year 2025 (where you will fight literal fuck tons of enemy robot drones).
Mum’s the word on multiplayer, although it has been mentioned that Treyarch is shaking the cobwebs out of the totem feature in order to liven up the joint. It should be noted combat online will take place solely in the future, not the '80’s, so as to avoid time collapsing in on itself.
Oh, and by the by, they’re fleshing out zombies mode. Running on the multiplayer engine and decked with dedicated matchmaking, Zombies returns with its own set of unspecified modes (yeah, plural), and more than we’ve ever experienced from what once started as an Easter Egg.