Call of Duty: Black Ops II (4 stars)

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

After EA’s furiously po-faced Medal of Honor: Warfighter, it’s nice to see Activision countering with their annual package of unashamed nonsense. Following on from events in the first game, the sequel jumps around time and space as a team of special forces agents race to thwart the apocalyptic plans of some guy.

It’s the same story we’ve heard a dozen times before but when Black Ops II ventures into the future (2025) it’s afforded a refreshing freedom, employing gadgets such as wingsuits, drones and mechs. The requisite set-pieces are a step-up from developer Treyarch’s previous efforts and the revamped game engine distinctly benefits character models and environments, although some of the interiors look bland and lack detail.

Multiplayer revisions include an arsenal of futuristic weaponry and a competitive league mode. The Zombie mode has also been expanded to further ape Left 4 Dead. It’s some way off that benchmark but as a bonus it represents good value.

By dispensing with its predecessor’s irritatingly convoluted structure and eye-rolling twists, Black Ops II gets the series back on track as a thoroughly entertaining blast of fun.

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