Let's face it - a large amount of us complain each and every year about how the Call of Duty series diminishes in quality, yet we'll unsurprisingly still end up buying the next installment to the franchise. Undoubtedly though, the most recent additions to the FPS monster have each been as uninspiring as the last, resulting in a loss of replayability that the series is renowned for. Here's some of the ways that Black Ops 2 can reinvigorate the Call of Duty franchise:
Each year, the game seemingly becomes more and more complicated. There's a reason that Call of Duty 2 and Call of Duty 4 (and World at War for the apparent minority, including myself, who thoroughly enjoyed it) are heralded amongst gamers worldwide - you didn't have to worry about a predator missile raining down from above or being sniped by someone who only spotted you because of their thermal vision scope. Just look at 'Promod' on Call of Duty 4 on PC. A large majority of guns/equipment are banned, with most teams tending to use only three different guns, in the AK47, AK74u and M40A3/R700 sniper.
Yet despite this simplification, the online and competitive community still thrives even five years after its release. This kind of replayability can be attributed to the simple, yet deep map design, guns that gave you a sense of self-satisfaction with each kill, and the well-balanced nature of the game. It's as though Infinity Ward/Treyarch feel that in order to better the game, they need to make it bigger. In reality though, many would prefer the developers to focus on and nail more crucial aspects of the game (such as balancing and map design, which I'll get to), in favour of a greater selection of killstreaks and weapons.
Get the balancing right
The core mechanic behind the Call of Duty series is pretty much to aim and shoot. Problem is, when you throw in a ridiculous amount of new killstreaks, weaponry and equipment, it shifts the balance of the game completely. I'm all for variation and a greater amount of choice - just not when it has an effect on the core gameplay of a game.
Players shouldn't be able to use the Super Mega Ultra Awesome Machine Gun as their primary weapon, the Jumbo Rocket Launcher 3000 as their secondary (please note the satire) and still have more firepower left in the form of claymores/C4. There needs to be restrictions. Either remove unnecessary obstructions (such as excessive killstreaks and equipment) or design a system in which they can work cohesively and simply add to the core gameplay mechanics, instead of overpowering them.
When was the last time you fist pumped in excitement as your favourite map was the next to be played? Gone are the days of classic maps like Crash and Strike from Call of Duty 4 or Castle and Upheaval from World at War. Whilst most of the maps in recent titles have been decent (in italics because I use the term loosely), the number of excruciating maps each new addition brings us seems to be increasing - Carbon, Downturn and Outpost from Modern Warfare 3 instantly spring to mind. Treyarch should be taking inspiration from older games in the series and then going to the drawing board with their multiplayer maps.
We know that classic 4-player zombies will be returning, with the addition of a new 8-player, 4v4 mode where two teams will battle to last the longest. However, speculation has been mounting that Black Ops 2 will have its own separate zombies campaign. I don't need to explain why this needs to happen - Treyarch know their stuff when it comes to the undead. A separate campaign, complete with its own missions and storyline would be a perfect way to give fans an insight into the zombies' backstory, as well as providing yet another reason to buy/keep playing the game. Zombies is in a league of its own when compared to Infinity Ward's 'Spec Ops' mode, and an even deeper look into the zombie universe would only further help Black Ops 2 distinguish itself from Modern Warfare 3.
The eSports scene is massively growing by the day, especially here in Australia, and while Treyarch have alluded to supporting the competitive Call of Duty scene immensely in Black Ops 2, we'll have to wait until the game is released to find out if they stood true to their word. Black Ops 2 needs completely customisable private match options, and Modern Warfare 3's banning system must be carried over. An in-game clan system where players could create teams and challenge others would be a brilliant and welcome addition to the game, but is very highly unlikely to happen.
By Jake Galouzis