It may have seen better days, but it is undeniable that the multiplayer in Call of Duty is the bread and butter of the franchise. People simply don’t buy Call of Duty for the campaigns or even for the extra game modes. In the end, Call of Duty sells for its multiplayer. With only a few months to go before the game hits shelves, Activision has offered its first look at the multiplayer of Black Ops II with a recently released multiplayer trailer.
I will dissect the trailer frame by frame, pointing out everything that it reveals, in this comprehensive analysis of the multiplayer trailer for Black Ops II. But before we get into that, check out the exciting trailer for yourself:
First maps revealed
Right off the bat, the first thing we see is a glimpse at one of the new maps in Black Ops II. The map features large windmills, a rocky terrain, and a large structure in the middle that the player character is running on top of. The map is visually striking, with large red lines standing out greatly against the mostly bland colors that make up the rest of the map.
There are other structures that can be seen in the distance as well. Perhaps this area is a construction site of some sort, or a futuristic power plant that runs based on windmill energy. Maybe in the world of Black Ops II, the entire country finally went green!
After seeing a new gadget and being treated to the new visual style of Black Ops II (scroll down to read more), we get to see another map. This map appears to take place on a boat or it is a dock of sorts, with an assortment of multi-colored crates, and a circular center area. It’s when we are introduced to this map that we also get to see that the popular dolphin diving feature has returned as well, with the player dolphin diving over a rail, into smoke, staying prone, and taking out multiple enemies as well. As the trailer progresses, we are given more glimpses of this map. We see small buildings, as well as what appears to be large cranes.
Maps of destroyed urban areas or construction sites are not uncommon in Call of Duty. The third map we see is a cramped area that appears to be part of a destroyed city. There are orange barricades on the sides of the map, once again showing off the bright color splendor of Black Ops II. Colors were largely absent in the multiplayer maps of Modern Warfare 3, and I’m glad to see that someone at Treyarch apparently had a full set of crayons in the box. There’s also a firetruck that is revealed a bit later in the trailer on this map, that stands a right red marker among the rubble of the destroyed city.
The next area I saw I thought was a brand new map. The player is on a beach and sprints up to another player before plugging them with a magnum revolver. They then run up an area, revealing small little beach houses. But then I saw the windmills in the background, and I started to realize that the windmill map may be larger than initially anticipated.
New visual style
One thing that very much impressed me about the Black Ops II multiplayer trailer was that it showcased an entirely new visual aesthetic and overall design. Modern Warfare 3 basically copied the look of Modern Warfare 2 entirely, and the result was a very bland and boring visual experience with the game. Black Ops II looks sleek, with a futuristic HUD to go along with the setting of the game.
The placement of the HUD features are as one would expect from a Call of Duty game, but it all looks neater. I also noticed that the lighting effects have been greatly improved, and Black Ops II will in the end probably be the best looking Call of Duty game to date.
In the first few seconds of the trailer, we see a hologram to the left of the player that appears to be on a rock. The hologram showcases the player’s loadout and what-not. Could this mean that players will be able to more fully customize their loadouts mid-game, perhaps editing their Killstreaks and perks in the middle of matches instead of between them?
Another thing I noticed about the customization aspects of Black Ops II was when the player in the trailer first aims down the sights. The middle of the machinegun was colored blue. In the past, players have been able to customize their guns with new skins and camouflage, but the visual customization of weapons has always left much to be desired. If this is a sign of Treyarch allowing players to color their guns in a manner more suiting of their own tastes, then Black Ops II is definitely taking a few steps in the right direction. I saw more seemingly out of place colors on the guns as the trailer progressed, with blue being a dominant color of choice.
It also appears that character customization will be a lot more fleshed out as well in this installment. The first character we see is dark skinned with casual jeans and a blue vest. The second character we see on the second map is a more gruff-looking, typical Call of Duty soldier, except minus any official uniform.
Laser sights that can be customized has been a popular feature that Treyarch introduced in the first Black Ops, and it looks like this feature will be returning for Black Ops II. When we are shown the windmill map for a second time, the character has a different shape of a sight that looks like a half-circle with the laser dot in the middle. And instead of being red, the sight is bright yellow in color.
With any new Call of Duty game comes an array of new toys to play around with. The first new gadget shown off in the multiplayer was a strange knife/grenade combination. The player threw the knife and it landed near an enemy. It then emitted an electric spark that stunned and killed the nearby enemy. We then see the same weapon landing directly on an enemy, resulting in a similar effect.
When we see the map with all the colored crates, we also see a brand new gun being used. When aiming down the sights, this gun emits a beacon that shows the outlines of the enemy team, even through walls. I don’t know if this was actually specific to that gun or if this is a new sight that can be added to any of the guns in the game, but in the trailer, the player only used one gun that had this feature.
On the windmill map, there is a small bridge connecting two different rocky areas. With multiple enemies walking across the bridge, the player quickly sets up machines that seem to emit audio disruption. This causes the enemies to slow down as they are moving, allowing the player character to pick them off with ease and without any real threat of opposition.
We’ve known of the remote controlled flying turrets for a while now, but it wasn’t until this trailer that we knew that they would also be making an appearance in the multiplayer mode. Furthermore, the trailer reveals the name of these devices. At first, the player destroys it, and an emblem pops up at the top of the screen announcing that the “Dragonfire” has been destroyed. We then get to see the Dragonfire being controlled, and it operates as one would expect. However, I was unable to determine if the Dragonfire was being controlled freely and moved around the environment at the will of the person controlling it, or if it was on rails like the attack helicopters in previous Call of Duty games. The player’s Dragonfire is destroyed by another player’s locked-on missile.
Riot shields will be returning in Black Ops II as well, but they are going to be more versatile in this installment. Riot shield users in the trailer are able to deploy their riot shields into the ground and then mount a huge machinegun through the slot of the riot shield, operating as a sort of portable turret complete with the full cover of the newly designed riot shields.
A small helicopter drops a box on the ground in the trailer, and what emerges is a robotic machine of death. The trailer was unclear on whether or not the helicopter that dropped it off was dropping it off as a care package, a Killstreak reward, or what. I also don’t know if the attack helicopters are returning or if they will be able to be controlled directly or on rails again.
The robotic machine of death as I’ve named it, is called the A.G.R. in the trailer. We can only speculate as to what that acronym stands for, but “Angry Green Robot” doesn’t seem like it’d be far off. This robotic device has a giant machinegun on one side and missiles on the other. I don’t know if the player was actually inside of it or controlling it remotely, but it definitely seemed like it wasn’t on-rails, but rather being controlled directly. It seems too slow to be an on-rails device.
One of the more popular methods of killing in the original Black Ops was with the tomahawk. Due to the setting of the game, the tomahawk made sense as a weapon. Black Ops II is incorporating a really cool looking futuristic take on the tomahawk, as evidenced in the trailer when one is thrown and then hits another player right in the face.
A new scope for the sniper rifles was shown off in the trailer as well. Right after the player gets a kill with the sniper rifle, we also see that, of course, shotguns will also be returning to the Call of Duty mold.
A strange remote device is messed with and armed. The player then runs by a window and throws the device inside of the building. A button is then pressed, and an explosion occurs. It looks like futuristic C4 is going to be in the cards.
While the Black Ops II multiplayer answered a lot of questions and revealed a ton of new features that are going to be added into the game, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the game and exactly what the multiplayer will entail in the end.
For one, the trailer did not show any of the new game modes featured in the game, or what game modes will be in the game at all. I think it’s obvious that Free for All and Team Deathmatch will be making a return, as well as the Call of Duty mainstays such as Domination. But what about Wager Matches? Wager Matches are what made the Black Ops shine in the multiplayer department. I want to see all the Wager Matches from the first Black Ops return, plus brand new ones, like the All or Nothing game type that Modern Warfare 3 added with the community playlist updates.
We also don’t know if Combat Training will be returning or not. This was a popular feature in Black Ops that saw bots added to Call of Duty for the first time. Unfortunately, Combat Training was taken out of Modern Warfare 3. If Combat Training were to return for Black Ops II, I’d hope that it would be accessible for offline players. It was a strange design decision to restrict Combat Training to online-only players, and hopefully Treyarch will realize that such a mode will be better appreciated by players that prefer to play offline and don’t want to deal with the relatively poor Call of Duty player community.
After the trailer ends and the date comes up reminding everyone that Black Ops II will be available on November 13th and we are shown the box art for Black Ops II, we are shown the beginning of the trailer again, with the player on the windmill map throwing electric knives and shooting enemies. However, there is a commentator for this. I don’t know what this was supposed to mean. Is Theater Mode returning and allowing players to add their own voice overs to their videos? Or maybe those that subscribe to Call of Duty XP will have a chance to enter official Call of Duty online tournaments, complete with official commentary? I’m sure Activision and Treyarch will elaborate more as we get closer and closer to the release of 2012′s installment of Call of Duty.