‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 2′ Wii U Review

Published 2 years ago by

Black Ops 2 Wii U Review

Treyarch did an admirable job porting the Call of Duty: Black Ops experience to the technically inferior Wii and its unique motion controllers back in 2010, and for all of its graphical weaknesses, it was more or less the same game sans a few zombie maps and splitscreen multiplayer. With Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, nothing is holding Treyarch back from being able to deliver the same, perhaps even more enchanced, version of the game thanks to  the Nintendo Wii U.

Does Black Ops 2 on the Wii U offer a comparable console experience to the proven PS3 and Xbox 360, and is it worth the switch? Read on for our review.

We’ve already reviewed Black Ops 2 on the other consoles (giving it a 4/5), analyzing its campaign, zombies mode and multiplayer offerings, so in this review we’re going to focus on what new features it brings to the Nintendo Wii U and how it compares to the traditional console experience for the franchise over the years of the current console generation.

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Wii U Review Screenshot

With the Wii U, players now have a second screen which Treyarch does utilize to a certain extent. In adding a second player with split-screen mode, one player can play on TV screen and another on GamePad to avoid wasting screen space and it totally works, usually without any graphical hiccup. During the campaign there are no Wii U specific features outside of controlling the options menu and being able to display the game on the GamePad if you want that HD mobile experience or if someone else needs the TV set. In multiplayer however, the GamePad comes with new exclusive features as players can change their load out, look at the map, or call in Killstreak rewards from the GamePad’s screen on the fly.

While the Wii U GamePad is light weight and features the control scheme and twin sticks the Wii lacked, it’s design does not lend itself as well to fast-paced FPS titles. The ABXY buttons are practically out of reach during gameplay due to their below-the-right-stick positioning and players will never have time to look down to the GamePad’s map in multiplayer. For that reason, serious players looking to play online will need to invest in the Pro Controller, as recommended by Treyarch. It does also support the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, but that’s a death sentence in competitive multiplayer.

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Wii U Review Dual Wield Screenshot

With the Wii U, buyers of Black Ops 2 are getting what amounts to the same game the PS3 or Xbox 360 players, but that’s not necessarily the best thing. It’s great that the Wii U finally lets Nintendo-only players experience a Call of Duty game – and all of its modes – with legitimate dual-stick controls and optimal graphics, but what about newcomers to the franchise?

By porting over the identical game, Treyarch fails to construct game modes and menus that are friendly to new players. It’s easy to assume the same people playing the Wii U game are those who play every year and that the audience knows the game, but that’s not the case. From building a custom class, to hosting a custom game with bots (more on that later), the menus are not new-user-friendly, and this may make the biggest problem of Black Ops 2 on the Wii U even worse.

The biggest problem may (or may not be) the most shocking of all: there’s no community. The day after the Wii U hit store shelves, with the network and update issues mostly out of the way, we found only 600+ players online in the multiplayer for the entirety of the evening, and the day after, nearly 500 with the majority of the playlists having zero players in them. This is a serious issue because matchmaking relies on a large pool of active players and right now, the console doesn’t have that for the best-selling game of the year. At the moment, players cannot play most of the game modes because there’s no one in them.

Black Ops 2 Wii U Matchmaking

‘Black Ops 2′ Wii U Matchmaking Woes

There’s a partial solution available in that players can create custom matches with up to 11 bots, but that still doesn’t allow for the larger online game types and bots are not the same as playing against real players. With the original Wii console unable to grow an online community or embrace online multiplayer, Treyarch is essentially starting from scratch with the Wii U in community building. The simple fact is, Call of Duty has such a massive and loyal fan base that the vast majority of year-to-year players have already picked the game up for the consoles they’ve been playing the game on for on the regular. The Wii U won’t win over Xbox 360 or PS3 COD players so it must make the best of what it has, and while the numbers aren’t quite there, Black Ops 2 is a step in the right direction for growing the Call of Duty target audience.

Hopefully this holiday sales season will rectify this issue by growing the player base, but for newcomers to the franchise and for players who’ve not experienced the Call of Duty series in a long time, the Wii U version of the game and its corresponding online community are for you. Just reading through the Black Ops 2 community posts in the Miiverse, it’s abundantly clear that with the Wii U, Call of Duty is expanding its audience, and it’s refreshing to seeing pleasant, fun, and genuinely happy Call of Duty related message threads online (for the opposite, read our main Black Ops 2 review). There are players talking about this being their first Nintendo shooter or the first COD off the PC, players looking to join their first clan, people amazed by a Nintendo console’s visuals – players who’ve not been following the series or perhaps don’t have a PS3 or Xbox 360.

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Wii U Review Screenshot Multiplayer

While the Wii U version amounts to being the same game – with significantly less multiplayer options due the the number of players – it does ship with more bugs than its counterparts. Players who don’t have the latest update may experience crashing when accessing saved files and starting up the game will require a lengthy (or at least, slow) update. Too many times did the game freeze and the only way to fix it is to unplug the power cord of the Wii U console, wait at least 10 seconds, and plug it back in and restart. It seems to be a common issue according to Miiverse community messages. There are also more in-game bugs, from objects getting stick in environments where they’re not supposed to be, floating objects, NPCs moving against script, players getting stuck coming out of in-game cinematic event, NPC mouths occasionally not moving while talking, etc., but those are minor surface details and not frequent.

In the end, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is a hardcore title the Wii U needed to qualify as a console that truly play the third-party games available on the PS3 and Xbox 360. For newcomers interested in a shooter, Black Ops 2 is an easy recommendation and they’ll find a large amount of content and fun in the game’s campaign, zombies mode and multiplayer. The GamePad is sufficient for a quality gaming experience, but for competitive play, a Pro Controller may be required. It’s a pretty game with the same high-end presentation values the series is expected to deliver, but for hardcore/veteran players, there are reasons to not make the switch from your current platform preference to the Wii U.

Note: At this time we haven’t been able to get the home button to work with the game on, meaning there’s no way to take screenshots or… exit the game. We’ve emailed Activision and will update.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5

TAGS: Activision, Black Ops 2, Call of Duty, Treyarch, Wii U


  • http://www.the-voices.net Shane

    Just another reason I’ll wait for the next XBox or Playstation.

    I’m not an overly competitive player, I have fun whether I’m wining or losing, but if you can’t actually get the games to even start (due to lack of people) then whats the point?

    • Brandon

      I think one of the main reasons there is a lack of people is that the Wii U JUST launched and there are shortages everywhere. I would love to play Black Ops 2 on a Wii U online but everywhere I looked the Wii U is sold out. I already ordered black ops 2, the pro controller, and a headset so I will be ready as SOON as I am actually able to order a Wii U.

      • Matt

        Wow that’s ridiculous. I work at gamestop and Nintendo actually shipped more than they planned too, they had a wait list for the system and everything in November but it got axed since had enough to sell on the fly. I’m not sure where your from from, but walk into a gamestop and ask for a wii u you and if they have none, they should be able to find you one.

        • Matt

          Sorry bout that, I meant wii u not wii u you lmao

  • Nintenjoe

    I think it’s a little early to say that there isn’t a community on this game.

    500 Players as a percentage of how many people have got their wii u online isn’t that bad. I think 2 screen coop will make me glad I waited an extra couple of weeks to get this.

  • indolent

    “It does also support the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, but that’s a death sentence in competitive multiplayer.”

    Could you elaborate on that point? For wii shooters, it seemed to be a consensus that the wii remote was superior to dual analog.

    • Brandon

      That is a lie. There is no way the Wii Remote is superior to dual analog.

      • Eliot C-S

        Not sure why you’d think it’s not. Controllers have only 8 directions of movement. Up-down-left-right and in between. A wii controller’s pointer is much more exact and only limited by the wrist. Now, getting good with a controller is A BILLION times easier, but a pro with a wii-mote could be devastating. Regardless if a controller user has sensetivity to the highest.

      • paul

        Your an idiot Rob! total idiot!! the wii u has launched last week, there is a shortage of consoles, the game and console has not launched world wide yet! check your facts, so europe comes on line on the 30th November! bugs are being fixed as we speak by the developers and state the freezing is due to the player needing to download the latest update (again check activision web site)

        Wii mote is far superior to twiddling knobs as it’s point and shoot, the only thing quicker is mouse control on PC! you stick with your knobs which by the way are aided by the game so there is no skill needed from the player! your just another xbox/ps3 fan boy ready to knock something before you give it enough time! and your paid for this??

    • Big Baby Jesus

      “It does also support the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, but that’s a death sentence in competitive multiplayer.”

      How does that sound better then analog to you? I seemed to have missed that. Sounds like that it is a BAD thing. Like, you will die in multiplayer if you use the remote and nunchuk if someone else is using an analog, 99.999% of the time. (+/- 10%)

    • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

      Lol, there is absolutely no consensus that says the less accurate and less responsive Wiimote and Nunchuk are superior in any way.

      • Eliot C-S

        Sounds like a tad of bias sir. What makes you think that the wii-mote is less accurate and less responsive? How much time have you spent playing wii shooters? How many others have you discussed with? If you’re a journalist for this game site, try to act a little more professional.

        • Dante

          I think Rob is hampered by those things called “facts” – the Wii-Mote & Nunchuk is great for kids and hurling the slowest bowling ball in history – but for an FPS? You must be kidding.

          How many FPS players have you spoken with that are vocally for a motion controller experience? I haven’t met any.

          As for how much time spent playing Wii Shooters – lol – if he’s lucky he spent no time playing “Wii shooters”

          • eddoes

            I am one of those players. If you do own black ops for wii i will be more than glad to teach you a lesson. You can even record it and upload it here into an article. Trust me once you master Wii more and nunchuck you’re almost unstoppable. Are you up for my challenge ? :)

          • Twytch

            I played the hell outta the series on the 360. Never played a Wii shooter with the remote and I use the Gamepad until my pro controller gets here. But I can says that I’ve run into a few players online already who are great with a Wii Remote and I can definitely see the advantage they have. Having the ability to accurately shoot anywhere on the available screen without having the turn your character at all is HUGE! This has bested me in a few CCQ situations and I consider myself a solid COD player. In the right hands, their is definitely a clear advantage in my opinion. If you haven’t seen a good player using one online for yourself and play against them, how can you possibly come out with a statement claiming that they are at a disadvantage??? I hate throwing the word around, but this sounds like an “fanboy” issue that thinks the Wii offered nothing to games with it’s remote. Sure it was an inferior COD on Wii, but that was only because of the graphical short comings and the lack of a online experience like PS3 and 360 had in place already.

          • Dante

            LOL @ eddoes

            You think I own a Wii. LOL

          • Rex-Dylan

            So, you think the wii-mote is worse than the controller, but you’ve never tried it? Well then Dante, go find somewhere where people appreciate uneducated opinions

          • Dante

            Hi Rex-Dylan,

            I said I didn’t own one, I didn’t say I’ve never tried one.

            Last I checked reading was something educated people could do.

  • boogoo

    I keep hearing the Wii U community is friendly. Must be nice. 😐

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/FerguliosoFilms Poncho

      It is. It’s quite a shock, coming from Xbox Live and accusations directed at my mother. Plus, on Miiverse, you just post on the Black Ops community looking for some people to play, and you’ll usually get some people.

  • applesoccer

    It does also support the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, but that’s a death sentence in competitive multiplayer.
    i loled at that i friggen pwn with wiimote

  • VonSteuben

    “It does also support the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, but that’s a death sentence in competitive multiplayer.”

    What a joke, the review has obviously not played any FPS games on the Wii. The wiimote was the dominant and preferred controller in all of the major online shooters on the Wii, including Goldeneye, MW3, and Conduit 2. I expect the Wii U to be no different.

    • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

      And the PS Move Sharpshooter is better than a Mouse and Keyboard, right? :p

      • Eliot C-S

        I’d love to see a debate between mouse and keyboard vs console’s motion controllers. It’d be really interesting. But your response is irrelevant. How did you get a job here?

        • Anthony Taormina

          He hired himself.

      • Twytch

        Obviously you have no idea what you are talking about here. I don’t use the Wii remote but I have run into players that are good at it and there’s a clear advantage. Not being able to use something properly doesn’t qualify you to discount it entirely. Sounds to me like they should have hired someone who used the Wii before instead of taking you on to review a console that you can’t properly utilize.

        • boogoo

          He’s not reviewing the console or the Wii remote. He’s reviewing Black Ops 2 on the Wii U and gave his opinion (which is a common one) on the alternative controller options. And really, who are you to agree or disagree when you said yourself you haven’t used the Wii remote. Also, he’s Editor-in-Chief of this website; he can review and give his opinion on whatever the hell he wants.

    • Dante

      Motion Controllers are as essential to the FPS experience as having played the Wii versions of MW3 & Goldeneye.

  • sselemanrm

    Actually you can access the Home button, but its a little tricky.

    When you first boot up the game, you are in the main menu screen (the one where you’re in a room and it asks if you want to play Multiplayer, Campaign, and Zombies), you are allowed to press the Home Button. However, once you go to the Multiplayer or Zombies menu, you can’t press the home menu. You have to back out and click on Campaign, which will then put you back on the start screen, which leads to the main menu that lets you choose multiplayer, campaign, zombies. Again, only on the Main Menu screen are you allowed to press the home screen.

  • Emissary of Death

    I wouldn’t buy a wiiu just for the simple fact nintendo will make a new model. Plus I am satisfied with my PS3 and 360 a console like this is no different. It doesn’t make any difference at the moment. Until I don’t see more games and innovation that console can sit in the store. I already see the durango and orbis dominating this console. Both Sony and Microsoft mention that they will let the Wiiu have its moment for a year. But majority of gamers know that Sony and Microsoft won’t go down without a fight. I know people would mention the Wii sold a lot but that doesn’t mean anything what makes a good console is the amount of games and what people prefer to play their games on. But my fellow gamers I want to hear from you do you agree or disagree with the certain points I stated.

    • Brandos12

      “Until I don’t see more games and innovation that console can sit in the store”

      More like fly off the shelves..you will have a hard time finding it anywhere with such high demand.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/FerguliosoFilms Poncho

      I disagree and agree with you. I do think Nintendo will make a new model; however, that won’t be for a while. Also, if the Orbis/Durango are going to dominate over the Wii U as rumors suggest, they’ll dominate it in price, as well. Those machines will not cost less than $350, unless the companies are willing to take a huge hit in profits. Also, Miiverse is better than Xbox Live. I know I’ll get flamed, vilified, etc etc for that comment, but it’s my opinion.

      • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

        You’re right about the price I expect, the PS3/360 were expensive at launch, but that will be because the next-gen Sony/Msoft consoles will be built with far more expensive tech and will be able to handle more demanding software with higher end graphics (think Unreal 4 requirements)

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/FerguliosoFilms Poncho

          That’s not going to justify the price for most consumers. Most consumers don’t know or care what goes on under the hood in consoles. Sure, the loyal fans will buy them (maybe), but most people won’t have that kind of money. I don’t think Sony can risk taking a loss on their systems. Plus, Microsoft doesn’t have an incentive to go overboard with power, what with Kinect being a huge hit. I think they’ll focus on Kinect next gen. And Halo. For those reasons, I believe Sony and MS will release consoles only marginally better than the Wii U. Sure, they’ll be more powerful. But not to the extent that people believe they will be. Or I could be totally wrong and they’ll release consoles with power that boggles the mind and sell it for a price of $300, and attract all consumers and get all the monies and ladies. Everything is conjecture. I’ll just wait and see what happens.

          • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

            I would argue that it will. Look at the launch prices of the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii.

            There will be price drops, but they were expensive at launch.

      • Hunter

        I agree, because it is set up more like a forum then a faceless derogatory name calling fest. To better explain, if you post something absurd on a forum on one of the community boards people will be able to identify that very easily.

    • sselemanrm

      How do you know?

      Nintendo hasn’t made a whole lot of SKUs for their consoles since the snes days as far as I remember. There’s only one different SKU I remember the Wii having, and that was like 2 years ago, when they omitted gamecube compatibility. The design looked pretty much the same though, though it was advertised to lay on its side, IIRC.

    • XxStoicMonkeyxX

      It doesn’t matter about the amount of games it matters about the quality of them, nobody will want to play all 100 of your games if they are all equally as terrible as the last. Im not saying Xbox and ps3 have bad games, but Nintendo has always produced top notch stuff and they have always been gameplay over graphics.

  • Matt

    I’m very surprised to hear that the Wii U BO2 community is so small. I mean it’s a CoD game. How can it not have thousands upon thousands of people playing it?

    • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

      I think for two reasons:
      1) The console is still so new.
      2) 99.9% of of COD players all have it for the platform they played the last COD games on.

      • Matt

        True and true.

    • sselemanrm

      You can almost always find games in TDM, FFA, and domination. Other modes, not so much, at least not yet. But game just came out 3 days ago, with the Wii U, thus a very small install base currently. Wii U’s launch isn’t as huge and hyped as the Wii either. Wait until the rest of the world gets it on November 30, as well as the holiday rush during X-mas holidays.

    • Brandos12

      Seriously you can hardly find any place that’s not sold out of the Wii U. Once I actually get my Wii U, I will be happy to join the Wii U Call of Duty online community. After Christmas there should be a healthy amount of players.

      • Hunter


      • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

        I hope so!

  • gamedude

    Its called a classic and a classic pro witch were used on black ops. Black ops 2 on wii u also suports these controllers in addition to all others. Right before black ops 2 there was about 67,000+ peak people online on wii. Currently on ps3 it drops down to 50,000 at night hours.
    As far as the remote and nunchuck, as a long time gamer of all platformes it was for me kinda like playing gutar hero for the first time you suck because your whole life you have used some adapitation of the same controller, then you master it because you a dedicated gamer. People on wii became very good with motion because of mw1 lack of classic controller function”and in my opinion you may have the ability to become better with, if your not stuck on a controller”, and with black ops1 using both, black ops 2 use on wii u with all the controller possibilitys you know these guys will be well rounded. Dont be surprised when you get owned!

  • Aleks

    U can use the home button in the game, unfortunately it only when in the Campaign menu. At that spot the home button does work
    Your welcome
    Took me awhile

  • John

    I truly don’t feel that having more ways to play, such as the game pad, wiimote/nunchuck, and pro controller, justify lowering it’s review score. If anything it should raise it. More options are better. I actually prefer playing with the wiimote/nunchuck, it allows you to have faster turning and better accuracy, if you’re familiar with it. Only those who aren’t good with the controller or familiar with it would say it’s a death sentence in online gaming. The game pad is actually great too. When you got to hunker down and reload or recover, it’s the perfect opportunity to utilize the gamepad screen and call in some deadly accurate scorestreaks, change class, or see the entire map. As for the community, it’s a new system, that literally just came out. Don’t be so hasty to judge a community, especially considering that the Wii U’s are sold out nation wide and there are still people trying to get them. The community is coming, it’s just going to take time, because unlike the xbox360 and ps3, the system hasn’t been out for 6 years. Overall, from what you described, it’s the same game with more ways to play, it also appears to have less lag issues compared to the other systems. If anything, it deserves the same review score as the other systems received, if not higher, but that’s just my opinion.

    • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

      Having more control input options had nothing to do with the lowered score. There are specific reasons as to why it’s less in the review.

  • LunoYoryiki

    ……having more control options actually made want to get it for the wii u instead….

  • gamedude

    WBlack ops 2 supports the following
    “Wii nunchuck and remote,motion pluss,remote plus, classic controller, classic pro,headbanger headset”whitch was designed specific for this game and had limmited edition black ops wii written on the headset”,aslo Wii U’s gamepad controller,remote and nunchuck “same as wii but repacked”,and wii u pro controller, havent fond info on the new headsets but are probally will have one wired and one wireless, wireless for the first time on nintendo.
    For me its all about the gameplay, never graphics or anything else… I mean who used 480p HD on Ps2 or Gamecube, or 720 on standard Xbox? Probally not many i was the only person i new to have the componet for gamecube at the time when was current.
    Nintendo was tired of making functions that nobody used thats why wii ony had 480p but had tons of RAM, over half of 360. And thats why wii u comes standard with HDMI first one to do it because enough people can use it now

  • Johny

    yeah.. wanna know why there arent so many players on it yet ? … the Console havent been out for not even 1 WEEK !!… and players have to first buy the console (which is long sold out everywhere) .. and when they have the console, they have to get the game too.. so its only understandable… and in about 2 months, THEN you can judge how many players are on it..
    seriously thats the most amateur negative statement ever…

    • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

      The answer is because everyone who played the last 5 Call of Duty titles has a capable PC, PS3 or Xbox 360.

      As for the one week, it doesn’t matter. Multiplayer communities on FPS games don’t grow over time, they shrink. The game is available now and now there are few people playing it. And if, as you say, the console is “long sold out everywhere” (our own Ben Kendrick just bought one by the way) that means there are potentially up to three million units out on the market and of those three million, 600 players in the first week online.

  • Allan

    I would like to chime in on the Wii remote BS, as the entire point of a game like a FPS is to point and shoot. I don’t understand how a control method where you literally point and shoot with the controller is a “death sentence”.

    How about we set some people up with guns and see how far they get twiddling their thumbs at it….probably not very far. Sure it’s harder to get used to, but that means it requires a bit more effort. Calling yourself a “serious gamer” seems like you go for the easiest way to mow down a few people to get kill streaks rather then something that requires a bit more time and effort to get skilled at.

    I am not downing people who prefer dual analog, but saying something like IR aiming is “not for serious gamers” when talking about a game where your objective is to shoot is just plain asinine.

    • Brandos12

      serious gamers don’t point at a screen with a gun.

    • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

      It’s the precision and response time vs. pro controller. Even if you are comfortable with it, it’s not as fast or precise.

      • Ian Grillz

        Rob are you mad? Like Joker mad? A wii mote is Fast and precise, it aims exactly where you point it..unless you have Parkinsons…or maybe your dumb a$$ is playing on a TV with 240hz and think your cool but it just causes input lag…damn n00bs wii and wii u was always for core gamers, are you a wolve or a sheep?