It’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II day! After finally unveiling the game we all knew about for a very long time with a pleasantly surprising gameplay trailer set in the future during the NBA playoffs last night, Activision has lifted the embargo on outlets who had a chance to preview the game at developer Treyarch’s offices recently.
We’ve already discussed Black Ops 2’s overhauled zombies mode, the game’s future setting, its changing graphics and plans for the PC version, pre-order goodies, etc., but there’s something else coming to the game we haven’t seen before: Strike Force missions.
“Strike Force” sounds like the name of a knockoff video game clone, but in Black Ops 2, it’s actually about player choice and a nonlinear game structure. For the first time in the series, Call of Duty will let players affect the story path and ultimately, the outcome of the game.
Throughout the campaign, players will have opportunities to choose from several mission options around the globe – These are Strike Force missions and players need to choose carefully since the game changes depending on what they do, and how well they do it. In choosing a mission, the other options disappear and it’s go time.
Unlike regular story missions, players aren’t controlling one of the game’s protagonist and instead, can swap between control of members of the squad or of vehicles including attack drones and that mech (the CLAW) shown off in the Black Ops 2 debut trailer. Players can also play these missions like a strategy game, viewing the battlefield from above in ‘Overwatch’ mode and controlling units that way, similar to the commander role in Battlefield 2 & 2142.
Winning/losing these missions will have an effect on the global war effort, which sounds something similar to what BioWare attempted to implement with Mass Effect 3’s Galaxy at War system. Winning/losing a Strike Force mission can alter later missions and how the game’s main villain (Raul Menendez) conducts his strategy.
While the idea sounds very promising, how extensive these missions and their affect on the game remains to be seen. This sort of additional strategic mission type (admittedly in a much simpler form) was employed to not much success by Ubisoft in Assassin’s Creed Revelations with their tower defense minigame, and by opening up Call of Duty to player choice and consequences, they’re now competing with the likes of Mass Effect 3 and The Witcher 2.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II releases November 13, 2012 for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
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