In just under a day's time, we'll have our hands on the latest Call of Duty game from Activision, Black Ops II, which is coming to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, as well as the Wii U early next week. Players have a lot to look forward to through the new single player campaign, which features various twists and multiple endings to choose from. But obviously, for a lot of people, it will be about the multiplayer.
We've managed to get some information on the new multiplayer offerings that are available through the sequel, and while a lot of them will be familiar to veterans of the Call of Duty games, there's still some interesting new stuff worth delving into. So let's break it down and get started…
How Elite Can Work In Your Benefit
Now that Call of Duty Elite has switched over to a service that doesn't come with a charge, players will be able to access a number of its features and, in some ways, learn to be a better multiplayer competitor. Elite TV will offer a variety of programming that will show you the week's top highlights, as well as strategies from some of the best players in the world that could make you better on all fronts – if you take their advice seriously, that is.
More importantly, Call of Duty Elite comes with a great new service that will let players show off just how they're doing, whether they're getting wiped out in a Kill Confirmed match or nailing everyone in Domination. You can link your YouTube account to the service and offer live streaming of matches, without the need for additional game capture gear. You'll still need to supply your own webcam and microphone, obviously, but the rest will be done on the service, and you can even save some of your best clips for uploads later. Not only does this offer the opportunity to show your skills, but you can also browse through Elite and watch particular players doing their stuff…and learn from them as well.
We suggest taking some time out and seeing what Elite has to offer. Granted, that means removing you from gameplay for a few precious minutes, but it'll pay off in the long run.
Party Modes Aplenty
We can't talk too much about the party modes that will be offered in the game, but you shouldn't just consider them once-overs. These are special modifications made by Treyarch to bring out the most in players' skills, so they can make you better overall.
One that sounds like it'll be a real hoot is Sticks and Stones. In this mode, you'll be armed with a crossbow with three exploding arrows and a knife. You can bet that some people will be taking their shots a lot more lightly in this mode, then chasing after people with a vengeance. This'll bring out the best in some of your skills, to be sure.
We know you love your main modes, but don't brush off these Party Games. You just might like what you find here.
Don't Take Create-a-Class Lightly
As with previous Call of Duty games, Create-a-Class plays a huge part in defining what kind of player you want to be. You may be someone with a heavy reliance on flying glider grenades and a shotgun, or maybe you prefer the resolve that an assault rifle brings, along with good ol' fashioned smoke grenades. With each new ranking up you receive, you open up a little bit more potential of what you can do with your class.
We suggest tinkering around a little bit. The shotgun is effective when it comes to close quarters, doling out justice to those who prefer to run up and slash you. But assault rifles are also a great friend, along with sniper rifles. And never take the technical aspect of placing turrets out of the picture. These things can rack up a tremendous amount of kills in a Capture the Flag match, if they're put in the right spot. (That doesn't mean they're invulnerable, though. Maybe have a soldier on point to protect it, just in case.)
Like we said, explore and see what all has to be offered, and find something that suits you. That's what defining the Call of Duty experience is all about – if we all played with the same weapons all the time, it wouldn't be interesting, would it?
Along with the Party Games mode, don't be afraid to get your hands dirty in a variety of the multiplayer modes. Kill Confirmed has become a favorite since its introduction, mainly because you not only have to take down your opponents, but rush out and collect their dog tags before their teammates get a chance to. This'll bump up your score and, eventually, your rank.
In coordination with modes, it helps to get to know each map and find "hot spots" that can serve you best. For instance, on the Hijacked map, which takes place on a yacht, the enclosed spaces can actually be your best friend, especially a side room where enemies can come from either side. You can set up a soldier or two in here and really go to town, especially in Capture the Flag, where a certain point sits right next to the room. Snipers and quick shooters can easily take enemies down here.
Check around YouTube for more gameplay videos to get an early look at the maps, and also don't forget to utilize Elite's overview system, where you can see the layouts. You'll be thanking us as your kill count picks up.
Learn your perks and score streaks, don't be hasty…
Finally, perks and score streaks…these can change the course of a match rather quickly. Perks are the little things that help out your soldier individually, stuff like Fast Hands (drawing a weapon quicker) and Toughness (taking a bit more damage before eventually succumbing to a hail of bullets). Meanwhile, Score Streaks you earn over the course of a match with your team, which include calling in air support like a Stealth Chopper and an enemy-tracking UAV, as well as a Care Package that provides you a tide-shifting weapon.
But remember to use the score streaks wisely. There are some folks who hold onto them long enough to get the "really good" stuff, but also some situations in which you'll want to keep track of what an enemy's doing, especially on a larger map. You'll eventually learn this balance over the course of a match…just don't get too jittery executing the action on your D-pad.
As for perks, they're handed out depending on performance, but you can always assign a couple to your class. Find what's right for you (in our case, it's a quick reload – a real life-saver) and see how it works for you.
Have Fun – and Don't Forget Zombies!
Call of Duty: Black Ops II's multiplayer is really in-depth and will take some time getting used to, especially against veteran players. But it's utterly rewarding in nearly every degree, and you'll find your place eventually if not at first, so keep chipping away at it. And for that matter, don't forget to give the Black Ops II Zombies mode a few runs. This helps build up teamwork between you and your colleagues – and will keep you on your toes as well.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II releases tomorrow. See you there.