The Black Ops
series of shooters is rather obviously something of a spin-off from the main set of Call of Duty
games and this first sequel is a cracking piece of action gaming that deserves to be played, no matter what your opinion of the franchise. This one splits its time between the near future of 2025 and the recent past of the 1980s, with a plot that focuses on a new Cold War between China and the US based on the discovery of Rare Earth Elements, the most valuable resource going forward. The storyline here is interesting not least because of the fact that it's less linear than most such games, with a few choices to make and with certain missions playing out like real-time strategy games. Much of the rest of the gameplay is traditional FPS stuff though, albeit with a greater focus on near-future tech such as drones. You've also got the ever popular multi-player modes which are what most people buy this sort of thing for, with all the usual range of maps, modes and so on. Black Ops 2 really is a cracking little shooter that earns a lot of points for daring to do something a little different with its parent franchise. The single-player campaign is gripping and all too believable, with a frighteningly plausible scenario packed with twists and turns. The essential shooter mechanics are as tight and polished as you would expect, with satisfying gunplay that is exciting and always enjoyable. The multi-player scores highly too, with excellent map design so overall, this is a first-class shooter experience.