These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Nuketown 2025, so much so that it had its own playlist for a week after release day.
Among the new maps, Hijacked is considered to be the new Nuketown.
Raid, Plaza, and Meltdown (on occasion) are slowly gaining steam as well.
Alternative Character Interpretation: Menendez might be based on the Anti-Christ, who'll appear as the compassionate savior of the masses. Millions will believe and blindly follow him. He's also suppose to suffer a near-fatal wound what will make him blind in one eye, according to some theories about him/her.
Menendez: A hypocritical, sadistic bastard with a pathetically weak Freudian Excuse who's willing to plunge the world into chaos and sacrifice millions of lives, or a Well-Intentioned Extremist tormented by the murder of his sister, father and the degradation of the Earth by despotic first world countries who gives the despairing masses of the world a needed voice?
Breather Level: "Suffer with Me" begins with a separate (playable) scene where Woods, Mason and McKnight have beers at the latter's house and plan the mission to capture Menendez.
David Mason. Not only is he deadly in battle, but he also has a knack for finding unorthodox ways to level the playing field. Such as hopping into the cockpit of a damaged fighter jet that he admits to having no experience flying and then clearing the skies and ground of all enemies blocking the U.S. and French Presidents' evac route in a war-torn Los Angeles.
Menendez wouldn't be nearly as terrifyingly effective as he is if he were a happy, well-balanced individual.
"The Night Will Always Win'' by Elbow, the song that plays in the game's opening. It's a beautiful, sorrowful tune that perfectly underscores the opening cutscene.
Ending Fatigue: In the mission "Cordis Die". It starts setting in after the third time David blacks out.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Jonas Savimbi. He's BRIAN BLESSED as an Angolan warlord, but we only see him for part of one level. Some fans have even remarked that they'd love to see a Call of Duty game based around Savimbi.
Fridge Brilliance: Suffer With Me is the Black Ops 2 version of the first game's Project Nova level. Both feature the player playing as an NPC from the previous game (Viktor Reznov and Frank Woods) fighting alongside the previous protagonist as an NPC (Dmitri Petrenko and Alex Mason). Both also feature betrayals brought about by the main antagonist that result in the death of the previous protagonist (although Mason can be spared if shot elsewhere other than the head or chest).
Fridge Horror: According to intel in the first Black Ops, Mason, Hudson and Weaver were being hunted down during Operation Charybdis. Only Mason and Hudson are seen in Black Ops II.
There's also Menendez's use of Cordis Die, managing to do with the Internet and social media what Dragovich attempted to do with numbers conditioning and Nova-6, albeit on a larger scale. Should he succeed, he would have potentially whole masses raising hell at his command... all willingly. On the other hand, the presence of an interrogation chamber very similar to the one seen in the first game suggests that Menendez may simply be doing a better job at Dragovich's methods at least when it came to soldiers.
Game Breaker: The Storm PSR in the campaign. One-hit kill anywhere to the body, a great ammo supply, the ability to stack up to 5 shots for penetration of all kinds of surfaces, and a scope that is a combination of the Dual Band and the MMS, with a great zoom level and the ability to see enemies through surfaces. It is already the best sniper rifle, but the best part is the fact that its hip-fire spread is even lower than that of SMGs, which means you can run-and-gun, hipfiring everyone with the PSR and be certain that a single bullet will kill everyone. Plus a fully charged PSR shot can destroy every single drone in the campaign with one hit (with the sole exception of the CLAW), and for increased cinematic impact, a fully charged shot directed to an enemy will slow down the camera when it impacts, allowing you to see the enemy flying in slow-motion. The Storm PSR is almost unanimously considered the best weapon in the game, with good reason.
It could be for this reason (and the amount of cover the enemies hide behind) that this gun is in the default loadout for That One Level (see below).
Good Bad Bugs: Replaying a mission past one's progress in a Campaign run actually has a few charms. For example, it's possible to have Chloe, Farid, and Harper alive and present in Odysseus, as long as the player doesn't reach Achilles' Veil when continuing the Campaign (this can only be done after completing a playthough though).
Harper has a bad habit of breaking into a jig when he's supposed to climb a staircase.
Fans weren't happy that Nuketown 2025, despite being advertised as "open 24/7", was removed only six days after release of the game. Instead of returning the playlist, Treyarch decided to create a different, new playlist called "Chaos Moshpit", where Nuketown 2025 is only one of the maps in rotation. The solution satisfied no one.
Lag compensation. It was noticeable in Black Ops 1, but it reached an absolute nadir with Modern Warfare 3, where you could dump a mag at an enemy, only for you to instantly fall dead and the killcam shows nothing coming out of your gun. It's back in Black Ops 2, and many gamers, some of them long-time Call of Duty fans that suffered through MW3, consider it to be the last strike on the series if it continues to be unfixed.
"Man down!" "Eagle down!" "We have a teammate bleeding out!" The Artificial Stupidity in the Strike Force Missions is even more apparent in Redshirts than usual.
The multiplayer voices, all of them.
We're WINNING this fight.
COME ON! COME ON! I'VE GA-CHYOO!
Wanna get paid?! MOVE IT!
Narm: The British "CIA Nerd" character (seen at the beginning of "Achilles' Veil" and in the ending if Chloe is not rescued) is a little hard to take seriously when he spouts stereotypical British slang in every sentence.
One-Scene Wonder: Mark McKnight, who only shows up during the mission "Suffer With Me." First to brief Woods and Mason, then to provide covering fire.
Jonas Savimbi is considered an Ensemble Darkhorse despite only having about five minutes of screentime in the first mission.
While there's yet to be any weapon that's broken on the level of Black Ops 1's FAMAS or AK-74U, submachine guns are dominant in Black Ops 2, due to their high rate of fire, nearly nonexistent recoil, and the close-quarters nature of most of the maps. Add on a laser sight and you don't even need to aim, just hose them down by the hip.
The MP 7, MSMC, Chicom, and Skorpion EVO in particular are the most common sub-machine guns used in Multiplayer. The MP 7 and MSMC for their all-around usefulness, the Chicom for being a substitute for burst Assault Rifles (due to their huge mobility nerf in the transition to this game), and the Skorpion for its ease of use and boasting the highest fire rate of them all.
Chances are high that the only Assault Rifles you will see online will be equipped with the Target Finder. As its name suggests, it's a scope that designates enemies with a giant red diamond over them. Many claim this takes away the skill necessary to get kills with Assault Rifles, with good reason.
Select Fire is also popular with the SWAT and the semi-automatic Assault Rifles (the FAL and the SMR). With the SWAT, you now have an Assault Rifle with a fire rate than can match or even beat most Sub-Machine Guns, and both the FAL and the SMR have very little recoil and high damage output. They essentially turned all the modded single-shot weapons of ages past into an attachment, but balanced.
For the first time ever, scorestreaks have fallen into this category. The UAV, in the eyes of the fans, has gone from an OK scorestreak to an annoying and broken one. The reasoning behind this is because the new scorestreak system makes them easier to obtain, and you can have as many of them as you want in the air, promoting red-dot hunting. Treyarch eventually patched them so that they require 425 points instead of 350, but this just divided fans even more.
Player Punch: Getting gyped into shooting Alex Mason, Woods' reaction to practically killing his best friend, and Hudson's death are all incredibly hard to watch in "Suffer With Me". That is, unless you know how to avert the former.
Strike Force. While most agree that it's a good idea on paper, the Nintendo Hard difficulty due to the suicidal Artificial Stupidity of your units make them a chore. To make things worse, you need to win them all to get the best ending.
The much-hated lag compensation from Modern Warfare 3 is back with a vengeance. It seems that Treyarch didn't patch out the netcode problems when they received the new engine to work with for Black Ops 2. To make matters worse, fan complaints to Treyarch regarding the netcode are being ignored entirely, as Treyarch "finds nothing wrong with it". The fans' reaction has not been pleasant, to say the least.
Rumors have been going around since the March patch that the lag comp has secretly been lessened. Only time will tell.
Footstep sounds, or lack thereof. Footsteps are near-impossible to hear short of wearing a headset on max volume, putting the sound setting on Supercrunch, and using the Awareness perk, and it'll get drowned out by gunshots, explosions and random screaming by the in-game soldiers. The lack of footstep sounds not only takes away a facet of tactical planning, but it makes the Awareness and Dead Silence perks virtually worthless.
As of the March patch, footsteps have been stealth patched to a slightly higher volume. They are relatively audible, but not to the extent of Black Ops 1's footsteps.
Skill-based matchmaking. Despite the existence of League Play for this kind of thing, public playlists also group similarly-skilled players into the same lobby. Each match becomes a stressful tryhard marathon if you're even marginally good, and the lag issues are magnified when everyone's roughly equal in skill, as most gun fights boil down to who has the better (or worse, due to how lag compensation works) connection.
Spoiled by the Format: Menendez is finally captured by David in "Achilles' Veil"...the fourth-to-last mission in the game, before he has a chance to enact any of his plans, thereby tipping off that he'll either escape or have an ace up his sleeve that makes things worse for the Americans.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The intel files and hidden emails in the first Black Ops contains several sequel hooks. Among them being hints that a shadowy group is pulling the strings of the CIA and they're the ones responsible for JFK's assassination, Grigori Weaver's sister working as a Soviet spy and being assigned to seduce Mason, and also Mason, Weaver, and Hudson going rogue and being hunted by the British SAS. None of these things are followed up on in Black Ops II.
Cordis Die is shown as (at least on the surface) an evolution of sorts from Anonymous, WikiLeaks, and the Occupy Wall Street movement, with extensive use of social media and "We are the 99%" rhetoric.
Amusingly The Barack Obama, which is a super-carrier with enough firepower to take on entire countries by itself, is destroyed in the game if you do not recruit the help of the Chinese to fight with you. This seems like a coincidence but this could be interpreted as a subtle nod by the developers saying that the actual President Obama won't succeed in international relations without the help of China.
Win Back The Crowd: Much like the Fandom Rejoiced example, this seems to be an attempt to bring some new life into a series that many people consider to be nothing but rehashes. While many do find Black Ops 2 to be the best Call of Duty since CoD4, they also admit that the excitement is diminished due to the sheer saturation of the military shooter subgenre.
The Woobie: Farid. He's forced to kill U.S.-allied Yemeni soldiers in self-defense, with Harper constantly encouraging him, telling him he's going to make it out okay. He's then forced to either kill Harper in order to maintain his cover, leaving him in a state of shock, or tries to shoot Menendez, only to fail and get executed. Even if he does keep his cover, he dies anyway Taking the Bullet for Chloe, so he dies no matter what he does.