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YMMV / Call of Duty: Black Ops II

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  • Abridged Arena Array:
    • Nuketown 2025, so much so that it had its own playlist for a week after release day. Though this was to be expected considering that the original Nuketown was the most popular map in Black Ops 1.
    • Among the new maps, Hijacked is considered to be the new Nuketown.
    • Raid, Plaza, and Meltdown 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 supposed to suffer a near-fatal wound what will make him blind in one eye, according to some theories about him/her.
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    • 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? It doesn't help that some choices and possible endings can paint him towards either interpretation. For example, if the player's choices end the game in him escaping prison and killing Woods, only to kill himself soon after, he effectively comes out as tragic; but in other cases, like deciding to kill Admiral Briggs against Salazar's suggestion and telling him "I decide what is necessary", or his reaction to Chloe on TV if she survives, preventing his escape, he seems a psychopath well beyond the attachment to Josefina. Given that he's doing things like torturing Woods before locking him into a shipping container full of the rotting corpses of his own men for weeks years before Josefina dies, its pretty plain that Menendez has either a horrendous cruel streak and/or serious issues before the Freudian Excuse exists.
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  • Anticlimax Boss: Menendez receives significant build-up throughout the game as a powerful combatant, more so than almost any other Call of Duty villain, yet at the end he's not defeated in a dramatic confrontation but rather due to Section literally dropping on top of him by accident.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Adrenaline, the theme that plays through some missions (Like Karma and Judgement Day) and plays on the multiplayer menu. An epic piece that accompanies your badassness.
    • "Imma Try It Out", which plays in Club Solar as you try to rescue Chloe. The music keeps playing as you start slo-mo shooting at Cordis Die mooks with a machine pistol. It also plays as background music in one section of the multiplayer map Plaza, and players often joke about hiding in the bar just to listen to the music.
    • "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.
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    • "Carry On," by Avenged Sevenfold, played in the scene after the credits finish.
  • Best Level Ever: There's a level from the perspective of Big Bad Raul Menendez, a flashback where he is held captive by the Panamanian army. When they take his disabled sister Josefina away from him, the man goes absolutely apeshit. During the following sequence he literally sees red as he cuts a bloody swathe through what seems like an entire platoon on his own, armed with nothing but a shotgun and a machete. He can tank more bullets than a Juggernaut and not even explosive fuel barrels and grenades going off right next to him can slow him down. He doesn't even have the time to reload - it happens near-instantly and is justified as him picking up the guns of the slain soldiers around him. Not only is it incredibly awesome, it pushes the character right into Anti-Villain territory as it is clear his vendetta against America is motivated by his deep love for his sister and his need to avenge her death.
  • Breather Level: "Suffer with Me" begins with a separate (playable) scene where Woods, Mason and McKnight have beers at the latter's house and discuss the plan to capture Noriega.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • 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. Even after several patches which reduced the effectiveness of both Laser Sights and Suppressors on SMGs, they remain quite common.
      • The MP7 and Skorpion EVO in particular are the most common sub-machine guns used in Multiplayer. The MP7 is an excellent all-around weapon, boasting a fast fire rate, decent accuracy, and high damage output, plus being the first weapon of its class unlocked. The Skorpion has the highest damage and fastest fire rate of them all. When combined with Fast Mags and Scavenger, it becomes a bullet hose that's guaranteed to aggravate anyone killed by it.
    • The Target Finder attachment. 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 good reason. To make matters worse, it is often a go-to attachment for Light Machine Guns, which are often used at long distances to kill opposing players in 3-4 shots.
    • Select Fire was once this for the semi-auto Assault Rifles (the FAL OSW and the SMR), but eventually a patch severely nerfed the attachment's effectiveness, namely reducing the damage values of the weapon equipped with it.
    • 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.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • 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.
  • Critical Research Failure: Menendez and his father ran a cartel during 80s. Nicaragua had no cartels during this time period, all drug trafficking was done by the briefly mentioned Contras and their CIA allies.
  • Ending Fatigue: In the mission "Cordis Die". It starts setting in after the third time David blacks out.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • 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.
    • Mike Harper, one of the best supporting characters in Call of Duty history. It helps that he's voiced by Michael Rooker.
  • Even Better Sequel: Treyarch are generally seen as delivering the better Call of Duty campaigns, with Black Ops 1 being highlighted in particular. Because Treyarch put effort into this campaign with the choice mechanic and in the characterization of Menendez, many called the campaign one of the best for first person shooters in years.
  • Evil Is Cool: Raul Menendez absolutely run on this, due to his charisma, being an Affably Evil Magnificent Bastard and finally a Tragic Villain. He was even ranked #1 on Game Informer's list of top 10 villains of 2012.
  • Evil Is Sexy: In his youth, Raul Menendez looked like a damn Telenovela star, even after Mason popped him in the eye and he gets half of his face burned up. Appropriately, he spends the mission "Suffer With Me" in an unbuttoned dress shirt.
  • Franchise Original Sin: The futuristic setting. Black Ops 2 was the first Call of Duty game with a notable 20 Minutes into the Future setting, but kept the tech grounded and mixed it with a historical storyline. Future entries in the Call of Duty series would get further and further into science fiction territories until people became sick of the theme at around Black Ops 3 and most definitely Infinite Warfare.
  • Fridge Horror: If you fail to save Karma during the game, Menendez escapes from prison. After killing Woods, he then goes to his sister's grave, and douses himself with gas, presumably to burn himself to death and join her in the afterlife. In other endings where you kill Menendez, he has a video that plays explaining that he was murdered and instructs his 2 billion or more followers to start mass rioting throughout the world. So if he burns himself to death, does that also trigger this video, which then also causes said rioting to occur?
  • 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 locked away until, and in the default loadout for, That One Level (see below).
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • After completing the game once, you are given the option to rewind your progress to a certain mission, to change the story decisions in that level and beyond. You can still choose to play any level in the game even after rewinding progress, however, and replaying a mission past one's progress 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.
    • Harper has a bad habit of breaking into a jig when he's supposed to climb a staircase.
  • Good Bad Translation:
    • At one point, Menendez says "Buen fortuna, DeFalco". He meant "Buena suerte, DeFalco" ("Good luck, DeFalco").
    • Spanish-speaking PMCs often say "¡Están empujando hacia adelante!", which is a rough translation for "They are pushing forward!" ("¡Están avanzando!").
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Or Hilarious in Hindsight depending on your beliefs, but President Bosworth was clearly played up to resemble Hillary Clinton, who became the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for president in 2016. Pay heed to Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment here.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Raul Menendez is the charismatic leader of Cordis Die, who started from humble beginnings before becoming one of the most powerful drug kingpins in the world; this grabbed the attention of the CIA who sent a black ops team to deal with, greatly underestimating him. Now knowing of the CIA, Menendez expanded his empire to arms dealing, trading weapons to the Soviet Union and other anti-capitalist insurgents, even planting moles in the CIA. Vowing revenge on Frank Woods after watching him kill his sister, Menendez manipulates him with a captive Jason Hudson into shooting, possibly killing, Alex Mason before crippling Woods and killing Hudson himself. Using his wealth to create advance weaponry and private armies, he also creates the Celerlium worm which he use to drain the Chinese Stock Market, pinning the deed on the United States, creating a second Cold War. He later allows himself to be captured by American Force and take him to the U.S.S. Obama where he would then have his soldiers ambush them before using the Celerlium worm to take control of the military drones, decimating the Obama fleet in the process. Using the hacked drones to distract American forces, he would then destroy them before revealing his true plan; crippling the U.S. military so his two billion followers of Cordis Die can wreak havoc all over America, which he succeeds by goading David Mason to kill him, secretly recording the deed making him a martyr.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The confirmation of horses is the only thing everyone took away from the announcement trailer, ignoring the sci-fi setting. Cue people calling the game "Clop of Duty" and other horse puns. This has also been combined with Barack Obama's "horses and bayonets" dig at Mitt Romney over defence policy in the 2012 presidential debates, another phrase which itself underwent mutation.
    • "The keys, Mason! What do they mean?"
      • Alternatively, "Mason, use the numbers to find the keys."
    • "Josefina, not even once." In reference to the Unstoppable Rage of Raul Menendez.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • DeFalco vaults over it when he detonates a bomb in the nightclub, killing and maiming hundreds of innocent people, and executing a hapless woman on the dance floor before grabbing another within a second. And then, in paths of the game where he and Chloe make it to the Obama but Farid doesn't, he vaults over it again by slitting Chloe's throat.
    • Menendez, when he kidnaps David, uses him to force Hudson into feeding false intel to Woods and Mason that ends with Woods sniping Mason, cripples Woods, and then forces a sadistic choice on Hudson before killing him in "Suffer With Me".
    • Woods arguably crossed this in "Time and Fate" when he threw a grenade at Menendez in an attempt to kill him, not because said-grenade ended up killing Josefina, and not even because he wanted to kill Menendez, but because he was willing to kill Hudson, who was attempting to restrain Menendez.
    • Noriega, when he kills his own men in "Time and Fate", then releases Menendez from captivity.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • "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.
      Wanna get paid?! MOVE IT!
  • Narm:
    • During the section in which you play as Menendez in "Time and Fate", he'll let out a scream whenever you have him sprint. Every time. It's even the exact same sound bite for every scream. It's obviously supposed to show just how unstoppable his rage is, but it just comes off as silly and hard to take seriously.
    • 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 Dark Horse despite only having about five minutes of screentime in the first mission.
  • 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.
    • There's no way to avoid Hudson's death though. So even if you save Alex, you still have to watch Jason die.
    • The first half of "Achilles' Veil", where you play as Farid. As if shooting a bunch of Yemeni soldiers wasn't bad enough, towards the end, you have to kill Harper, or attempt to kill Menendez, which will result in Farid getting killed. To make it worse, if you want the Golden Ending, Harper must die.
    • "Odysseus" is just as bad, if not worse. Did you kill Harper? Good, now watch as Farid dies anyway Taking the Bullet for Chloe (or alternatively, dying after he shoots DeFalco in the stomach). Did you try and fail to kill Menendez, which resulted in Harper being spared and Farid being killed? Good, now watch as DeFalco slices Chloe's neck wide open (or if DeFalco's already dead, watch Salazar blow her brains out). Even Briggs can be killed in this level, although since you'll be briefly playing as Menendez again, and you have the option to merely wound him, if you kill Briggs, you'll have no one to blame except yourself.
    • If you chose to spare Menendez at the end of the game, but you failed to rescue Chloe in "Karma" or "Second Chance" (or if you allowed Chloe to die by sparing Harper), Menendez will escape from prison, track down Woods, and slit his throat.
  • Porting Disaster: Despite getting the Nuketown 2025 multiplayer map almost two years later after other versions, the Wii U version never got all the major DLC packs and their game patches. Prior to Nuketown's arrival, the last game patch for Wii U was in March 2013. For context, that's a whole four months of patches - Black Ops 2 on the other platforms, just like every other CoD game before it, got all available DLC and newer patches all throughout the year until the next game came out. With Ghosts since released, it's guaranteed the Wii U version will not be getting any of the promised DLC packs and game patches, despite the late arrival of the Nuketown 2025 multiplayer map. Even then, the Easter Egg on the map did not make the jump to Wii U for reasons unknown.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • 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.
    • 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. Even after a patch that slightly increased the volume of footsteps, they are still very much inaudible in comparison to earlier games.
    • 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. In addition, because the matchmaking is skill-based, chances are high that you will end up being matched with the same people you met a few games back, and even higher you will end up in the same lobby that you just left, which was already a recurring problem in MW2/3.
    • K9 units, which are equally as fatal as they were in the first game, but are arguably more broken this time around. They don't draw fire from sentry guns; they won't trigger any shock charges, claymores, and bouncing betties; they can go through the Guardian's microwave energy without pain; and they have a very nasty tendency to pounce on players who have just recently respawned.
    • The spawning logic, particularly in the over-played Nuketown 2025 and Hijacked maps, is... broken, to say the least. It's possible for players to force the game to switch which team spawns where by pushing enough players into it that the opposing team starts spawning at the other spawnpoint, fixing the problem of earlier games where one team will never get out of the "bad" spawn in a level so long as one teammate insists on trying to snipe from it all day... but the game will also randomly switch spawn points for no particular reason, even as two or three people from the original team are still in it, and then refuse to apply the player's rule for switching spawns until the original team is pushed out of it entirely; tough luck if you thought your spawn point would be a safe place to wait for your care package to drop. Even worse is that in some objective-based modes like Hardpoint, the spawning logic seems to always favor one specific team and will go out of its way to switch spawn points every time the objective appears near the unfavored team's spawn - there have been rare occasions where it's even spawned both teams at the same spawn point for over a minute rather than let the unfavored team spawn near the objective and have the advantage for once.
  • Scrappy Weapon:
    • The Executioner pistol. This pistol is unique in that it utilizes shotgun shells, but the tradeoff is the damage per pellet from each shot is so weak that it takes extremely close-range shooting just to be able to bring down a target with less than the full five-shell cylinder. To add onto the weapon's woes, it has horrible reload speed and ammo capacity, as well as lacking the other pistols' long-range capability because shotguns aren't allowed to reach past ten feet. There are attachments and the Secondary Gunfighter wildcard you can use to improve this pistol somewhat, but you're probably better off actually using a shotgun over this pistol and use the spare Pick-10 points for shotgun attachments, any gun that's not the Executioner, perks, and any wildcards you want.
    • Zombies mode turns the SMR into this. In multiplayer it's powerful and accurate, well-deserving of its late unlock - in Zombies, it makes the starting 1911 look amazing. Even ignoring that semi-auto weapons are already at a disadvantage against the zombie hordes, it has low reserve capacity (only barely beating the M14, and that's assuming you didn't Pack-A-Punch it - its only real upside is that it has its regular 20-round magazines instead of a paltry 8-round one from reusing four-year-old code), it has a slow reload, it's surprisingly weak considering the power it has in multiplayer, and worst of all, thanks to a glitch the entire point of aiming down the sights is nullified as it still has bullet spread.
  • 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 Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Sniper Rifles were nerfed in a update. Certain fans were... less than pleased.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Some fans weren't as pleased with Hudson being Demoted to Extra, nor with Ed Harris being replaced by Michael Keaton, nor with Hudson being ultimately killed off, and, unlike with Woods and Mason, a fate that can't be determined by the player.
  • 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. The Cold War missions that did appear in Black Ops II were very well done, and many players felt the game would have been much better if Treyarch stuck with that instead of having it focus on the future.
  • Tough Act to Follow: In this case, being the tough act in question- Ghosts has received mixed reception from the fans, since it seems to be Infinity Ward just retreading old steps with their shooters again. To put it in an example of Tropes, when Black Ops 2 was first announced, it had a trope page within several days, and it was of a fair length by E3. In contrast, Ghost's page was only created four months before the game came out, and it did not receive any tropes until a month afterwards. Activision themselves have acknowledged this and actually don't expect it to top Black Ops II's sales figures, and sure enough, other than false reports that it managed it anyway, it hasn't sold nearly as well as Black Ops II.
    • It's also this to the series in general, as Black Ops II is the last Call of Duty game that broke sales records. Subsequent games, despite visible radical changes, are criticized for being increasingly overboard in the futuristic settings so much that as of 2017, the series decided to return to WWII.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?:
    • 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 U.S.S. 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 wouldn't succeed in international relations without the help of China.
    • Another amusing note concerning the Obama: Menendez's plan is to install a virus in the Obama and use it to gain control of, and then disable, America's drone fleet. Or, in other words, Obama taking all of America's guns away. Thanks, Obama.
  • Wheelchair Woobie: Woods may come across as such when you find out just how he got confined to one, especially in the brief flashback of him rolling up to a young David Mason to comfort him after his father's death.
  • 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.
    • Josefina Menendez. The poor girl got severely burned in a barn fire, with no one left to take care of her except her brother. Everyone presumably shunned her and considered her to be a "monster" due to her looks, no one but Raul cared about the pain she was going through, and then one day, she's snatched from her bed and kidnapped by PDF soldiers. And then she's accidentally killed by Woods after screaming for her brother to come save her.


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