Call of Duty: Black Ops II E3 2012 Preview

Mixing RTS and FPS.

Everyone had the opportunity to witness the first of Call of Duty: Black Ops II’s two E3 demos when it closed out Microsoft’s media briefing. Another US city, Los Angeles, is lit ablaze as David Mason tries desperately to protect the President from assassination by drone invasion. However, it’s not the Michael-Bay-like explosions and set pieces that were the most intriguing part of the latest Call of Duty title at the big show. In a new twist on traditional franchise combat, Black Ops II will feature a single-player game mode known as Strike Force missions that combine the series’ classic first-person shooter action with that of a real-time strategy game.

Taking place alongside the campaign and having an impact that sounds similar to how Galaxy at War worked for Mass Effect 3, Strike Force will engage players in special ops missions around the world to help stop the enemy threat. In the closed-doors session I witnessed, the reps at Activision played on a dock in Singapore filled with shipping containers. The goal was to establish a satellite uplink to the area in three separate locations before using it to launch a missile that would sink an enemy freighter. As the special forces worked toward their goal, they were besieged by what seemed to be endless waves of opposing militants.

I got to see just how Strike Force looks to shake things up from all previous Call of Duty titles. Switching into Overwatch mode, the Activision demo driver went into a birds-eye view of the battlefield, scanning the map to find enemy deployments and objectives as well as direct soldiers and drones where to go. Once all the micromanagement was taken care of in Overwatch, he could highlight and jump into any friendly soldier or drone on the map, switching the game back to its normal FPS flavor. If that unwas were to perish, the game would automatically return him to Overwatch.

Overwatch will allow players to handle Strike Force a bit like an RTS.

Though Overwatch will allow for troop movement and scouting, that’s just about all it will offer in the form of strategy gaming. There will be no resources to manage, units won’t level up and gain experience through completing these missions, and soldiers won’t be customizable – they’re no-name disposables. However, this doesn’t mean that what is being done with Strike Force isn’t good. The troops appear to respond quickly and efficiently,  even seeking cover if moved into an exposed position, and the wider view of the battlefield – including enemy locations – will be a great aid to strategy. Strike Force wwill not be complicated, but promises to be effective at what it brings to the table.

Despite the impact of each Strike Force mission on the campaign, it won’t be a strong enough to demand success every time around. Failing one of these assignments will not stop the narrative from moving forward. What that failure will cost the player isn’t completely clear, but it most likely won’t be something big enough for players to lose sleep over.

Though not as deep a transformation as it could be, Strike Force is certainly a fresh idea in a series that hasn’t had many since the original Modern Warfare. How well that idea will be executed will be determined when Call of Duty: Black Ops II is released on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on November 13.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Mike Murphy View all posts by
Mike has been playing games for over two decades. His earliest memories are of shooting ducks and stomping goombas on NES, and over the years, the hobby became one of his biggest passions. Mike has worked with GamerNode as a writer and editor since 2009, giving you news, reviews, previews, a voice on the VS Node Podcast, and much more.

One Comment on "Call of Duty: Black Ops II E3 2012 Preview"

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.