Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

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"Ask most Call of Duty fans who won the Advanced Warfare Championship and they'd have to sit down and think about it," says Shane "ShAnE" McKerral, a veteran of the professional Call of Duty scene. "But if you ask them who won the Black Ops 2 Championship, which was two years before, they will say Impact in a heartbeat."

VideoVideo: The best end songs ever

Sing when you're winning (at video games).

When Lethal Weapon 3 got its cinematic release in 1992, my parents dutifully went along to the cinema to watch it. At the end of the credits, they were delighted to discover, there was one last scene - an easter egg to reward those who watched all those names scroll past on the screen. So began an excruciating family tradition.

Surprise Call of Duty Black Ops 2 update sparks Black Ops 3 reveal

Surprise Call of Duty Black Ops 2 update sparks Black Ops 3 reveal

UPDATE: Set in "a dark, twisted future". Zombies mode confirmed.

UPDATE 10/04/2015: The recently-updated Call of Duty website has been data-mined and thus we have new information about Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.

As reported by CharlieIntel.com, an official description for Treyarch's upcoming shooter was discovered within the source code of the Call of Duty website.

It confirms Black Ops is set "a dark, twisted future" where "the lines are blurred between our own humanity and the technology we created to stay ahead". So, we're going sci-fi again.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 - Vengeance review

While Battlefield 3 has exhausted its DLC arsenal, signing off with the excellent End Game back in March, its more recent rival in the Call of Duty stable still has another map pack to go before handing over to Ghosts in November.

Before then, when the attention of FPS fans will surely be drawn by the shiny possibilities of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, we have Vengeance, another seemingly randomly titled selection of multiplayer maps and Zombies add-ons. Despite the generic tough guy title, Vengeance proves to be yet another solid addition to a game that has already had some truly great bonus maps.

The weakest effort this time around is Detour, a cramped map set on a battle-damaged bridge on America's east coast. This setting defines the design; a long and narrow gauntlet of death where cover comes from mangled cars and emergency barricades. There's limited verticality, with a small underside area accessible through the smashed tarmac, and a couple of trucks topside that offer a minor height advantage. Despite the length of the map, sightlines are mostly short with only a few locations suitable for sniping.

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Happy Gran Turismo 6 day! I'm sitting here wearing my special racing boots, practising heel and toe on the Thrustmaster pedals underneath my desk as I count down the hours to 5pm when I can finally play a slice of Polyphony's latest. Lord I wish I was joking. The Gran Turismo 6 demo isn't the only notable download today, of course, and there are probably a fair few of you who don't go all dewy-eyed at the scent of burning rubber getting excited about something else entirely. So, to you: happy COD BLOPS 2 DLC day!

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 - Uprising review

It seems like only last week that I was praising Halo 4's Castle map pack for its old-fashioned focus on good, solid maps with nary an overarching theme or eye-catching gimmick to tie them together. That's because it was last week, and already here's Black Ops 2 to illustrate the point with its latest exuberant blast of downloadable content.

Call of Duty has always been the big, boisterous puppy of the shooter scene, and that's never been more evident than in this goofy quartet of new multiplayer maps and bonus Zombies campaign.

Studio is a good example of where this map pack is coming from. A remake of the Firing Range map from the original Black Ops, it's a tense cluster of enclosed spaces with long, vulnerable lines of sight separating them. In the centre, a raised tower offers an ideal vantage point for snipers, though its obviousness makes it an immediate target and the threat of a melee kill from a ladder-climbing enemy means it's only tactically valuable for bold players.

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New Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 DLC Uprising has an Alcatraz Zombies map

UPDATE: New Mob of the Dead trailer shows Ray Liotta and Michael Madsen playing gangsters fighting zombies.

Update 2: Activision has released a trailer for Mob of the Dead, starring Ray Liotta, Michael Madsen, Joe Pantoliano and Chazz Palminteri as 1920s mobsters fighting zombies on Alcatraz. Get a load of its debut trailer below. It's the cat's meow!

VideoCall of Duty: eSport of the future?

We sent Ian to the European COD Championship finals to see what all the fuss is about.

Earlier this month, our YouTube Editor Ian Higton travelled to the Call of Duty Championship European finals in Cologne to investigate how COD was faring in its attempt to enter the hyper-competitive eSports business.

VideoThis is what top-level COD competition ****ing looks like

Video evidence of the rage at the Call of Duty European Championships. Not safe for work.

Update #2: An ESL spokesperson has gotten in touch about the video and, in the interests of fairness and balance, this is the organisation's take on it: "eSports events such as the recent Electronic Sports League European Finals are highly competitive and evoke a huge amount of passion and excitement among the participants. This is no different to sports such as football and rugby, where competitive spirit and banter are part of the mind games that take place between teams. The events are always conducted in a professional manner, and this film does not reflect the generally sportsmanslike behaviour we saw over the weekend."

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 - Revolution review

Revolution is a loaded word to throw around, particularly when connected to a series widely - and sometimes wrongly - perceived to be stuck in its ways. Black Ops 2 made a surprisingly successful effort to shake up the Call of Duty formula, adding branching narrative threads and custom loadouts to its bombastic campaign corridors, but despite the name that experimental urge doesn't quite make its presence felt in the first batch of premium priced DLC.

Revolution is a peculiar finger buffet of content, containing four multiplayer maps, a new Zombies map, a new Zombies game mode and one new weapon - the first DLC weapon in the series.

That aspect has caused some consternation among fans, but despite some impressive stats the Peacekeeper is not a gamebreaker. Combining the best features of an SMG with the range and punch of an assault rifle, it's an incredibly handy piece of kit but it won't be replacing the painstakingly unlocked and customised weapons favoured by the long-serving player. What it does do is offer a more robust starting weapon for new players, and that's a crucial benefit now that the game's player base has had time to cruise past the prestige ranks, and punishing Scorestreak bonuses are rife.

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VideoBlack Ops 2 Revolution DLC live stream

Watch us play through the new maps from 3pm UK time onwards.

So it begins. We've had Nuketown Zombies already, of course, but today marks the release (on Xbox Live, at least) of the first of four proper downloadable map pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Called Revolution, it consists of four new multiplayer arenas, a Zombies co-op map called Die Rise, and the new Turned mode, where you play as zombies trying to gobble up humans. Amazing scenes.

Face-Off: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 on Wii U

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 on Wii U

The COD experience fails to impress on Nintendo's new hardware.

So let's recap. What we know of the Wii U spec strongly suggests that the new Nintendo machine should be something along the lines of an enhanced Xbox 360. We have a tri-core IBM CPU, an improved, more modern AMD Radeon graphics core, twice as much RAM available to developers and we even see a substantial boost in the volume of fast eDRAM directly attached to the GPU. There are trade-offs in any console design, but the key ingredients suggest that 360 ports should transition across to the new hardware fairly easily. Unfortunately, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 proves that the situation is not quite so straightforward.

Based on a visual analysis at least, it seems clear that developer Treyarch thought its best bet in bringing Black Ops 2 to the Wii U was to transplant its existing Xbox 360 work lock, stock and barrel across to the new hardware. In putting together our usual comparison videos and galleries, what struck us was the level of parity between the 360 and Wii U games - aside from gamma issues, we're essentially looking at exactly the same presentation.

All of this means that the new version gets the same 880x720 native resolution, with the same sharp upscaling filter employed on the Xbox 360 release. There's even 2x multi-sampling anti-aliasing (MSAA) - the first time we've seen hardware AA deployed in-game on a Wii U title (admittedly, it's early days there).

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FeatureWhy are we stuck with games being released on a Friday?

An investigation into the origins, arguments and potential for change.

For as long as most folk remember, games have launched on Fridays in the UK and on Tuesday in the US. That's the way of things. Sometimes they converge for a glitzy worldwide launch but mostly they don't - they stick to the norm, and Europeans wait.

UK chart: oh my COD

UPDATE: Black Ops 2 launch smaller than Black Ops, MW3 and MW2.

UPDATE 2: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 sold fewer copies than 1.7 million in launch week in the UK.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 PS3 patch released

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 PS3 patch released

Fixes console lock-up issues - for some.

Activision has released a patch to combat the Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 system lock-ups some were experiencing on PlayStation 3.

These freezing issues were occurring in online play, specifically when entering a public multiplayer lobby.

Activision said yesterday that it was aware that some were still experiencing system lock-ups despite installing the patch “and we are doing everything we can to get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible”.

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This week on Outside Xbox

The Black Ops 2 launch, GTA5 taken apart and more.

Like one of those brilliant scuffles between two men in rubber monster suits stomping around in a miniature city, this week saw not only the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, but also the unveiling of Grand Theft Auto 5's second trailer. Over at Outside Xbox we clambered all over Black Ops 2 Live like an amorous spider, grabbing a chat with Michael Rooker, who stars in the game, and experiencing the contrast between mumbled missives and boundless enthusiasm from Jack Whitehall and Chris 'Kammy' Kamara respectively. More usefully, we chatted to Treyarch's eSports advisor Hastr0 about how to read a Call of Duty match using the game's new revamped spectator and theatre mode, which forms the basis of 'CoDcasting'.

Digital FoundryBlack Ops 2: Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3?

Preliminary findings from the upcoming Digital Foundry Face-Off.

It's fair to say that Treyarch's track record in terms of cross-platform conversions is patchy at best, especially evident when the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of 2010's Call of Duty: Black Ops are compared directly. Lower frame-rates, lower resolution frame buffers, and PSN's online issues gave the impression that the firm's focus had been directed towards the Xbox 360 version of the game, resulting in a sub-par experience for PS3 owners. So how does Black Ops 2 fare?

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 review

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 review

The changing of the guard.

Let's not be coy. We both know why you're here. You want to know if this is the one. Is this the game that will finally turn the tide and see Call of Duty given a bloody good kicking? Believe me, I understand that impulse. We're conditioned to root for the underdog, not to cheer on a champion that's already spent five years on top.

Sorry to disappoint, but Black Ops 2 is not the cynical obligation you might think. It may be destined to earn all the money in the world between now and next November, but that assurance has gifted developer Treyarch with confidence, not arrogance. For so long considered the second-string studio, brought in to add to the series on Infinity Ward's off years, Black Ops 2 sees Treyarch not only adding to the franchise but taking ownership of it. This is a game that dares to take a billion-dollar formula and muck about with it.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the campaign mode. Bucking the trend for increasingly stunted single-player shooter experiences, Treyarch has returned to the belief that the solo portion of an FPS is the beating heart of the game, not a grudging tradition useful only for bombastic trailer shots.

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First Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Nuketown 2025 map gameplay

Activision has released a video showing gameplay from the Nuketown 2025 map for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

Nuketown 2025 is Black Ops 2's version of Black Ops' popular Nuketown map. Its retro futuristic US nuclear test suburb aesthetics and happy go lucky mannequins are crammed into one of the smallest play spaces in the game.

To get the map you have to pre-order the game. Doing so also nets you a double XP weekend.

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Modern Warfare 4 leaked by Captain Price voice actor

UPDATE: Infinity Ward "We've not talked with any voice actors, so all news is speculation."

Update: Infinity Ward has denied meeting with Murray about Modern Warfare 4. "Interesting news today, but it's not true," said the developer on twitter. "We've not talked with any voice actors, so all news is speculation."

FeatureAn audience with Syndicate

How a regular northern teen became a YouTube gaming sensation.

I'd finished my interview with Tom Cassell, and it had gone fairly well. Although, something did feel like it was missing. "Would you mind if I walked with you for a bit?" I asked. "So I can see it happen?" Tom was enthusiastic - he is about most things. So we took to the floor of the Eurogamer Expo.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 debuts Zombie mode gameplay

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 debuts Zombie mode gameplay

Tranzit and Grief modes revealed.

Last week Activision teased a zombie mode in Treyarch's upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, but now we can see it in action in the full trailer below.

The zombie multiplayer modes will be available for up to eight players, according to a report by Polygon.

In addition to the usual Survival mode - where you fend off waves of the undead - there will be two new modes, Tranzit and Grief.

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Every Wii U UK launch game listed

Every Wii U UK launch game listed

Just seven retail titles confirmed for launch day.

Update: Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed has been added to this list.

Original Story: The Wii U will launch in the UK with just seven fully-fledged retail titles, Nintendo has announced, including FIFA 13, Rayman Legends, Mass Effect 3 and New Super Mario Bros. U.

Mini-game compilation Nintendo Land is one of that number - despite coming free with the more expensive Wii U Premium model.

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EGXTreyarch to present Black Ops 2 developer session at Eurogamer Expo

Call of Duty developer David Vonderhaar's talk entitled "Challenging Assumptions".

This s*** just got realer! Realer? More real. Corporeal. Manifest. Substantial. Etc. Yes, we're very pleased to reveal that at this year's Eurogamer Expo we will have Treyarch presenting a Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 developer session at 3pm on Friday 28th September.

Black Ops 2 trailer shows off multiplayer

A new trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 - below - shows off the upcoming first-person shooter's multiplayer.

Being that Treyarch's sequel is the first Call of Duty to take place in the future, there's an array all new gadgets like mechs, transforming microwave emitters, controllable drones and peculiar qaud-propellered aerial crafts.

For more info, our Nick Cowen previewed Black Ops 2 and said, "it certainly looks more explosive than anything Treyarch has done before."

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Digital FoundryCall of Duty: Black Ops 2 and the 60FPS Challenge

Can current console hardware handle an increasingly more advanced game engine without compromising COD's unique gameplay experience?

Another year, another Call of Duty - and, from a technological perspective, Black Ops 2 could prove to be the most ambitious yet. Treyarch's latest continues the company's tradition of expanding and improving upon the core Infinity Ward engine, with a host of new engine advancements revealed in the footage seen to date. The question is, at a time where many developers seem to be approaching the limits of current-gen consoles, can this ever-evolving codebase sustain the 60 frames per second update that the series has always aspired to?

Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 Preview: Appetite for Destruction

FeatureCall Of Duty: Black Ops 2 Preview: Appetite for Destruction

Treyarch goes big for its blockbuster sequel.

It may be a sad indication of how the proverbial blockbuster has evolved over the years, but recently I've started to judge popcorn movies and triple-A shooters based on how entertainingly they destroy cities. Over the last half decade I've seen so many famous cities wiped off the map for my amusement, I now expect games developers and film directors to exhibit both originality and creativity in how they orchestrate violent urban renewal.

Whether you're a fan of their work or not, one can't deny that Infinity Ward is a past master when it comes to this sort of thing. It's also to the developer's credit that reducing urban conurbations to piles of rubble isn't entirely about upping the shock and awe ante; there's something genuinely disturbing on an emotional level about seeing landmarks such as the New York Stock Exchange, the London Underground and the Washington Memorial with chunks blown out of them.

If all of that sounds disturbing, then consider this: it also constitutes part of what gamers expect from the 'authentic Call Of Duty experience', which Treyarch's Community Manager John Rafazz says lies at the heart of what the Santa Monica developer is trying to deliver with the single-player campaign for Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2.

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Meet Persian Gulf Soldiers - the Iranian Call of Duty

Iranian marines versus Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Battlefield - for years western military first-person shooters have featured US soldiers killing terrorists. Now, the Middle East is having a go at its own take on the genre.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 DLC exclusive to Xbox 360 first

All Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 DLC will arrive on Xbox 360 first, Microsoft exec Don Mattress has just confirmed.

The exclusivity deal follows similar agreements for previous Call of Duty titles.

A live gameplay demo of Black Ops 2, set in the near future, showcased an American city under siege from terrorists. The French president is pinned down, and you have to rescue him.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 announced

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 announced

Set in 21st century Cold War. First images.

Activision has announced Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 for release on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on 13th November.

The pre-order description on the official Call of Duty website reveals basic story details. Black Ops 2 is set in the near future, during a 21st century Cold War "where technology and weapons have converged to create a new generation of warfare".

The debut trailer is currently linked to but set to private on YouTube. Leaked images show the game's quadrotor, teased in videos released previously. There's box art too.

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