Despite being the most popular gaming franchise in the known universe, Ive not met anybody who claims to actually like Call of Duty. Everyone complains about it: whether theyre whinging about the linearity and shortness of the campaign or getting uppity because the online mode is broken it seems that Call of Duty has no fans at all. Its like Michael McIntyre, or fish pie phenomenally successful, despite the fact that it makes everybody who goes near it throw up. After a few years of super-stardom back in the Infinity Ward days, the series quickly lost direction and a lot of its fanbase. These days, CoD forums exist only to highlight gameplay flaws and bitch about Activision; with its glory days long gone, and only a few bloated follow-ups since, Call of Duty is the gaming industrys fallen rock-star. One of these days were going to find Call of Duty dead in a hotel room, overdosed on weapon perks and lying in a pool of its own revenue. At least, thats what I thought until I saw the Black Ops II trailers. Undoubtedly my pick of E3, CoDBLOPS II has all the makings of the best Call of Duty game since 2007. Big, bold and boisterous, Treyarchs future-shooter looks exactly like the gun-shot to the arm that Call of Duty needs. Heres why:
5. Its Set In The FutureIt was only a matter of time before Call of Duty hit 88mph. Having blown-up most of the twentieth century and the noughties, Treyarch are quantum-leaping into 2025 for Black Ops II. Its a bold move - swapping the trademark military realism for sleek futuristic fantasy marks a huge step out of CoDs comfort zone - but it shows balls, and thats what the series has been missing. Ever since Modern Warfare went twenty-six times platinum, Activision has been naturally reluctant to change the formula. Military advisors, real-world locations and spot-on ballistics have defined Call of Duty for the past five years. But Black Ops II does away with all that, and the results look fantastic: robots, flying turrets, and Aliens-style mech battle suits give you more toys to play with than ever. Where the endless shoot-reload-repeat of Modern Warfare was starting to give everybody a thousand-yard stare, now you can zap enemies with laser guns or sneak up on them with unmanned drones. There are bazookas that can launch twenty missiles at once, or sniper rifles that can be charged up to shoot through brick walls and armoured vehicles. And thats all weve seen so far: by the time Black Ops II lands in November, itll probably include a gun that fires helicopters, or something.