Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Wii U) Review

Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Wii U) Review

What we liked:

+ Silky smooth gameplay
+ Runs great on Wii U
+ Love the Gamepad features

What we didn't like:

- Online is a ghost town
- YouTube streaming is gone
- Gamepad required for voice chat

DEVELOPER: Treyarch   |   PUBLISHER: Activision   |   RELEASE: 11/18/2012


A new battlefield.

One of the first things some people muttered when the Wii U was announced was “But will it play Call of Duty?” Well, apparently it will. Activision and Treyarch have delivered Black Ops 2 for the Wii U at launch, and pound for pound, this is the same game on the other consoles. Sure, there are a few omissions, but the new Gamepad screen functions truly make up for it. For those wondering if the biggest game in the business is coming to Wii U; that answer is a wholehearted yes.

First, let’s talk about what is missing. Diving into the campaign headfirst, you will notice a few things if you really pay close attention. One is the frame rate. This game blisters along most of the time, but occasionally you will see some bouts of slowdown. This is more prevalent when playing exclusively on the Gamepad screen. You will also notice some bad shadow effects if you really look closely, but to be fair, this was something that I really couldn’t tell until I compared the two versions side-by-side.

Another piece missing from this version is the YouTube live streaming. While it was bound to happen considering the YouTube app on Wii U didn’t even work at launch, it is a hard pill to swallow for those really looking forward to it. This is no way brings down the experience that much, but it is worth noting. The final thing to note is that the online is truly a ghost town. You will find a healthy amount of people playing team deathmatch, but the other modes are almost vacant at times. A quick glance at the player count tells the tale. Less than 1,000 usually, which by comparison the 360 version can regularly showcase well over 700,000.

One of the coolest things about Black Ops 2 on the Wii U though is the amount of ways to play it. You can use the traditional Wiimote and nunchuk configuration, or even the Wii U Pro Controller. Of course, the recommended way is going to be the Gamepad, for various reasons. First and foremost, the second screen functions are really cool, especially in multiplayer. It allows you to switch classes without going to the menus, and execute score streaks by touching. The mini-map is also very helpful. It is also worth noting that if you intend to chat online you have to use the Gamepad, as the Pro Controller is missing the input for the headset. This is a glaring omission and troublesome if you are more accustomed to the traditional controller.

The second screen also brings a unique way to play Black Ops 2 locally. You can now use the screen on the Gamepad as your second player view. This means no more being able to see where your opponent is while playing local two-player. This is one of the coolest things about the Wii U, and it works fantastic here.

Everything else here is easily comparable to the other console versions. Nintendo fans can finally experience a true CoD game on their console, and that is a victory in itself. Our online sessions were relatively smooth, even with the problems we had on day one with connecting to WiFi. If you only own a Wii U this is one game to pay close attention to. It is one of the better ports, and the second screen functionality becomes second nature after a while. In fact, it would be hard to play without it now. Combined with the great campaign packed in, this is definitely one of the better launch ports for the Wii U.

If you want to check out our massive Black Ops 2 review for 360 and PS3, just click here.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Ken McKown
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.

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