Call of Duty Black Ops 2 PC Technical Review



Product: Call of Duty Black Ops 2
Company: Activision
Author: Sean Ridgeley
Editor: Eric Amidon
Date: November 20th, 2012

UI, multiplayer, extra features, conclusion

User interface

While the UI here isn't elegant by any stretch of the imagination, it is mostly efficient. It could do with some refining and resizing to make it more pleasant to look at, but it does prove decently fitted for high resolution monitors.

The bigger issue is the gun selection and customization screens, which are less then ideal in that you can only really see one weapon at a time, forcing you to scroll through the list instead of just looking at all of them and picking one very quickly this is in contrast to other menus, which go the latter route.

By and large, though, PC players will have a pleasant experience in navigating around the various menus and HUD seemingly everything responds as you'd expect, keys are represented appropriately, and menus are (mostly) well-organized.

Multiplayer

Now for the real kick in the junk: dedicated servers are supported, but there's no server browser, no server files released, and no option to rent servers. While using matchmaking menus to play on dedicated servers works reasonably well and quickly I observed no real lag across many play sessions -- and functionality is there for gaming with friends, it definitely hurts the game some.

Some were overjoyed when dedicated servers were put back in recent Call of Duty games, only to find in Modern Warfare 3 at least that ranked games weren't supported on them, making the whole operation kind of pointless. Thankfully, ranked dedicated server play is allowed this time around.

VOIP is supported, and happily, only Push-To-Talk, as well as a handy 'Mute All Except Party' option. Oddly enough, I didn't encounter anyone talking in my play time.

Extra features

For players into streaming and recording matches, there's plenty of support for that in Black Ops 2 with the easy to use Theater mode and COD TV.

NVIDIA 600 series users with the latest beta drivers will be able to utilize the new TXAA form of anti-aliasing via an in-game option, and SGSSAA as well via NVIDIA Inspector. If you don't recall, TXAA reduces temporal aliasing, though can introduce blur. Judging from TXAA creator Timothy Lotte's screens, though, it actually increases sharpness significantly, so it's definitely worth looking into just be warned you'll need to turn off AO for now to get it working.

Eyefinity works well in Black Ops 2, though runs into issues with Surround you may want to check out Widescreen Fixer to help with that. Multi-GPU setups, meanwhile, are officially supported a patch has already been released to improve framerates for users running them.

Conclusion

As far as PC versions go, Black Ops 2 hits almost all of the sweet spots, stumbling only really on the server front, and a little with user interface. Otherwise, the extensive graphics options, excellent performance, mostly solid controls, and respectable visuals make for a commendable effort.