Snipers strike back in Black Ops 2

For two years now, virtual snipers had been feeling down. Black Ops had changed the rules and made clear it wanted to end the quickscopers’ domination, even if it meant edging out all snipers. The situation is no better one year later with a terrible MW3 and a nicer BF3, but in which it takes half a day to snipe someone.

2012 begins in the worst possible way with Medal of Honor Warfighter, the multiplayer of which is beyond failure. My hopes therefore are in Treyarch’s hands, the ones responsible for the casual turn of CoD in 2010. My anguish turned out to be groundless as Black Ops 2 fixes part of the problem.

The first thing that strikes me is the quality of the maps, far better designed than in MW3 or BO1. There are many high spots and clear firing lines. Sniping spots face each other to prevent abusive camping. Snipers are unfortunately very likely to be backstabbed, because maps are tiny and game speed still significantly higher than in MW2.

The rifles themselves are very effective. Again, no quickscoping (ADS takes a long time), but hitmarkers remain scarce (expect for the Ballista) and the power of the DSR50 or the SVU-AS is overwhelming. Sway is no longer a problem : this little device onto the scope called the ballistics CPU makes WONDERS as it nearly nullifies it. FMJs goes trough thick concrete like it were butter, making all attempt of cover useless. The accuracy and stopping power of auto weapons have been nerfed at long range, which lets us about a second to aim.

This is bad news for MW3 maniacs. Used to run across narrow maps where danger never comes from farer than 5 meters, they lament the loss of stellar ratios and their being unable to do double-digit killstreaks. They can hardly complain, because they keep 3 key advantages : supernatural running speed, unrivaled CQC mastery and their ultimate weapon, aim assist. It is optional but set on by default has the game aim for those noobs, who just have to pull the trigger and collects points. It represents 1 to 2 seconds in duels, which is enormous and penalize old-timers.

To conclude, I would say that I partially felt what I had felt in MW2, but without the comfort of it. The fun is undermined by Treyarch keeping certain options to favor a mainstream audience. The developer is sitting on the fence, and future updates will show whether snipers are really back in the loop again.


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