7. SHOOTING'S JUST THE HALF OF IT
During our main twenty-minute demo of a mission late on in the campaign (during which we were shown David Mason battling through Downtown Los Angeles as it's shelled to pieces by drones) we witnessed one fixed turret SAM section, one short driving section along a collapsing freeway, and one heart-in-mouth FA-38 jet piloting sequence involving dogfights between LA's burning skyscrapers. Amazingly the circling battle through the skies wasn't an on-rails section but a deadly freeform air battle weaving in and out of the city's streets. The section was played out at such an intensity we dread to think how many times we're going to plough cockpit-first into a building when it's our turn to take control later in the year.
Of course, Call of Duty is no stranger to peppering its run-and-gun action with some more exotic set-pieces, but the ones in Black Ops 2's demo mission hit hard and fast one after another after another. It's like Treyarch never want to let anybody settle into one pattern for too long, completely forgetting that thanks to mix of human, land drones and aerial drones, the 'regular' combat sections are potentially more varied than their Black Ops 1 counterparts anyway.
8. THE IW ENGINE LOOKS BETTER THAN EVER
You can nip those engine grumbles in the bud nice and early. Just because Treyarch isn't putting a brand new engine through its paces for Black Ops 2 doesn't mean it's content with the old one. While it's true the Infinity Ward engine makes its expected return, it does so with enough new bells and whistles to burst a few eardrums.
We could bog the page down with technobabble right about now, but the proof is in the watching and that's what Treyarch let us do during our studio visit, slowly strolling around two multiplayer maps and revelling in the details. Our verdict? Suitably impressed. Side-by-side the level and texture details on show embarrass those found in Black Ops 1, with bounce lighting and reveal mapping techniques helping to paint areas that look photorealistic in places. Importantly, this added visual oomph isn't at the expense of the performance. Treyarch treat their 60fps benchmark seriously and refuse to accept anything that would cause the framerate to drop below.