Black Ops II is going to attempt to shake up the traditional Call Of Duty storytelling formula with an interesting new addition: choice. Optional Strike Force missions will become available at certain points throughout the campaign, forcing players to choose between different theatres of war and roles within each battlefield.
Joystiq explains that players will have to decide which Strike Force mission to pursue out of a small selection, with the ignored missions becoming unavailable and being refreshed by new ones later in the campaign. These maps will typically offer a single major objective - such as destroying a docked freighter or guiding a friendly gunship through Singapore by destroying turrets - and can be played in typical gung-ho FPS fashion with a single soldier.
However, at any time, players can leap into an aerial drone to get a bird's eye view of the battlefield. From this lofty vantage point, we'll be able to issue orders to friendly troops, robotic units such as the menacing CLAW and UAVs, adding a refreshing tactical element to the proceedings. Treyarch has past form with Black Ops' SR-71 mission, and it's great to see them taking the concept to its logical conclusion.
And beyond, it seems. Players won't just be able to boss around drones and robots, rather, they can be instantly hot-swapped into and controlled directly, which should provide a fun new alternative to the traditional gunplay.
The Strike Force missions will complement a slightly less linear approach to storytelling, with Treyarch suggesting that success or failure will affect the rest of the campaign. For example, failing to complete a Strike Force mission could lead to increased enemy reinforcements in later campaign levels, or even change the objectives of main villain Paul Menendez. This should vastly increase replayability, though we hope that this doesn't equate to too many escort missions.
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