Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Common Sense Media says

Extremely violent military shooter with profanity, drugs.

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game sensationalizes realistic military violence and makes it appear as though well-trained soldiers are capable of taking on entire armies themselves. The vast majority of play is designed to deliver thrills through the violent death of enemies at the player's hands. The story tackles some tough questions to do with justice and vengeance, often resulting in grey moral ground where players are forced to choose between options neither of which is clearly "right."

Positive role models

Most of the game's main characters are good soldiers looking to do right by their country and comrades. They're willing to do anything -- including die -- for their friends. That said, they also enjoy perpetrating violence. Players also take on the role of the game's villain in a couple of missions, and have the opportunity to perform some clearly evil actions, including killing a top American military commander.

Ease of play

As with most modern first-person shooters, this game is easy to pick up but difficult to master, especially online. Even rookies should be able to grow comfortable pretty quickly in the campaign mode (multiple difficulty settings will help them along), but online play requires months of practice to become seriously competitive.

Violence

This game depicts gritty, realistic, military combat. Players kill human enemies with pistols, rifles, machine guns, missile launchers, grenades, and other ranged weapons, with blood spraying and spattering the ground. Cinematic sequences show more dramatic deaths, including graphic melee kills, people burning to death, civilians killed in crossfire, torture, and a shipping container filled with rotting corpses. In one scene the player steps into the shoes of a villain and goes on a murderous rampage against soldiers, the screen turning red with blood rage as he takes damage. 

Sex

One mission set in a nightclub shows dozens of female characters dancing provocatively while wearing revealing outfits that expose generous amounts of cleavage.

Language

Soldiers use realistic, uncensored adult language. Expect frequent occurrences of words including "f--k," "s--t," and "c--k." 

Consumerism

This game is part of the expansive and massively popular Call of Duty franchise, and may lead players to seek out other games within the series.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drugs and other substances are seen throughout the game. The chief villain is a drug dealer. Players raid his "cocaine bunker," which has bags of drugs lying on tables. Also, Afghanis are shown smoking a hookah. A scene set in a backyard has soldiers drinking beer, and a senior officer is depicted smoking a cigar. 

Privacy & safety

Serious privacy and safety concerns. This game supports open online communication, which means players may be exposed to inappropriate language and topics of conversation, and that they may be lured to reveal identifying information. This series is among many online shooters that have a reputation for attracting players who exhibit poor online behavior.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Call of Duty: Black Ops II is a gritty, extremely violent military first-person shooter set mostly in the near future. Players engage in graphic combat that involves constant killing using realistic weapons, with blood and gore pouring across the screen during more intense scenes. Cinematic sequences can be even more dramatic and graphic, with both soldiers and civilians dying in horrible ways. Players are cast in the role of good guys during most of the campaign, but they also take on the role of the game's villain in a couple of pivotal scenes, giving them opportunity to do evil. This M-rated game has frequent profanity and some sexual themes and drug use. Parents should also be aware that this game facilitates open voice communication.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • global awareness
  • historical figures

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • logic
  • strategy

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

What Kids Can Learn

Call of Duty Black: Ops II wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • global awareness
  • historical figures

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • logic
  • strategy

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

Call of Duty Black: Ops II wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS II jumps back and forth through time from the Cold War era to the near future. The story revolves around a Central American drug dealer who carries a grudge against a group of American soldiers for the death of his sister. As time goes on, his quest for vengeance grows, eventually transforming into an ideological war against the West. Players engage in standard first-person shooter mayhem throughout the campaign, occasionally taking the wheel of vehicles or manning emplaced turrets. They'll also get to play with some high-tech gear, including wing suits, robots, and quadricopters while carrying out missions set in the future.

Most players will spend more time online than in the story mode. They'll begin by training, then get sorted into league matches against players of similar skill where they'll begin the slow process of completing challenges and leveling up their character. A second, more fantastical multiplayer mode called Zombies has players working cooperatively as they go up against hordes of undead creatures.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Call of Duty: Black Ops II's single-player story mode is a little disappointing. Some missions are surprisingly deficient in serious action (expect to do a lot of walking and talking). Others, like a level set in Afghanistan that has players riding around a small, semi-open desert shooting rockets while riding horses, are missing the series' trademark tight, linear, cinematic pacing. The third act is pure spectacle and packs a real wallop, but it takes a little too long to get there. Gamers who play only the single-player component of Call of Duty games may come away disappointed.

Multiplayer, on the other hand, is close to sublime. Online play is well balanced and extremely deep, delivering immediate frenetic action for veterans who want to jump headfirst into the fray while offering newbies the opportunity to slowly submerge themselves in the experience via a well-designed combat trainer. And Zombies is nearly a game unto itself, offering several modes for fans of cooperative play. Suffice to say most players will be kept busy for months.  

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about violence in media. Where do you draw the line on violence for your teenage children? Do you think violent movies and games are equal, or do they affect younger audiences in different ways?   

  • Families can also discuss online safety. Do you know what steps to take when approached by online bullies and predators? What should your first course of action be?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii U, Windows
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Activision
Release date:November 13, 2012
Genre:First Person Shooter
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Drugs (Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Call of Duty: Black Ops II was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bychartedfan312 November 14, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

The Whole Story

As usual Common Sense Media is only telling you half of the story. Just as in the original Black ops, you have the choice when you start the game to disable the graphic content. I have played about 2 or 3 hours of the campaign (on the PS3) and have not heard a single cuss word. The graphic content reducer is not only censoring the worst words but all of the cuss words. However it does do this a lot which tells you that if you were playing the normal way the language would be very bad. The graphic content reducer also greatly reduces the blood and violence. There are certain parts of the game where the screen actually goes black in order to hide the violence. I have played both off and online and have yet to hear a cuss word. Now, of cource, if you don't mute the other online players then you are likely to hear some cursing, but muting them is easier than ever. Just go over to the list of players and press the square button and select MUTE ALL EXCEPT FOR PARTY (You may have to be over your own name to do this. I'm not sure.). I haven't played the zombie part of the game yet but I expect that it will be censored in the same way as the campaign. Also, I should note that I haven't played enough of the game to know what the suggestive themes are about, but Uncharted 2 had the same 3 dot rating for sex and it wasn't very bad (the kind of sutff you see on basic tv.) However I may write another review after I have played more of the game. Oh yeah, and by the way, I really love the game so far.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written bySpencin8r November 15, 2012
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Black Ops 2

This game may not be the most educational,least violent,or even least scary game out there but parents shouldn't give up on it quite yet. First off, all gore can be turned off, secondly I honestly think the gore can be left on for someone 12 and older. It teaches kids the brutality of war and can be a real wake up call. Plus it has a great campaign, totally unrealistic zombie gore, and multiplayer where you can connect with friends and people across the globe. Definitely great for someone 12 and up!

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written byCato Hadley November 14, 2012
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Black OPS

It is a war game, it is intertaining can keep you busy for hours! I rate you play it only if you like war games and to watch blood splatter out of Zombies!

What other families should know
Too much violence

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