Each game review is intended to answer the question: “Is this game safe for my child to play?”

My goal is to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ into the world of gaming and gaming addiction.

If you want more info on how we go about grading games, you can check out our Game Review Scoring Guide.

Games are scored 1 (the worst) to 4 (the best). The Overall Grade is based on the average of the six categories below.

Overall Grade:  1.7 (deeply concerning)

Grade Summary: The predecessor to the newly released Black Ops III deserves some attention. This game contains an extreme amount of violence, swearing and adult themes. This should be avoided for younger gamers and discussed thoroughly for older gamers. There may be more positive options out there that are still incredibly fun.

Black Ops II includes graphic violence, swearing, graphic death, as well as an intense plot and combat scenes.

 

credit: Avtivision
credit: Avtivision

SCORES

  • Violence & Gore: 1 (very concerning)
  • Sexuality: 3 (somewhat concerning)
  • Profanity: 1 (safe mode removes swear words)
  • Spirituality: 2 (moral decisions not always an option)
  • Length of Play: 2 (can only save at sporadic checkpoints)
  • Theme: 1 (very concerning)

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360


Game Summary

Call of Duty: Black Ops II puts the players between two storylines: The Cold War of the 1980s between Russia and the US, and a future Cold War in the year 2025 between the US and China. The graphics and storyline are both more intense than the previous Black Ops, although the play is similar: Kill everyone who gets in your way.

 

SCORES IN DETAIL

Violence & Gore: 1

  • Killing is the focus. Sometimes it’s with retro weapons of the 1980s, sometimes futuristic weapons of 2025, but it is always gory.
  • It is possible to blow enemy heads to pieces or slash them to death with your knife.
  • The storyline has you play as the evil character at one point where you murder and dismember a group of soldiers.
  • There is no short-cut for carnage: The game dawdles over images of both soldiers and civilians dying in horrible ways.
  • There is an option to take out the gore and the swearing built into the game. This does not get rid of the fact that you are still shooting, slashing, and otherwise dismembering lots of people. It also does not remove the numerous dead bodies strewn about throughout the game.
  • There are scenes of torture and execution including a bound man being shot in the knees and a hostage having their throat slit.
  • Death scenes include both gratuitous violence as well as the screams of the dying.

Sexuality: 3

  • In zombies there is a female character introduced who seems to have forgotten part of her wardrobe at home. She doesn’t do anything sexual, but her busty appearance and black metal bra has drawn the attention of male players so it seems to be worth noting.
  • One scene includes a club where shadows of pole dancers gyrate in front of patrons.

Profanity:  1

  • There is significant swearing in this game.
    • There IS an option to turn off profanity.
    • Without this edit the storyline characters will say
      • “f**k”
      • “s**t”
      • “as***le”
    • Online, other players swear openly and frequently and can become verbally abusive towards those they are frustrated with. There is an option to request a moderator, but it is more frequent than that feature is useful for.

 

Spirituality: 2

  • Much like previous Call of Duties, the player is exposed to hard realities that war is spiritually dark. There is little hope, a demented villain who takes revenge slowly and seems to enjoy causing suffering in others.

 

Length of Play: 2

  • You can only save at check-points, which are sporadically throughout the game.
  • On average takes 8-10 hours to beat the main campaign.
  • You cannot save at all during cooperative game play.

 

Adult themes: 1

  • The lines between good and bad are blurred: Bad guys can do things for seemingly good reasons and good guys can do bad things. The story really challenges ideas of what is good and bad. While this is can be reality, it is a theme that should be dealt with in conversation at a time where such ideas can be processed.
  • Scenes of murder and revenge, and a life built around getting even through violence are frequent throughout.
  • Like its predecessors, Black Ops II includes a zombies edition which features a more violent than ever, large scale, fast-paced graphic kill fest.

 

DLC (Downloadable Content)

  • Downloadable maps and expansions are available for the game.

 

 

Bonus Material

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has spawned some fascinating discussions about the role technology plays in our lives.  A piece written by Yannick Lejacq of the Wall Street Journal looks at how the storyline of this game argues technology has too much control, and then models that very dilemma in the gameplay and storyline. It’s a fascinating read if you’re interested.

 

 

This review is based off of player feedback, in-person interviews and online research that includes Plugged-In, Trusted Reviews, Wikipedia, Guide2Games, and Common Sense Media.