One of the innovations that Black Ops 2 brings to the table this year is its new RTS-like ‘Strike Force’ missions. Strike Force missions are non-linear sandbox levels within the games’ single player that require you to complete certain objects – destroying several generators placed around the map, for example.
You can complete these objectives by any means; as regular infantry on the ground, controlling a drone, piloting a vehicle etc etc, and switch between them at any time. Switching between these means of combat is done by going into ‘Overwatch Mode’, which gives you a birdseye view of the battlefield and allows you to switch between the various modes of combat to tackle the level the best way you see fit.
If you want to be successful you’ll need to utilize all of the resources on offer and decide which to use at what time. Scope-out the area with a drone before hoping in to the CLAW to take out the multiple bad guys defending an objective before switching to a ground-troop to take-out the stragglers and place a charge, is the type of thing you’ll want to be doing.
You’ve a finite number of troops with which to complete your objective, though. If you suffer too many casualties it’s game over, and successes and failures in this mode will affect the outcome of Black Ops 2’s Cold War between the Americans and the Chinese.
Game Director Dave Anthony explains: “You have characters – main characters – in the story who will live or die depending on what you do, and it’s not just what you do – it’s the choices you make and your skill in Strike Force. Depending on how good you are in those missions it’ll actually have an influence on geopolitical landscape and the overall Cold War.”
The Strike Force missions won’t feature any of the games main characters, though. Woods, Mason and crew are left to deal with the goings-on in the ‘regular’ campaign levels.
The best way to understand what Black Ops’ Strike Missions are all about is to see it in action. Check out a couple Strike Force demos from E3 2012 below.