When you pick up Call of Duty: Black Ops II for Nintendo’s Wii U, you're getting essentially the same game you would get on any other console. The three main attractions (story campaign, multiplayer, and Zombies) appear in full force, and come complete with the improvements we mentioned in our Call of Duty: Black Ops II review.
The game is takes place in 2025, with protagonist David Mason hunting down a cyber-terrorist known as Raul Menendez, and alternates between story-tied missions in the 1980’s starring Alex Mason and Frank Woods (the good guys from the first Black Ops game). The branching storyline’s life or death choices, the explosive set-pieces, and tense plot points are just as engaging on the Wii U.
The multiplayer and Zombies modes are also identical to the Xbox 360 and PS3 counterparts. The multiplayer online matchmaking is quick and the progression system's addictiveness will suck you in for hours on end. Zombies has been expanded with the new Tranzit and Grief modes to make the largest and most engrossing survival modes in the series. There have been surprisingly few GamePad functions added to the game modes, and being able to do things like edit your custom classes with a few taps on the touch screen are nonexistent. However, one notable addition allows you to display dedicated screens for each player in split-screen local co-op.
Couch co-op players can choose between viewing the game the traditional way--with player’s screens split through the middle of the TV--or with one player using the TV and a Wii U Pro Controller and the other playing off the GamePad screen. It’s the next best thing to setting up a local area network (LAN) and playing on multiple consoles. If you’re playing co-op or are using the controller’s screen as the primary viewer, Black Ops II is easily playable on the Wii U GamePad’s display. The six inch screen is large enough to see the details and distant threats without any trouble, and it won’t hinder you even in intense multiplayer matches.
Black Ops II adds few Wii U specific controls and options that make use of the GamePad controller (with the exception to the split-screen co-op feature), leaving behind unnecessary motion gestures and gimmicks. It might have been useful to implement some touch-screen functionality to further streamline some menus and the custom class screens, but unfortunately, those features weren't included. As a full package, Call of Duty: Black Ops II’s superb offering of a balanced multiplayer, challenging Zombies modes, and entertaining single player campaign make it an excellent title to pick up on the Wii U.