Too bad the President's new vehicle doesn't stay safe for too long. During the demo, Mason has to jump into an advanced vertical take-off jet and follow the escape vehicle to make sure its safe. The President's attackers included not only ground-forces that Mason could quickly dispatch, but also a squadron of enemy jets that force you into a dog-fighting scenario. Needless to say, this 20 minutes or so of gameplay was non-stop action that took anyone familiar with downtown L.A. through some very recognizable locations. Everything from the LACC to the Staples Center and the Downtown Plaza was prominently displayed, and for the most part, destroyed.
That tidbit of Single Player Campaign wasn't all we got to experience though. Call of Duty: Black Ops II features a new type of mission outside of the main story. These "Strike Force" missions all take place in 2025 and weave their own story that takes you from mission to mission. There are a few interesting points about this particular campaign. For one, it features a branching storyline structure. Just because you failed at a mission, it doesn't mean you've lost the game. As you progress through the missions, your success or failure determines what your next tasks will be and how the story plays out. Granted, a branching storyline structure isn't all that new, but Black Ops II is the first game in the Call of Duty line to attempt it.
The other intriguing aspect of Strike Force missions is how you actually play through them. You are given a squad of fighters and an objective, and while you can play the mission in standard first-person perspective, you can quickly and easily zoom out to a bird's-eye-view in order to direct your troops and lay down objectives and waypoints as if the game were an RTS. After that, you can just as easily take over any of your resources again. Popping in and out of the front lines means that you can really direct your troops, but also stay in the meat of things, but you don't have to stick to the humans. You can take over the unmanned drones as well. There were several times when we went from the top-down view into one of the robotic tanks or flying guns and whenever we left one of the troops, be it human or robotic), the A.I. picked it up and carried on with its marching orders. Of course, the question here is, how good is the A.I. and will it behave the way you want it to?