Black Ops II is the ninth main title in the Call of Duty first-person shooter franchise and the sequel to Call of Duty: Black Ops. It is set primarily in the near future of 2025 with one third of the game also taking place in the late 1980s. The timelines and story are connected through the playable characters of Alex Mason and Frank Woods in the past, and David Mason — the son of Alex Mason — in the future timeline. The future missions also feature an aged Woods giving exposition for the 1980s backdrop and share the same villain, Raul Menendez, who's decades long vendetta is the primary focus of the single player campaign. The plot centers on a new cold war between China and The United States over REE (Rare Earth Elements) and its manipulation by Menendez. It has an emphasis on unmanned drones and other robotic technology — a first for the series. Another first for the series is the ability to customize multiplayer-style loadouts before each mission as well as a far less linear campaign. The player can now make choices throughout the storyline that can affect small aspects such as the appearance of NPCs all the way to major decisions that can change the ending entirely. There are new sandbox-style missions dubbed Strike Force. Playing similar to a real-time strategy game, these missions give the player the opportunity to command troops and drones from an overhead view but with the option to zoom into any one of the units, at which point the gameplay switches to standard first-person shooter controls and gameplay. Strike Force is implemented within the campaign and has repercussions on the storyline depending on how the player performs.
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