Is Call of Duty: Black Ops II Going to Crap The Bed?

This is just one of those moments where you stand back and wonder…..what were they thinking?!?!  I played and enjoyed Call of Duty: Black Ops, I reviewed the plot line here on Reflexive Fire and found it to be very original.  It tapped into contemporary history and blended it with conspiracy theory to create something fresh and exciting.  Hey, sort of sounds like some other fictional work we know of…  Moving on.  Call of Duty: Black Ops II is nothing like the first game.

When I saw the trailer I was shocked that they pretty much threw out everything that made Black Ops unique to cash in on yet another silly Future War type video game of which dozens already exist.  Call of Duty: Ghost Recon here we come.  Drones, oh, so scary!  This was definitely a big disappointment for me.  It’s been done a million times already.

Now let’s take a quick look at this stellar “documentary” that Black Ops II had made to promo the game:

Well, well, well.  Our buddy Ollie and an academic fear mongering and trying to scare the hell out of the public.  Hey, it’s big business.  In order to drive billion dollar defense contracts you need a reason for them.  If there isn’t one, just invent one.  Fabricate the political capital needed to drive the contracts and fill the coffers.  The direction the Pentagon should be going in is smarter, not harder.  We need tactical thinkers who can operate in a decentralized manner.  See John Robb and HJ Poole for more on this.

I’m not saying there isn’t any threat from cyber-terrorism.  It is something we need to keep an eye on and do a better job of developing defenses against.  However, the manbearpig of cyber-terrorism has yet to claim perhaps even a single life.  Denial of Service attacks are like setting a flaming bag of dog crap on your neighbor’s front door, ringing the bell, and booking it.  Mildly amusing, but not terrorism.

As for the content of the video, exoskeletons?  Highly unlikely in our lifetime unless we ramp up our search and development of so-called “free energy”.  Cloak of invisibly?  I’ve talked to the CEO of HyperStealth about it and he says he can do it right now, $100 a soldier.  Directed Energy?  I highly suspect that High Powered Microwave weapons have already been used by Israel and the United States to spoof enemy radar systems.

So what about the deinstitutionalization of violence?  What about decentralized Infantry operations?  About about the collapse of the modern state and the implications that has on warfare?  The future of warfare will be post-political, the only real goal being a type of full-auto capitalism rather than people fighting for ideologies.  In future wars, franchised hunter/killer cells made up of cartel gunmen, terrorists, or Private Military Company shooters will kill each other for a paycheck with no guiding ideology or strategic goal in mind.

Now that’s a terrifying scenario.


Filed under Action Adventure, Military Fiction

19 responses to “Is Call of Duty: Black Ops II Going to Crap The Bed?

  1. Julia Hugo Rachel

    I’ve got a serious report on cyber terrorism dating back to December 2001 and the immediate measures taken per that report (which were darned amazing and broad) against future potential attacks. We trace (can see where attacks originate) at the source, but are vulnerable on our end. So, at least we get the source. The direct action taken back then for cyber security “trace” for intel, should have been taken on our end (updated systems on US soil as often as necessary). Catch up will now be one huge monster. We can thank Microsoft, Bill Gates and Apple for their forward thinking on the direct action they took to protect the trace. Those guys really were visionaries and Patriotic. We can say Ollie might have been behind the 8 ball.Oh, but that leaves him in the position of saying “we need to catch up”, which then means “Billions more in spending that goes to big businesses”. One problem, it may be too late. Cyber attacks are planned against us and are in the works, we’ve stopped some. Our only ace, is that we are “on it” with the best of the best (crackers and hackers) to trace the source; by the nano second when ultra damaging viruses/hacking come our way. Perhaps those from the cyber group Anonymous would prefer to flip? I bet so. Those picked up were picked for a reason. Hand picked. What Ollie wants to do, might be surface stuff and not necesarry. Interesting subject.

    • There is a big difference between cyber-terror and cyber-espionage. Espionage, including cryptography, cyphers, rat-lines, surveillance, ect, has been going on for thousands of years, today it of course extends into the electronic domain. Terrorism has also been going on for thousands of years as well but this type of attack is something that had not translated onto the internet. There has been no digital 9/11 and the threats of such are exaggerated in my opinion. It is important to distinguish between the hype and the reality in a time when the Department of Homeland Security would have you believe that there is a terrorist under every rock. To that end, it is also important to examine the motives behind the people providing the hype.

      • Julia Hugo Rachel

        I agee on all ponts you made. My point was that because measures were taken that I mentioned above, we are not seeing the amount or severity of cyber-terror we would have; had we not taken pre-cautionary measures then.

        A good read on this subject can be found at

        James Adams has an excellent book out on this subject and is considered a go to guy for information.

        I respectfilly disagree with your statement that “There has been no digital 9/11 and the threats of such are exaggerated in my opinion”. I think we are vulnerable.

        The worm sent in to Iran to confuse nuclear plants to slow them down is an excellent point on cyber vulnerability. Now that worm got into the wrong hands, is a problem. We are not immune, but might have been, had we listened to experts 10 years ago.


  2. That future war scenario you described as being more likely? That sounds like the plot to Metal Gear Solid 4.

  3. Julia, I was talking about franchised cells working for cash with no regard for the motives of their employers, they have no ideological foundation, they don’t even know who they are working for half the time. There is some cross talk between these groups though and that leads to another interesting and controversial idea…are these groups connected in some fashion and is there a global insurgency?

  4. Jack, a lot of what you’re talking about here—franchised cells without clear ideological goals, subsurface terrorist networks, inventing reasons for major defense hardware expenditures—is discussed (satirically) in “The Gun Seller” by Hugh Laurie, the British comedian. If you haven’t read it I think you’d find it enjoyable.

  5. Gary Hart

    A well written review except for one point that I personally take extreme exception to: The flaming bag of dog crap is not mildly amusing. It is not laugh out loud amusing. It is, in fact a riotously funny thing to do that, when properly accomplished, will leave you laughing hysterically for days. Phew. Okay. I’ve had my rant.

  6. Let’s step back a second say…it’s a video game. All your points about the future of warfare are well taken, and disagreements with them are not really proper here. I also agree that CoD:Black Ops was awesome because of plot/playability. This next one will be even better because I own shares if Activision Blizzard, and it’s going to sell a gazbillion copies.

    All that garbage about “this is the future,” has been said in every war game not set in WWII. They were all (mostly) wrong. Video games have mainstreamed, and the demographic has moved from teens to adults up to middle age. So the advertising has to shift as well. Does anybody take car commercials serious?

    The legal term is “puffing of wares.” Activison/EA would like you to think they know something you (general public) don’t. And they do, having plenty of former operators/intel guys on the payroll. But they want to sell a game that you’ll buy to play. So that means visuals, awesome tech, and innumerable hordes of bad guys to perforate as you absorb rounds like the proverbial bullet sponge.

    Aside…best moment in law school was when a Call of Duty warrior stated in constitutional law that “wars all drones and lasers today” and a fellow veteran lost it. It’s entertainment, to use Jarogniew’s language “promiscuity and petty entertainment.”

    • Yeah, I agree, but they bring on board National Security talking heads to try to give the premise behind the game legitimacy and promote it as if the game gives some great insight into the future of warfare. I was throwing my BS flag at that. For instance, I don’t promote my novels as if they are something that is really going to happen although they combine lots of factual elements in a fictional manner.

      • Well, if your a conspiracy theory guy….

        I completely agree that the ads are over the top. I’ve talked about working in recruiting for the Corps before, and the trend line in how to reach that demographic is clear: talk war. Air soft, paintball, video games, you are selling war. Sell it as being “realistic,” “snatched from the headlines.”

        There was a game named “Homefront” in 2011. Terrible game, just bad. Bad writing, play, etc. Sold over 2M copies, I think largely because the add campaign heavy on “this could happen!” Ghost Recon, Rainbow 6, all those games, go down that road. Not saying it’s right/appropriate. But the reality of a “war economy.” by which I don’t mean an economy at war, but one selling war as commodity to a populous disengaged from the actual conflict.

      • Scary implications in that, for myself as well! I’m in the same business to some extent. I try to show both sides of it and show the ugliness of war. That said, there is an aspect of war that is a great time. Yeah, war is hell but it’s also fun for many of us. We wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t like it. Guess that’s a slippery slope if ever there was one.

  7. John

    Well written review Jack – thankfully I am not much of a video gamer…..just too many great books out there.
    The constant poke at end of the world though seems to be very common, takes more thought to build up a good plot.
    I keep thinking of “Enders Game” and drones in the modern era with all the ultra-realistic games though. There is something there for certain.

    • I think I commented on this on a post we on the Loadout Room regarding how video games inform people’s vision of reality and the fiction comes to have more authenticity that reality. I need to do a blog just about that…

  8. Kinetic

    I loved Black Ops. It’s 10x better than the Modern Warfare CoD series. I was hoping it would be the Black Ops version of Modern Warfare, not future warfare. So I was very disappointed when I saw the trailer. Black Ops 1 was the only shooter game that I played a lot, and it looks like it’s gonna stay that way.

    • I thought so too. My only real complaint about Black Ops was that they threw to many vehicle scenes in there, dirt bike, PT Boat, Hind D, APC, it got silly. Also, the SR-71 overflight mission was pretty lame.

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