Abseil into the thick of a Central American war zone, command futuristic tanks remotely, brave blazing firefights in underground facilities and battle the after-effects of a government brainwashing programme, barely stopping to smear on fresh face camo. The pace never lets up in Call of Duty: Black Ops II, so you have to create your own breathing space. Take aim, squeeze the trigger, sprint for cover and exhale.
Switching continents and eras in a blur, you’ll fight a war on several fronts, with each mission appearing more suicidal than the last. Charging through the Afghan desert on horseback, for instance, you suddenly see a long barrel appear over the crest of a hill, followed by the hulking form of a gigantic Russian tank. Your only option is to head straight for it; the odds aren’t exactly in your favour, but then, in this game, they never are.
Special perks and customisable weapons – new additions to the single player story – let you access secret ammo stores, reload faster or even adjust your rifle’s camouflage. And in the new, optional Strike Force missions, you can take a step back from the front line and order infantry squads and hi-tech combat machinery to assault critical targets. Success in these could even help you out later in the game.