Changes in direction and story, as well as new game modes lead the ''Black Ops'' franchise forward

By Darren Franich
Updated November 16, 2012 at 05:00 AM EST

After the past three CoD entries set stratospheric annual sales records, the franchise didn’t really need to tinker with the formula. But Black Ops II (out now) features some new directions for the first-person-shooter series. Unlike its somewhat realistic predecessors, the new game takes a brave leap into the future, boasting sequences set in 2025 that pit you against flying military robots. Black Ops II also has a branching story-line structure, with multiple endings available. (Like the first Black Ops, this one was co-written by Dark Knight coscribe David S. Goyer.) Best of all, the game doubles down on the popular ”Zombies” minigame, with a host of new undead-killing modes and even a full-fledged campaign. Slowly but surely, change is coming to Call of Duty.