In defense of Black Ops 2: Stop complaining about the graphics, it's invalid now
First of all, let me inform you that I'm not a big fan of military first person shooters, of-course I play them; I go through the SP campaigns and play some online matches and then move on to the next game. The last military FPS that I had played extensively online was Battlefield: Bad Company 2. I prefer playing first person shooters with great narrative and storytelling such as the Half life and Bioshock games, and first person games with non linear gameplay such as the Crysis and the Deux Ex games. Why I'm telling you this? Just because to tell you that I don't really care that much about the next Call of Duty game or the next Battlefield game, but since the debut trailer for Black Ops 2 went online, everyone has been complaining about how outdated the visuals are in the trailer for Black Ops 2. Gamers who are complaining about Black Ops 2's visuals need to stop doing that. Why? read on to find out.
Call of Duty games are one of the few first person shooters on consoles that runs at 60 FPS or target 60Hz implementation, in fact the only other first person shooter that I can think of that runs at 60 FPS is Id Software's post apocalyptic FPS, Rage. Call of Duty games runs at a Sub-HD resolution on consoles and sometimes the frame rate dips below 60 when the action gets hectic. Rage on the other hand, runs on consoles with a dynamic framebuffer that adjusts resolution according to engine load, but looks to run the game at as close to the full 720 resolution wherever possible. Compromises are inevitable when you work on consoles especially when you want to run a game at a solid 60 FPS; most of the environmental shadows in Call of Duty games and Rage are baked in (no real time shadowing), lighting effects look poor compared to the lighting effects found in graphically impressive FPS games ( Crysis 2, Killzone 3, and Battlefeild 3) that runs at 30 FPS, and many many Compromises are being made to keep the game running at 60 FPS.
On consoles you only have two choices: Make the game look great at 30 FPS or make a game with scaled down visuals, but with super smooth controls at 60 FPS. The developers of Call of Duty games (Infinity Wards and Treyarch) have had chosen the latter. Consoles couldn't handle state of the art visuals at 60 FPS, no way it can do that.
You many say "Why don't they sacrifice frame rate in favor of better visuals?", this is not an option now. Call of Duty games are well known for their arcady and fast gameplay, if they make the game run at 30 FPS, the game will lose its appeal and fans will complain about that. Just remember the backlash that happened to ninja Theory from the fans when they stated that Devil May Cry will run at 30 FPS instead of 60 FPS. It's the same as wanting a fighting game or the next Street Fighter game to run at 30 FPS, which won't ever happen.
Treyarch has promised that Black Ops 2 will utilise the power of DX 11 on PC (the first time in the series) and mentioned some of the graphical upgrades that will be featured in the latest version of the Call of Duty engine that will power Black Ops 2 on consoles and PC: HDR lighting, bounce lighting, self shadowing and reveal mapping. Treyarch is improving the visuals (according to the graphical enhancements mentioned above) in Black Ops 2 over its predecessors and they once again targeting 60HZ implementation on consoles. In my opinion, this is the best they can do on consoles.
If you want to be blown away visually or you want to see a huge leap in term of graphics in a Call of Duty game this generation on consoles, you will continuously expose yourself to one disappointment after another. Consoles are not powerful enough to make your jaws drop at 60 FPS, you have to wait for next gen consoles for that. Criticizing Call of Duty visuals is an invalid point now. If you don't like the Call of Duty franchise or its gameplay or the design philosophies behind it, ignore it and don't buy it, but don't criticize it for the sake of criticizing.