Many releases in the Call of Duty series have an 18 certificate but are often played by school-age boys.

London - The Hollywood scriptwriter behind The Dark Knight Rises wrote the script of Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2.

It’s a sci-fi romp so daft it makes a socialite who spends evenings dressed as a crime-fighting bat look grittily realistic.

The action flips between historic wars such as Angola and Nicaragua (US Colonel Oliver North, of the Iran-Contra affair, crops up, both as character and as consultant on the game) and a grim future in 2025.

Sam Worthington (of Avatar fame) plays it straight as the lead character.

The script’s well done, with lots of horror and intrigue, but the sheer amount of action (and gruff hirsute mercenaries) would overwhelm a script by Shakespeare with Olivier acting.

There are drones, machete-wielding mercenaries, robot fighters, warriors in wing suits, devastating air strikes, and weaponry ranging from laser-targeted armour-piercing rifles to trusty, old-fashioned knives.

It’s a vast improvement on its predecessor. The single-player game in the first Black Ops was too short. Here, it’s huge, varied and relentlessly entertaining.

The real improvement is that some levels offer choices, both as to where to go, and what you do. Previously Call Of Duty has been as linear as rollercoasters.

Actions do count. You can navigate your way through some (though not all) levels on your own, and even influence the plot. Your performance decides who lives or dies (which is rare in videogames, where speaking parts are usually too valuable to throw away). It means the story matters – even if it is as daft as an episode of The A-Team.

If that all seems too cerebral, switch to the two free “extras” – a multiplayer battle against zombies, which is a romp, and online arena-style death matches.

The multiplayer game is far easier to get to grips with this time – with helpful ‘”raining wheels” for less obsessed gamers. Best of all, the single-player game isn’t an add-on but the main course of a feast, even if it’s the online version that gamers will still be nibbling a year from now. - Mail On Sunday