Call of Duty: Black Ops II is based on an updated version of the IW 3.0 engine used in the original Call of Duty: Black Ops. That's particularly interesting because the game doesn't employ the IW 4.0 engine used in Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. It looks good, and very similar to all of the CoD titles since Modern Warfare, but it looks like the developers are going after accessibility over advanced graphics. Games like Battlefield 3, Medal of Honor, and Crysis 2 are arguably (Ed.: I don't think there's much to argue...) superior when it comes to lighting, texture quality, and graphics effects.
Surprisingly, the game has no global detail presets, forcing us to adjust its image quality controls manually, creating combinations that we consider high, medium, and low for our benchmarking purposes.
In the animated sequence above, most of the detail differences come from texture quality and filtering adjustments most noticeable up close. There are some shadow and lighting differences as well, though. With FXAA enabled, even the low-detail screenshot doesn't suffer from noticeable jagged edges.