Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare teaser trailer

Great, just great.  Now I have to change the name of the site to Advanced Borefare. And I just ordered all of these shirts!

Judging a Man By His Strike Package a.k.a Thoughts on Call of Duty: Ghosts

The annual release of Madden ’13 Call of Duty is upon us and I, alongside approximately 1/3 of the planet pick up a copy. So how’d that work out?

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Promo image from Gravity 2: Cruise Control

My first impression of Call of Duty: Ghosts was: “Wow, talk about diminishing returns” and then a red wave of burning hatred blanketed my vision. I’ve never been a huge fan of any of the series campaign iterations* (* exceptions for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and CoD: Black Ops) and this year seems especially dull & derivative. The shooting guns in space thing felt incredibly gimmicky and far-fetched.  YOU CAN’T SHOOT GUNS IN SPACE.  NOT NOW, NOT IN THE (not-too-distant) FUTURE, NOT EVER.  Yo, did you know you can shoot guns in space? That shit’s crazy.

I then made the radical, for me, decision to completely skip the campaign this year. Radical in the sense that every year I slog through the campaign as a way to become familiar with the weaponry and the terrain while at the same time retraining my twitch skills. Except it’s always an exercise in frustration, as all I really want to do is hop into multiplayer.  Plus, what am I missing? Another nonsense 6-10 hour series of set pieces, explosions and ludicrous plot jumps?  Who knows, ’cause I’m not playing it. Now that I no longer have the luxury of 6-8 hour after work gaming marathons (thanks, life), I’d rather spend my limited time on the aspect of the game that I truly enjoy.

Well, did truly enjoy. Becuase this year, Call of Duty multiplayer suuuuuuuuuuuuuucks.

Or rather, it did, but now I like it.

Or I suck and I’ve just accepted it.  I can no longer tell.

So first off, the complaints:

– The multiplayer maps are F’N HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE. They could have easily been split in half and they would still be large enough to run around in and not be on top of other people.  Not that it doesn’t stop me from spawning right in front of opposing players though.  Also, please make sure to make EVERYONE and EVERYTHING is dull brown/grey so it’s impossible to discern the enemy. Thanks.

– Speaking of spawning: I was playing last weekend and got shot, respawned on an exploding IED, then re-spawned right in front of an attack dog. 3 deaths in roughly 1.5 seconds.  FUN and not completely frustrating.

– I’m glad Infinity Ward made a SNIPERS ONLY map (the castle level). Don’t like playing a sniper? Tough.  Crouch in the corner and wait for the timer to run out. Just lie back and think of BLOPS II.

– If your main method of playing involves jump shooting & shotguns, you should be banned from playing forever.

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This x 1,000 every single game

– Falling right back into CoD speak while playing. Don’t worry, you do it too.  See if this sounds familiar:  “Oh, ok…OH, OK…WHATEVER DUDE. DUDE!!! WHATEVER!!!…the fuck…fuckin’….goddamn it….I FUCKING SHOT YOU….DUDE WHAT THE FUCK…..i totally shot him….YEAH, FUCK YOU DUDE! RIGHT IN YOUR FACE!!!…how the fuck did he even see me?…YOU ARE SHOOTING BULLETS HOW DO THEY GO AROUND CORNERS???….i shot that guy right in the head and he didn’t die!…glad that i’m apparently using rubber bullets today….HOW DID YOU NOT DIE?……these fucking dogs….FUCK.THIS.GAME” 

I am sure my downstairs neighbors love hearing me invent, loudly, new phrases involving grief, disbelief and swears.

Things that used to be complaints but I’m now coming around on:

–  Menus & navigating: While I can appreciate the attempt at the depth IW has attempted to add to MP, the menu structure is a NIGHTMARE. But now that I’ve played for 20+ hours, I’ve finally got the hang of it, so I’ve (mostly) made peace with its terribleness. Mostly.

–  Are the weapons kind of shitty this go ’round? They seem interchangeable and boring. Which annoyed me at first but now that I’ve found a weapon I can actually kill people with, I’ve settled down a bit.

– At first glance, the perks and killstreaks were weird and different and I did not like them at all.  And those damn dogs deserve a special place in video game hell, preferably the same place as every terrible water level I’ve been forced to play. But now?  RECON HELO MOTHERHUMPERS. Related: Annoying that it’s so difficult to shoot down the enemy’s flying killstreaks.

– The field orders. Such a weird touch!  I don’t go out of my way to complete them but if I do, i generally end up with a SATCOMM.  Thanks guys.

Things that are good!

– I actually like the extinction mode.  The Treyarch zombie modes NEVER  made sense to me (ok, shoot zombies, yes, but everything else attributed to that mode? Total mystery). I think it helps to play with people who know what they are doing and don’t dies inside of 5 minutes. I don’t think I’ll be playing this all the time, but I’d pop in for a game or so.

– The SA-805; there are many like it but this one is mine.

– The unexpected but delightful team killing & stage altering K.E.M. Strike killstreak reward. I got one from the first crate I ever called in; imagine my dismay when all I’ve ever gotten after that was Satcomms.

– 20+ hours in, and my reflexes are somewhat starting to get back up to snuff. So instead of awful 4 kills/29 death performances, I’m back up in the 13 kills/13-15 death range.

Ultimately, Call of Duty: Ghosts is … a very workman like version of Call of Duty. Maybe next year Treyarch will shock and delight us all with whatever next-gen (when can we stop using that phrase to describe the PS4/Xbox1?) iteration they come up with. Call of Duty: Appomattox? Call of Duty: Das Boot? Call of Duty: Behind the Green Door? Dazzle us, Treyarch!

Leave a comment below if you want to join our clan, the Red Right Hand.  More than just a stolen Nick Cave song title!

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I AM AN ASSHOLE

Ghost in Your New Machine – Call of Duty: Ghosts

Hey everybody take a look at this completely non-specific and incredibly vague teaser trailer thing for the just officially announced Call of Duty: Ghosts.

…cool. ANYWAYS, apparently GHOSTS will have an an “…all-new story, all-new characters, an all-new Call of Duty world, all powered by a next generation Call of Duty engine…” and it’s being revealed at the next-gen Xbox unveiling event on May 21. Look, I’m kind of burnt out on Call of Duty too, but if the rumors are true that this is a console exclusive, will it mean that Microsoft has dealt a death blow to Sony?

So we’ve got a new world, a new franchise, a new engine, on new consoles…this promises to be interesting, if nothing else. Does this mean that the CoD franchise games are going to hit every third year now like so:

Modern Warfare 2007 World at War 2008 Modern Warfare 2 2009 Black Ops 2010 Modern Warfare 3 2011 Black Ops 2 2012 Ghosts 2013 Modern Warfare 4 2014 Black Ops 3 2015 Ghosts 2 2016?

Info gleaned from Verge and Joystiq

Full bore, double fisted press release fury after the jump, as well as the first official screen shot Continue reading

Only Sleeping? I Hope It Never Wakes Up

Image“This one is behind us now. We are taking Medal of Honor out of the rotation, and have a plan to bring year-over-year continuity to our shooter offerings.”

“We struggled with two challenges: the slowdown that impacted the entire sector and poor critical and commercial reception for Medal of Honor Warfighter. Medal of Honor was an obvious miss. The game was solid, but the focus on combat authenticity did not resonate with consumers. Critics were polarized and gave the game scores which were, frankly, lower than it deserved.”

This is the message the EA has left for its fans regarding its Medal of Honor (MOH) series.  Competing with the likes of the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises, it seems like EA has decided to pull the plug on a game that, to say it bluntly, just wasn’t that fun.  I can only say this based on the MOH version that I played from 2010, but based on other reviews and common sense, I had a feeling the second one was going to be substandard.  It brought nothing new to the FPS franchise.  The game itself was buggy, the level design was poor, and it could be added to the list of FPS games that story is just so unflattering and uninteresting. moh2

EA should cut its losses and focus on sports and racing games. Its clearly not ready, or capable, of participating in the FPS wars. If I wanted to play a multiplayer game that was using the Frostbite Engine, I would just play Battlefield. Why would they use the same multiplayer in a different game? An article has just came out stating that the MOH franchise is not dead, just sleeping. WHY?   Just focus on Battlefield. Focus on Need for Speed.  Focus on the awesome sports games you pump out every year.  FIFA 13 was the highest selling sports game EVER.  And it can keep getting better, as long as EA cuts the Mr. Me Too crap with the FPS genre.

I will always be an EA fan, and when I rented MOH I was really hoping for a fun and engaging game. Sadly I got a boring shoot-by-numbers with aspects stole from other games that didn’t improve on the source.  Consoles will get better, Battlefield and COD will keep refining and improving and leaving old franchises in the dust. Medal of Honor shouldn’t just be put to sleep, it should properly be cryogenically frozen and not thawed out until Battlefield and Call of Duty crash & burn.

Trailer Park: First Look at Black Ops II Multiplayer

As much as I’ve bitched & moaned about this game (and will continue to do so right up until release day) this looks super awesome. Dammit.  DAMMIT. Every year they pull me back in!  Am I really so bereft of willpower?

Notes from the trailer:

– What is that thing he’s throwing?

– I like that they’ve changed the kill notifications.

– Is one of the killstreaks a portable microwave emitter?

– Those flying Dragonfire things are going to be as annoying as the RC cars from Black Ops I.  Just you wait.

– You can get a MECH? That is awesome & wholly unfair.

– The throwing implement this go round is a sweet looking hand axe. I look forward to sticking this in your skulls, anonymous BOII players.

– Kamikaze swarms?

Video Games Genre Improvements You Want to See Made…

Choose...or perish!

I often wonder whether video game makers (if we can call them that at this point) have anything other than the bottom line in mind when they’re busy churning out the next Grand Theft Auto XI / Call of Duty: Modern Warfare VI / Civilization XIV? Are they considering the gaming public at all? For what it’s worth, I think the answer is a qualified “yes” but If I had the ear of a developer working in one of the following genres, here’s what I’d ask them for:

(1) Role Playing: As I mentioned earlier, I hate MMORPGS; I hate them with the fire of a thousand suns. That being said, I LOVE RPGs generally. Favorites include Baldur’s Gate and its sequels, Skyrim of course, and Knights Of The Old Republic (KOTOR!!!). What I really want to see, however, is an open-world RPG, similar to Skyrim, in the Star Wars universe. Now you may say, “But thegreekdog! We have The Old Republic now!” To that I reply, simply, “See above.” Make a free-world Star Wars single player RPG and watch the money flow in. Hell, keep adding DLC and watch the money keep flowing in. Do this now!

(2) Strategy / War Game: Yes, I play strategy games. I’ll play any strategy game that involves something slightly more engrossing than a real-time strategy game. You can have an RTS element, so long as you have the non-RTS element as well (see, e.g. Star Wars: Empire at War which is about as perfect a game as you can get). Hearts of Iron? Great. Civilization? Fantabulous. Medieval: Total War 2? Outstanding (download the Stainless Steel mod and be even happier). The publishers of Total War recently made some 17th and 18th century-type games with grand armies shooting muskets. Okay, the next logical step has to be Civil War: Total War. This is another game that needs to happen… and soon.

(3) Sports: I’m a pretty fanatical sports game player, especially when it comes to two franchises: Madden and MLB2K#. Most people do not like MLB2K#,  mostly because of the gameplay and graphics. Guess what? Graphics never really interested me, so that’s a non-issue. As long as the guys do what they’re supposed to do, I don’t care if Johnny Damon has a beard or not (ed. note: Isn’t that the source of his power?). For those that complain that the gameplay interface is difficult? Well, yeah, it is. But it isn’t broken. Madden, while complex, is enjoyable for me as well. I mostly enjoy the franchise modes in both those games. All that being said, Madden needs competition. MLB2K# has MLB: The Show to compete with (albeit on a different platform). Madden has no competition since the NFL gave EA the sole license to print games. Since then, I’m think that EA’s gotten lazy and not really made any improvements to the franchise.The answer? Madden needs competition!  And competition will breed improvement in Madden (says thegreekdog, Libertarian). For Madden to evolve, we need a competing NFL-licensed football game for all platforms.

(4) First Person Shooter: I generally don’t play shooters, simply because I don’t have the twitchiness for them. I’ve played Star Wars FPS’, I’ve played Halo and others of their ilk. And last year I purchased a Call of Duty box set (starting with II through Modern Warfare II). It was a great investment and I thoroughly enjoyed them. That being said, I think we really need Call of Duty: World War II again. Bring it back. Update the graphics (This is where I  care about graphics). Put us in Africa. Hell, let us fight every major World War II battle.

I sincerely hope some intrepid game designer is reading this and takes these words to heart. Add what improvements in which genres you’re looking in the comments below.

I F’N KNEW IT a.k.a Proof I’m Not (completely) Crazy

Max Payne 3 ‘Cheater Pool’ is live

While spending some serious time this weekend emptying twin automatic 9mms into punks from Hoboken to Sao Paulo, it struck me that there some insanely frustrating details about Max Payne 3’s multiplayer. For instance:

Situation: I’m going to shoot an enemy, press fire; whoops, guess I’ll just lay down instead. Result: Get shot & die.

Situation: Spot a group of enemies below me, perfect time to throw a grenade! Pull out grenade and instead of throwing it, I’ll just hold on to it.  Result: Get shot & die.

Situation: See an enemy on the other side of a chain link fence, empty two automatic weapons at him. Result:  My guns are ineffective against chain link, yet somehow increase the damage of my enemies gun. Get shot & die.

Situation: Melee an enemy. Enemy does not die. Result: Get melee’d & die.

Situation: Spawn in front of the same enemy repeatedly. Result: Variable: take one step then get shot & die or stand still, get shot & die.

Beyond your run of the mill multiplayer nonsense though, there was a special brand of bullshittery happening and now I’m convinced at least one of my opponents was hacking. How? Well, you’re telling me I can’t kill a guy even though I get the drop on him & hose him down with bullets? That he can shoot through a building to kill me? That I keep spawning in front of him?  This was all in the same game, against the same guy. Aggravating on one hand, controller-throwing blind rage on the other.

But now news today from Rockstar Games, that a playlist has gone live where cheaters can nowonly play with other scum-sucking cheating bastards and can leave us honest grinders alone. I’m beyond glad to see that Rockstar is getting out in front of this issue, unlike Activision with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare & CoD: MW2. Towards the end of CoD4’s lifecycle people were flying. Flying.

Anyway, if you’re on PS3 and want some in Max Payne 3, my screen name is Savage6000. (Yes, my Rockstar Social Club handle is different.  Clearly I have identity issues.)

Max Payne 3 stats

Trailer Park: FPS Trailer Off!

CALL OF DUTY BLACK OPS 2 FACES OFF AGAINST MEDAL OF HONOR WARFIGHTER IN A GRUDGE MATCH YOU WON’T EVEN REMEMBER A YEAR FROM NOW! GRRRR.

VS.

Taking bets now on how long & how often I will deny that I am going to buy Black Ops 2 and then break down and eventually buy it.  I think for the original Black Ops it was a week before the release that I still insisted I wasn’t buying it.  But then, like always, I started watching the trailers and the previews and reading the reviews and then, well, tell ’em Fry:Me