Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Vs. Battlefield Hardline – Is The Battle Over Before It Begins?

Over the past couple years I have been eager to buy-in when it came to Battlefield over Call of Duty.

That has changed.

Say what you want about hating Call of Duty, but this rendering of Kevin Spacey alone made me want to buy the game months ago.
Say what you want about hating Call of Duty, but this rendering of Kevin Spacey alone made me want to buy the game months ago.

Now that Call of Duty has started to go in a direction that looks closer to Halo multiplayer gameplay than ever I have to give credit where credit is due.  They are at least going in a slightly different direction.  They have continued to tweak the perk system and showcase the same solid gameplay – albeit arcade(ish).  Is there bullet-drop?  No.  Then again, there aren’t many maps in the history of Call of Duty that would really need to account for that type of simulation.  Then again, you should know that going into the annual release of this title.

If you consider the fact that Call of Duty has been able to consistently deliver a blockbuster movie quality story mode since the release of COD4 in 2007 – there aren’t many shooter games that compare.  Advanced Warfare looks like it will continue this amazing success with the inclusion of Kevin Spacey as the primary antagonist.  As much as I wanted to hate on this game after the disappointment that was Ghosts, I have to admit – Advanced Warfare has made me a believer.

On the other hand, Battlefield Hardline has lost me.  I have been a huge fan of Battlefield since Bad Company 2 (especially the Vietnam Map Pack).  Battlefield 3 and 4 had me rather addicted to solid relative simulation gameplay (it really isn’t much different from Call of Duty if you are honest with yourself).  The problem with Battlefield is that it has become progressively worse in terms of single player campaign and server issues (especially at release).

What are the issues with Hardline?

First – they are trying to make this game feel like Rainbow 6 or Counterstrike.  The problem with that is that it is a game called BATTLEFIELD… not Battlezone or Battlebuilding.

Second – The idea that plastering the monicker of ‘Battlefield’ onto this game in order sell units is insulting – albeit, probably true.

Be honest – if this were called Medal of Honor – Hardline would you (or anyone else) buy it?  Hell no.

EA has pushed the Battlefield series to become more and more focused on online multiplayer rather than single player and that is fine and good.  However, we are now going into our third iteration of a Battlefield title that doesn’t pick up on the intriguing story of the guys in Bad Company.  You have to start wondering if Hardline is going to be another throw-away title like Medal of Honor – Advanced Warfighter.

The problem with that is they are now connecting the ‘Battlefield’ name with presumed failure – and that could spell the end for whatever they gained from a terrible year for Call of Duty with Ghosts in 2013/14.

I have bought in when it comes to Call of Duty Advanced Warfare.  So much so that I traded in Destiny towards the pre-order (that is a different discussion altogether).  Mark my words – Call of Duty Advanced Warfare is going to dominate FPS sales this fall and you are getting ready to see the fall of Battlefield as a respectable series.  I don’t wish COD to fall on it’s face, but I do wish Battlefield would actually return to the Bad Company storyline rather than another half-assed Medal of Honor game masquerading as a Battlefield title.

Will Games Change Their Digital Approach Next Generation?

Now that we are firmly into the high speed internet age and online functionality has become almost synonymous with every game on the market (including the ubiquitous ‘patching’ of games).  The issue many sports gamers are running into is that they are pouring $60+ into games that come out every year with minor improvements/changes and roster updates.  This has caused sports gamers to generally ask on occasion why developers like EA and 2K won’t simply release a cheaper update to the game every other year BLOPS2or so instead of requiring the purchase of new software every single year.

The most obvious responses are ‘…because people are buying the games in droves” and “Why would you stop milking your cash cow when it is obviously still producing results?”

The issue at hand in the coming generation of consoles is that they will be largely focused on digital content more-so than even these current consoles seem to be.  While the PlayStation Store and XBox Marketplace are doing well and provide services to subscribers/gamers it seems like only a matter of time before you will have to start buying certain content by sections rather than a full-fledged title.

Some games like Call of Duty, Battlefield and Halo could potentially be sold in three different ways.

  1. Online Multiplayer
  2. Offline Story Mode/Campaign
  3. Full Game (Online and Offline Content)

This isn’t the first time that something like this has been suggested.  You can go to virtually any rumor mill site for gaming and read about an industry analyst talking about the likelihood of a game like Call of Duty charging people to play online.   The issue that gamers should be considering is whether or not they are happy with the current state of games.  Whether or not you are paying extra for maps, add-ons or even avatar clothing you have to appreciate how smooth the transition has been between the PS2/XBox to the PS3 and 360 in terms of online interactivity and microtransactions like coins for Madden Ultimate Team.

We will soon be entering a new realm of digital content distribution.  Considering the actions of developers in the last 18 months, you shouldn’t be surprised if you will have options to buy games by piecemeal or some sort of full-game combo.

If you disagree about the outlook or attitude towards some aspects of games (such as story mode/campaign) you should ask Battlefield or Call of Duty gamers if they have played more than 45 minutes of the campaign mode.

The fact that Battlefield has a disc for campaign mode on 360 says a lot (even if it is simply due to space)… my campaign disc has been in the system for less than two hours – total.

Get ready for some big changes next gen.

Quick Tips For A Happy Christmas of Gaming

You just got it!  The game you have been waiting for for months (or years).  Now the time has come to  go into your gaming realm and avoid the family on this joyous day!  There are a few things to consider quickly before we let you go bury yourself in gaming bliss.

It is Christmas Day and you are a noob. It doesn’t have to suck… but you have some things you have to do first.
  1. MAKE SURE IT IS THE RIGHT GAME! – Did you get the game for the correct system?  Is it the right version (Battlefield 3 or Battlefield 3 Premium)?  Is it brand new?… If it is, don’t be too immediate taking off that plastic wrap and use the 10 seconds you have to read the game and make sure it is the right one!
  2. Is there an installation necessary? – If there is some sort of time involved to install the game before you even get a chance to play it (Metal Gear Solid 4… or any game you want to put on your 360 HDD to prevent unnecessary spinning of the disc) you should go get it started and then find something else to do/open.
  3. Give yourself a moment to learn the feel of the game if it is an FPS.  This is primarily for online shooters like Call of Duty or Halo.  (Don’t let yourself be the ‘Christmas Noob’)
  4. If you are getting Madden or any other sports game make sure you give yourself a challenge and get some sliders before you jump into a career mode.  This can often be key in having strong longevity in your games.
  5. If there is DLC you want/need make sure you buy the points first and give yourself the time needed to download and install.

Happy Holidays and Happy Gaming

Are Shooter Games Starting To Lose Their Appeal?

You can only re-hash the same thing so many times before it is no longer desired.  This goes for movies (see – Saw, Rocky, Rambo, Star Wars (the new crappy ones) as much as it goes for music and video games.  In gaming we are starting to experience something that isn’t too dissimilar.  Every November we expect a new Call of Duty game.  While COD is the most common direction people look when it comes to games being the same every year, it is also a trend that is getting (or has gotten) old very fast.

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I am almost to my second prestige in Black Ops 2.  While this isn’t shocking to the many people that have already reached the 5th or 10th prestige it is something relatively new to me.  I didn’t prestige in Modern Warfare 3 and I thought I would give it a chance in Black Ops 2.  The problem with this is the fact that I am playing games and leveling up in their second and third iterations.  There have been some changes along the way, but the one thing that remains a constant is the move towards an almost exclusively multiplayer focused game that revolves around leveling, leaderboards and people trying to make it big on YouTube.

While there are other games that are being milked as a franchise (Assassin’s Creed, Metal Gear, Angry Birds and let’s not forget sports games and their wonderful annual roster updates) – it seems that shooters are still the cash-cow that get most of the development attention.  There have been some reports/rumors that Call of Duty is starting to see a slight decline in sales.  Does this really surprise you?  Madden and NCAA have also both started to see a decline in sales over the last few years.  While there have been some fluctuations to these numbers in some cases, it should tell the gaming industry from production company to developer that gamers want new games with new ideas.

If you want to look for hope in gaming, take a look at what some of the indie game developers are putting out.  Support their cause, but please… demand creativity instead of sequels.  That is so… Michael Bay.

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 – Multiplayer Impressions

If you weren’t among the millions of people that were waiting outside of your local gaming store last night at midnight – do not fret.  The Black Ops 2 multiplayer is something that isn’t going to surprise anyone that has played Call of Duty before.  The game handles just like the games of the past.  However, there are a few things outside of the ‘new’ score-streaks that make Black Ops 2 a bit different from other COD games.

The first Black Ops game suffered from major problems with lag and hit detection.  Black Ops 2 is noticeably better in this aspect because it seems to handle a bit smoother and simply feels more fluid when either aiming or simply moving around the map.  This doesn’t mean that everything is great and wonderful in the COD universe though.  Many things seem like they will never change and that is almost always the case with Call of Duty games.

Quick-Scoping Is Still There

Perhaps one of the most annoying aspects of Call of Duty games is the persistent presence of quick-scoping in the game that takes advantage of what feels like a more and more simplified shooter game.  Another issue that follows this is aim-assist, if a player walks past or near your cross hairs you can expect to see your weapon movie with them slightly.  This, once again is another reason for people that hate Call of Duty to stay away from it and play Battlefield 3 or Halo 4 (a fantastic accomplishment for 343 Industries).

Recoil Is Still Minimal

When aiming down sight you will notice that firing your weapon is still relatively simple to do without a lot of movement from the firing (recoil).  Some of the weapons (especially the MP7) are slightly more unstable than their Modern Warfare counter-parts, but that doesn’t mean they have a lot of recoil issues.  This is yet again another factor that many people simply don’t need to ask about.  Call of Duty has never had any issues or dedication to being a simulation experience.  This game is about jumping in and shooting up your enemies – everything else is out the window… including recoil.

Class Customization

This can either be the great equalizer or the worst part of a COD game.  If you look at the problems that were in MW2 (Danger Close with Scavenger coupled with RPGs and NoobTubes (grenade launchers)) you will see that the new approach to perks and class customization are going to be key in making your experience something that is not only all your own, but also something that is practical, tactical and effective.

We will be devoting the coming months to some of the newest games.  Christmas lists are starting to fill up with dreams of putting digital bullets through digital skulls in our favorite shooter games.  NoobTubeTV will be there all the way through to help you become a better and more informed gamer.
Happy Hunting

What More Do You Want From Shooter Games?

The best-selling games on consoles seem to come down to First Person Shooters every single year.

While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does drive me to wonder what else I really want from my FPS gaming experiences.  There seem to be three choices when it comes down to decision-making.

Arcade/Deathmatch Style – Call of Duty is the quintessential example of shooter games that revolve around picking up the controller and smacking other gamers in the face.  It is a fast-paced game with slight differences between weapons.  Not to mention a huge group of core gamers that are dedicated to the game they have come to love (or even sometimes, hate).

What More Do I Want?I have been hoping for years for the sniping in this game to be nerfed.  However, that is the ‘charm’ of Call of Duty games…  the weapons are subjectively rated and designed.  In many cases there isn’t much of a difference between using a magnum side-arm and a MK-14 as long as you ‘know how to handle them’.

I don’t want Call of Duty to change, primarily because I know that every time I turn it on I will be able to play it for an hour or two before I get so fed up with connectivity or quick-scoping spawn trappers that I turn it off and put in a different game.

Objective Based/Simulation – Battlefield 3 is designed with huge maps and team-play as the primary components.  While some of the interactions with vehicles is far from ‘simulation’ the weapons and handling of the game in-general present a much more ‘realistic’ feel to the game.  The recoil of the weapons makes for tough decisions to be made at times when you try to determine if you want more power or more control.  This is a primary difference between BF3 and COD games.

Also, objectives are the primary gametypes for Battlefield games.  This is something that tends to escape the common COD player than ventures into the land of Battlefield.  They will often try to come into a game of Rush or Conquest and try to turn it into some sort of Team Deathmatch.  While this is quite useful in Conquest, it is far from useful if you are the attacking team in Rush.

What More Do I Want? –A preventative measure to keep teams from spawn camping with vehicles like helicopters.  This is a great game, but people that are new to it will find that it is unforgiving when you play Conquest mode against seasoned teams of gamers.  It is one of the biggest downfalls in game design when you make it nearly impossible for a losing team to recover.

 

Sci-Fi/Fantasy – Halo, Fallout and The Elder Scrolls series all fall into this category for the most part.  They are either based in a realm that doesn’t exist or in some sort of alternate universe.  Fallout is the only potential threat to this category, but in reality it still has ‘laser’ weapons.  Much like Fallout, Skyrim has magic and other spells that make it fantasy related.  Halo is based on other planets or regions of the universe and uses weapons that either don’t exist or close to that description.

What More Do I Want?–  This category is difficult because there isn’t a lot to base anything off of in ‘real life’.  The issue I have with Halo is recoil with weapons feeling non-existent.  In general, Halo has a feel to it that makes it seem like the gamer is playing the game with a lot less ‘motion’.  There is almost a floating sensation when playing Halo.

What’s the point?

When thinking about any of these things it leaves me thinking that any of the things I wish would happen in FPS games are subjective at best and pointless at worst.  Most of the games we choose to play revolve around what we have had time to find a love for over the years.  Chances are good that you have already pre-ordered a game this fall or at least plan on asking for one of them during the holiday season.

Take that as a sign that you really don’t have a lot more you want out of a shooter game.  Otherwise you wouldn’t pre-order something before you hear about, let alone see any real changes.

Spawn Camping, Connectivity and the Potential Pitfalls of Black Ops 2

Call of Duty:  Black Ops suffers from tremendous issues that should cause many gamers to wonder if they should expect the same problems that plague the predecessor of Black Ops 2.

After recently popping-in  the original Black Ops for a refresher on Treyarch’s digital cash-cow I was greeted quickly with the reasons I sold this game after owning it for only five-months.

Connectivity

Black Ops seems more like a low-budget, poorly supported online title that could be easily discarded and replaced by any other online title.  Firing automatic weapons like the Galil seems to result in a largely disappointing task of dealing with poor frame-rates.  Is it really so hard to give such a widely purchased game a decent server system?

It seems almost laughable when playing Black Ops that it has the hit-detection problems that I remembered from ‘so long ago’.  I was under some sort of delusion that it would have been patched, but apparently this is something either created ‘by-design’ or strictly overlooked as they moved on with their Call of Duty rehashing development cycle.

Spawn Camping

Another issue that plagues the Domination game mode is spawn camping.  If this is an issue in any game they should be firing game-testers.  Some of the biggest problems in multi-player gaming is when the logic of spawning is broken.  In Black Ops you are almost guaranteed to experience a mind-numbing round of spawn camping by some group of ‘try-hard’ clan kids.

While being the victim of such a childish tactic is annoying, it is more annoying to be a paying consumer of a product that isn’t designed well.  You can always quit out of a match that is populated by these internet tough guys, but it is a bit more difficult to quit out of a product you have already spent $60+ on.
Hopefully Black Ops 2 will fix these issues.  If not, it could be a long year in the Call of Duty kingdom.

Black Ops 2 and Aritificial Inaccuracy While Aiming Down Sight

One of the primary reasons I stopped playing Black Ops within a few months of release was due to the way they decided to make some weapons ‘inaccurate’.  The AK-47 is certainly an inaccurate weapon, however it shouldn’t mean that when you have your sights trained on an enemy that the rounds don’t fire straight out of the barrel.  This was one of the more annoying aspects of Black Ops as it seemed like every time I had my weapon aimed down sight directly on an enemy it would often result in a few missed shots.  It would be one thing if I was holding the trigger down on full auto but when firing in bursts and aiming low on the body in order to prevent recoil-misses and still miss shots on target – it takes away from the game drastically.

In Black Ops 2 we will be ‘flashing forward’ a bit as we start fighting in ‘The Near Future’.  There are a lot of things about Black Ops 2 that might make artificial inaccuracy a thing of the past for Treyarch.  The primary reasoning behind this assumption is that the weapons will be more aligned with those that we are currently using in Modern Warfare 3 or they will simply be more accurate weapons of the future.

We will keep you posted as details emerge but in the mean time we recommend that you start playing more Black Ops in order to get ready for Black Ops 2.  Treyarch seems to have a lot up their sleeve with this game and the online approach especially.