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.

Borderlands 2 Will Open Gun Season This Autumn

There are a lot of things that come with autumn – in gaming it is gun season. 

Over the next couple of months we will be covering some of the most anticipated titles of ‘gun season’.  The first game to grace us with its wonderful firearms is Borderlands 2.  Next week you will have the chance to continue the adventures on the planet of Pandora.  While you won’t be controlling the same characters during this story, you will have the ability to see even more amazing weapons and experience a new type of enemy intelligence. 

The best part of Borderlands is the weapons and we will give you a quick guide on some of the companies that make the weapons of Borderlands 2.

Dahl – These weapons tend to be some of the more solid performing guns in the game.  They often look like military surplus with their camouflage and firing modes.  Think of these as being go-to weapons when you need consistency.
Hyperion – These weapons are elemental in their damage (fire, electricity, poison, etc.) when they are fired for a long period of time they will develop better accuracy (especially as you hold down the trigger).
Jakobs – Jakobs weapons are like the MK14 in MW3 – they fire rounds as fast as you can pull the trigger.  This tends to mean that you should have steady aiming ability or just hope that recoil on your weapon isn’t too drastic.
Maliwan – These are also primarily developed around elemental damage.  It should be no surprise for you to find one of these guns late in the game as you level up and be impressed with some of the massive damage bonuses that come with their elemental powers.
Tediore – You should be careful when you use these weapons.  They will be rather unreliable and also have the ability to be discarded as active grenades (if you have ammunition in them) – this might be the only perk to using Tediore weapons.  I don’t see these being enjoyable to use early in the game but crappy weapons are often something you will start with in any game.
Torgue – this company’s weapons use Gyrojet ammunition – essentially giving the user an opportunity to have more damage-per-shot but in exchange you will have fewer rounds per clip.  This gives you a choice to make when you come across a Torgue weapon that can do massive damage but only has four rounds and perhaps using a weapon with less damage but more rounds to fire at a target.  *Reload speed is vital when using weapons with small capacity.
Vladof – Consider Vladof weapons to be speed focused.  These guns are often for the class of player that uses a Gunzerker or Commando character.  Think of Vladof guns as being really fast guns with little control.

Is Black Ops 2 Suffering From Disinterest?

Call of Duty was one of the most impressive franchises for this console generation.  When it started to become a yearly online shooter version of Madden it lost a lot of luster.  If you were among the people that purchased an Xbox 360 early on and made Call of Duty 2 your first 360 game.  Something drastically changed when Infinity Ward (thankfully) changed the time period from World War 2 to modern times with Call of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare.

Something even more drastic happened after Call of Duty took a more modern approach – the creation of prestige, leaderboards and record keeping of Kill/Death ratios.  One of our first articles talked largely about leaderboards and their negative impact on online gaming and the catalyst for the current state of online shooters was Call of Duty 4.

We have since made it through four iterations of Call of Duty and the process has seen the online community grow to new heights and sales of the game to go through the roof.  Call of Duty is one of the most action-packed and entertaining games to play online or offline – but why does it feel so bland now?

It seems like Black Ops 2 is one of the most underwhelming and least hyped CoD titles to be released.  The last time I remember not looking forward to a Call of Duty game was when CoD 3 was announced to once again focus on World War 2.  Black Ops has shifted from the Cold War era to the ‘near future’ in Black Ops 2.  Outside of the time-shift, there have been a few tweaks and changes to gameplay as well as a new set of weapons (which we will be covering in the coming months).  The question that must be asked again and again is whether or not the Call of Duty series will command the same attention that it has in the past.

Where do you stand with Black Ops 2?  If your opinions are anywhere close to those for Madden 13 it could be an interesting reaction.

Call of Duty Elite – Should You Jump In Now or Later?

Now that Modern Warfare 3 is nearing the end of it’s popular annual cycle there are many people looking forward to Black Ops 2.  Granted, some others are going to fight tooth and nail against playing Treyarch’s Call of Duty iteration just because of a preference to the Modern Warfare style and gameplay.

Regardless of your preference there is always the constant state of Downloadable Content (DLC) from the Call of Duty series.  If you are a Call of Duty fan and you play it online as much as the millions of other gamers out there and you haven’t purchased Call of Duty: Elite to this point – it might be time to jump into the sad situation with both feet.

Is The Time Right For You?

If you consider the $50 cost for Elite to be a little steep – you aren’t the only one.  The primary benefit is that you are entitled any of the content that they release for Call of Duty throughout your membership.  In many cases (especially on the XBox 360) this means you get early access to the maps as well – other users have to wait a few weeks if they don’t have Elite.  Sure, you get emblems and HD access to videos… blah blah blah.  Most people aren’t ‘pro’ gamers (even if they think they are) in which case – Elite is for the maps and game add-ons.

If you were to buy Elite today (August 13, 2012) you would be covered until August 13, 2013.  If you don’t want to take my word for it – take Activision’s word in their own FAQ for Elite.  This means that you will still get whatever benefits will be released for Modern Warfare 2 and everything they will release for Black Ops 2 up until August 13, 2013.

I have been putting Elite off for a long time, but at this point I am starting to feel like the time is right.  Why?

I have already bought all the map packs for Modern Warfare 3 (except for the latest Chaos Pack) and the logical view some people say is that I have overpaid and should have just purchased Elite when it came out.  In my case, I am always in flux around this time of year.  All sorts of new exciting games are coming out and it is hard for me to really devote every gaming moment to Call of Duty (or anything else).

By getting Elite now you (like me) will be able to reap all the benefits of what is left for Modern Warfare 3 and most of the benefits for Black Ops 2… or whatever they push out for the title until August, 2013.  If you are considering a purchase of Halo 4 in addition to Black Ops 2 it would be wise to consider putting a quick $50 in advance down towards getting a bit of content for Black Ops 2 and knowing in advance that all you will have to do is download it rather than think about whether it is worth $15.  Not to mention, you are also safe from taking the risk that the next Call of Duty game after Black Ops isn’t complete garbage.

Assuming you don’t think Call of Duty is garbage already.  Yes, I know that many of my Battlefield readers are COD haters.  Well, stay tuned all my BF3 friends – you are probably going to riot after reading one of the latest bits of information is covered in our next article.

Medal of Honor Warfighter – Is It Going To Be Another Feeble Attempt?

*NOTE – It has been mentioned elsewhere that Medal of Honor Warfighter is going to give players an opportunity to have access to the Beta for Battlefield 4! 

The Medal of Honor series has been one that shows tremendous promise in the past (during its World War 2 renditions especially).  However, in recent years it has either disappeared or come out and tried to be a direct competitor to Call of Duty’s Modern Warfare Series.  The last time Medal of Honor came out it seemed that there was between one and two months where it peaked a few people’s interest and then it was lost in the rubble of Bad Company 2 and the Call of Duty series.

Now it seems that EA is trying to continue pushing Medal of Honor in the modern setting.  This is with the knowledge that they have a great consumer-base in Battlefield 3.  Not only that, but they are still developing an enormous amount of content for that game.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter wants to compete directly with Black Ops 2.  This means, it will feature smaller maps and more fast-paced action than Battlefield does with its enormous maps and battles that rage on for 40+ minutes at a time. (Granted, BF3 also has Team Deathmatch modes that are similar, but it isn’t a truly good use of their gameplay or controller mechanics to play it in such a loose way.)  It should be hoped that Medal of Honor has a different feel than Battlefield as far gunplay and other direct movement goes.

The benefit that Medal of Honor has over Black Ops is that you can choose to one of multiple nations and see who is ‘the best’.  Granted, when it all comes down to it, will anyone care about that as the drawing feature when all they want to do is shoot digital weapons?  Who knows.  All that can really be stated is that the bullets will start flying (again) in October and here at NoobTubeTV we are as excited as ever.

Is Black Ops 2 The End of COD As We Know It?

There always comes a point when you simply can’t make something better than you have before.  You can reinvent the wheel from stone to wood to rubber and maybe along the way you will make slight changes to the design.  However, when it comes to games…especially First Person Shooters… there are only so many iterations of a game you can make before it becomes either stale or simply a mockery of its former self.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
We have seen this game before… EIGHT TIMES.

Black Ops 2 seems destined to be the bitter end for Call of Duty games at this point.  With massive sales still coming for COD games, there seems to be something about Modern Warfare 3 and Black Ops 2 that is missing.  That something is a feeling of freshness that can only be brought by a hiatus.  If you consider the fact that Modern Warfare 3 essentially finished a trilogy, you would think that means it is going to be time for a change.  Furthermore, if you consider the fact that Black Ops 2 is set in the future with drones and x-ray rifles, there isn’t much more ‘Modern’ Warfare can cover that hasn’t been covered or won’t be covered by BO2.

Does this still excite you?

We mentioned in the title that it might spell the end of COD as we know it.  That doesn’t mean that it will be discontinued (face it, that isn’t Activision’s M.O.) but it could mean something big is on the horizon for the series after BO2 is released.

If we cover what has been done in COD we can see that World War 2, Vietnam, Modern and now ‘near-Future’ will be covered by the end of 2012.  With all of those ‘interesting’ wars covered, it might  do them some good to get away from the same old ‘jump on a turret and shoot down waves of enemies’ formula that has been in every shoot’em up FPS game from Activision.

What needs to happen is development of a game series over multiple years.  The real problem facing Call of Duty games is the fact that Activision wants a new one every year to drive profits.  The problem is that this will end up leading to the same brutal end that Guitar Hero met only a couple years ago.

You can only reinvent the wheel so many times before people stop looking at it as ‘just a wheel’.  Call of Duty needs a break in the worst way, and after Black Ops 2 comes out in November it would be a perfect time for them to announce that the next Call of Duty game will be coming out on launch day with the next generation of consoles rather than yet another version of the same game in 12 months.

E3 is supposed to ‘Unveil Innovation’, but right now it looks like it is simply ‘unveiling’ the same stuff we have seen over the last few years.  First Person Shooters are becoming as common and overplayed as re-runs of Two and a Half Men and Call of Duty is turning into the Ashton Kutcher version.  If they are about #winning, Activision will push their next major FPS onto the next generation of consoles, where they can impress people with some actual innovation.