Dear Call of Duty Modern Warfare – Please Come Back We Miss You

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I know some gamers out there would blow up every Call of Duty (COD) game in the world if they could. Personally, I can only think of a few I genuinely couldn’t stand (COD 3, World at War, Black Ops and Ghosts). I have enjoyed most of the other titles quite a bit. My favorites have always been the collection of the Modern Warfare Trilogy.

These titles were not only great campaigns (albeit a bit predictable) but they had hands down, the best multiplayer experiences I ever had in a COD game. The maps were usually well designed with the occasional spawn camping nightmares that would see me rage quit pretty fast. Even with the spawning issues these titles held up well. My favorite part about the move into Modern Warfare (COD4) was that it introduced kill streaks. I loved the simple 3, 5, 7 system that made every map feel like there was potential to get a UAV, Air Strike and Helicopter. They were basic and didn’t typically overshadow the battling on the map between the players.

Eventually, we got to dive into MW2 and experience the best maps, the best weapons and some of the best kill streaks ever. The only aspect that seems negative in retrospect is the introduction of the tactical nuke on top of the growing trend if overpowered killstreaks. Don’t get me wrong… I loved the AC-130 and the Pavelow, but these were game-changers for the future of overpowered killstreaks.

Even with these gains I looked forward to MW3 and it didn’t disappoint, but it also didn’t impress me much on the map end of things. They seemed uninspired at best and the kill streaks felt stale.  This is something that seems to have become a habit and legacy issue of late… not to mention the weak campaigns over the last four games after MW3… and that doesn’t seem like a trend that will end any time soon.

I truly miss the smooth handling and true battles I felt like were possible on Modern Warfare before they started adding jump boosting and wall running. Now they are adding overpowered killstreaks to a game that doesn’t need any sort of additional reason to make Call of Duty into a caricature of itself. Be it the mini-tank or the robot soldier or the HATR that shows the location and movement of every opponent in real time… these are all overpowered and take away from what Call of Duty used to be back in Modern Warfare.

Maybe I am the curmudgeon of gaming and dream of yesteryear a bit too much. I don’t think that is the case. I truly believe it’s time for Call of Duty to go back to its roots. Make it a battle between players with weapons moving around maps. Take the AI out of it and bring back Modern Warfare.

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

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.

Black Ops 2 Multiplayer Trailer – Does It Impress You?

While it is always nice to have a change of pace from time to time, there is also something to be said for a game that withstand the test of time.  Call of Duty isn’t one of those games.

Black Ops 2 looks good from the graphical perspective and will most likely ‘handle’ just like every other COD game.  You can always expect tight, fast and precise gameplay from Call of Duty titles.  The great part about the trailer is that it shows us exactly what we were expecting.  The terrible part is… it shows us exactly what we were expecting.

The use of the ‘Guardian’ technology around the 36 second mark should make you think back to the 60 Minutes report on a ‘ray gun’ –

This is cool.  No doubt about it – amazing technology is being developed by our government (and others).  However, this is also one of the downfalls of Call of Duty games.  They constantly push out ‘cool’ and ‘amazing’ weapons that while they might be real, tend to make the game into an annual BFG-Fest.

Between killstreaks and other numerous things that make Call of Duty the game we all love to jump on and play for hours at a time there are also some rumors out there that they are getting rid of one thing that many people have become rather annoyed with during their time with Modern Warfare 3 – Aim Assist (especially with sniper rifles).  Go ahead and throw a party – you know you want to.

It is going to be a great autumn and winter for gaming  and we can’t wait!

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.

Call of Duty Still Going Strong – Are You Surprised? Should You Wish Otherwise?

Call of Duty will never die if people keep playing it. The bottom line of any business is whether or not their product is selling or being used enough to keep them in business. In the case of the Call of Duty series, there is no doubt that the game is among the favorites of Xbox 360 gamers.

In Major Nelson’s recent update about the most played games on Xbox Live you will see four Call of Duty titles on the list of the Top 20. Modern Warfare 3, Black Ops (as people prep to play Black Ops 2), Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare are among the titles listed (which also includes the likes of Battlefield 3, FIFA 12, Minecraft, Madden NFL 12 and Magic The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012. This list shouldn’t tell you that games are necessarily ‘good‘ but that they are among the most popular to be played online.

The Call of Duty series is one that is being driven into the ground by its current publisher, Activision. Activision is notorious for taking titles to the point where people are just sick of them (see Guitar Hero). It isn’t that their games are bad or even that they aren’t fun. It is the fact that people get burnt out on spending $60+ on new games and add-ons every year. Guitar Hero (GH) even had a point where the guitars weren’t even compatible with every other game under the GH label. It was really a pathetic turn for the worst from a company that is becoming more and more synonymous with being more money hungry and brash rather than being a good developer of gaming goodness.

We don’t know what would happen if Call of Duty were to take a hiatus or even get to the point where it had simply played itself out; yet, we still look forward to the day when the series isn’t on the release list for November. There are some games that could use a break and Call of Duty is one of them.

 

 

Are You Not Entertained? – Actually… No. – The Downward Spiral of Annual Game Releases

If sports and first person shooter (FPS) Video Games were a ‘Nation’ and I were the President of Sports and FPS Video Games, I would have to say that the State of our Union is weak.

This isn’t coming from the stand-point of the gaming companies like Electronic Arts or Activision (judging by their weakening stocks I would say that they feel the same), but from the aspect of gamers.  There are numerous games that have grabbed our attention and held onto it for a few years such as the Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Mass Effect and some others that you might be able to throw out there in the comments section below.  However, sports games and some shooter titles are constantly being thrown at us every year during the summer or fall.

What is becoming more evident as we get closer to the end of this generation of consoles (XBox 360, PS3 and Wii) is that sports and shooter games are really coasting along for the last few quarters before they jump into a new fray of next-gen console development (aka – more of your money).

We have recently focused on games like Madden NFL and NCAA Football sense they are the primary Summer Releases for EA Sports.  The next game that will get our full attention is Black Ops 2.  Call of Duty is a game that is technically released every two years if you want to dive into the fact that it is split between development teams (Infinity Ward and Treyarch).  However, the series itself is pretty much the same concept with a few nuances that make each game slightly different.

These games feel disposable at this point.  We aren’t in a time period of creative thoughts in entertainment in general.  Movies are the same way with sequels and remakes that really aren’t too dissimilar from what annual sports games and FPS games like Call of Duty are doing.  The publishers of these games like to sell you on trailers and big budget marketing rather than actually take the time to be creative and take a chance with something new.

If in 2013 there would be an announcement that Madden and Call of Duty would not be released in order to drive creativity and innovation in each series, would you applaud this decision or take it upon yourself to scream in ALL CAPS that it is the worst thing that ever happened to gaming?

NoobTubeTV would applaud this decision but what is your take?

To Prestige Or Not To Prestige?

When it comes to FPS games, ranking up is one of those things that seems to grab some people in the community by their joy stick and pull them around like parents with kids on a leash.  In Call of Duty it is referred to as ‘Prestiging’ and it also happens to be one of the most annoying bases you will find from verbally abusive gamers looking to put you down.

The only thing that changes might be egos…

Why do they choose to put people down in reference to prestige?  It is quite simple really.  They have theoretically mastered the game in such a way that they are actually better than you.  The funny thing is that this doesn’t usually become an issue until you start making them look bad in a game that they want to feel elite through some sort of icon.

How do we best come to a decision when it comes to the all-powerful action of ‘Prestiging’?

The decision to prestige often comes from wanting to add longevity and a sense of purpose to the multi-player aspect of Call of Duty.  You get a new icon each time you top out the leveling system (in Modern Warfare 3 it is 80) but in exchange, you lose all guns and other equipment you opened in your gaming process.  This is a steep penalty to pay in order to get an icon, but some people find it worthwhile.  Outside of the vanity of a new blinging icon and having to re-earn weapons… there isn’t any real practical reason to prestige.

Being one of the few that have chosen not to prestige, it is really quite simple.  I play the game to have fun, shoot opponents and make them angry for underestimating me based on my lack of prestige.  You get to keep every gun and piece of equipment you earn and in the process you will get a chance to earn camouflage for your favorite weapons.

In the end it really comes down to personal preference.  Prestiging in itself doesn’t make any gamer better than any other gamer.  In some cases, it does seem to make some gamers rather full of themselves if nothing else.  In which case, it is often rather fun to put these people in their place after you calmly show up and own them with your non-prestige Level 80 persona… and politely mute their angry voice.