FIELD OPERATIVE

CALL OF DUTY, BATTLEFIELD & F.P.S. blog

Archive for COD4:MW

Why I like the new Black Ops 2 (on Xbox 360).

  1. The near future setting gives us a break from the contemporary and/or historical setting. That is a refreshing, welcomed change in the COD series. It’s also interesting to notice some subtle influences from other console FPS series: Halo and Resistance. It’s good because it keeps the series from become self-complacent.
  2. Thanks to the near future setting (see #1 above) we have some cool new weapons and new attachments.
  3. The multiplayer portion gives the feeling that it’s been finely tuned and balanced really well. I love the possibilities that the Pick 10 system gives you. Triple attachments? Check. Double perk slots? Check. ❤
  4. I love the select fire attachment, especially for single-shot or burst fire assault rifles! As somebody who was frustrated in COD4 because I loved the G3 but didn’t have a quick-enough trigger finger, I’m happy as a pig in shit with my M8A1 and FAL in automatic fire mode!
  5. Once you prestige and access  again a weapon after reaching a certain level, you have the attachments that you’ve unlocked in the previous prestige. If you want to keep getting XP from using that particular weapon, you can prestige it, which locks again the attachments. You can prestige a weapon twice. Once you do it, you’ll be able to customize the weapon’s appearance with your clan tag and emblem!
  6. Eventhough we still don’t have dedicated servers (with all the frustration and inconvenience this causes), it seems that lag compensation is working? Possibly yes, judging from all the posts at the official forum where players with top-notch fiber connections who used to pwn everybody in the previous games thanks to their connection’s merit alone, are whining like kids from whom somebody took their toy. It was about time!
  7. The gun sounds is more satisfying that what we’re used to in the COD/MW series.
  8. New mode hardpoint is really cool!
  9. Most  maps are of medium size, which contributes in making the action more intense.
  10. This is an anti-camper COD! Treyarch has took some drastic measures in that direction, making Ghost work only when you run, control scorestreaks or disarm objectives. No more happy camping bitches!

COD:BO Domination Survival Guide is here!

Some might think I’m a COD hater but that’s not true! I just hate the fact that the console versions don’t have dedicated servers. COD4 being my favorite video game ever, I also got fed up by MW2’s glitches and unbalanced camper-oriented gameplay  rather quickly and never looked back.

The truth is that COD:BO is the best COD game since COD4… So, BFBC2 being rather dead by now, with no new maps since Vietnam and extremely irritating players populating the servers (at least for the Xbox version),  I started playing COD:BO again. I even purchased the Escalation map pack which is pretty cool.

I am playing mostly Domination, so I wrote down a Survival Guide. Check it out! And who knows, maybe one of these days I will try to publish my unfinished COD4 Headquarters Guide that I’ve been working on for months!

Crysis 2 (Xbox 360) or the sempiternal inconvenience of host-based console F.P.S.

Crysis 2 multiplayer is lots of fun. Really. I like the armor/cloak gimmicks, I like the weapons, I like the game modes, I like the graphics, I like the maps.

What I don’t like is that Crytek must surely think console players, as opposed to PC gamers, are dumbasses. There is no other way to explain the fact that they dare to claim that they achieved a hi-tech, top-notch FPS when they don’t have dedicated servers.

I have lag most of the time and obviously there is a clear advantage for the host (if you press START and there is just one person with a connection of 4 green bars, that’s him). I even got the host once, which is totally ridiculous because I have a crap 2mbps ADSL connection.

Dear Crytek, DICE & Guerilla pwn you in the console territory. Ask your boss, EA, for dedicated servers next time…

Dear Crysis 2 console player, if you can’t stand to play with lag, there is just one way out: switch to a FPS with dedicated servers.

Dedicated servers means that there is no lag, or if there is a little bit all the players lag the same – there is no advantage for the host.

For a host-based title, the game picks up the player with the best connection and makes him/her act as the server. All the other players connect to him. He has a clear advantage because for example he can see other players before they see him.

If the host quits, then the game must migrate to another host. This procedure is known as host migration and it doesn’t work all the time. Actually it works half of the time at best.

All host-based games do not have the same network code. The C.O.D. games are notorious for having worst netcode than the HALO games or -more recently- CRYSIS 2.

The worst of them all was COD 4: Infinity Ward was supposed to get host migration to work which has never happened. Each time the host was getting pissed off because he was getting pwned (=that’s called “ragequitting”) or because his mom/wife was calling him, the game ended abruptly and the rest of the players were losing the kills they had make and their score. At least in Crysis 2, I observed that you don’t lose the count of kills you made if the match ends following a failed host migration…

For your convenience, you can find below a non-exclusive list with the host-based and server-based console FPS games.

Please do not hesitate to share with us your experience with console multiplayer F.P.S. games.

HOST-BASED CONSOLE F.P.S. GAMES

  • CALL OF DUTY series
  • HALO series
  • CRYSIS 2
  • GEARS OF WAR 1+2
  • RAINBOW SIX: VEGAS 2

CONSOLE F.P.S. GAMES WITH DEDICATED SERVERS

  • BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 1+2
  • KILLZONE 2+3
  • M.A.G.
  • HOMEFRONT
  • MEDAL OF HONOR
  • GEARS OF WAR 3 (supposedly – to be confirmed)
  • RESISTANCE 1+2

HOMEFRONT is an ugly motherfucker (single-player X360 review )

HOMEFRONT, being developped by KAOS, a team comprising ex-Battlefield 1942 modders Team Trauma, is the game that a lot of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 fans have been waiting in order to fill the gap until Battlefield 3.

Back in 2008, Frontlines: Fuel Of War their debut game, obtained some pretty decent feedback and was a perfectly enjoyable game both in single-player and multiplayer.

Watching the pre-release HF videos, we sort of had high expectactions about the game. I have played the full single-player campaign and booted shortly the offline multiplayer (System Link) on Xbox 360.

  • GRAPHICS

What stroke me first of all were the ugly graphics.  They look past-gen and are a big disappointment after recent console blockbusters like Halo:Reach and Killzone 3.  Shit, they even look uglier than COD4’s! They are lifeless and pale. It’s hard to believe that major publishers dare to release console games so ugly and visually unpolished like MEDAL OF HONOR or HF. I started the multiplayer component in system link, and the graphics are at the same disappointing levels. I am just wondering: haven’t these guys took a look at what is being released these days? Just from the demo Crysis 2 looks gorgeous on consoles!

If you took a look at the official screenshots and thought they were looking great, well it’s not what you’ll get on a Xbox 360 (or a PS3 for that matter). Obviously they come from the PC version

  • SCENARIO/SETTING

The scenario is half-decent, eventhough completely unrealistic (Korea invading the US in case you didn’t know it), but the campaign is flawed with bad scripting. The NPC’s will often repeat the same sentence over and over again pissing you off. They will also give dumb instructions in a loop like “grab those frags”, while the frags are in the next room which is full of enemies. They will also take ridiculous poses, like waiting with the face up against the wall (complete with the gun immersed inside the wall).

Not only  scenario-wise but in general, the game tries very  hard to mimick the Modern Warfare series. This is often pathetic and reduces any sort of impact that the setting might have had.

The whole America invasion type of thing has already been done in a unrealistic but blockbuster way in Modern Warfare 2 and it was very cool. HF’s battles in suburbia feel weak and unconvincing compared to MW2 level “Wolverines!” or “Exodus”.

There’s a few half-memorable moments and  some others where the characters reflect about the meaning of violence, which is something that I appreciate.

  • WEAPONS

Weaponry is almost identical to MW2. You get the M4, ACR, M16 (single shot), TDI Vector, SCAR, etc. But there’s less weapons in total than in the COD/MW/BF series. Shooting has a lot of recoil, which I think is a welcomed change. It makes you aim carefully and practically disables spray-and-pray gameplay.

  • LEVELS/GAMEFLOW

Unlike Frontlines which presented an open gameplay where you chose your path in order to accomplish the objectives, like in BFBC1+2, HF has a strict scripted approache like the COD games. KAOS in general fails to built suspense and tension like the COD games.

  • GIMMICKS

The story happens in the near future, ie. 2 or 3 decades from now. The weaponry being the same, there’s a few elements that help diffrentiate HF from modern shooters and hopefully render the experience more interesting. There’s the Goliath, an armed drone vehicle with a heavy MG and rockets. It has an artificial intelligence, runs around shooting at enemies and you just mark the targets for the rockets. Honnestly it’s nothing special – in the gadget genre we’ve seen better. The Koreans have also sentry drones/towers which block your path. In order to take them down you have to flank them by avoiding taking too much damage, then throw a grenade at their rear where their fuel tank (BTW we never see them move around, so what’s the point of a fuel tank?).

  • CONCLUSION

You don’t have to be Albert Einstein to understand that a 2011 military F.P.S. with worst graphics than 2007’s Call Of Duty 4 goes nowhere. At best it will make a decent weekend rental. What is really sad is that HOMEFRONT gives a worst impression than previous KAOS game Frontlines: Fuel Of War…

MEDAL OF HONOR CAMPAIGN REVIEW (XBOX 360) – part#2

Having spent approximately 2.000 hours playing the onling multiplayer, single player, split-screen and co-op modes of the latest three Call Of Duty games (COD4, COD:WaW, MW2) as well as Battlefield: Bad Company 2, I am what you can call a military F.P.S. enthusiast. When a good new game comes out, I generally start by the single player campaign and won’t play anything else until I’ve finished it. I cannot yet comprehend how Danger Close fucked MEDAL OF HONOR’s single player so bad, that it failed to excite me even the slightest.

  • Closing part#1 of this review, I was hoping to get more excited by my second single-player session. There was little chance to achieve that starting with a generic, dull sequence where you must mark down enemy vehicles for aerial support. The overall view of the village is UGLY, the explosions are UGLY, and how much excited can you be by a years old mechanic?
  • Then there was this  ATV sequence. Driving vehicles is messy and certainly not precise. Comparing this vehicle session with Modern Warfare 2’s,  BFBC2’s or whatever Halo’s is a disgrace. Why put them in the game then? Because they had to, I guess. Kids want to do a little driving now and then, don’t they?
  • When the gameplay moved mountain-side, graphics got a little better but they’re still very average. Reading the single player previews and having been carried away by Uncharted 2, I expected some stunning vistas. Not really.
  • Something that I haven’t mentionned before is that I played in Hard difficulty mode, yet there was not any real challenge. Medal Of Honor is very easy.

Failing to find anything interesting, continuing playing even for the achievements, was getting masochistic, so I stopped. Medal Of Honor’s single player campaign is pathetic trying to imitate Call Of Duty and being technically unpolished. I am astonished with how a major games publisher can neglect so much Q.A. There is no excuse that all those scripting issues and other bugs that whoever is able to isolate in a couple of hours, have not been corrected during a development cycle of nearly two years…

MEDAL OF HONOR CAMPAIGN REVIEW (XBOX 360) – part#1

Eventhough I am primarily an online gamer, I am always on the lookout for a powerful single player experience. It has a lot to do with the fact that I got back into gaming when my close friend Kostas, after pouring me a glass of Metaxa the afternoon after his civil marriage, handed me over a Dualshock and invited me to play BLACK on his PS2. I got instantly hooked, a couple of weeks later I was buying a second hand xbox1, and the rest is history.

I believe that a game with a good multiplayer component must be able to hook you up with its campaign. That’s what happened to me with BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2. From the first minutes of single player action I knew that I would LOVE its multiplayer, and I quit overnight Modern Warfare 2! And let’s not talk about CALL OF DUTY4, whose single player made me wanna go online and buy an Xbox live subscription…

Not having received yet the M.O.H. copy  I preordered from play.com, I couldn’t wait and started the campaign with a copy rented from a video club. Below are my first impressions from the first couple of hours.

  • The graphics are average. They are certainly worst than those of MW2, Killzone 2, BFBC2, and after the technical prowess of recent console blockbusters Uncharted 2 & Halo Reach they are even more disappointing… Please notice that I’m talking Xbox 360 here, huh.
  • The animation is average too. It simply isn’t realistic and well polished.
  • The controls feel awkward. The first hands-on experience with the game controls is certainly not sweet.
  • The action is not intense and overall the gameplay is not exciting. It feels a lot like a Call Of Duty clone, which struggles hard to match the original but fails.
  • The scenario doesn’t help the action. I really had a good feeling about the Afghanistan setting. I have seen many documentaries about the current conflict, including the excellent “Ross Kemp In Afghanistan” series, and from the videos and pre-release information, I had the impression that the campaign would be killer. At least for the first couple of hours it’s not. The story is mediocre and lacks the momentum of the latest three Call Of Duty games or the fun of Battlefield: Bad Company 1+2.
  • The levels are -guess what?- average. It’s way too linear, there’s almost no room for some exploration like in the other military FPS’ I mentionned until now. There’s plenty of invisible walls and a few bugs in the scripting. I shutted down my Xbox 360 after I reached an objective,  a gate, which would not open eventhough there were not any more enemies to kill in that area. Next to that area, behind a fence, endless allies and Talibans respawned, shooting each other standing (not even going prone), dead bodies disappearing pronto.

I will continue one of these days and really hope that the rest of the campaign is not as bad as its beginning…

M.O.H. renames the Talibans “Opposing Force”

Following the US army’s decision to not sell M.O.H. in military bases worldwide, EA chickens out and renames the Talibans as “Opposing Force” in multiplayer (developed by our beloved Swedes DICE). I personally think that this is a fucking joke!

When they have decided to make happen the new  M.O.H. game during an ongoing conflict, they clearly had in mind Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, whose huge and unexpected success, was due in a big part to the fact its scenario was implicitly but deeply linked to the second gulf war. From the moment EA have chosen Afghanistan, they should have gone all the way through, and not mitigate and compromise a couple of months before.

All in all, eventhough I expect M.O.H. to be a great game, I think that narrating the current Afghanistan conflict is a bad idea. Why?  Making an american video game about a war that America cannot win, how does it sound to you? It’s clearly a no-win situation.

I don’t want to be stupidly anti-american by saying that. I am just looking at the facts. I just read an article at Le Monde Diplomatique about how the U.S.A. are financing the Taliban by several millions of dollars each year! How? The sub-contractor convoys who replenish the US troops stationned in Afghanistan cost around 2 billions of US$ per year. The contractors who are responsible of delivering the goods are not capable of protecting the convoys against the Taliban and make them cross safely country. Through their local contacts they bribe the Talibans in order to let them cross the country safe. Sometimes bribery often takes the form of hiring tribes, often linked to the Talibans, as escorts to the convoys. So, from these 2 billions of US$, several millions end possibly to  Taliban hands. How can you win a war when you are indirectly financing the enemy? Check out these two articles: U.S. indirectly funding Afghan warlords: House report,  U.S. Said to Fund Afghan Warlords to Protect Convoys.

Unlike the war at Iraq, which I -and every other reasonable being for that matter- think that USA should never have started, I believe  that the US must sort the mess they have created at Afghanistan. The book “CIA et Jihad, 1950-2001: Contre l’URSS, une disastreuse alliance” by John K. Cooley and Edward Said,  that my brother Maks has offered to me a few years back, has clearly opened my mind about how the USA have opened Pandora’s Box back at the time of Russia’s invasion in Afghanistan, by training (sometimes in secret camps in US territory!), financing and nurturing the Taliban. They even gave them fucking Stinger missiles you know?

Some 1,000 Stingers were supplied to the mujahideen from 1986 onwards after Ronald Reagan overcame CIA objections that they were too dangerous to be given to the rebels. MI6 used SAS troops to train the Afghans in the use of the missiles (www.telegraph.co.uk)

Last but not least, I will quote what the instructor says in the excellent russian movie “The 9th Company” (setup during the Russian-Afghan war) which : “In all of history, no one has ever managed to conquer Afghanistan. No one. Ever”