FIELD OPERATIVE

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

Archive for homefront

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…

Life after BFBC2 aka a recap about present and future FPS

I haven’t played much to BFBC2 lately, that’s why I haven’t posted much. I have been a little bored of corpse, but it’s mainly because I had to take of other things and have seriously reduced  gaming.

+++ I still maintain that late Vietnam is an amusing expansion for a short while, but boring and less meaty in the long term.

+++ Map Pack#7 is possibly the best map pack released so far. All the maps are great and Oasis a personal favorite of mine. Thumbs up!

Life after BFBC2, huh?

+++ HALO: REACH. Well, I have never been initiated to Halo multiplayer and I gave it a try. It’s a great game really, but not my style – I’m more of a military FPS fan. Eventhough it is host-based, its netcode is far more solid and robust than COD’s – which is a joke.

+++ MEDAL OF HONOR was good, amusing and had dedicated servers for the console versions. But overall it failed to fill the gap between COD and BFBC2: it wasn’t fast/arcade enough for the COD crowd and it wasn’t deep enough for us BFBC2 players. It also didn’t have enough guns, and its realistic/modern setting proved boring in the long term. Plus the gamewas ridden with bugs (especially concerning spawnkilling) that haven’t been adressed fast enough.

++++Call Of Duty: Black Ops has been fun for a few weeks, but as far as console FPS go, having enyoyed the benefits of dedicated servers it’s impossible to go back to host-based games. having said that, COD:BO is the best COD since COD4.

What comes next?

+++ CRYSIS 2. My only desktop is a vintage Pentium II PC from 1998. I have never played Crysis for more than a few minutes, and I have been one of those console gamers who have been waited for a port.  Here we go now… I have played the open beta on Xbox 360 for many hours. The game is cool. It has top-notch graphics and interesting gameplay. I’d say it’s somewhere between Halo and COD. The invisibility cloaks, shields and holograms are fun gimmicks to play with. But for a game that pretends to be hi-tech and on the edge of the current generation, it is unacceptable that it doesn’t have dedicated servers. No serious man should buy a game which pauses your multiplayer match in order to migrate the session because some fucking kid (or fat adult for that matter) ragequit. FUCK YOU!

+++ KILLZONE 3. I liked Killzone 2, I played it for quite a bit. Recently I even bought the map packs – too bad almost nobody is  playing them. The game has been strongly  influenced by the Battlefield series. It is part of what I would call the N.W.O.S.F. (New Wave Of Swedish FPS) – any heavy metal fans reading? 🙂 I just downloaded the beta today and gave it a try. The game seems ultracool, but to be honnest I haven’t seen any major differences from the previous one. I like the fact that it’s possible to swap R1/R2 and L1/L2 because I am using the XCM cross battle adapter: the Dualshock is simply not for FPS, and I use my Xbox 360 controller instead on the PS3, which is perfect for that with its real triggers and everything. Version 1 of the adapter, which I have, doesn’t give the possibility to configure the triggers, and for games like KZ2 you’re forced to shoot with the bumpers instead of the triggers.  So yeah, I will buy and play KZ3. Great graphics, deep gameplay, more varied settings and locales than KZ2 (the snowy “Frozen Dam” map of the beta resembles to KZ2 maps though) AND DEDICATED SERVERS!

+++ HOMEFRONT. Made by a team of notorious ex-Battlefield modders (the same people who made the cool Frontlines: Fuel Of War), this one will be a winner and will take for sure a part of the BFBC2 crowd. From the videos it looks great. Reportedly it’s easier to pilot a heli than it is in BFBC2, and this certainly sounds good to me! Drones seem cool tool. The weapons appear very MW-ish, so the transition from the COD/MW will be possibly smoother to some. Can’t wait…

+++ BATTLEFIELD 3. One of my friends on XBL, who has a PC gaming background, always tells me how BFBC1+2 are shallow compared to Battlefield 2. He is also telling me that is impossible to reproduce the authentic Battlefield experience to console. According to his comments, DICE have quite a challenge in front of them. Being an avid BFBC2 player, I am certainly ready for an even more strategic and deep experience. We’ll see what the Frostbite 2 engine will be up to! For the moment there’s not an videos or information disclosure whatsoever, DICE just declared that it wants it to be the biggest BF ever. Which is normal I guess. At the end of the dat, there has been a good thing with buying M.O.H.: it will give me access to the BF3 beta…