Posts tagged ‘cod’

November 6, 2013

Next Gen and the Things To Come

A short one today folks.  I’ve got preorders ready for both the PS4 and the Xbox One, and a slew of games I’ll have as a backlog for weeks.  This is made all the more exciting because my first preordered next gen game is none other than the infamous Call of Duty: Ghosts.  Much maligned by many online gamers, beloved by others speaking with their wallets, I’ve been a long time CoD fan from the

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December 22, 2011

The Modern Warfare 3 Map Problem

By now, I’m sure most of you have noticed that Modern Warfare 3 just isn’t as fun as some of the previous Call of Duty titles.  I know I sure have.  Hell, I loved Black Ops to no end, and I played it for nearly a year straight.  So why then, when I bought MW3, did I almost immediately dislike it?  That’s the question I’ve been pondering non-stop for the past month or so, and I think I’ve finally found the answer.

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November 7, 2011

The Eve of Modern Warfare 3

Days before Battlefield 3 was released, I wrote an article about how I predicted my favorite of the two big shooters this season would be Modern Warfare 3.  I recanted later after having the opportunity, nay, the privilege of playing Battlefield and seeing first hand just how amazing that game ended up being.  I’ve played so much Battlefield over the past two weeks that Arkham City has sat lonely and desperate under a veil of dust and neglect.  And while that’s not entirely true (I’ve got one hell of an Arkham City review coming up soon)  what I found was that Battlefield 3 had taken all the things I loved in shooters and improved them.  This wasn’t just an expansion pack over previous shooters with minor tweaks here and there, it was an entirely new title, it brought an entire new perspective to shooters.  Intensity, violence, and teamwork.  I only stop playing once the flashes of the gunshots permeate my brain to the point my eyes dilate and my body teeters on the brink of seizure.  Its like a drug, the adrenaline pumping through my veins, my epinephrine gland akin to a junkie’s needle, Battlefield pushing down the syringe more and more.

I love Caspain Border

Ok, maybe that’s all hyperbole.  But anything can seem intense when your day is spent discussing wrongful termination lawsuits.  Regardless, what I found I loved the most about Battlefield was that it was something new.  It gave me that feeling you get when you experience something new, something unknown.  The novelty of it all overwhelms you.  And so, in direct contrast to my previous posts, I fear I may be disappointed with Modern Warfare 3.  It is simply inevitable that one will draw comparisons between two games so similarly situated in terms of gameplay.  And when all signs point to MW3 being more of the same, banking on its successful formula to offer an improved (but not much different) game, I fear that I will be left wondering why I can’t do certain things that I otherwise could in Battlefield.  Call of Duty plays their cards so safely, keeping players in a comfort zone and refusing to take chances that may screw up their formula, that it may end up lagging where BF3 soars.  Its understandable that when you have something good, why mess with it?  Coca-Cola has always been the dominant force in their industry (sound familiar?) so when they tweaked too much, we ended up with New Coke, something people hated with a passion.  Fear of backlash inevitably will handicap innovation, which sometimes keeps you safe from the failings not unlike the soda industry, but can also keep you from grasping success with new changes like many developers have seen before.  You could be Mortal Kombat introducing 3d fighting and screwing everything up, or you could be Grand Theft Auto introducing 3d gameplay and becoming legends.  Battlefield went with innovation and it has been great, and now its hard to think that playing more of the same can be as satisfying as it was before.

No, no it didn't

None of this is to say that I think Modern Warfare 3 will be bad.  I know the story will be awesome, and I’ve heard some pretty controversial things that the campaign may include (but I won’t spoil it for all you good people out there).  And the formula has always been one I’ve liked, and I’ve liked it a lot.  I’m going to the midnight release tonight, I can hardly concentrate I’m so excited about it, and I know the multiplayer will steal countless, Skyrim-like hours of my time.  And I would be willing to bet that my review will be pretty damn positive too.  But in the end, whether I want to or not, subconsciously I’ll have chosen a winner.  And right now, Modern Warfare is looking like  Casey Anthony OJ Simpson Amanda Knox an underdog.  Sure, it might end up winning, but before the jury gets back, its not looking good.

November 3, 2011

Two Strange Guns From One Strange (Russian) Developer

Russia has always been the unusual kid in the classroom that is the world.  Not quite European, not quite Asian, the Russians have for centuries struggled to find their identity.  Sometimes they fall in with the wrong crowd, sometimes they get an inferiority complex and sometimes they go full art school and just get weird.  But for all their ups and downs with communism, dictators, revolutions and world wars, they’ve always had a soft spot in their heart for military innovation.  And thus in 1927 the Soviets developed the KBP Instrument Design Bureau.  Something like a DARPA, their goal is to develop “high-precision weapon” and their poorly translated website inevitably will have you reading the text in a voice not unlike a Bond villain.  Regardless, through its long history the KBP has overseen the development of numerous military technologies and innovations, ranging from small arms to automatic cannons.  These automatic cannons, no joke, are made to use “depleted uranium enhanced armor-piercing shells.”  And while I know nothing about what that means, it sure does sound dastardly.

Our bullets need more, how you say, poison...

Yeah, that’s the former president, current prime minister, and future president of Russia Vladimir Putin.  His entire persona is based around shirtlessly wrestling tigers and assassinating political opponents and he has an 80% approval rating, so its no surprise that his state-run gun manufacturer makes some pretty crazy weapons.  With all that said, two stand out from the rest.  They are both submachine guns and to varying extents are in use in the Russian military and police.  The first was designed by Salvador Dali himself (citation needed).


The PP-90M1 was developed in the mid 1990’s.  It was designed to be an extremely compact SMG that could fire from a 64 round magazine, no easy task for the SMG class.  It uses overpressure armor piercing ammunition which means the bullets (9x19mm) use far more gunpowder than is typically used for that caliber.  This means it is capable of piercing steel plates at up to 800 rounds per minute.  And none of that is too unusual until you see the weapon itself…

What the hell?

In order to house those 64 rounds, it uses an “innovative” helical magazine.  This design is extremely rare, and though it can hold an incredible amount of ammunition in such a small space, it requires highly complex internal mechanisms in order to function properly.  Except that it doesn’t always function properly, and that is one of the biggest drawbacks of this weapon.  It has a far higher chance of feeding failure than any other type of magazine.  That’s ok though, because when it shoots, it is a very, very powerful weapon.  Which incidentally is also bad news for the PP-90M1.

You see, the charging mechanism to retract the bolt is directly above the barrel, at about an inch difference.  That means in order to cock the gun you basically have to reach in front of it.  Surely this can’t be safe.  But then again, who needs safety when you’re a part of the vodka swilling Putin police.

To save money on red arrows, this points to both where you charge the gun, as well as where you shouldn't be putting your fingers.

It is rumored to be making an appearance in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which to my knowledge is the only video game to ever feature such a weapon.  I actually am very excited to try this out myself.  And speaking of crazy Russian guns developed by the KBP and featured in recent FPS games:


While I spent a lot of time crapping on the PP-90M1, this next weapon is actually a pretty intriguing gun.  It is also a SMG, but it uses the traditional box magazine.  Introduced in 2004, this weapon is now available worldwide, though only in use so far with the Russian Army and various Russian swat teams.  It is part of a class of personal defense weapons, a sub-class of SMGs, made to capitalize of the armor-piercing capabilities of its carbine cousins.  What is interesting about the PP-2000 however is that it has space to hold a secondary magazine, and that magazine can serve as the butt stock for the gun.

It can also be equipped with a normal folding stock, a la the Skorpion, and is capable of being outfitted with all sorts of additions like silencers, tactical lights, and all manner of sights.  It is advertised as being superior to the FN P90 in that while it retains armor piercing capabilities, it also has increased stopping power by making use of jacketed hollow point rounds that have been overpressured.  The gun is advertised on KBP’s website featuring soldiers, fully masked, to really emphasize the nefarious image of their guns.

You don't need to see my face

The  gun recently made an appearance in Battlefield 3 and has risen to the rank of one of my favorite weapons, especially in close quarter combat situations.  With its extremely compact size, unusual design, and powerful capabilities, it looks like where the KBP failed in the 90M1, they got it right with the PP-2000.  Oh, except that the bolt is still over the barrel.

Update:  I have confirmed the PP-90M1 will indeed be in MW3, as per the following screen grab:

Though the gun can use a traditional box magazine as well, I'm happy to see the helix make an appearance

October 10, 2011

Health in First Person Shooters

There are really only two ways in which a first person shooter game deals with health; it either replenishes or it doesn’t.  Games like Goldeneye 64, Perfect Dark, Doom, and Borderlands don’t automatically replenish your health over time, and thus you either have to find a health pack or die in order to get it back up there.  Games like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and Rage have an automatic replenishing system where, if you can get in cover or away from the fire, you’ll automatically be healed after a set amount of time.  Lets be honest, neither is a realistic system.  In games where your health never replenishes, you take painkillers and suddenly you’re healed?  In real life you’d still be a gunshot victim with a new penchant for prescription fraud.  And under the replenishing paradigm, your bullet wounds wouldn’t just heal up as long as you jumped behind a sandbag wall for a minute or two like it never happened.  But I doubt anyone wants 100% perfect realism, or at least I wouldn’t.  I don’t want to die of trench foot while hiding behind cover, and I don’t want one bullet from some crap gun like the Skorpion killing me instantly.  So which is the better system?  Of course its subjective, but so is everything worth debating.

For the last time Grandma, I'm not gonna keep playing Mortal Kombat with you if you keep using Smoke! He's cheap, and so are you!

This is a contentious subject among gamers, known for their asperger-like devotion to every minute detail they can argue about.  The most prominent arguments for non-regeneration of health is that it is the original method used in most FPS games of old, it takes more strategy, and only casual Wii bowling players will opt for regeneration.  At the other end of the spectrum, people argue for regeneration in that pausing to get into a menu, selecting your medkits, and then going back into the fight fully healed takes you out of the action, can make games annoyingly difficult, and is not conductive to an e-sports type of competitive gaming like Call of Duty or Battlefield.  Both sides make good points, and I have played games of both types that I have enjoyed immensely.  But is there one system that simply works better, or is there a new type of system that could placate the two sides into agreement?

Doctor, I don't know what it is, I've just been feeling about 59% lately...

It got me to thinking.  I love some Call of Duty firefights where bullets are flying at you, you’re hiding beneath an open window, explosions in the distance.  Your screen is outlined in red, you’re close to death, and you need to wait it out before you get back into the action.  But do I love it because that’s a fun game, and a fun situation with others, despite the regeneration of health?  I think indeed, I do love it despite that flawed system.  Its just so unrealistic, I believe the gameplay could be improved by altering the healing system (to take longer to fully heal) or to have some sort of health pack system thrown in.  The current trend in FPS games since about 2001 is to have health regenerate automatically, but I’m wondering if this is a situation that helps newcomers, and thus helps sales, to the detriment of the overall experience.

There is a good article detailing someone’s first hand experience involving Half Life, explaining why the regeneration system may take away from the gameplay experience, which you can read here.  A lot of the time I find myself in regen games simply waiting for my health to come back, and not actively looking for ways to boost my health.  Actively looking for health means I must progress and not just wait around.  I must explore, I must search for ways to help myself, and this adds in a more desperate, frantic feel to a first person shooter, a feeling that should be present instead of sitting around until my screen gets less red.  Of course, I’m speaking mostly towards singleplayer gameplay at this point, but I believe it could translate well to multiplayer also, even if concessions were made, where health could regenerate but at a much slower pace.  None of this is to say that games that let you regenerate health aren’t fun; hell, that would be saying that most games over the past 10 years haven’t been fun.  But there might be a system, discarded in the early days of FPSs, that could use revisiting and could possibly add to the experience.  Goldeneye 64 did not have a regeneration system for health, and that multiplayer is among the most epic out there.  I don’t think FPS multiplayer was thus improved in the years since, when that system was discarded in favor of a red screen and the impulse to hide for a while.  I believe a better system would be a set health system, where you have to actively gain more health, and not passively as so many games tend to do.  But for God’s sake, don’t make the health packs be painkillers.  We have to do something more realistic than that.

Just regenerating my health, be out in a second