Posts tagged ‘multiplayer’

November 10, 2011

First Impressions of Modern Warfare 3


Note:  This is nowhere near a complete review, nor is it my final thoughts about the game.  It’s just a good ole fashioned, knee jerk rambling, born from playing the game for just a couple of days.

Context is everything.  This game, like it or not, doesn’t exist within a vacuum.  And because of that, comparisons are inevitable.  With that said, I’m judging Modern Warfare 3 from the perspective of someone who up until Tuesday had been playing tons of Battlefield 3 online.  As a reference, let me tell you a story.  DorisfromNoris and I logged on the other night and formed our own little squad.  We were playing conquest, and as I jumped into a jeep, a stranger jumped onto the 50cal behind me.  We drove from checkpoint to checkpoint, blasting people away and rising up as the best squad on our team.  When our vehicle was destroyed, Doris met up with us and we three proceeded on foot to continue dominating the game.  We were the Navy SEALs of the game so to speak.  And we didn’t know this other guy at all.  But over the course of a number of matches, the teamwork put in by all three of us not only allowed us to win some major games, but to also become a friend to this new guy.  It was not only a memorable evening, but probably the most fun I’ve had since COD4 came out, in terms of online FPS.

Maybe you had to be there.  Regardless, it was a great time.  Now, fast forward to Tuesday.  I pick up MW3 on my lunch break and go home to play a couple of games.  The first game I get into, the match is already underway.  There is an enemy Huey just decimating my team, so I pop a Javelin rocket at it and bring it down.  Yay teamwork!  Everyone was stoked, and we all agreed to get beers if we were ever in the area again.  Or wait, that doesn’t seem right.  No, they said, and I quote, “Goddamn Mortar, wait until the chopper’s leaving before you shoot it?  Fucking n00bs on our team, what a bitch.”  I’m torn between three options.  Asking why he didn’t shoot it down, trolling him hard just to start an argument, or muting the dude.  I went with the third option; it had been a bad day and I didn’t feel like arguing with some meth addled hillbilly about strategy and the merits of who’s actually a bigger prick.

Though in fairness, he made an astute point.

And that’s when I realized it.  For whatever reason, these two war games gave me totally different reactions.  And Modern Warfare’s reaction wasn’t positive.  It got me mad.  It got my blood boiling.  I’d mute the guys but then immediately spawn on a live grenade.  I’d be in the middle of reloading when my sprinting would cancel the action.  Not to mention the clusterfuck that happens when the game thinks 3 people should spawn on top of each other, causing the game to sputter and rubberband like a Japanese kid watching that Porygon episode.  When Doris got on, we couldn’t party chat thanks to the ingenuity of the PS3, and thus we were stuck in lobbies of people blasting music into their mics, people going so racist it’d make a Klansman blush, and kids screaming for no discernible reason.  I hated to admit it, but from the FPS wars I’d seen in threads, it seemed the BF3 fanboys may have had a point.  And all that time, I’d been on the wrong side of history.

But maybe its not the  games themselves, maybe its the players.  I had to judge the game itself and not its audience.  I love Nirvana, and that love didn’t go away when the goth kids appropriated grunge.  Just because they thought Kurt Cobain would have made a great Slipknot frontman didn’t make Lithium any worse.  It just made them stupid.

Smells like team spirit, amirite?

So I hopped offline and decided to take a stab at single player.  And this is when my frustration subsided.  Because say what you want about Call of Duty, they can still make one hell of a campaign, and this is no exception.  Its so intense and crazy, you’d be inclined to watch First Blood only when you need to fall asleep.  I won’t spoil anything, but there is a certain Inception-like fight scene that totally blew my mind (and eerily resembled a Perfect Dark 64 level, if any of you out there are keeping track).  And here’s where I noticed something else.  Whereas Battlefield is clearly made for PCs, and the graphics dumbed down for their console brethren, MW3 is fully rendered on my PS3.  60 frames per second does wonders for the fast paced action, and the guns are beautifully rendered, complete with Remington or Colt etched into their sides to give that added touch of realism.  And the cities are just great looking.  Ah yes, I was loving this game, and I could finally breath a sigh of relief.  Nothing worse than hating the first 10 minutes of a game you just bought.  That’s certain to bring you down.

See, I loved Black Ops; loved it with a passion.  I didn’t really play games for a year or two there, and so when I got Blops I got into it with a vengeance.  And I played the multiplayer nonstop.  So I was worried.  Just what was it about Modern Warfare 3 that was getting me pissed off?  If all the complaints were that MW3 was just more of the same, that wouldn’t mean I’d be getting this mad at it, especially since I loved the same this was supposedly more of.  And I realized a couple of things.  First, I didn’t get Blops when it first came out, I got it in late December.  By that time the Ritalin munching kids had grown tired of it (to an extent) and so there were more serious players online.  Secondly, coming from BF3 with all its teamwork and mostly polite-player goodness, I was drowning in a sea of teenage angst, the likes of which I hadn’t seen since I was in high school.  And lastly, I was playing the matches that drew in the most weirdos of all, Team Deathmatch.  I decided it was time to hop on over to something a little more serious, and haven’t left Search and Destroy since.  It has made a huge difference.

So what do I think overall?  I really don’t know.  Its still far too early to make a definitive judgment, let alone try and decide which game I like better for FPS of the year.  I will say this, it does have it’s problems, and it isn’t a whole lot different from its predecessors.  The graphics have been improved, and I think it looks better than BF3, at least on the console.  The survivor mode is simply a ton of fun, though I do miss my Nazi zombies.  Last night I got into a group of about 7 of my friends and we all played together, something that just doesn’t happen on BF3 (because more of my friends have MW3, by far).  The campaign is sick, maybe the best campaign of a single player FPS I’ve ever played, and the multiplayer can be very, very addictive, especially if you mute the morans and have some friends to play with.  The maps are small and cramped, certainly in contrast to what I’ve been used to for the past few weeks, and you will die a lot quicker, especially if you have “skills” like me.  Though I wanted to get on here the first day I got the game and trash it like everyone else has done on Metacritic, I had to remind myself that this is a franchise I’ve loved for years, and have had some great times in.  Maybe all the hate had subliminally influenced me and my opinion.  I had to go back and remember what made Black Ops so special, and try to reclaim that passion in this newest installment.  And so far, I have.   The screaming kids didn’t create the game, and they certainly don’t have to define my opinion of it.  So with tons typed and nothing really said, I’ll leave it with a big “we’ll see…”  Not a satisfying answer, but I want to make sure my review, and ultimately my MW3/BF3 comparison, are well thought out and not based upon pure emotion.  So I’ll leave you with this:

Robber attempts to take MW3 at gunpoint

Man threatens to blow up Best Buy over MW3

Criminals tear gas truck, steal 6,000 copies of MW3

October 27, 2011

Battlefield 3 First Impressions


I don’t usually apologize because I’m not usually wrong, but I have to make an exception here.  Having played Battlefield 3 for the past few days, I can say with all certainty that this game has far exceeded my expectations.  And to be honest, the more I play the online multiplayer, the harder time I have believing that Modern Warfare 3 can keep up with the competition.  So without further delay, let me begin my apologetic love letter to all things Battlefield 3…

I got Gulf War Syndrome just from looking at this.

I’ve only played about a half hour of the campaign, and I can’t really speak to if its good or bad, though I haven’t heard great things.  But we all know that’s not the main reason for buying such a game.  No, the real reason people get Battlefield is to engage in huge multiplayer games.  And that is what I have done.  I complained in a previous post that the uber-realism of the game would probably turn me off (on account of dying all the time and all) but it has had the complete opposite effect.  The utter realism of the game is engaging, intense, and immersive.  I tend to sit as close to the TV as possible, white knuckling a Mountain Dew while I ride into town in the armored transport carriers, listening to the crackle and deep thuds of combat in the distance.

The game is unique in that you actually level up not only your person but your guns as well, earning ACOG sights, grips, underbarrel grenade launchers and flashlights along the way, and its deeply satisfying to see that you’ve earned some new equipment.  The vehicle combat is simulated perfectly, and adds to the chaotic nature of war.  I found myself last night picking people off from a first floor window when an explosion rocked the building, knocking down the wall I was hiding behind.  I was nearly dead and dropped to prone, knowing there was a tank merely feet from me and was looking for the guy taking out his teammates.  There was no escape.

Aaaaaaand scene

That is specifically what makes this game so great.  You will remember your multiplayer matches.  I’ve done good in some games, great in few, but overall, you remember the experiences.  The maps are so big and so varied that the matches never play out the same twice.  As much as I loved Black Ops, and I most certainly loved it, you can’t deny that most games on Nuketown were basically the same game.  Not here.  Mixed with the fantastic sound effects that make the warfare in your face and as real as possible, graphics that are as good as any FPS on the market today, and the whispered orders of your comrades as you hide in the streets of Paris while a tank of your opponents drive past unaware, this game creates a real battle experience for you.  Not a game or a match, but an experience.  Everyone will have unique experiences, and they will be made all the more awesome if you have friends to play online with.

It was late last night and so I was just kind of exploring on a larger map when I saw an enormously tall crane towards the edge of the level.  I climbed, and it took forever, to the top of the crane and could survey the entire level.  However, I wasn’t a sniper and I only had a non-scoped M4A1, so there was no real tactical reason for what I did, I just wanted to get up there.  Faced with the boring alternative of climbing back down, I took the awesome path of just sprinting to the end and leaping off, parachuting to the ground.  When I landed, I found three enemies laying prone, about 4 feet in front of me, blissfully unaware of my presence while sniping my own guys.  So I wiped them out, and immediately the game ended.  I was almost out of breath when the scores were tallied and I was smiling ear to ear.

The game certainly isn’t perfect.  Getting a server can be a pain in the ass. I guess DICE, while busy hyping their game as the COD-killer, forgot to, you know, prepare for what would happen if a lot of people actually bought the game.  Lag isn’t really an issue except on the Tehran map, which oddly always has lag (at least in my experience).  DorisfromNoris got the game on launch day like I did, but we still haven’t played a single match together because of server failures, which is a gaping flaw in my opinion.  But hopefully patches or additional servers can fix this issue soon so that the full game, which is already great, can be fully enjoyed.  But in the end, while I’m discussing ERISA 401(k) plans all morning, really what I can’t quit thinking about is that time we successfully held the entrance to the subway, blinded by flashlights and laser sights, by blind-firing into the escalator bottleneck before us.

October 2, 2011

Gears 3 Review by Jimmy Paperboy


When Epic released the Gears of War franchise in 2006 it was a wholly unique experience.  Never before was there a game where you could experience the intensity of battle through a cover system, and came to be known as the definition of the third person shooter genre.  Gears has been a benchmark not only for any game that follows in its path, but for all shooters.  Gears offered its third installment in the series this September, and the game disc has been whirling away in my 360 since the release date.

I googled Gears of War 3 and found this, it looks like it is right

Let’s first start with my favorite part of the game:  multiplayer.  In the competitive mode the game still retains favorites like Warzone, Execution, King of the Hill, Capture the Leader, and Wingman.  The new addition of Team Deathmatch is a nice welcome to the franchise.  The structure is the same as Team Deathmatch in any other shooter because it features respawns and the objective is to simply kill the other team, but the wrinkle to Gears is that there are a limited number of respawns per team.  I was at first skeptical of this game type because I thought it would take away from the gameplay that made Gears multiplayer so intense.  Warzone and Execution are so nerve wracking because they are not about getting kills, but staying alive.  In Warzone and Execution, death resulted in you sitting out the round until it was over.  However, I find the limited number of respawns in Team Deathmatch reinforces the survival mindset present in other modes while allowing you to be constantly in the fray.  Gears also went away from Host matchmaking and now functions on their own dedicated servers.  This is a great improvement because it used to become so frustrating when you were playing with a good group of people and the game suddenly ended due to people quitting or having network problems.  Like in Gears 2, when a player quits in multiplayer a bot is put in its place.  But even better, Gears 3 allows people to join mid game which helps keep the competitive pace in multiplayer.  The maps are so-so.  There are really no stand outs, and I am left only to reminisce about the days of playing old favorites such as River, Canals, and War Machine.  It was always fun to have such variables of death in a map as well, such as the train on Tyro station or the snow in Avalanche.  I assume they will add some of the classics and better maps when DLC comes out, but until then I’ll make the best of what I’ve got.

Sadly, this man committed suicide with his lancer soon after.

Horde is back as well in Gears 3.  This version adds the ability of your COG team to build fortifications to protect your squad from the Locust Horde.  Depending on the quality and quantity of Locust grubs you kill, you will earn money that can be spent on things such as barriers, turrets, and decoys.  The more money you spend the better upgrades you can get.  Beast Mode is another mode offered, which is like a Horde from the Locust perspective.  You can play as the Locust monsters that you encounter in campaign mode to fight against the computer controlled COG squad.  The way of earning money is the same as Horde, and more money results in being able to choose bigger and better Locusts.  I found this to be one of my favorite new additions because of the sheer variety of attacks and abilities that the Locusts can use.  Also, the last game that I remember which allowed a player to play from the antagonist’s perspective was Perfect Dark on the 64 so it is a refreshing change to say the least.

The stat system is extremely comprehensive.  If anyone is familiar with Bungie.net’s stat system, the in-game stat tracking in Gears certainly rivals it depth and can be accessed completely from the console.  It delves into things such as kills with weapons, game modes stats, etc.  Gears “borrows” from Call of Duty ribbons and medals which function like challenges and earns you titles and emblems.  Gears 3 features a plethora of unlockables which will should take a player take eons to finish.  This promotes the player to experience the game with different weapons, modes, and kills to gain things such as character skins, colored guns, and executions.

Gears does not make Marcus morally, nor sexually ambiguous.

The campaign is an achievement in itself.  The story is top notch.  It can be corny at times, but it is like watching a good action movie.  Even in its moments of cheesiness, Gears is still able to pull at your heart.  There are about two or three moments that really stand out.  They even caused complete silence between the constant chatter of my co-op partner and I because it captured all of our sense.  What Gears 3 does better with its story than the previous installments is make you feel connected to the characters.  It is evident that the weight of war is starting to get to Delta Squad, and Gears does a good job of fleshing out their yearning for civilian life and families.  Unfortunately, It was obvious that Epic put little time into developing the women characters, and they seemed to be there just to widen the audience.  In spite of their obvious hotness they were one dimensional and generic.  I was very surprised to say the least that Epic was able to put such an engrossing story together which is by far the best of the three games in the franchise.  The campaign also keeps variety in mind.  It is not simply the mind-numbing task of finding cover and killing Locusts.  You are put into vehicles, fight in a mech suit, and with a nod to the movie Aliens get to use a Loader suit. The story takes place in multiple settings which will take you underwater, in the air, and through the Cole’s old Thrashball hometown.

These days it is rare that a video game exceeds expectations or meets them.  Gears 3 does a good job of keeping with the formula in the past games while taking some successful features of other modern shooters.  Gears of War 3 met my expectations and definitely worth picking up.

PROS: Same great competitive multiplayer experience that I expect, a moving story that will be remembered, buying fortifications in Horde.

CONS: Uninspiring multiplayer maps, cheesy parts in story at times, still get stuck on everything when doing the roadie run (not sure if anything can be done about this anyways).

September 21, 2011

Resistance 3 is Irrestistable


I finally completed the main story of Resistance 3 on Superhuman and the story remains just as immersive as the first playthrough.  I really can’t say enough good things about the single player.  Though regrettably I missed the first two Resistance games, the third and final chapter is as accessible to me as any game I’ve played before.  The characters are believable and the story is compelling.  As the main character, Joe Capelli, you make your way from Oklahoma to New York City.  The environments are amazingly diverse and incredibly detailed.  Going through underground tunnels, waste deep in water as the ceiling rumbles and moves, debris falling into the water around you, creates an amazing amount of tension.  There is a moment when you’ll find yourself fighting for your life in a prison gladiator style while the crowd screams and boos, and this creates an experience unparalleled to me in terms of gameplay.  And lets not forget the guns.  With a swarm of aliens right around the corner, one shot with the mutator, which slings infectious disease over one of the enemies, caused him to erupt in boils.  He ran backwards towards the group writhing and screaming and finally succumbing.  All the other aliens became infected as well, and I moseyed on past as they exploded, one by one.

As I said before, when I purchased Resistance 3 I had no prior experience with the franchise.  I assumed that it would be PlayStation’s Gears of War.  Both are exclusive to their respective consoles, both are trilogies, and both involve gratuitous violence against aliens.  And they do share something huge in common, they are both amazing games.  But they are very, very different, I learned.  Resistance is pretty much a lone wolf game.  Though you may have a few friends here and there, you are not in a squad.  You are not military.  You are barely making it across the country in a savage free-for-all with invading alien forces.  It is a far more bleak world than that of Gears of War, one that is truly post apocalyptic, a game that oozes the desperation and destruction within its environment.  It is a one man against the world scenario, if not this world, then some alien world.  The mutator that I mentioned is not a fancy gun, but instead something scrapped together in a prison, its crosshairs nothing more than twine between two sticks.

But the real mainstay here is the multiplayer.  It is an unholy mix of Call of Duty’s frantic pacing, run-and-gun style of gameplay and Halo’s unique, sci-fi weapons and environments.  It’s incredibly addictive, if not horribly difficult at times, but every kill gives a unique sense of satisfaction.

Will I platinum on this game?  Not a chance,  it just looks too difficult and too time consuming.  The game really was an impulse buy for me, but one I’m glad I made.  The story alone makes this game worth it, and the multiplayer greatly extends the game’s shelf life.  But after last night, I’m putting Resistance away for a while and focusing on Dead Island.  Hopefully I can get my hands on some Gears of War 3 this weekend too and report back on that.  Otherwise, I’ll just have to save up my jones for killing aliens until Rage comes out next month.