Wot I Think: CODBLOPS 2 (Singleplayer)

By Alec Meer on November 15th, 2012 at 11:00 am.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is the 4192nd Call of Duty Game, and as such predominantly requires you to run forwards while firing a machinegun and following an indestructible friendly NPC whose main purpose is to open doors. It’s developed by Treyarch rather than Modern Warfare-makers Infinity Ward, and it’s the direct sequel to the Cold War-set Black Ops 1. This time, the setting switches between the Cold War and a new war on terror in 2025, as starring the son of Black Ops’ protagonist Alex Mason.

It came out on Tuesday, and I blitzed through the singleplayer yesterday. (I probably won’t write about the multiplayer because, not being terribly well-versed in the fine detail of the earlier ones, I can’t say anything useful about it. Also I don’t want to.)

At times, it’s like a nightmare, not an adventure. Both friend and foe pummel my ears with shouted obscenities, I’m shot at from what feels like a hundred directions at once while random bits of scenery explode for no clear reason, and shooting I’m crazily back at whoever it is wherever they are with one of the two dozen guns with complicated names lying around me within a six foot radius. Or perhaps the wide, war-torn street I’m in is suddenly beset by a tidal wave, or a relentless series of prompts to press F to to do this or that pop up arbitrarily, or maybe the game just outright seizes control of my actions. Other times, I die and die and instantly die because I didn’t press exactly the right button at exactly the right time. And through it all, insipid techno plays and plays and plays and plays and plays and I look at the amazingly well-rendered faces of people I’m supposed to care about and people I’m supposed to hate but I don’t because all their personality is in their anger and so nothing means anything and I just run onwards, onwards, onwards doing what I’m told, a mute, anxious slave to my entertainment product.

But I stay. I keep playing because yes, it can be exciting when it relaxes its oppressively scripted hand just a little and lets me get on with the business of shooting men with great precision. And, most of all, because it’s painting some of the most spectacular scenes I’ve ever seen on my monitor. This is what game artists can do when given an ostensibly unlimited budget and attendant manpower: these incredible environments such as futuristic mega-resorts, a nightclub housing hundreds of dancers illuminated by a sci-fi light-show, a perfectly trite faux-US suburb set up for army forces stationed in Panama, a sweeping desert filled with ancient ruins and herds of horses, a vast aircraft carrier under siege, a breakneck drive down an exploding freeway, a visibly humid, luscious jungle… This is a PC COD that’s done the work, graphically at least, and it’s paid off hugely.

There’s this oft-repeated claim that Call of Duty games’ singleplayer are mere throwaway nothings, simply box-ticking to help encourage more punters into the annual $60 purchase of an ever-more refined but never truly changed multiplayer mode. I see what CODBLOPS does with its single player, the magnitude of what it builds even if it all as surface, and I know that claim is dead wrong. Every time this game switches to a new location, I feel as though I’ve just watched a few million dollars burn away on my screen. Only a fraction of what was built for singleplayer will appear in multiplayer: these 8-10 hours of breathless blockbuster frenzy were clearly a huge and expensive project, not a routine one.

Amazing things have been made, and the people who crafted these scenes deserve our respect. But then I find all I can do within these scenes is run forward in a more-or-less straight line while shooting a machinegun I can’t even remember the name of. It feels like absurd wastage, so much built and then only used as hoardings along the side of Black Ops 2′s ever-exploding road. At one point, having just shown off a breathtaking fully-modelled aerial view the aforementioned future mega-resort, the game then immediately drags you into the boring, pop-up baddie-filled maintenance tunnels underneath it, so your view of this awesome structure lasts mere seconds. I feel sad that this grand building was created but then used only in cameo.

Then, even more sadly, I think of all those other, less bullet-crazed games that could do so many things with vast, awe-inspiring environments like these, not simply pen the player into an alley. They will never have even a fraction of it, of course, because they are not the world’s best-selling videogame series. Oh, for a game in the vein of Vampire Bloodlines or Deus Ex to have had the nightclub level that this does. It would have made it into a maze of conversations and challenges and strangeness, but all this does with its vast, multi-tier space and legions of gyrating bodies is have you walk up to a door at the other end. It’s like someone spending years designing and building the Colosseum but then just using it as a coffee shop.

There are so many little touches too, signs of a visual design team free to indulge themselves, creating deft micro-ideas that there’s every chance the vast majority of players won’t even notice through the storm of blood and bullets and blind fury. Much of the game is set in 2025, so during a scene in an airport approaching one of the many billboards for fragrances and watches sees the face of the man in them replaced by that of whoever’s looking at them – specifically, the character you control at that point, Commander David ‘Section’ Mason. Minority Report stuff, yeah, but I’m amazed that they stuck such a tiny thing in there, this little breathe of cleverness within a game that is consciously obnoxious and mindless in so many other ways. Similarly, a 2025 jeep has a tiny, self-updating HUD on the corner of its windscreen detailing its emmissions, MPG and that sort of thing – a deft little reflection of what car culture might have become after another decade of a half of climate change fear and technological evolution. You pretty much have to squint to see it, but it’s there because someone made it even though it has nothing to do with the running and shooting and running and shooting.

Then, on the other hand, is the rampant, unchecked mood and depiction of brutality and hate. There are three nauseatingly graphic scenes of people burning to death in the first couple of hours of the game, the first level, putting you in the shoes of an essentially invulnerable man who attacks a horde of black guys with a machete, is as sinister as it is ridiculous, and after that comes a steady stream of horrific mutilations and lingering, distressingly well-rendered looks at the results thereof.

For such a beautiful looking game, it sure is ugly. It does not have a good heart. It has a twisted, cruel, exploitative one whose sole concept of warm sentiment towards humanity is that the more hyper-aggressive and snarling an American soldier is the more heroic they surely must be.

I even struggled to follow the plot, which is certainly not the kind of thing I, as a not entirely stupid grown man, really want to be saying about yet another tale of GI Joe vs The Nasty Foreigners. Partly the confusion stems from the game presuming you know and 100% remember CODBLOPS 1′s spasmodic saga of brain-washing, double-dealing and one-man-genocide in the 1970s and 1980s and thus can drop seamlessly into a story largely set around 40 years later, and partly it’s because it wheels on a giddying parade of characters old and new without actually introducing them, usually before brutally killing them off moments later.

Admittedly, it calms down a bit in the second half of the game as the main antagonist Scarface McForeign finally comes up with a proper evil scheme that needs concerted stopping, as opposed to the preceding rapid perspective-switching, arbitrary use of flashbacks and a sense of purpose that’s basically ‘aha! You shall not defeat my army full of men! Oh you have defeated my army full of men, well here’s another one then’. There’s a sense of it being something a little more focused that the prior cavalcade of amazing-but-pointless settings and sudden executions of people whose names you didn’t quite catch. Don’t let me oversell it though – to achieve this second half focus the plot plunges into a preposterous, paranoid Clancy-fantasy that’s like watching eight series of 24 simultaneously, but with added robots.

Also, it features a couple of short sequences from Scarface McForeign’s perspective that do serve to explain him ever so slightly. He’s not in any danger of escaping panto villain status, and there’s a hilarious segment where he basically Hulks out and goes on an indestructible rampage that’s less convincing than the Beserk power-up from the original Doom , but hell, I did feel the tiniest scrap of sympathy for him, which is more than I can say about 99% of the growly-sweary all-American heroes.

I’ve not actually played Modern Warfare 3, which I’m given to understand offered the worst excesses of the COD series to date, but I’m nonetheless fairly sure that Treyarch’s latest effort here is doing its damnedest to outdo their own internal rival. As I say it looks amazing, while the rapid-fire setpieces, procession of disposable near-future military toys and sustained air of epic destruction could lay some legitimate claim to being Bigger Than Anything Else Ever. For that, I do wind up having a grudging respect for it, for how hard it tries and how much it manages to include, even while simultaneously feeling it’s the empty-headed, mean-spirited death of popular culture. And, while I’d very much hesitate to leave the word ‘innovation’ anywhere within a 30-mile radius of CODBLOPS 2, it does try to do a little more than the now-traditional Keep Your Hands Inside The Rollercoaster At All Times high-speed rail journey to nowhere.

There are optional side missions which entail the lightest touch of strategy – using an overhead interface, you order small squads of men around a map with assorted capture/defence points, and can elect to take control of any one of them, Dungeon Keeper style. There is a branching plot with moral choices, some of which are overtly sign-posted as such and others of which genuinely require independent thought and have unexpected consequences much further down the line. This being COD and as such only truly concerned with wanton violence, the choices do not involve conversation or charity donations – KILL or WOUND is a relevant example.

I appreciate that it tries though, and I appreciate that I could actually have a conversation with someone else about what they did and what happened as a result. COD games haven’t given themselves to anecdotes for a long, long time, unless your friends are somehow satisfied by such epic tales as “and then I shot another man and then another and then another and then another”, but this is taking baby steps towards an experience that’s reactive, not purely prescriptive.

So, for this and for the amazing environments, I’m not going to feel comfortable with hearing the usual dismissals of CODBLOPS 2 as the usual rubbish. It is a game at war with itself. The thoughtfulness of the environments and small visual touches and the attempt at choice and consequences is struggling to be heard over the unchecked, ever-shouting, raw nastiness of the game proper, and as such I am certainly not recommending it should be purchased by those who’ve found any or all of the last half-decade of CODs to be objectionable, stupid or objectionably stupid. It’s an unpleasant game, it really is. But underneath all the hatred, sadism and jingoism there are telltale and fascinating signs of something more going on – and I hope they can be nurtured and built upon in the inevitable future CODs.

, , .

169 Comments »

  1. Roz says:

    ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is the 4192nd Call of Duty Game’

    Stopped reading here, I read the wot I think for the 3756th game, that was enough.

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      Why?

      Ah – in between my reading your comment and posting mine, I see you’ve explained a bit further.

      I can’t imagine anyone is surprised that the single player for this game is fairly identical to the ones that came before it, or MOH, BF3 etc, etc.

      • Roz says:

        Yeah, reading it back I realised I sounded like a retard.

        SP will always be similar because their target audience is 12 year olds who will only play the multiplayer.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          from above review:
          “So, for this and for the amazing environments, I’m not going to feel comfortable with hearing the usual dismissals of CODBLOPS 2 as the usual rubbish.”

          • Unaco says:

            To be fair, he did say he stopped reading after the first line of the article.

          • The Random One says:

            I’m amused that his comment boils down to, “I’m so smart I have an opinion on this without even reading it!”

    • Wyrm says:

      I’d rather take an arrow to the groin than play another CoD / MoH / Chav-oriented-shooty game.

      • Unaco says:

        ” Chav-oriented-shooty game.”

        Nice. Sneering social elitism, used as game criticism. In the first thread as well. That’s one for RPS comment bingo.

        • DrGonzo says:

          It is chav oriented though.

        • Wreckdum says:

          For all you fellow Americans who don’t understand WTF these guys are talking about… Don’t worry! I copied and pasted Urban Dictionary!

          Chav

          Stereotypically:

          (1)Wears jewellery from Argos
          (2)Has a pregnant girlfriend, aged 14
          (3)Will punch anyone, especially if they are just minding their own business
          (4)Socialise outside of McDonald’s, shouting at 10-year-olds that pass in the street
          (5)Have their own language and slang
          (6)Live on council estates
          (7)Wear Adidas, Nike etc. Not the ‘real’ stuff, cheap rip-offs from a market stall.
          (8)Can usually be found with a can of lager in one hand and a cigarette in the other
          (9)Uneducated, with no ability to read or write
          (10)The bane of society

          • Unaco says:

            Chav is a pejorative and derogatory term for the working class.

          • x1501 says:

            @Unaco
            Is it? This caricature doesn’t really strike me as one directed at your typical working-class man. According to Wikipedia, “The stereotype was popularised in the British mass media to refer to working-class youth subculture in England.”

            EDIT: Well, here you go. From Oxford English Dictionary:
            British informal, derogatory. A young lower-class person typified by brash and loutish behaviour and the wearing of (real or imitation) designer clothes.
            Origin: 1990s: probably from Romany chavo ‘boy, youth’ or chavvy ‘baby, child’.

          • Vorphalack says:

            ”Chav is a pejorative and derogatory term for the working class.”

            No it isn’t. It’s a term used for people who have chosen obnoxious thug culture as a defining character trait. It’s not restricted to any age group, any social class, ethnic group, or part of the country.

          • Jamesworkshop says:

            I have to agree i’m well below middle class and yet people don’t call me a chav because i don’t set cars on fire or smash shop windows, so I don’t consider it another term because working class already has a set notion, social class and criminal records for assault and battery is something i’ve never seen get anybody confused between the two.

          • Unaco says:

            Yes, it is. Chav is a pejorative and derogatory term used against the newly consumerised working classes. It is used to demonise and to attack the working (and lower) classes, and has been used to derail and disrupt the evolution and emergence of working class identity. Basically, it’s another way of calling them the Lumpenproletariat.

          • sinister agent says:

            I’m afraid Unaco is right. It’s arguable that the term could be used specifically to describe certain kinds of unpleasant behaviour and attitudes, but it was long ago taken over by people using it to sneer about people they deem beneath them. Denial doesn’t help – it’s best to just not use it.

          • Unaco says:

            It may have started as something original (“Not just scum… Scum that wears burberry!!”), but the term is now equivalent to terms for “prole” and “poor and worthless”. It’s about derision of the commoner, the uneducated, the inarticulate and those who simply don’t have a lot of money.

          • CmdrCrunchy says:

            Dont give me this demonisation of the working class rubbish.

            I don’t know what part of the country you’re from, but you must live where there are none of these people, because around here, the term ‘chav’ is a byword for ‘scum’. I live in a working class area, and every single decent person around here hates chavs and chav culture.

            But its ok, you can pretend it doesnt exist if it makes you feel better about your views on class and politics.

          • clownst0pper says:

            These are Chav games. Played by uneducated dickheads who enjoy nothing more than swearing, getting pissed (usually in public, in the morning) walk around with a Staffy, with their hands down their pants. These aren’t neccesarily working class people, it’s just a type of person who’s chosen to adopt the above. I will add though, that most tend to be from low paid or jobless house holds, in my experience.

          • Unaco says:

            http://owenjones.org/2011/07/08/chavs-and-the-working-class/

            “There was a strong feeling in the focus groups that the noble tradition of a respectable and diligent working class was over. For the first time, I saw the “working class” tag used as a slur, equated with other class-based insults such as “chav”. I asked focus group members to make collages using newspaper and magazine clippings to show what the working class was. Many chose deeply unattractive images: flashy excess, cosmetic surgery gone wrong, tacky designer clothes, booze, drugs and overeating. By contrast, being middle class is about being, well, a bit classy.”

            It is the demonisation of working class identity.

          • x1501 says:

            From your own blog page, first paragraph:

            “One of the most frequent criticisms of my book is that it supposedly conflates ‘chav’ and ‘working-class’. They are two completely different things, the critics say. ‘Chav’ is a word widely used – and that includes by working-class people as well as middle-class people. Indeed it’s argued that working-class people hate ‘chavs’ – so in what meaningful sense can ‘chav’ be used to demonise working-class people?”

            Even if the argument is correct and “the wealthy and powerful associate ‘chavs’ with working-class people” (yes, every single one of those monocle-wearing bastards), you’re still intentionally ignoring the significantly more popular definition that seems to have very little to do with class warfare.

            EDIT and RE to below: I understand the argument. My point is that it seems that this ‘fringe’ interpretation of the term is nowhere nearly as widespread as the ‘official’ OED one.

          • Premium User Badge

            Makariel says:

            clownst0pper says:

            “These are Chav games. Played by uneducated dickheads who enjoy nothing more than swearing, getting pissed (usually in public, in the morning) walk around with a Staffy, with their hands down their pants.”

            Your colourful description doesn’t fit anyone I know who’s actually playing CoD. You don’t like CoD, fine, but don’t think you’re “better” than people playing games you don’t like.

          • Unaco says:

            @x1501,

            “in what meaningful sense can ‘chav’ be used to demonise working-class people?”

            Did you read the rest of the article, or just the first paragraph? Because it goes on to answer that question.

          • dontnormally says:

            So for us ‘merkans, is this a comparable term?
            (if we’re going for the non-social-class meaning)
            http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=townie

          • Jamesworkshop says:

            Forgot to add that actually working class people have much stronger opinions than middle class, living in oxford types do about chavs because they live very far away from them, take the London riots, lots of working class resentment because the people that bore the brunt of the damage were not particularly well off themselves, destroying a furniture store generally doesn’t strike a blow against the people in society that have a lot.

            I didn’t see many Bullingdon jackets among the “Enfield army”

          • Archonsod says:

            “Chav is a pejorative and derogatory term for the working class”

            No, in order to be working class one would need some form of work and at least a little bit of class. Chavs rarely have either. They would be more correctly identified as an underclass.

          • armyofdan says:

            Hey, I am offended. There are good lagers. You can make one yourself.

          • Stuka_JU87 says:

            Here in the Americas I thought “chavs” were the equivalent of “wiggers” on this side of the pond. That would be mid to upper class suburban caucasians who try their hardest to copy with the modern lifestyle/dress of their notions of a stereotypical version of gangsta/hip hop/ghetto culture.

        • gordy the gopher says:

          I`m in agreement with @unaco.
          Jamesworkshop wrote that he`s “below middle-class” and that he “doesn`t go around smashing shop windows” etc. That misses the point completely; I don`t think that anyone`s stated that ALL working -class people (of whatever age) are “chavs”, just that chavs are a subset of working-class. By definition, chavs can ONLY be working-class. As for the riots: There were people who took part from the middle-classes (or at least had middle-class accents), and from across all age-groups, including at least one pensioner.
          The term “chav” can be lumped in with:

          “Foreigners taking all our jobs”.
          “All Romanians are thieves”. (As an aside, I recently had a taxi driver tell me in all seriousness that there was a gang of Kossovans driving around in a van, kidnapping local schoolchildren. Funny how that never got in the press…).
          “Foreigners getting council housing first”
          “Teenage mothers getting council housing first”.
          “Benefit fraudsters” who “rake in £18000 a year”. What doesn`t get mentioned is the millions of pounds that the rich avoid paying in tax every year.

          All of the above, including “chavs” have one thing in common: They`re all working-class…

      • Premium User Badge

        Makariel says:

        You must be the pride of your nation.

      • Prospero424 says:

        I actually prefer a recently-popularized American term for this social group. “Dudebro”. As in “dudebro, toss me the Bawlz and queue up some Linkin Park” or “Yo, the new Call of Dudebro is out and it looks SICK!”.

        http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=dudebro

        That being said, the single night I spent playing CODBLOPS 2 was fairly fun. And yes, I have no problem enjoying a product while simultaneously sneering at the target demographic of the company who created it. So shoot me.

    • SPRlmao says:

      what! yous mean people actaully read these acrticles ? this is a website for video and picture news of games. Sometimes there is a red link hidden between this matrix of shitty opinion that takes you to a real website. huuh!? :=)

    • Premium User Badge

      lurkalisk says:

      *It may not be much*, but it does seem Treyarch are trying rather hard to stretch the limitations Activision imposes on them. It seems like they’re actually trying, is the point. Unlike whatever it is Infinity Ward does these days.

      But, like I said, it doesn’t amount to much, but it is is a tad different.

    • xenogrant says:

      stopped reading after “stopped reading”

  2. Askeladd says:

    I can’t help but have a prejudice against this game. The COD series became what I loathe about MMS.
    There are people that enjoy them – I’m not one of them. How about a good Rainbow Six again?

  3. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    “Don’t let me oversell it though”

    Sure, I’ll listen to your qualifiers

    “to achieve this second half focus the plot plunges into a preposterous, paranoid Clancy-fantasy that’s like watching eight series of 24 simultaneously, but with added robots.”

    Sorry, you did say “don’t” let you oversell it didn’t you? That sounds thoroughly entertaining!

  4. Tyrmot says:

    I used to enjoy a good manshooter back in the day… now I find I have no interest in them at all.. did I grow up, or did they not?

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      I’m not sure it’s growing up – more just getting bored. All that changes is the graphics, otherwise it’s the same old thing you’ve done umpteen times before.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      The Manshooter part is fun. The parts that are not fun is when the game forces you into a set game-play (be it stealth) and then kills you for doing what something else.
      MW3 did this.
      BF3 did it to
      Thankfully MOH-WF got lambasted for it.
      Does BLOPS 2 do it as well?

      • aepervius says:

        Yes there are insta death section with drone for example. The moment the light spot falls on you it is insta game over reload. no dodge, no firing back nothing. just insta death and more sneaking.

      • Gorf says:

        Yeah there is stuff like that.
        At one stage in the first half hour of the game i died about 4 times in a row because i didnt do excactly what the script wanted me too.

        It was a really poorly explained portion where i was told to defend Woods who we had just freed from a container.
        Then after carrying him some distance, my partner (i think it was Mason or somebody?), switched with me and carried him to the beach, whilst we where under constant attack, but what i didnt realise was that to end the scene i had to go back to Woods and help Mason carry him to the end of the beach other wise i would just keep getting swarmed. It was ridiculous.

    • Xardas Kane says:

      Both in my experience.

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      I think it’s partially that Serious Military Shooting used to be the sole domain of PC mans. Oh, how the PC mans would sneer at the Jumpings and Non-Serious Military Shooting Shooting of the Console mans games. Then the Console mans did have Shootings of his own. And the shootings were now held in ill favour for they are now the domain of the unwashed Console Mans.

      Seriously. There used to be a serious hard on the for the Call of Duty series pre modern warfare, before the other kids used to play it. Back when every single thing on the PC was a WW2 shooter.

      • aldo_14 says:

        I think it used to be that these types of games were just infrequent enough to retain their novelty as a bombastic spectacle. And the tech advanced enough between each iteration that, even while linear, you were at least seeing new things (the intro to the first games Stalingrad bit was pretty much like sitting on Pirates of Carribbean… but it looked glorious at the time). But with console limitations even the flash-bang-whizz disney rides have lost that visual progression.

        But now the market is saturated with the COD series alone, let alone imitators like Homefront or MoH:Fightingwarmens.

    • Sugoi says:

      I think it really is the latter. Immersive sims seemed to be the direction the genre was moving towards (albeit more slowly than we’d like), but then COD4 was such a ridiculous success that the pull of money was too much for big studios to even remotely consider a more sophisticated FPS.

      I’d like to believe that we’ll again start seeing more big budget games move in that direction, but sales will probably have to decline considerably for the big players to be willing to risk innovation again.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      In Doom, Duke 3D, Blood, Quake et al, you weren’t just shooting. You would have to explore semi-linear or quite non-linear levels, and enemies would likely be sniping at you from far corners, above and below, just as often as right in front of you. Different weapons are suitable depending upon your situaton, e.g. brief bursts of minigun fire in Doom would help snipe far-away imps, chaingunners and sergeants, but shotguns are quicker close-up. There would be different ammo types to collect and use, implying simple inventory management. Unload a shell on that Caco, or blast it with some plasma?

      Oh, and then there was Descent…

      Do I really need to describe the differences between these old, classic, FPSs and today’s corridor Michael Bay-em-ups? Suffice to say, the linearity and simplification might help sell these things to the terminally unimaginative mainstream gamer, but they leave such games looking rather unexciting and bland to someone who has been gaming for decades.

      • zubbuz says:

        The Descent games were the ultimate 3D shooters…. Sheer range of motion and confusing level design were amazing compared with any other game…

        I tried to go back and play them – I have to say I remember them looking much much better back then :P

    • CountVlad says:

      I think it’s a bit of both. I thoroughly enjoyed MW1 when it came out but I played MW2 and 3 recently and found that parts of them made me feel quite uneasy.

      I guess as you grow into adulthood you discover more about what really goes on in the world and some things just cease to be funny or acceptable as entertainment. I’m 24, but I still skipped the airport massacre scene in MW2 and the chemical attack scene in MW3. The first one was partly because of what was going on in Syria at the time and it just reminded me too much of disturbing pictures I’d seen. The second one was because I’m very much against the depiction of violence towards children in games (which I understand it contains) and I guess that’s partly because I work with children on a daily basis and just find the whole idea of violence towards children unacceptable.

      There also seems to be more depiction of torture and HD ultra-violence in mainstream games now than there used to be. I don’t mind a bit of violence/blood/wounds in games (violent games don’t look right without it), but developers of games like MW2 now seem to feel it’s ok to depict things like your allys commiting war crimes, such as torturing captured soldiers (Brazil, MW2). Because there is nothing in the game that challenges the morality of such an action, it could have the effect of making it seem more acceptable because the character doing it is one of the main “good guys”

      … anyway, that’s my two pennies.

      • Grape says:

        Yes, CountVlad. Everyone knows that the fewer years you have existed chronologically, and the more short, unfinished and stupid you are, the more of a right to live you have than everyone else.

        God; how I fucking hate people like you.

        • Ich Will says:

          Explain your comment properly, it makes no sense.

          • Ragnar says:

            I think he’s trying to say that violence against adults is just as bad as violence against children, and thus if you are able to depict one you should also be able to depict the other. That violence against innocents is equally bad, no matter the age of the victims, and thus we shouldn’t label one as acceptable and one as unacceptable.

            I just don’t know why he chose to say it in such an angry, hateful way.

    • Premium User Badge

      Carra says:

      Playing a shooter from time to time is fun and it adds variation. I’m just one of those gamers that play pretty much anything ;) And these days I can’t be bothered to spend months with only one game.

  5. Premium User Badge

    DarkLiberator says:

    Its funny, because I actually enjoyed this over the other ones since CoD4, granted the others were mediocre at best. Zombies is fantastic with the new TranZit mode.

    As for MP, well, its alright, can’t say i’m a fan of the low recoil SMGs. Just plain mindless fun for an hour or two. Till you get bored of it.

    • f1x says:

      COD 1, 2 and 3 were good, but I cannot really talk much about them over the mist of time and nostalgia, Im not sure I would enjoy them again if I played now

      I enjoyed CoD4 (MW1) a fucking lot, in my opinion the campaign was awesome, and the multiplayer aswell, but of course back then most of what CoD4 brought to the table was new, in my mind is still the best COD

      Then MW2 was aceptable but couldnt get to play more than a couple online matches, but when recently I played again MW1 and MW2 campaigns I noticed how MW1 was vastly superior, so even making MW2 campaign looks awful
      Never played World at War thought I heard it was good,
      Then Black ops was aceptable but again cba with multiplayer
      and MW3 was simply horrible

      So far I’ve heard that this CODBLOPS2 could be also aceptable, not as good as CoD4 obviously, I would love if they would sell the campaign alone and some offline arcade modes for 25-30 $

      Thats my resume of the 4000 cods, excluding mobile ones and maybe some that I forgot

      • Groove says:

        Yeah, I’d love that. I’ve always wanted to try the single-player in these games (partially to see if it’s as bad as everyone says) but the price NEVER goes down. Even CoD4 is still £20 outside of sales. I think MW2 is still £30?

        It’s bonkers, and I’m not prepared to pay £30 to see how bad something is.

  6. rb2610 says:

    What would be great is if it was moddable, then the amazing resources their art team must have worked their fingers to the bone to create could actually be put to good use.

    Or if the art assets could be ripped from the game and used elsewhere, but of course that’d just cause a huge lawsuit :(

  7. Arglebargle says:

    Crap in, crap out.

    When the foundation is shit, the suger sparklies dusted on the surface don’t really matter much.

  8. Sherlock says:

    You’ve pretty much said exactly what my pre-conceptions of this game were. Still, with a Multi-Player that I’ll be sure to pump approximately 50 hours in to before getting bored and going to back to something more innovative, and a Zombie mode which, although it looks and behaves exactly the same as BLOPS1s’, I’m sure to enjoy for about double that, I’ll undoubtedly purchase this at some point.

    The Single Player in the Treyarch installments are a thousand times more enjoyable than that within the Infinity Ward series (which I know is like saying getting herpes is better than getting AIDS – you still don’t want it), but my first real foray in to PC gaming and clan culture was in CoD1-4, and those were some of the best gaming years of my life. As such, I have a little bit of a soft spot for Call of Duty games, even though I can see as well as anyone that they’re getting progressively worse.

    It’s like having a rebellious sibling; you know and love them no matter what, and remember the days when they were pleasant and enjoyable to be around, and you just cling to some hope that they’re going to get back on the right track. BLOPS2 seems a step, all be it a small one, in the right direction.

  9. Hydrofoil Goat says:

    How does the game look good at all? I have it “maxed out” and the textures are muddy and pixelated and generally awful. Maybe it doesn’t scale properly to 1440p?

    • Snakejuice says:

      The textures where made to look good at 25% of your resolution so yeah. :P

    • Premium User Badge

      Vandelay says:

      Was a little surprised about the gushing for the graphics, as the Total Biscuit video review of this looked terrible. It was only running at 480p at the time I watched it, but it really did look quite bland, bar the odd main character.

      • Saint_loup says:

        I suppose the *environments* can be impressive and of high production value, while the graphical engine getting quite old.

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        TotalBiscuit has very strange ideas about what constitutes graphical quality. For example, tell him the FOV is 80 degrees and he’ll moan about it. But give him an FOV slider that goes up to 80 and he’ll claim it’s the best port ever, as if being able to turn the FOV down is in some way beneficial.

        • Meldreth says:

          That’s funny, I don’t remember him saying Black Ops 2 is an amazing PC port. I get that you’re exaggerating, but in all fairness he didn’t even say that the FOV slider made it a good port. He just said that it was not too bad, and that it was a shame not to be able to go further than 80 for now.

  10. arioch says:

    I played about with it a bit at a friends house and while it truly is beautiful, it is missing a whole lot of fun… Has anyone actually enjoyed a CoD single player campaign since CoD4?

    I am more than happy for them to keep pumping out the series though – it keeps developers and artists in work, and provides Blizzard with money to make actual good games!

    • Vlupius says:

      I actually quite enjoyed the campaign of MW2. Sure, it was way over the top and had too much faults to list, but on several occasions I really liked the story. Most of it was completely forgettable, but the first part of the “Cliffhanger”-mission was good and the Gulag was one of the best moments of storytelling I’ve seen in a ‘fullblood FPS’.

    • malkav11 says:

      Other than World at War, which was a thoroughly bland and uninteresting WW2 retread (nice flamethrower, though), every single one. They’re not sophisticated. They’re not nearly as smart as Modern Warfare was (and that wasn’t -that- smart). They pretty much are run straight ahead and shoot things, as Alec says. But I don’t really find myself having his moral objections to any of it, and they’re such spectacular rides. Black Ops 1 even managed to have a quasi-interesting storyline with a twist that wasn’t 100% predictable. Unfortunately they keep shackling the singleplayer to a $60 pricetag that most people pay for the multiplayer that I have no interest in whatsoever. :(

  11. Snids says:

    I think that clever writer types desperately want CoD to be a jingoistic foreigner killfest, but the fact it honestly isn’t.
    However those original CoDs on PC will always hold a special place in my heart for the pretty decently respectful treatment of WW2 so maybe I still support them because of that.

    I’ve only played up up to MW2 though so I could be wrong, in which case smack my bottom. I got tired of the SP game because it devolved into what was essentially a shooting gallery.

    It would’ve been nice to see this reviewed as an actual game though instead of Alec’s deeply contextualised Zeitgeist wallpapering.

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      I don’t particuarly like military shooters but they do tend to have more nuanced plots than people give them credit for. I think we’re starting to creep into JRPG territory in terms of criticism of them where people are digging up a series of complaints about their idea of what the genre is rather than anything that actually exists.

      • Snids says:

        Grinding!
        Palette swapped enemies!
        Melodramatic plot!
        Girly protagonist!

      • Premium User Badge

        darkChozo says:

        Yeah, it’s actually a particularly odd set of criticisms to level at military shooters, or at least COD. At least the typical JRPG complains have a grain of truth to them, particularly if you don’t like anime-style art and are willing to stereotype games. However, the MW games have cross-nationality protagonists (British, American, Russian, mostly), and the main characters are British, not American, not to mention that the big villains are Russian and, you guessed it, American. Plus, most of the enemies are explicitly extremists, and with the Russians it’s a civil war. That’s not to mention that the grunting growling male soldier is more of a Gears of War thing than a COD thing.

        I mean, there are valid cultural criticisms of COD, like how it glorifies the military and war in general to some degree. Saying it’s jingoistic smacks of a knee-jerk reaction to military and associating it with American overreaches.

    • Phantoon says:

      Combat! was a more respectful look at WW2, and that was made in the 1950s. In fact, it was a surprisingly good show. You should watch a few episodes.

      Odd that you refer to Alec as “the writer”. Seems like more effort to use more letters.

    • Jamesworkshop says:

      After the constant phony outrage over AC3 and the constant Cod name dropping during(when neither game is anything close to the other), I’m pretty well convinced now that these (jingoism complaints) are invented excuses, just to allow people to be anti-american, and nothing annoys that group more than anything than when something includes both america and the military.

      this sites getting as bad as that god awful audience pannel the BBC got in when philip lader was on question time.

      I really hate this turn of phrase but I do feel now that anti-Americanism is the one acceptable bigotry in the UK to day.

      • Brun says:

        I really hate this turn of phrase but I do feel now that anti-Americanism is the one acceptable bigotry in the UK to day.

        It’s acceptable bigotry pretty much everywhere outside the US.

        • Jamesworkshop says:

          I understand why this site attracts it, but I’ve yet to figure out why yahoo gets a constant barrage from anti-Semites, they must not find the guardians website big enough to fit all of them.

          wonders never cease

      • colw00t says:

        No, they hate the Roma / Travellers, too. Frequently to a disturbing degree. Of course, they’ll tell you that it’s not a prejudice thing…

      • lijenstina says:

        It’s easy to mitigate that. The USA should have a simple foreign policy check. You don’t invade a foreign country until a survey of random people on a street can show that 70 % know where on the political map of the World that country is. :)

        Let’s face it, while in America live tens of millions of people that probably are better than me in every way, your foreign policy is pretty crap, borderline imperialistic and your military gets misused all the time to achieve who knows what foreign policy goals and thus it is perceived in the rest of the world as a thug, a bully. Nobody likes thugs. Even other thugs. :)

        I know that the majority of the problems are out of reach of ordinary people – the political system is pretty corrupt, petrified, special interests run amok, making the majority disillusioned with the possibilities of a democracy to tackle real life problems including foreign policy. There is nothing worse than having hope that things were going to change for the better and then the same sh*t as always resumes or even gets even worse.

  12. Phinor says:

    Few weeks ago people were saying BLOPS2 already deserves the same 5/10 average score Warfighter got but here we are, BLOPS2 is out and the SP campaign is, I think is fair to say, a lot better than the one Warfighter offered. It’s not mindblowingly good or anything like that, but it’s a fairly solid MMS campaign with few little extra details here and there. The game is currently sitting at 84 Metacritic (X360 version) score which is probably pretty fair, while Warfighter is at 55 (PC) / 52 (X360). In my opinion both scores are just about in the right ball park. Sure, the MP component affects those scores a lot too but let’s face it, if you like Call of Duty style MP, you want a Call of Duty game for the job. Warfighter on the other hand has one redeeming feature to its MP component while being mostly rubbish.

    Obviously some people disagree with all of that but Metacritic usually reflects the average opinion pretty well. Hell, even Halo 4 is “only” at 87. There are some sites here and there (IGN) that jump on board the hype train but again, the average over 50+ reviews is usually pretty accurate.

    • Phantoon says:

      “Only” at 87? What does that even mean? Don’t you know the 90s and up are reserved for incredible, groundbreaking, and almost perfect games? Like say, Deus Ex, or Super Metroid.

      Metacritic has made the problem of numbers meaning nothing even worse because no publisher wants lower than an 86, even if they know the game isn’t that good.

  13. crumbsucker says:

    The empty-headed, mean-spirited death of popular culture

    Quote from the back of the box?

  14. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    So, still not much cop then. Oh well, I did have higher hopes then normal for this one, due to the branching plot, but I was hoping that this would feed into the way the levels are designed and we would actually get a little more then a single corridor to walk along.

    Still, watching the WTF is… from Total Biscuit on this did make it look like fun (at least, what he said did, as the level he was actually on was heavily scripted.). The addition of changeable load outs at the start of each mission seemed to make things a little more interesting and go to suitably ludicrous places. Also, the combat itself looked to be a little more then just enemies popping in and out of cover, with attacks coming from multiple angles.

    I think I’ll probably pick this up when I get my Wii U, the first CoD I’ve even considered getting since 4.

    • Premium User Badge

      Joshua says:

      Don’t forget the bit where you charge people with a Stinger missile launcher. ON HORSEBACK.

      I mean come on. Why isn’t a mention of that in the review? The review makes it sound like another military shooter. This thing is wayyy over the top.

      • Phantoon says:

        But was amping up the gore a good thing? I say it wasn’t, and wasn’t needed. In fact, I say that it was ramped up either because of lack of foresight, or because they wanted to make the game seem like it has depth, when it doesn’t really. I say that because that is my opinion.

        • mouton says:

          That is the usual tendency with many “mature” productions, be it film, game or a comic book. Usually the narrative is just as dumb, you just see more tits and guts.

  15. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    The kneecapping shot makes me glad that Hotline Miami is so blocky. Man, that’s nasty.

    • Phantoon says:

      Yeah, which was one of my concerns about the new Mortal Kombats versus the old- when it comes right down to it, hyperrealistic violence makes me sick. Sure, I love Doom with all of its chainsawin-demons goodness, but it’s also not hyperrealistic. The lack of graphical fidelity made all of it a lot easier to stomach, much less that all of my targets were not people. Hotline Miami benefits from the same thing- you do some pretty horrible kills to people in it, but because it doesn’t have that graphical fidelity (nor revel in the brutality like this seems to since it’s telling you GO GO GO KILL KILL KILL MORE MORE MORE all the time), it’s far less offensive despite being a hyper violent game.

      • deejayem says:

        That’s well said. I don’t mind violence, but I don’t see the value in revelling in it – to me that’s when, as Alec says, it starts to approach sadism.

        I know it’s just a fantasy, but sometimes the things we choose to fantasise about can be quite telling.

    • Skabooga says:

      Yeah, one glimpse of that screenshot and I was quickly scrolling past. I still have a bit of sick feeling in my stomach.

  16. Jockie says:

    I will probably buy this. I am not a COD apologist, but I still think the MP is the best pure arcade Deathmatch mode we see in modern games, when the map design is good on COD it’s the best at what it does (MW3 was a letdown in that department and CODBLOPS 1 had awful netcode).

    Black Ops the first tried to move away from the core perception of what a COD game was, with it’s ‘mysterious’ numbers, hallucinations and general weirdness, so it’s not actually that surprising CODBLOPS 2 takes a step further to try and branch out in certain ways.

    I will never understand the attraction of the Zombie mode however, presumably for the COD fanatics so one-sighted in their fandom they have not heard of L4D or Killing Floor or any of the other far better games about killing zombies.

    • derbefrier says:

      I agree with you for the most part. Especially on the death match part. Since old favorites like Quake and Unreal have dropped the ball in that department it really is probably the best recent arcade arena shooter out there and so far I have been pleased with the map design in this one. Small maps can be good as long as the design is good and Treyarch seems to have done a good job with these in my opinion. I cant really comment on balance as the game is still new but so far it seems a lot better than past games and the “pick 10″ customization seems to really help with that. Time can only tell on this though as people learn the game.

      The zombie mode is something I have always enjoyed. I am not going to say its better than the games you mentioned but I do have fun with it and the new “grief mode” is pretty interesting but keep in mind your comparing it to games whose sole focus is zombies while here its one part of many so of course its going to fall short of those other games but that doesn’t mean its not enjoyable.

      On the campaign well I haven’t played a CoD campaign since CoD4 and I dont plan on playing this one. A lot of people love them but to me they have always been pretty lame but I always have fun in these games multiplayer components and that’s why I buy them.

  17. bill says:

    I don’t think i want to play a game with that guy’s knees in it. I imagine that scene to be not very pleasant.

  18. Voon says:

    I thought there would be lasers in this game…

    • Panda Powered says:

      …and robots and clowns and hippies and monkeys!
      Damn I miss Timesplitters now. :(
      A shame they never released any on PC with their level editors and all that stuff. I’d rather have one Timesplitters than all of these serious man shooty manshoots.

      • Phantoon says:

        Yeah, Timesplitters needed to be on PC with the third installment. Virus mode was probably the most fun I had in a multiplayer console game ever.

  19. Citrus says:

    I have enjoyed every COD SP. I never play COD MP and always buy it for SP.

    On the other hand, considering the hype, especially with PC gamers (who were suckered into believing it was PC focused game) I recently bought BF3 for MP (and after sitting through that abomination of SP..) and despised it. BF3 MP is you running around in grey world watching out for ORANGE and BLUE triangles to know whether it’s a friend or a foe while someone sits ten miles away sniping at you. I like how despite being shitty arcade game BF3 suddenly attempts “realistic” controls for helicopters and jets (fails at that as well).

    Anyways, COD. Always have enjoyed SP, BLOPS was awesome and looking forward to the sequel.

    BTW, those who miss Raven Shield days can come join us SWAT4 players in MP (has bigger active community).

    Recently IGN/Gamespy tried to kill the SWAT servers but obviously, we didn’t hear about it on PC gaming sites, but discussing a GTA5 trailer while it isn’t announced for PC is more important, apparently..

  20. Jakkar says:

    That’s Treyarch for you… These people are artists with good imaginations. To make money they have to make these godawful sequels to other people’s games, but they fill them with zombies with glowing eyes, far better visuals and more imaginative worlds.

    Cast your memory-hooks back to the Xbox 1 era, and what Treyarch were making then – Dead Rush, a semi open-world driving-and-shooting third person zombie game with procedural animation for zombies climbing walls, gripping ledges and hanging onto moving vehicles while ripping chunks out of them.

    On the original Xbox.

    … It was cancelled. Then they began making COD sequels for Infinity Ward.

    Respect this tragedy. Know that oneday Treyarch may show their worth with their own games.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Treyarch also made the best Spiderman game.

      And anyone remember Die By the Sword?

      Treyarch is wasted on CoD.

      • int says:

        I don’t think they are wasted on CoD.

        I do however love Die by the Sword and a new game in that series would be the most awesome thing ever.

  21. Premium User Badge

    Makariel says:

    What sold me on the game is the level that involves riding on horseback, while firing stinger missiles at what looks like a mammoth tank straight from C&C.

    • colw00t says:

      Any game that lets me lead a cavalry charge against the soviet armed forces is a game that is already in my good graces.

      The flooded level was spectacular, too. The manshooty parts are kind of samey, at this point (although COD does them better than everyone else) but man they give you the coolest environments to fight in.

      • Phantoon says:

        Would you say this experience couldn’t be done on film, or even done better?

        • colw00t says:

          If you gave Jim Cameron an infinite budget, he could do better, but one of the joys of gaming is that I get to decide where to put the camera, and if I ignore my angry AI guide I can pretty much take as long as I like to look around. Not the case with film.

          Seriously, though, I can’t remember ever seeing a level in a video game like the flooded one. Maybe other levels are just as striking, but I haven’t gotten much past that level yet, since I take my time and like to look around at the design & art, which far outclasses the gameplay & story on this game. They had a lot of fun imagining the future, and it really shows.

  22. psuedonymous says:

    Ooh, nice shiny arc-shaped-with-a-divot-in-the-middle arcologies! I’m guessing someone in Treyarch read Appleseed, but didn’t manage to convince anyone else there to use the mirrored upper surfaces as a giant solar condenser (and impromptu solar death cannon), rather than as a throwaway setpiece.

  23. Premium User Badge

    Monchberter says:

    This review of such a straight-up dumb offensive man shooter is a great reminder for me to play Bulletstorm again.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Bulletstorm is a clown with a machinegun screaming “dicktits” while chomping a cigar.

      CODBLOPS II is a faux-impassioned artiste declaring “dicktits” in French and wondering why nobody treats it like art.

      • Phantoon says:

        Wow, that is an excellent example of what I was trying to say about this game trying to be art, but really being dumb. Now I don’t have to say it!

      • Premium User Badge

        darkChozo says:

        Is… is COD pretentious now? I mean, yeah, it treats itself more seriously than Bulletstorm does, but mostly in that silly action movie sense.

        I’ve heard you ride a horse with a missile launcher in this one. The horse represents self loathing.

      • Sir-Lucius says:

        Both those examples are hilarious in their own right.

        I’ll give you that the Infinity Ward CoD’s tend to particularly enjoy the smell of their own farts, but you’d be hard pressed to make the same argument for Treyarch, especially the BLOPs games. Those are essentially “80′s Action Movie: The Game – Candy Flipping Edition” and I’ve found they’ve treated themselves accordingly.

  24. Premium User Badge

    Petethegoat says:

    Here’s a quote from Jim’s BF3 campaign review.

    It’s okay. You’ll probably enjoy the noise and the fury. This campaign probably isn’t going to put much a dent in Modern Warfare 3′s enormous sales and general popularity, but – as a number of readers have pointed out – for those of us who actually give a damn about FPS games, that isn’t what matters. What matters is what happens with the multiplayer. I’m going to get stuck into that next.

    You wouldn’t dream of reviewing the BF3 campaign, but not the multiplayer, so I don’t see why it should be any different with another game.
    It’s fair enough if you have no interest in the multiplayer, but I’d like to see a Wot I Think of the multiplayer, from someone else if not you.

    • Premium User Badge

      Makariel says:

      Because most games have tacked-on multiplayer because they “have to”, which often enough just takes away development time (e.g. in Spec Ops: the Line) for something many don’t really care about?

      I don’t care about multiplayer, same goes for a lot of people. Most reviews going on and on about multiplayer perks and map selection are completely pointless for me. Nevertheless, I enjoy myself some brainless shooty-shooty-bang-bang-action from time to time and usually fish for cod’s and similar once they’re bit cheaper, and never even touch the multiplayer.

      • Premium User Badge

        darkChozo says:

        Umm, COD multiplayer is what one might call the opposite of “tacked-on”, and just because you don’t care about it (I care for multiplayer in general but typically not COD multi) doesn’t mean that it should be glossed over, particularly because it’s the main part of the game for a lot of people.

        That being said, it must suck to write a COD multiplayer review, at least about the PvP portion of it. COD multiplayer is very much iterative, so a review boils down to new perks, new maps, new guns, new bits to put on your guns. Whoohoo.

        • Premium User Badge

          Makariel says:

          I specifically mentioned Spec Ops for tacked-on multiplayer, but the sentiment I wanted to combat was that games that strike the vein of modern military shooters are “only about multiplayer”, which is simply not true.

          • Premium User Badge

            darkChozo says:

            Oh, I agree when it comes to tacked on multiplayer, but this is an article about CoD, you responded to a guy asking for a multiplayer review of CoD, and CoD is a game where solely mentioning the single player is doing the game a disservice (not speaking to the quality of the single player but to the importance of both). Quite frankly, the fact that Spec Ops had publisher-enforced multiplayer has absolutely no relevance in the matter

            The OP was making a comparison between BF3 and CoD not because they’re both military shooters but because they’re both games that have achieved success and are well known for their multiplayer components. In terms of content, reviewing either without touching multiplayer would be the equivalent of reviewing Spec Ops without mentioning the story and characters. Not that this article is ill-written, but a multiplayer counterpart is probably warranted.

    • Phantoon says:

      Because the multiplayer is inevitably 50 hours of grinding that makes a return to Warcraft seem inviting.

      • elmo.dudd says:

        Or, it is gameplay for the sake of the combat with other people which is fun, and the unlocks are bonuses which enable more fine tuned preferences (and it isn’t a case of Getting Better Stuff, it is getting different stuff – in every CoD you start with powerful weapons and then unlock more specifically aligned weapons).

  25. Premium User Badge

    Jackablade says:

    I wonder if you went into the single player campaign assuming it was bitingly satirical, how much more enjoyable it would become.

    • Phantoon says:

      I think if you delude yourself about things, most anything can become enjoyable.

  26. sinister agent says:

    The opening paragraph reminds me an awful lot of my first marriage.

  27. Screamer says:

    Nice review Alec, I think you convinced me, I will definitely pick it up later when it is a bit cheaper. Seems a lot better than MW3

  28. ramirezfm says:

    I loved BLOPS, very nice story, playing with bots was nice, MP maps were nice. I died horribly, but I suck at FPSes. I liked it overall though. So I bought BLOPS2, so far played some MP and I feel like the maps are smaller but have more ways about them. That would make it standard ADHD MP shooter, a bit more ADHD than the previous one, but I kinda like it. And I am truly horrible with FPSes.

    As for SP on paper it seems better, the same on-rails-shooting feel, heavily scripted, but with nice scenario and over the top action. Exactly what I was expecting, with added bonus of branching paths. So far it doesn’t look as nice though, the first few missions are rather boring and way over the top and places to check another part in the script to move forward are strangely obscured ( like in the jungle when you run away with the pow, I had like 20 guys shooting at me while I was frantically looking for the place the game expects me to be for the next script).

  29. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Tough love journalism. COD, you could be so much more. Very true.

    • elmo.dudd says:

      Tough love doesn’t involve making things up about jingoism, xenophobia, and sadism. Also, he managed to not speak substantially about how it fairs on the PC, a critical element of any PC review of a multi-platform release.

  30. Zarunil says:

    I take it you didn’t get a review copy, then? If so, I wonder why…

    • Phantoon says:

      Man, maybe it’s just because I’m having a bad day, but your comment reads to me like “you didn’t get a review copy because you have no standards”. Which I really hope isn’t true.

      • Brun says:

        It’s pretty clear he’s implying that they didn’t get a review copy because they consistently write negative reviews about CoD games (and military shooters in general). ActiBlizz and EA must have some kind of “gaming press blacklist” with RPS squarely at the top. And you know what? If I were RPS, I would be damn proud to be at the top of that list.

      • Skabooga says:

        I think he was commending Alec. That is, he was saying the publishers didn’t send him a preview copy because he tells it like it is.

        • elmo.dudd says:

          How he thinks it is and how it is are not always the same thing.

  31. Sulaco says:

    While I appreciate any sci-fi futuristic setting involving guns, robots, rebellions and whatever the hell else makes an awesome or cheesy (both are good) story for film or game purposes, I still don’t feel comfortable paying £40 for a standard PC game. (Saying that, I have paid for the £40 Star Citizen pledge; but thats a whole different kettle of space-fish)

  32. Shooop says:

    “It’s like someone spending years designing and building the Colosseum but then just using it as a coffee shop.”

    This is more and more the case with every AAA game these days.

    And what the hell happened to that guy’s knees in the fifth picture? Are they trying to recreate scenes from the Hostel movies now? Is that how desperate they are?

    • Phantoon says:

      When I told him we could put him on the priority list, he was desperate. Your turn.

  33. Premium User Badge

    Goodtwist says:

    So, this game being SciFi, expect the next Battlefield also taking place in the future.

    • pepper says:

      Hard to say, they already have done that, and they have stuck with the modern thing for a while(BF2, BF3, BFBC1/2). The only change of scenery was the WWII themed Battlefield for the Xbox I think. Something 2142 orientated wouldnt be bad though. I quite enjoyed it. Although the maps where to brown/gray for my liking.

  34. Laurentius says:

    I would eagerly play this kind of game if i was able to play as “bad guy” campagin: to sow chaos, bomb the shit out of cities, blow the AirForce with USA president and all that jazzy stuff. Campagin should end with me sitting in expesive penthouse sipping drink, watching world gone off in flsmes “Fight Club” style, yep, that would be fun to play.

  35. rampofdeath says:

    That was a refreshingly different take on things. An awful lot of the criticism I’ve seen has read more like the writer advertising themselves than an analysis of the game (descriptors like chav-esque, simplistic, mindless and soforth, the not so subtle implication being that the writer is inversely sophisticated and enlightened. )

    On the other side of things the bulk of site reviews have been quite positive, though the tone is a little jarring. It’s almost as if COD games are now being reviewed in a vacuum rather than against a larger gaming backdrop, or even the specific fps/shooter genre. Reviews almost entirely consist of analysis of the minor changes since the last iteration and overflow with lines like “if you like COD multi-player” and “if you’re a dedicated COD player”. I understand that the reviewer feels a duty to advise the (quite enormous) following the game has, but surely in light of the length of the series and the games that have come in the meantime a somewhat more objective approach is required.

    Everything seems to either be “yuck, I’d rather have a hole in the head, I don’t go in for that sort of thing” or “8 out of ten, a solid well polished COD game”. This review was something different.

  36. Casimir's Blake says:

    So this particular COD seems to be very well produced, if still as obnoxious as the last three. But my curiosity is piqued at the claimed semi-non-linearity in some parts of the game… perhaps I’ll peruse a few youtube vids.

    Leaving aside the whole COD = mindless corridor shooter for console ‘tards argument, I do recall thoroughly enjoying the fourth game. Modern Warfare 1 was the calm before the storm: it knew when to pace the set-pieces with some small elements of exploration and quiet subterfuge instead of the usual blam blam. I would like to play another FPS like this, but ever since MW2 it seems FPSs must now be the equivalent of a Michael Bay flick, or they won’t sell. Sad.

    • fooga44 says:

      The reason is Infinity ward stumbled on the secret to sales: put an action movie in the game and reduce the gameplay to minimum so most people can ‘feel accomplished’ and it worked. The downside is there is an audience out there that HATES gameplay and sucks at videogames and drags us all down to their level. The whole design of games is now targeted at a level of skill slightly above braindead zombie, this cannot be denied by any sane person who grew up playing Quake.

  37. InsanityBringer says:

    Despite the fact that this one doesn’t seem to be getting the same type as hate as usual, I still don’t want to play it. It’s the aesthetics, the actions in the game, and all that which turns me off. The gameplay doesn’t seem to rise to the top of the reasons why I don’t want to play it, interestingly enough. While I never really liked linear shooters (the “dungeons” in rage bugged me in this regard), I can usually still have fun with them (the “dungeons” in rage had those fun moments where you manage to confuse the bandits, get behind them, and do all sorts of crap like that), but when the theme just doesn’t work with me, I’d probably just spend more time getting annoyed rather than anything.

  38. fooga44 says:

    Some of us want games not movies, so better attempts at bad B grade action movie don’t really interest me.

  39. The Random One says:

    Isn’t this the game where the enemy is essentially Julian Assange? Not a mention to that? Is it not that important, or am I mixing up the brown shooters again? This IS the one with the horses, right?

    • Jad says:

      I haven’t quite finished the game yet (near the end though), but I have no idea where you got that idea from.

      He does wear a suit, I guess, but otherwise he’s a violent, maniacal terrorist/zealot-cult-leader/super-hacker guy. Starts out as the head of drug cartel, eventually at some point becomes the head of some anti-1% cult that hires mercenaries to kill everyone in resorts for multimillionaires, and then tries to start WW3 between the US and China by attacking both with a drone army. No mention of leaked diplomatic documents or anything. So pretty much nothing at all like Julian Assange.

  40. Yar says:

    codblops lol

  41. Caiman says:

    I clicked on this review hoping for some comedy, ended up feeling physically ill.

  42. tnankie says:

    I’ve never forgotten or forgiven what I can only interpret as blatant war crimes being ignored by every character in the first modern warfare. To the point where I was glad most of the squad were killed at the end, just a pity the main character wasn’t bumped off as well.

    This a is a series that I cannot forgive for these plot/ideology reasons, game play simply isn’t a consideration for me. I do wish the U.S would grow up with respect to their attitude to the military. A bunch of heroes who can do no wrong is not how I see it.

    • x1501 says:

      Thank you for your voice of reason. Personally, I’m still pissed off at Streets of Rage for what I can only interpret as deliberate glorification of wanton use of excessive force, blatant disregard for standard operating procedures, and conduct unbecoming police officers. And don’t get me started on Pokemon, an entire series build around celebrating organized animal fighting and treating the widespread abuse and mistreatment of those poor endangered creatures as if it were some kind of a joke.

  43. Baresark says:

    I find this a pain. This sounds like the first halfway decent story campaign in the game series in a long while, and these games never go on sale. I don’t give one single shit about the MP, and the and the length of the campaign ( as mentioned in other places) is not worth the money.

  44. jakonovski says:

    This sounds like a game that was expecting Mitt Romney to win.

  45. popedoo says:

    If I do play this, please can I (rock paper) shotgun the Gamertag ‘Scarface McForeign’?

  46. Teran says:

    I want someone to add a “Black Ops 3″ title screen to the “Syndicate” trailer. The Karma level was very deja vu, I’m surprised more people haven’t mentioned Syndicate in relation to this game… it was a far better game than it’s level of obscurity suggests.