17
Nov
2009

modern warfare 2So, after a week of playing a game I waited so long for, what did I think?

Let me just say right up front that I have NO delusions about this post influencing anyone on this game. This thing is a juggernaut that I could say “It literally kills puppies”, and people would still buy it.  Also, considering how many millions of copies have already sold, no one is going to really care, but I figured I might as well express my thoughts since I talked it up so much pre-launch.

Single-Player Game

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare had a fairly good single player mode, and a fairly coherent plot.

… what went wrong this time?

The plot felt like something that would fit better in a season of 24 with conspiracies, shadowy government plots, rogue military officers, double crosses and more.  At least in the first game you were working towards an actual enemy, and this one just felt like Infinity Ward, the makers of the game, had a bunch of random ideas for scenes and then went, “how do we string these together?”

There was also the issue that this had to be one of the shortest single player games i have ever gone through.  It only took me about 5 & 1/2 hours, and considering that I am not some hard core gamer, that is just ridiculously short.  The game play is solid with excellent controls, and the game is gorgeous to look at, but it is just way too short.

Significantly missing from this game was any sense of gravitas.  While the first game made me actually move to the edge of my seat a few times while in a firefight, this time I just felt like I was being led by the hand through an amusement park.  During one of the major chase scenes I was trying my hardest to catch the villain, only to realize at the end I was never going to be allowed to catch him so I could be led to the next scene.

Then there is “that” scene.  The scene that is causing the game to be pulled from shelves in Russia, and leading to talking heads wringing their hands on news shows.  While the ‘No Russian’ scene is essential to the “plot” (I use the term loosely), and there is a way to skip it, people are still freaking out over it.  Folks … it’s a video game, get over it.  The scene is not glamorized in any way if you actually bother to listen to the mission briefing before it.

In short, if you aren’t going to play online, I would skip the game, but as every one knows, Call of Duty games get their real value in the multi-player modes.
mw2multiplayer

Multiplayer Game

Holy …

Infinity Ward basically took everything you loved about the last multi-player in CoD4, and turned the knobs up to 11.

Weapons – Better … really, that’s all you can say.  They are better.  They look better, they handle better, the sound effects are improved and in general they just seem like they are all around better.

The fact they also made your secondary weapons more broad helps a lot.  Instead of waiting for the perk that allows you to carry more than a pistol, you can carry machine pistols, shotguns or pistols from the outset.  It makes a lot more sense from a military perspective, being restricted to pistols never made much sense.

Play – The “Host Ended The Match” pain in the butt is a thing of the past as the host will now migrate to another player if the host should happen to leave.  The matchmaking also seems to be a bit quicker, but that could be chalked up to the millions of people currently playing.

Experience Points – This may be my one complaint about the multi-player.  There are so many ways to earn experience now that the screen always seems to be busy telling you the 500 ways you just earned some more XP.  “+50 for ending a kill streak … + 100 for revenge … +100 for longshot …” you get the idea.

The XP just flows so fast it seems like Infinity Ward may have coddled the lower rung players a bit much in giving them faster ways to rank up.  I am not the best player, I admit it, but even I think they went a bit overboard in how many ways you can earn them now.

Grenades – Not too get too specific, but … oh thank you almighty Infinity Ward for getting rid of the rain of grenades we all suffered through various maps in the previous games.

Maps – The maps seem a bit more complex, and a bit “blind corner” happy, but they do seem a bit more balanced and “realistic”.  By that I mean you really do have to be aware of your complete surroundings from looking up at roof tops a lot more than you did in the last game, checking more balconies, preceding with a lot more caution through alleys and so on.  In short, these maps are not suited to people who just want to run without thought, there are consequences to just about all of your actions.

Perks – We now earn XP for using perks?  We even earn basically for just having a perk installed that has nothing to do with what you are doing … er, okay, that makes no sense, but whatever.

Multiplayer Conclusion – If you liked CoD4, don’t worry, you’ll still love this one.

Conclusion

It basically depends on what you want from the game.  If you just want it for the single player, skip it.  If you are the least bit interested in the multiplayer aspects, it’s a must buy.

13
Nov
2009

Scattercast is 69 … and I am wearing old glasses.

- I lost a pair of glasses to the tiny terror tonight …

- Modern Warfare 2 has its moments.

- There is no such thing as a social media “expert” … get over it.

Here’s

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for those who wish to download it, subscribe to Scattercast via iTunes.

10
Nov
2009

mw2After six months of teasing video footage, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is finally here!

I’ve tended to not do many “personal” posts any more, but this is one of those days I just want to bang out my work and get home so I can start playing MW2 as soon as humanly possible.  I still need to get at least one more blog post written after this, hit the gym and then I can get down to killing terrorists all over the world.

I have actually structured like the last two weeks of my life around today so I could “take the day off” without feeling guilty.  I have two list posts for next Monday already written so I don’t feel like I am shirking those duties tonight, did some extra house cleaning so I don’t have to worry about that and bought my dogs diapers so I don’t have to take them out … okay, that last part is a bit of an exaggeration … maybe.

Of course I am now fearful this game won’t live up to my expectations, and considering games now cost $60, that’s a lot of money to put down on “hope”.  Everything I’ve seen and heard makes it sound like it will live up to the original, so here’s hoping everyone is right.

I am sure I will post a review in a few days, but until then, you can find me on and off Xbox Live as RUDEBOY71 … feel free to join me if you feel like kicking someone’s behind … meaning mine.

In case you missed the other Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 posts, here they are.

5
Nov
2009

modern warfare 2The official launch trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has hit TV and the Internet now … and wow.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I am beyond excited for this game, and my only hope now is that it lives up to the hype.  From everything I’ve seen so far, it will.  It has now been reported to be the most pre-ordered game ever, so if it does suck … well, expect mobs with pitchforks and torches beating down the doors of game developer Infinity Ward.

Any way, here is the launch trailer for the game … I am going to have to put on another bib before I watch it again.

In case you missed the other videos, here they are.

4
Oct
2009

modern warfare 2The third trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 aired tonight on television, and of course that means it showed up online pretty quickly afterwards.

While I’m primarily about playing the online portion of this game, there is no denying that this single player footage looks astounding. The scene of the guys going up the stairs in the shadows looks so close to real life that it is almost creepy.

And it certainly looks like the fight comes to the United States this time … whoa.

Come on Nov. 10th, hurry up and get here already!

In case you missed the other videos, here they are.

Modern Warfare 2 Teaser Footage

Modern Warfare 2 Trailer

Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer Features Unveiled

28
Jul
2009

modern warfare 2The most important part of call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has been revealed: the multiplayer game.

While the single player campaign is fun, but the true value in video games any more seems to reside with the multiplayer experience.  Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has barely left my Xbox 360 in 2 years thanks to the multiplayer aspects, so I have been waiting to get some sort of hint as to what we could expect from the follow-up.

While most people are “ooh” and “ahh” about the fact you can get an AC-130 gunship after an 11 killstreak (for non-players, that is 11 kills in a row without you dying), I’m a bit worried by other things the video shows.  Sticking grenades?  No… please no.  That’s what Halo 3 is for, not Modern Warfare.  I’m hoping that is some sort of special playlist as opposed to the standard Deathmatch, but if it isn’t… well, hopefully I’ll adapt to it.  Looks like a few new guns, definitely a new rocket launcher and at least one new scope (looks to be heat sensitive).

While the gunship is a nice touch, hitting that long of a killstreak is fairly rare, but it does solve a complaint I always had in the first game.  In Modern Warfare 1 you got radar at 3 kills, air strike at 5 and helicopter gunship at 7… then nothing.  If you did get an 11 killstrike, or 15, or 20, you got nothing.  It sometimes paid to allow yourself to die just so you could go through the kill bonuses again.  So, this really is something that needed addressing.

Any way, the video is below, and it just makes me want 11-10-09 to get here that much faster.

17
Jul
2009

Scattercast is 52… and Scattercast is very tired this week.

- Be prepared for some dog barking this week… sorry, it was unavoidable.

- Some thoughts on the 2009 Emmy Nominations.

- The more I think about Ryan Reynolds being cast as Green Lantern, the more worried I get.

- Sorry I’ve been talking about Modern Warfare 2 so much… feel free to shoot me an online game once it comes out. I have to comment on how silly the night vision goggles are.

- Why is Michael Bay getting $75 million for directing Transformers Revenge of the Fallen?

- Some more about my joining SiliconANGLE.

Here’s

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for those who wish to download it, subscribe to Scattercast via iTunes.

14
Jul
2009

modern warfare 2You know, when I think about video games, I think, “Man, I wish they came with working night vision goggles…” Yay for Infinity Ward!

While I am about as excited for this game as a human can possibly get, even I have to go “huh?”  Yes, yes, you use night vision goggles in the game, but to actually include a working set with the game seems a bit over the top.  You can of course get the standard release of the game for $60, “The Hardened Edition” which comes in a steel case for $80 and then you can go for the Prestige Edition for $149.99 which gets you the goggles, the hardened edition and an art book.

I’m all for giving fans what they want, but… really… working night vision?  This implies that gamers actually go outside at times or turn off their TVs to actually make it dark in their house… we all know niether of those things ever happen.

More info below in the video.

9
Jul
2009

modern warfare box artWhat exactly is there to name? When you’re one of the most popular video game franchises on the market, quite a lot apparently.

In a recent survey conducted by GamePlan Insights, it was discovered that a name can mean quite a lot.  When people were asked if they recognized the brand name “Modern Warfare“, they did, but not in the numbers one suspect.  Nick Williams, head of GamePlan Insights division for OTX, told Gamasutra on June 24th that the results were pretty surprising:

Up until the beginning of May, OTX had been tracking the title as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. More specifically, we asked a representative group of gamers in the U.S. whether or not they had heard of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. At that time, approximately 40 percent of all gamers in the U.S. claimed that they had heard of this title.

However, once it became clear that Activision was positioning the title as Modern Warfare 2, OTX removed ‘Call of Duty‘ from the consumer survey, and the awareness levels dropped to 20 percent. In other words, the Call of Duty brand association essentially doubles the awareness for the game. That is quite a remarkable statistic.

He also went on to tell the web site that purchase intent was quite high for the game even without Call of Duty being in the title.

So, this leaves the question if it would be worth spinning off Modern Warfare into its own franchise, or is it too risky to remove the Call of Duty name?  Well, it seems the name debate has been resolved in the form of a picture.  Robert Bowling, a spokesman for game company Infinity Ward, posted a picture of the box art on his Twitter account today that you can see in this post. If this is the final art, which would make sense since the game is now four months from release, then the name is going to be Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Is this Earth shattering news?  No, but it certainly is an interesting case study in brand management and marketing.  What was it that was going to sell this game?  Which name was more important?  Who would have suspected that gamers would be so fickle over something as simple as a name?  All intriguing, but… is it release day, 11/10/09, yet?