It was big news when Jason West and Vince Zampella, two of the three co-founders of Infinity Ward, were dismissed by Activision back in 2010. After all, the pair was instrumental in creating the Call of Duty series, and genre-defining entries such as Call of Duty 2 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Following their departure, they co-founded the aptly named Respawn Entertainment, and with a few dozen of their former co-workers, began development on Titanfall. The multiplayer-focused first-person shooter was highly regarded when it released in early 2014, and remains one of the noteworthy Xbox-platform exclusives of the generation. It wasn’t until the follow-up that Respawn captured my attention: they included a single-player campaign.
At the beginning of 2018, I made a conscious effort to work through my backlog and play those games I’d always wanted to, but never did for this reason or that. Happily, I actually worked through a not insignificant portion before the summer. Then, the home buying process, and Octopath Traveler, took up any free time I had. When the dust settled, I was bombarded by new releases that occupied my time for the last half of the year.
Acting upon a sense of urgency for no particular reason, this year has seen me completing many of the games that have populated my backlog for ages. Singularityand Syndicate, a pair of narrative-orientated first-person shooters, each with unique gameplay hooks, are two such games. While it misses the mark on alliteration, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare otherwise fits the bill, scratching that itch for what I want in an FPS. Published by Activision on November 4, 2014, it was Sledgehammer Games’ second entry in the series, following their co-development of Modern Warfare 3 alongside Infinity Ward. Additionally, Raven Software (the studio behind Singularity, coincidentally enough) developed the multiplayer components while High Moon Studios handled the previous generation versions. Continue reading Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare [PlayStation 4] – Review→
Playing Call of Duty Classic on the hardest difficulty is the worst game experience I’ve had in recent memory, and probably up there as one of the worst mistakes I’ve made playing video games. I suppose the initial reason for choosing this difficulty was the ability to get all of the achievements (playing the Xbox 360 version) on one play through; I didn’t take into account that it would be nigh impossible and make me want to break my controller on multiple occasions.
Going through Call of Duty Classic on veteran reminds me of Call of Duty 3 on veteran, which I did a year or two ago. I had a terrible time, and hindered my impressions of that game, and I actually broke an Xbox 360 controller during that play through. You’d think I’d learn my lesson after that; hopefully I have after this time, what’s the saying again: fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me?
Call of Duty Classic is straight up difficult; your health doesn’t recharge and there aren’t any health pickups, it usually only takes an enemy two shots to take you out, they can spot you from very far away, and they utilize cover, often leaving their heads or arms vulnerable for a few seconds. The checkpoint system is frustrating as well. It seems to checkpoint at certain times, naturally, but only if you have more than half health. I can see how this is helpful, preventing you from continuing a long level with barely any health after getting shot early on.
So that’s how it’s difficult, what makes it frustrating and just a terrible time is the amount of repetition. In many sections, I’d have to repeat them multiple times, with some taking double digit retries. To progress, I’d literally have to kill one enemy and then die by the next, just to figure out where that second enemy is hiding, and then make it one enemy/wave farther, hopefully not getting shot and thus triggering a checkpoint.
It’s not that Call of Duty Classic is a terrible game, it’s probably a very good World War II shooter, and I guess I wouldn’t really know having only played a handful. The game seems to include many familiar scenes, albeit all the highlights it seems that should be in a WWII product; to someone who has played many WWII shooters it probably feels stagnant. Playing the game on the hardest difficulty makes me want to yell as loud as I can (expletives), smash my controller into anything that’ll produce a loud sound, get up and storm around, quit the game in a rage and never play a game on the hardest difficulty again! For some reason I stuck through it all though, but I wouldn’t recommend anyone else to do the same.
Blur is a racing game being developed by Bizarre Creations; it will be published by Activision this spring. They gave away beta codes so they could test the multiplayer and see if there are any balancing issues. I received a code and have played through to the level cap in the beta. For an easy summary, the game can be described as Mario Kart plus Project Gotham Racing with Call of Duty influences in the online play.
From the start there are only two modes and a handful of cars to choose from. As you progress, you’ll unlock two additional modes, more cars and modifiers which act like perks from the Call of Duty games. I found little differentiating three of the modes; they were normal races with one for 2-10 players, one for 4-20 players and the third one limited to the fastest class of car. The fourth mode was a battle royale which played like a game of Twisted Metal or a battle in Mario Kart.
The races were fun and there was always a lot going on. I rarely finished in the top three, but even when coming in a lower position the game was exciting just battling it out with the different power ups. The power-ups are creative and not as derivative of Mario Kart as I initially expected. There are around six power ups and most can be used in offensive and defensive ways. You can hold three power ups at a time and cycle through them which allows for unique strategies; I tried to always have a shield on hand just in case. There were a few tracks in the beta and they all had alternate paths which helped in splitting up the sometimes twenty car group. The battle royale mode was nuts; throwing you into an arena left carnage as the only objective. You are ranked according to your points which are received from attacking foes; you are also assigned a rival which will net you bonus points if you attack them.
There were a handful of modifiers available in the beta and there appears to be three sets. One set seemed to net you more fans for your actions, one seemed to affect your defense and the third set seemed offensive. Similar to leveling up weapons in Modern Warfare 2, as you use your power ups in different ways; they’ll level up and unlock rewards. Say you have a shunt which is essentially a homing missile. You could shoot that in front of you and attack someone, or you could save it and when someone shoots one at you, fire it backwards and destroy them both. You also gain fans for using power ups effectively, drifting and finishing. Fans represent your overall level which allows you access to different modes and more. Regardless there will be plenty of unlockables to keep playing the game a long time after you’ve reached the level cap.
People looking to Blur for a straight up racing game might be disappointed. There are a few good ways to progress in the game and strictly trying to finish in top positions looks to be the hardest and least fun. There will be modes that don’t have power ups in the retail game but those won’t be the draw I presume. The element of luck in the game is heavy and will provide for a fun online racing experience. Frankly, I could see getting this game and never touching the single player.