Call of Duty: Black Ops III – Fracture Game Mode Thoughts

Over the weekend Treyarch turned on the double weapon XP in Black Ops III, as they usually have some kind of double XP on weekends. But this weekend they also had a second treat for us – a brand new game mode called Fracture. I put in a handful of games on Friday and thought I’d put down a few thoughts on the mode.

Black Ops 3

This is the second new game mode that Treyarch put in to the Call of Duty world – the other being Safeguard. Calling Fracture totally new though is a little disingenuous to me. Fracture is essentially the Black Ops III spin on the classic Headhunter game mode of FPS games past. You kill the enemies, pick up the item they drop, and deliver it to a capture point. The last time I can remember a major FPS having Headhunter in it is Halo: Reach. I can’t remember with certainty if the capture point rotated in that game, but in Black Ops III, the capture point will cycle around the map every couple minutes. It can make for a couple tense moments per game as you try to score with a bunch of points and the zone rotates, as well as make sure you are paying attention to the map rotation and flow. Depending on your play preferences, Fracture is one of those modes where you can do whatever you like – if you like objective play, you can be the scoop-up man; if you’re a pure offense player, run a slayer class; or you can run a more balanced class to handle both sides of the coin with some support built in. Since the games tend to flow based around where the capture point is, the best weapon type might change over the course of the game. Some points help facilitate the slower, more long range weapons like LMGs and Snipers. Others require you have the speed to navigate around small rooms and tight corners and that’s where the fast SMGs and Shotguns thrive. That kind of variety in each game can even vary more depending on the map. I played on Rift, which played right into my style of assault rifle overwatch play with the M8A7. The next game was on Knockout, and using the M8A7 was a lot trickier – that’s one where using a faster weapon would have been the way to go. More than the other slayer-based modes (TDM, FFA and Kill Confirmed) I think the map really can dictate the flow of the game.

Which brings me to the parts of Fracture that I wasn’t crazy about. Overall I would say Fracture works pretty well – most importantly, it’s fun. But it does have some issues that I kept seeing. The biggest being that even with the rotating capture zone, there is still a lot of camping. I didn’t see it from the top level players I kept seeing, but just about every game I played there were a couple dots that always seemed to pop up around the zone, and they usually showed up in corners. Camping is one of those problems that never, ever will go away in competitive games – you see it in Halo, Call of Duty, Destiny, Overwatch, the list goes on all the way back to the old days of Quake, Doom and Unreal. That was the whole idea behind Kill Confirmed originally – push players to play more aggressively to actually score. You can argue the effectiveness across the whole player-base with that, but I know I find myself rushing for those tags and having to stop myself when I switch back to TDM. Fracture/Headhunter takes that idea and adds in the extra layer of needing to score in the zone – again, all to try and keep camping at a minimum. The problem is that instead of traditional camping, you get poaching – they set up at the capture point, and pop you as you move in for the score. It’s not particularly effective if you’re paying attention – a good grenade/rocket/C4 pack will take care of most poachers, as will a lot of scorestreaks. It’s one of those things that you just have to deal with, and know that there will probably be going on when you spawn in to the game. The other big trend I kept seeing was the prevalence of SMGs, regardless of map and capture point. This is one of those things that I’ve seen creep up in the overall Black Ops III game since I’ve been back – the Kuda, VMP and Vesper are all crazy good these days and really can’t be touched time-to-kill-wise in a lot of situations. It’s so late in Black Ops III‘s lifespan that I don’t really see much in the way of a big change coming, but I do think the VMP in particular needs to come back to the pack a little bit. My last minor complaint with Fracture is just that the score feels a little low – the score limit is set to 60 now. Games go fast, maybe a little too quickly; I think a score of 75 might be the better number. It opens up the potential for one or two last capture zone rotations, which are really when I think the most action happens as you try to rotate over and get the score.

Fracture is one of those things that Treyarch does well – they keep supporting their game deep into its lifespan with some unique ways. It wasn’t too long ago they added in the contracts as a way to earn extra cryptokeys as well as access to the new specialist Blackjack. It’s one thing to bring out DLC map packs for shooters, but what we’ve seen from Activision’s FPS developers with Black Ops and Destiny is that they’re willing to add in a little extra. It helps keep the games feel fresh as they enter the dog days – Call of Duty tends to be a one-year game each time around; Destiny is a little different beast of course. We’re starting to get just about to the next wave of games, so while we wait, Fracture is a great way to keep Black Ops III in your rotation.

Summer Slow Season – What to Play

Sunset Overdrive Xbox BundleWe’re halfway through the month of July, which is traditionally the slowest time of the year when it comes to new game launches. Typically we see indie titles, arcade games, or re-releases and remasters. We use the summer for E3 and conventions and playing catch-up before the deluge of games returns during the fall. So with that in mind, I thought I would offer up a couple games that I have been finding myself playing during this slow time, along with a couple remasters that we know are on the horizon that I think, depending on price, are worth picking up.

First up, the obvious picks: Destiny and Call of Duty: Black Ops III. As a long time shooter fan, there are always a couple or more FPS games in my rotation. I keep a few on hand that way no matter which shooter mood I find myself in, I have something ready to go. It used to be Halo/Call of Duty/Battlefield, while these days I’m finding myself moving away a bit from Halo and Battlefield as I wait for their next entries. Destiny instead scratches that slower, Haloesque style combat. The Crucible, while certainly not perfect, has been a lot of fun to play again. What I think really helps is that it’s very different from Call of Duty, which I load up when I really want to scratch that twitch style FPS. There’s a reason that I keep going back and talking about them here, and that’s because they’re easily my most played games currently. If you like FPS games, and aren’t playing Overwatch, I really think both Destiny and Call of Duty are worth your time.

The other style game that I always have one or two on hand of is RPG, and that’s where I’m a little behind right now. I finally went back and have been finishing up Dragon Age Inquisition, which I have been playing for a bit over a full year. It was just on sale, so if you picked it up, there’s a lot to dive into, just don’t get burned out like I did and you’ll find yourself really enjoying Thedas. I’m powering through it though because I have Witcher III on deck, which I’m really excited to finally dig into. I also recently picked my first MMO up with Elder Scrolls Online and I’m slowly starting to get a handle on it. I talked last year about the beta, and I do want to revisit it here as I keep progressing through the game. It may be an MMO, and there are definitely some portions where spending some extra money feels like it’s beneficial. That especially extends to the DLC which all look like the amount of content they add in is definitely worth investing in. I don’t like that you have to use an intermediate currency instead of just directly using dollars. There are loads of good RPGs available right now, including Fallout 4, which I still need to dive back into. Summer is a good time for RPGs in general since you need to spend a bit more time playing them than other games.

My hard drive is currently rounded out with a couple less intense games – Mega Man Legacy Collection and Minecraft. While there’s nothing new coming out, this is the perfect time to go back and play some classic games. Combine that with the backwards compatible titles that are available now and there are plenty of options if you’re feeling a little burnt out on what you’re currently playing. Don’t feel like you have to keep going down that rabbit hole, branch out, find a sale or a used disc and try something new. That’s really what the summer is about for gaming.

E3 2016 – My Biggest Takeaways

E3 LogoE3 is always my favorite week in gaming – at least that doesn’t have a slew of new releases. It’s a full week where the industry can come together and show off just how big our industry has become. Excitement runs high, hyperbolic words flow freely, and trailers show us games in all different states of development. It’s not all sunshine and roses – I saw a couple really disturbing reports about sketchy and dangerous behavior at private events, which just highlights that even in an industry built around games, we have some darkness still to overcome. But overall, I think E3 is all about setting the tone for the coming year. A couple years back, it was a running joke that every game had a bow and arrow, but that’s not entirely off the mark – E3 is where we see the industry as a whole in one spot. It’s easier to spot trends that reach across platform and genre there.

Dishonored 2

If I had to pick one trend this year, I think it’s probably going to be beards. There were easily eight or so games that prominently featured a main character (player or not) sporting some notable facial hair. That might seem like a silly thing to point to, but I think it speaks to a deeper underlying theme. Traditionally in entertainment, we use facial hair (especially full beards) to denote wisdom, grit, determination, toughness and resolution. In gaming that can be seen translating to darker, more nuanced stories – even in games we might not expect it in. We saw the surprise return of Marcus Fenix with his gray bear in the Gears of War 4 footage – a wizened, older veteran imparting his knowledge to his son’s team. Kratos has a big beard in God of War 4 – notably bigger than any beard he had before – again, a father figure teaching his son; both games are set in dark, almost hopeless worlds. If all of this beard talk does end up pointing to darker stories, we’re going to need games like Trials of the Blood Dragon and even Mass Effect to balance it out. Gaming needs wackiness, it needs humor and love and actual human emotions to balance all of the typical conflict and angst we see. That’s what’s always drawn me to the BioWare games – yes, the worlds are embroiled in conflict – usually cataclysmic  – but the characters that live in those worlds have real emotions – there’s humor, there’s joy, there’s love. The same works for Bethesda’s RPGs – sure there are dragons all over Skyrim, but you can balance that out by getting married, hunting game or forging arms and armor.

The other big takeaway I had was that this fall all of a sudden got really crowded, but in a different way than usual. Generally speaking, the busiest release window is late October, early November. We’ll often see multiple games coming out on the same day. I’ve noticed more and more over the last couple years that developers have been spreading out the releases. This year, that’s absolutely the case – Rise of Iron for Destiny launches on September 20, Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 are all in October, Call of Duty, and Dishonored 2 are still set for November – and that’s just off the top of my head/games that I am already planning on playing. I know there are more in there, across all three months. It’s happening more and more – every year I think, “Boy, this fall only has a couple heavy hitters, I can branch out a bit,” then E3 hits and it’s suddenly full of AAA titles. That’s not even talking at all about the new trend of a swath of games in the Spring either. Gaming has definitely evolved to a year-round, massive entertainment medium. It’s here to stay, and if it keeps evolving as it has technology-wise, there’s really no ceiling. It’s a lovely time to play.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III Eclipse Map Impressions

Black Ops 3

The second DLC for Call ofDuty: Black Ops III, Eclipse, came out on Xbox One and PC last week, and I wanted to quickly go over my thoughts on the four new multiplayer maps added in. I’ve played each map a couple times, both in Hardcore and Core modes, and in a couple different game types as well.

Let’s start with what is I think the weakest of the new maps: Knockout. It’s got a really unique visual look, with the traditional Asian architecture, but I think that’s the high point with the map. There are a lot of tight, short hallways, which play into the new weapon meta I’ve been seeing lately of the powerful one-hit weapons like the Marshal and KRM. I did really enjoy it on Domination, mainly because the three points are put in perfect spots – they’re open enough to be attacked from a few directions, making posting up camps to defend trickier. There are a couple longer sightlines, mainly around the center area where weapons like the Sheiva and snipers can work well, and the outer paths also provide some alternate routes to avoid the corner shotgun/SMG party. I think it’s a map that, with some spawn tweaking and playing in an Objective mode can be fun, but isn’t as flexible as some others.

Moving up one spot, we get Spire. Spire is the one I’ve played the least I would say, but I think it’s got a couple really high points. It’s got good mid-range sightlines for longer range engagements, while still having plenty of close range spots for intense action. I know that I complained a lot about that with Knockout, but I think Spire does a better job of balancing the ranges. It’s got great outside lanes for flanking around, there are lots of crossing paths as well for crossfires. I also really like how much cover is on this map – it feels a bit like this map is better played boots-on-ground, not thrust jumping around. You have pillars that you can use for cover, there are plenty of waist-high walls as well. Some of the pathways are a little confusing, especially the ones that lead outside from A and C Dom – it just feels like they should lead to the overlook window to me. It’s another really good Domination map, but one that I think works well on slayer modes as well.

The last two maps definitely impressed me, especially compared with the first set of DLC. First, Rift is a really good stretch map. Yes, it’s got lots of interior rooms where those one-hit power weapons can do well, but it’s also balanced with the pretty long exterior lanes. Each exterior lane also has a long wall-run that can put you right behind the enemy almost immediately off the spawn if they aren’t paying attention. As a run-and-gun flanking kind of player, I love when maps have those kinda sneaky, quick routes on them.I played this one on Safeguard, and while I don’t really love Safeguard in general, I think it worked pretty well. The defense actually can set up and stand a chance should the robot get near the objective. Compared with the first two maps, I think this is one that pretty much every gun in the game works on. Knockout might be too rushed for the slower LMGs and snipers, while Spire just plays too fast for some of the slower killing weapons. This one has spots where any weapon works, and can work really well. I did just damn fine with the Shieva on it working on headshots.

Black Ops 3 Verge

That said, my favorite map though is Verge. Verge is the remake map in this DLC set, this time of a World at War map, which is nice since that’s the only Call of Duty I never played. This is also where everything I said about Knockout feels a little dirty, because those same tight corners and lanes I complained about there are what make Verge my favorite. It’s got two lanes that are right on top of each other it feels like – with the middle lane defined by a really narrow bridge, littered with cover. There are plenty of small, tight corners where those who feel compelled can camp with one-hit kill weapons. But the map honestly just plays too fast to get away with that. The lanes, while they are narrow, are also stretched out – they feel a lot longer than you might initially think; and as such, snipers and LMGs and the Shieva all can do some serious work here. A good shot can really control a whole lane without too much effort – there’s enough cover to move from point to point while avoiding counter sniping. But there are enough side routes around too where flanking is easy enough, and the caves in particular are great for running melee weapons in.

Overall, I really like this set of maps better than the first DLC pack, Awakening. Awakening’s maps I think are overall visually more stimulating, but they all felt like they had one little thing that kept them from standing out, minus Skyjacked. Guardian has some real bad camping issues, facilitated by the map layout; Rise could be great if it was ever came up in the map rotation, and Splash just feels like it’s got too much going on. I actually think even Knockout is better than that first set of maps. Sure, this could just be positive thoughts because this new set literally just came out, but we’ll see. We’re starting to get to the point with Black Ops III where needs to keep up this trend of adding great things to the game to keep the player count high through the summer. This is usually the time where people hit the games they missed from last year, but this year we’ve already got three huge launches this month alone, two of which definitely are competitive FPS games. We’ll see what’s next as we get closer to Infinite Warfare this fall.

Weekend Recap – Overwatch Beta, Battlefield 1, and Black Ops Black Market

Over this past weekend, we were graced with a good selection of gaming goodness to enjoy. I thought I’d talk a little bit about the two games with new polish that I played over the weekend along with my early thoughts on the Battlefield 1 announcement. We’re still a month out from E3, but we’re already getting some big bits of news.

Black Ops 3

Let’s start with the quick hitter – Black Ops III put out a hotfix going into the weekend that added in a new feature to the Black Market. Treyarch put out Contracts – eventually they’ll be daily and weekly features, but for now there’s just a featured Contract. Complete it – win 75 games – and you earn a weapon bribe for the Black Market along with 10 free rare supply drops. On top of that, Season Pass holders were gifted that same prize upon logging on this weekend. I was super lucky with my packages, netting the HG-40, Brass Knuckles and MVP baseball bat, but I know that there were lots of people who only got the one guaranteed weapon. What I really like with this new patch is it looks like Treyarch/Activision have heard the arguments from the broader community about supply drops. It’s early on with the new elements of the Black Market, but if this is a way for Treyarch to reward players with rare supply drops or even gear bribes for completing the Contracts it is bound to up the level of engagement with the Black Market. It’s a positive sign from a publisher that tends to not back down on secondary purchases like the CoD Points are. If it’s an early signal that Activision is going to be a little more flexible omoving forward, that is a great sign for their other big games – Destiny, Infinite Warfare and soon Overwatch. We just have to hope that it is the start of something.

The other quick thing I want to talk about is the Overwatch beta. I played a good handful of games with a few different heroes and I have to say, I think it’s a very fun game. It is drawing comparisons to Battleborn, mainly because they both are dropping close to each other and both are hero shooters; but I actually think the two games are really different. Battleborn is a lot closer to a MOBA, both in terms of game modes and the way the heroes have to level up each match. Overwatch is a lot closer to a game like Team Fortress. It’s an arena shooter, just each hero has their own powers and roles. Widowmaker is a lot of fun if you just want to focus on killing the enemy team, Bastion is basically a built in Play of the Game hero, Mei is awesome for crowd control and power plays and Zenyatta is a really great hybrid support hero. Overwatch wasn’t really on my radar aside from a couple stream clips I had seen going into the Beta, but coming out it’s a game I could definitely see picking up.

Finally, let’s talk about that Battlefield announcement. Not even a full week removed from the Call of Duty announcement, EA and DICE came out swinging and reignited the military FPS wars. Sort of. I’ve never seen the two franchises as direct competition – they appeal to two different markets. That said, I think there’s a lot to be excited about with Battlefield 1. This is the first time that a major Triple A shooter has gone back to the First World War. I’m really looking forward to the opportunities that the setting presents, especially in terms of set pieces in the campaign. The multiplayer side still has a couple questions that I think need answering – it’s going to have to be a slower pace across the board, and Battlefield  has always been relatively slow paced outside of time to kill. The games are long, and with technology that’s older than any game we’ve played yet, the weapons/vehicles are going to be a tricky thing to nail. I have three hang-ups going in though – two directly relate to the game, the third is more about the developers/fanbase. As sson as the Call of Duty trailer dropped, there were a number of DICE developers casting shade on the looks of the trailer, saying it looked like a ten-year old game. Firstly, saying that is utterly ridiculous – ten years ago we were playing Oblivion and the first Gears of War, which looked nowhere even close to that good. Secondly, at least from that trailer, we got wehat really looked like gameplay. The Battlefield 1 trailer was all pre-rendered footage. Just because it says “game-engine footage” doesn’t mean that it’s showing actual gameplay footage. DICE pulled the same thing with Battlefront – which definitely doesn’t look like that first trailer did in-game. So maybe cool the jets a little on that, especially when your trailer looks a lot less polished than the Infinite Warfare trailer. The other issues I have are more directly related to the game. Firstly, that name is dreadful. Battlefield 1 – but it’s actually the fifth main series game. I get that the “1” is in reference to the WW1 setting, but take a page out of your own playbook – call it “Battlefield 1918” or something along those lines. That not only draws the focus to the setting, but also acts as a throwback to the first Battlefield game. Secondly, DICE really hasn’t proved to me that they can do a campaign at the highest level consistently. Bad Company is usually put out there as the example of the franchise doing it well – but that was almost ten years ago! And it’s the only one – Hardline wasn’t terrible, but it sure wasn’t on the level of some of the other FPS campaigns. So the campaign is a question mark that I have, but one that I really hope DICE answers. I have a feeling E3 will be plenty exciting this year.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – (Re)Fresher Part Two

Call of Duty: Modern WarfareContinuing where we left off yesterday, today we’ll look at the maps that were featured in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. This is all to get ready for this fall’s remastered version of the game that will be bundled with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. We know that we’re getting ten maps with the remake – that means six maps are being left behind from the initial release. Instead of trying to guess which those six  will be, because there are a couple that I think are potential cuts, I’ll just run through the full list quickly. The standout maps I’ll talk a little more about, while the lower tier maps we’ll hit quick.

First on the list is Ambush. It’s a fairly large map, great for long-range encounters and sniping. It’s not actually symmetrical, but it’s pretty close, to the point where I don’t that one side has a huge advantage. It works in Domination, Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, and if the remake has newer modes, Kill Confirmed. I think it’s a pretty safe bet to appear, it’s one of those fan favorite maps on the original disc. I definitely think this one of the best maps to help get your long-range combat skills better. Grab a M40A3 or G3 and watch the side roads. Next up is Backlot, which is one of the few maps that we know is in the Remake. Unlike a lot of modern maps in FPS games, this one is all about the center location. There’s one – technically – three story house right in the middle of the map that is really important to control. It’s got great sightlines on the other two major landmarks – the destroyed building and the construction site – which means a good shot can helps control the flow of a game. I like playing it on Team Deathmatch the most, since it tends to revolve around those landmarks instead of trading spawn sides. Next let’s look at Bloc. Bloc is one of those maps that I think gets overlooked when we talk about great Call of Duty maps. I love this map – it’s everything I like in a shooter map. It’s balanced – basically symmetrical, with two blocks of apartments on either side. Sure, some games will descend into firefights from building to building, but playing the flanker role can be a huge amount of fun. This was always one of the few maps that I felt comfortable using the shotguns on without being at a disadvantage. If you can get into the apartments and other close range situations, those weapons can really make a power play.

The next map on the list is Bog, which is another one that I think is all but a guarantee to appear in the Remake. It’s a pretty open map, not a huge amount of cover so timing your runs is pretty important. Sniping is really great on this one – as is running with Frag X3 if you know the angles. Domination is good, Search is potentially very frustrating with those grenades, but the map works across the board. Next up is Countdown, another one I could see being included. This is one of the bigger maps in the game, and has some pretty crazy sightlines. It’s got  lots of long lines, but it’s dotted with cover so setting up to snipe can be tricky. Domination is lots of fun, with pretty intense games. Expect spawns to flip a lot with this one, and air support to be more effective than usual. Next on the list is Crash, which is one we know is coming forward. At this point you should probably already know all about Crash. I think it’s the perfect Call of Duty map for that Modern Warfare style combat. Long lanes, tight corners, interior combat and plenty of alternate routes make it a tough map to predict how games flow. I still think it’s Infinity Ward’s best map they’ve ever made, and I’m super excited to revisit an old friend. Next on the list is Crossfire, another one we know is coming forward. Crossfire was another map that I always really enjoyed. It’s essentially a giant “S” shape, with the outer edges made up of buildings you can move through. Snipers can lock down the center lane, as well as potentially make some buildings dangerous to go in. If you do manage to close the range down, fighting building to building is always tense and fun. This is another one I’m really looking forward to playing.

Moving on down the list, we have District next. I think it’s one that might be left behind – it’s not a bad map, but it doesn’t really stand out in any way. It also had a pretty bad glitch where there was a building that had no collision so you could shoot through it. There’s the market too, where the combat tends to funnel toward, but it’s nothing standout. Next upon the list is Downpour. Downpour is set on a rainy rural farm, and it’s not exactly a huge map, but it’s a good size. It’s asymmetrical, so it’s important to try and grab the high ground.As much as I like this map, I could easily see it being left behind. On the other hand, the next map – Overgrown – is probably pretty likely to show up. Overgrown is a huge map – set on a massive farm with a pretty good size main farm house, a two level barn and a filed with hay bales.  It’s a great sniper map, and if you’re a good flanker it can be a perfect map for it. You definitely need to pay attention to the alternate routes that this map is full of. Same goes for the next map – Pipeline. It’s apparently a favorite since it showed up in Advanced Warfare, just tweaked a little for that game’s mechanics. It’s another big one, but sniping is tricky since there are plenty of interior routes to take to get closer to the snipers. I think there’s a good chance it’ll show up, and if it does, get ready to pick out enemies from farther away and then close on them.

Moving on down the list, we get to Shipment. This is probably the smallest map in the series, and it’s another fan favorite. It’s a great Free-For-All map, and just about any match on this map is total chaos. It’s full of tight corners, medium range sight lines and plenty of angles to toss grenades on. I really doubt this one won’t show up – it’s too damn popular to not. Hopefully it shows up in more playlists though. With only a few more maps to go, let’s talk about Showdown. It’s another simple map – it’s a big rectangle/courtyard with a couple levels to it. Lots of mid-range combat, a couple good ambush places, and it’s a great map for Helicopter support. I’m on the fence with this one – I could definitely see it moving forward, but at the same time, I could easily see them leaving it behind. It’s just not overly special. Next up is Strike, another really popular map. This one is tough for me to call. I had a lot more fun with the map when they put it in Modern Warfare 2. It’s not a bad map, it’s got a good mix of interior and road combat and I think plenty of different loadouts work well. Our second-to-last map to look at is Vacant. Another that showed up in the sequel, Vacant is a great close range map. There’s lots of tight corners, combined with a couple mid-range hallways. It’s the other map that I used to like using shotguns on – running through the halls with Juggernaut and RPGs with a shotgun was a lot of fun. I definitely hope that this one comes forward. Our final map is Wet Work – which we saw portions of in the reveal stream, or at least assets that were in Crew Expendable and probably could be used in the map. I definitely see it moving forward, even though it’s not my favorite map. It’s not bad – symmetrical in nature, with longer range combat definitely the more common action. My problem is just that when I first started playing MW, my friends wanted to play Search, and this map in particular had some camping issues. There was also a way to get out of the map and snipe from above the control room. I definitely think this one is coming forward, but I would really rather see something like Bloc show up.

There’s still a lot to learn about Infinite Warfare as well as the Modern Warfare Remaster before this November’s launch. But that just means that there’s plenty of time to talk about one of the best FPS games of the last ten years. If you can, I definitely think you maybe hopping on the old game isn’t a bad idea.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – (Re)Fresher

Call of Duty: Modern WarfareWith the official word that we’re going to get an updated, remastered version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, I thought I’d talk a little about the game for people who either didn’t ever play the original, or haven’t in a while. The franchise has evolved a lot since the original launch, so players who have come into the franchise since then might be a little surprised when they load up the classic. I’m looking mainly at the multiplayer side of things, specifically the weapons today. I’ll look at the maps tomorrow, since we’re getting the ten original maps in the remake.

The big thing that could really throw people for a loop is probably with the Create a CLass system from the original Multiplayer system. Now, we don’t know for sure if that’s what we’re getting, but it’s a safe bet that we’re getting the original multiplayer across the board. We’ve been spoiled over the last handful of games with the pick-ten system, but that’s not how it worked in the good old days. We had a primary, a secondary, tactical and grenade, and three perks – that’s it. A lot of what we’re used to in terms of flexibility wasn’t there. When you combine that with the smaller number of weapons, I can see how newer fans might go into the remake with some negative opinions. What I think actually ends up happening is that a lot more power is put into the players’ thumbs. Yes, there were a couple weapons that were a little stronger than the rest – M16, M4, MP5, M40A3 – but pretty much every weapon was competitive. It’s a lot easier to put in the time to become familiar with the weapons, since there aren’t as many to work on. The drive for camo completions also isn’t quite there, because Gold camo only existed for one gun per class. That’s one of those things that I could see changing for the Remaster, the challenges in general were pretty threadbare compared with the later games.

COD 4 Create a Class

The weapons themselves I don’t think will be a huge hurdle for newer players to get over. There isn’t a huge difference between the weapons within a class like now – between burst-fire SMGs, autobursts, semi-auto, burst fire snipers, it can be hard to really get good with a gun. The old set though really only had a couple things to deal with – two semi-auto assault rifles, one burst fire one, and that’s about it. You’ve got the typical mix of bolt-action and semi-auto snipers, and different fire-rates for the SMGs mainly to worry about. The weapon classes all feel pretty good – or at least did back then – they fit their roles to a tee. There aren’t as many attachments to really worry about either, so the barrier for entry for higher level play isn’t as high as it might be now. What becomes more important as you continue playing is map knowledge and game flow awareness.

A couple last quick points that new players might need to get used to with the remake. First is the pace of the game. Pretty much every Call of Duty since Black Ops has been focused a lot around fast infantry combat. Even Advanced Warfare and Black Ops III with the boost jumping and wall running is still infantry and plays super fast. Modern Warfare not so much – it’s a much slower pace than what we’ve been playing for the last handful of years. You might need to take a few games to get used to the slower pace and more emphasis on cover useage. Second is the killstreaks present. We’ve had a plethora to use ever since Modern Warfare 2. The original only had three though – UAV at 3 kills, Air Strike at 5 kills and a Helicopter at 7 kills. They don’t stack like they do now, you have to use them in order and they can be overwritten if you die and go on a second streak. Again, that’s a system that I could maybe see them retool, but if it doesn’t change, you’ll probably have to get used to calling those streaks in more frequently.