Black Ops 2 Is Like A Rich Jerk

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DataSnake:

jmarquiso:
Doom had quite a few of them. Introducing the Cyberdemon is one that immediately comes to mind. But it leads up to it. You spend some time fighting zombies than imps, then pinkies and eventually this hulking minotaur is introduced on an elevator ride. It's dark, you can't see, and then - there he is - in shadow. it isn't easy to get away. \

I don't remember an elevator ride leading up to the big Cybie encounter in Doom 1. Are you talking about Doom 3 or something?

I'm going from a poor memory, mind you. I just remember the moment being striking.

Treblaine:

jmarquiso:

My background is largely in film, and I find setpieces tiring for that very reason. A lot of writing lately has moved from careful character development to be about moving characters from setpiece to setpiece without regard to motivation. Just go from A to B and let the explosions happen. It's entertaining in the moment, but it really loses a lot. In a game, you're subjected to many more hours of it. And it really just fatigues the eyes, and oversaturates the senses. You can't appreciate the quiet moments. Because there aren't any.

Wasn't there a whole jimquisition episode dedicated to reiterating the self-evident fact that games are NOT film, and if you try to treat games like film then they will ALWAYS be inferior to film.

It's a GAME first.

Now COD singleplayer mostly fails at being a game, but to damn it for it's narrative paints with a broad brush in damning so many other great games that have a spartan or contrived plot. But it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter, because games are games, a gameplay storyline can be profound in its gameplay progression.

COD's singleplayer CANNOT be fixed with either more plot or more carefully written plot, that is NOT the problem at all, the problem is akin to a film having hours of narration where they explain what is going on in the very film you are watching. No. No, god no. Show, don't tell for film, DO don't show for games. And quick time events is a "show", it's not agency in deciding the outcome, it's about as involved as having to turn the pages on a book.

COD gameplay fails because it's quite clear all the weapon balancing is done for multi-player.

Considering I'm actually talking about reducing COD's attempt at cinematic experiences (sensation to sensation to sensation), I think you should really read the content before going off on it. I'm actually damning both mediums for finding themselves doing the same thing.

And you know what, it's largely due to similar problems with high budget titles. Producers have certain scenes in mind, and they have to get there - somehow.

And yes, I do think games are SUPERIOR when they have a good narrative framing around it. Not necessarily a plausible or logical one, but a good one. Super Mario Bros has a spartan narrative, but uses it well. It's a classic Road Movie / Hero's Journey structure - rescue the princess from a giant lizard creature, there's a ton of obstacles on the way. Whole early romantic stories were written with this very plot. It's the Odyssey with interactive buttons. And it's great because LESS is definitely more in this case.

Doom has an incredibly small plot, but it's a elegantly rendered narrative - mainly because you don't notice it. I'm sort of a minimalist when it comes to narrative.

I agree, gameplay comes first. CoD - in its quest for Michael Bay like sensationalism - has sacrificed gameplay for something inferior to narrative - sensationalism.

Kopikatsu:

James Bond, for instance. I don't expect there to be any character development in a James Bond film- not because he's mostly about explosions, sex, and gadgets; but because...there are probably like a hundred different books/films/video games about James Bond's whole shtick. Why would his character develop any from doing something that he's done a million times previously?

The James Bond franchise was floundering, and the needed some reinvigoration. Eon Productions - the company behind James Bond - was even dealing with losing sales and interest into their pet franchise. Indeed, they were seriously in trouble, believe it or not. So they made a deeper action movie... out of poker.

Casino Royale was an attempt to deepen and develop James Bond by creating - essentially - a prequel. It took him to Skyfall to become the Bond we all know, but now with a deeper understanding of the character. Audiences are more taken with the Craig Bond for this very reason. They still manage to have the beautiful and amazing setpieces and stunts, but they're grounded in character.

While with film, the addage is show don't tell. With games it's Do, don't say. In games like Call of Duty, they barely let you DO and affect the game in any way. This isn't inherently wrong, it's simply shallow. And while that's what people want from the franchise, it'll continue to sell well for a time.

What Yahtzee was saying - and I obviously agree - is that it seems like a waste of riches. Other games take singular or limited mechanics and develop around them. COD simply uses and discards them. I don't like shallow gameplay beyond saying, "it's fun" in short bursts. But afterwards experiences like this leave me hollow. By contrast, Hotline: Miami has incredibly limited mechanics, but I'm incredibly compelled by that game and its use of level design. Mark of the Ninja was one of the best games I played this year, certainly up there in the Stealth genre. Even Deus Ex: Human Revolution felt like more of a game - which has its share of setpieces - that stuck with me for a long time. Or Portal 2 - an on rails First Person Puzzler - plays with the mechanics just enough to keep things interesting, and cuts off just before it gets repetitive (for me, at least - though I agree with Yahtzee's assessment that it's a sight-seeing tour with puzzles in it). Left 4 Dead is - like Call of Duty - about going from point A to B, but gameplay is expressed in how you treat the rest of your team, and how you play. You aren't guaranteed a certain amount of success or seeing a decent amount of effects. The game just let's you DO.

jmarquiso:

While with film, the addage is show don't tell. With games it's Do, don't say. In games like Call of Duty, they barely let you DO and affect the game in any way. This isn't inherently wrong, it's simply shallow. And while that's what people want from the franchise, it'll continue to sell well for a time.

Have you played Black Ops 2? This isn't a negative comment directed at you, because Yahtzee didn't even mention it either.

If not, I'd strongly recommend that you look at one of my earlier threads, especially the post by Tippy. I think his was number 4-ish? (You'll understand why when you get there): http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.394298-Choices-of-Black-Ops-2

Treblaine:

jmarquiso:
and the military tech porn isn't helping.

As a former/recovering military tech addict... no... COD is not military tech porn.

That's like calling Armageddon a film made for NASA fanboys, no, it's got space rockets in it but it's about spaceflight, but it anyone who knows anything about spaceflight cringes watching a film like Armageddon.

COD has a John Woo approach to guns, taking the superficial but utterly screwing with the stats and even chronological existence just to impress frat boys. A G11 assault rife in 1968?!?!? It wasn't even out of prototype in 1991!!! FAMAS and AUG? Not till 1980's.

Things like the heartbeat sensor of MW2 are just a slap in the face, it's just a pop culture rip-off from Aliens and anyone who follows military tech knows that's 100% fantasy, but to some frat guys it seems plausible enough... if they know nothing about military tech.

I mean it's about as profound to have something like a heartbeat sensor as having heat-seeking bullets that can bend around corners.

You're absolutely correct here. Perhaps it's more the military fetishization that Michael Bay has brought to the table (other filmmakers have done this with more respect - from Oliver Stone to John Ford). This sort of interest in military tech is 100% fantasy and 100% superficial. It's looking at a gun and seeing potential to look cool, not dangerous potential to be respected. So yeah, I agree, new tech means a superficial showcase of stuff that - as you say - is complete fantasy, and not that interesting beyond its surface.

It's like watching John Voigt stand during Pearl Harbor, complete and utter fantasy and sensationalism used over any kind of deeper understanding.

So you're right, CoD has as much interest in military tech as Armageddon had with NASA. Let's make it LOOK stunning and interesting, but let's not make it anything more that plot contrivance or convenience.

Kopikatsu:

jmarquiso:

While with film, the addage is show don't tell. With games it's Do, don't say. In games like Call of Duty, they barely let you DO and affect the game in any way. This isn't inherently wrong, it's simply shallow. And while that's what people want from the franchise, it'll continue to sell well for a time.

Have you played Black Ops 2? This isn't a negative comment directed at you, because Yahtzee didn't even mention it either.

If not, I'd strongly recommend that you look at one of my earlier threads (You'll understand why when you get there): http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.394298-Choices-of-Black-Ops-2

Wow. That's really fascinating. I guess we didn't expect it from previous experience with COD, so yeah, no, I hadn't played or noticed that. I'm really just trying to explain what I understood from the review. You're right, I may have misjudged it. This is just something about the franchise that has bugged me for awhile. Good on Treyarch.

Now I haven't played Black Ops, so I'm not going to comment directly on it. I'm glad to see that such choices exist.

Spec Ops: The Line did this. It gave you obvious binary choices, and then players managed to find third or fourth choices, and things got built up from there. For example:

When I'm talking about agency though - I'm not simply talking about narrative choice. It's more - is there strategy involved. Is there something deeper than "headshot here". When you're strapped to the back of a jeep, these are standard practices of a shooting gallery type game - a game that hasn't evolved much past the carnival guns showcases of yesteryear. Again - not a BAD thing in any way. Just shallow gameplay so one could have the sensation of being nearly blown to bits.

Ben Croshaw: Believe it or not, I don't really like talking about politics....

Which is why he talks about it, in every chance he gets.

jmarquiso:

Kopikatsu:

jmarquiso:

While with film, the addage is show don't tell. With games it's Do, don't say. In games like Call of Duty, they barely let you DO and affect the game in any way. This isn't inherently wrong, it's simply shallow. And while that's what people want from the franchise, it'll continue to sell well for a time.

Have you played Black Ops 2? This isn't a negative comment directed at you, because Yahtzee didn't even mention it either.

If not, I'd strongly recommend that you look at one of my earlier threads (You'll understand why when you get there): http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.394298-Choices-of-Black-Ops-2

Wow. That's really fascinating. I guess we didn't expect it from previous experience with COD, so yeah, no, I hadn't played or noticed that. I'm really just trying to explain what I understood from the review. You're right, I may have misjudged it. This is just something about the franchise that has bugged me for awhile. Good on Treyarch.

Now I haven't played Black Ops, so I'm not going to comment directly on it. I'm glad to see that such choices exist.

Spec Ops: The Line did this. It gave you obvious binary choices, and then players managed to find third or fourth choices, and things got built up from there. For example:

When I'm talking about agency though - I'm not simply talking about narrative choice. It's more - is there strategy involved. Is there something deeper than "headshot here". When you're strapped to the back of a jeep, these are standard practices of a shooting gallery type game - a game that hasn't evolved much past the carnival guns showcases of yesteryear. Again - not a BAD thing in any way. Just shallow gameplay so one could have the sensation of being nearly blown to bits.

That's the point I was making earlier, though. It doesn't matter what Call of Duty does by this point, those who have already written off the series will most likely continue to decry it (as Yahtzee has). So why try to pander to those people when they already have a huge, well established market? Treyarch responded to some criticisms of the game and got multiple page fulls of 0's on Metacritic for the effort.

The people who decry Call of Duty from the onset are just as guilty (if not moreso) of the stagnation of the industry than the people who buy into it without a second thought.

Anyway, I'm glad you brought up Spec Ops. Games like Spec Ops have been and are being made. If you want a deep, thought provoking experience on the theme of war, you have those games to satisfy that itch. Call of Duty is made for an entirely different crowd who like to shoot through walls with x-ray scopes and rain death on (monetarily) poor brown people with advanced jets. Do games that are mostly for mindless fun not have a right to exist as well? Must every game about war be either ARMA 2 or Spec Ops: The Line in order to be not universally derided as shit on every gaming forum ever?

BarbaricGoose:

Maybe his humor was ALWAYS 90% sex jokes, and I just got tired of it somewhere down the line. Maybe it's me. Anyway, thank GOD for Jim Sterling, or I'd have zero reason to visit this site.

Sterling is a populist. The only time he touches on anything remotely controversial, it's usually in dealing with sexism or homophobia in gaming. Otherwise it's always on the consumers side stuff, and it's really very shallow without much investigation into things like DRM and the like that he's crusaded against. Not to say I disagree, but his arguments to straw-men industry people are usually "No, don't buy it, fuck off". I prefer deeper discussion.

Yahtzee's entire shtick is to tear down a game - whether he likes it or not. He tore down Just Cause 2, which made his top game of that year. He tore down Arkham Asylum, and it was his top game THAT year. He'll say whether he liked it in the end, but after tearing it a new one each time. We also know - especially from his Extra Punctuation columns - what his personal preferences are. He hates:

1) Multiplayer

2) Regenerating Health

3) Knee High Walls

4) Linearity

And yet, if those games do those things well, he'll be sure to mention it, as he had done with TF2 and Portal (in the same review!). So yes - he's harsh when those things show up. Sometimes he'll warm up to it if it's done well.

Part of following critics is knowing their biases and whether they match your own. Follow these personalities. I know what Jim Sterling likes and dislikes. I know what Yahtzee likes and dislikes. The same with Susan Arendt, Tom Chick, and Jeff Gerstmann. This would give me a better idea of whether I'd like a game than anything else.

Kopikatsu:

That's the point I was making earlier, though. It doesn't matter what Call of Duty does by this point, those who have already written off the series will most likely continue to decry it (as Yahtzee has). So why try to pander to those people when they already have a huge, well established market? Treyarch responded to some criticisms of the game and got multiple page fulls of 0's on Metacritic for the effort.

The people who decry Call of Duty from the onset are just as guilty (if not moreso) of the stagnation of the industry than the people who buy into it without a second thought.

Anyway, I'm glad you brought up Spec Ops. Games like Spec Ops have been and are being made. If you want a deep, thought provoking experience on the theme of war, you have those games to satisfy that itch. Call of Duty is made for an entirely different crowd who like to shoot through walls with x-ray scopes and rain death on (monetarily) poor brown people with advanced jets. Do games that are mostly for mindless fun not have a right to exist as well? Must every game about war be either ARMA 2 or Spec Ops: The Line in order to be not universally derided as shit on every gaming forum ever?

That's certainly a fair point. Up until this review, the reviews I read of Black Ops 2 has been largely positive. Honestly what had me write off this game were the trailers, the plot, my history with the franchise, and hiring Ollie North as a spokesman. This might have been unfair, but every step in their marketing told me that this game is simply not for me.

A quick glance at metacritic show 6 positive reviews, 2 mixed, 0 negative. 78 out of 100, so the positive was at the low end of the positive. As Yahtzee gives no score, he isn't counted among them.

Out of the military shooters this year (Medal of Honor, etc) Spec Ops is the only "deeper" military shooter. The majority will be the thrill-seeking style games that they are.

But let's go to COD4: Modern Warfare. It was a brilliant game (Yahtzee even liked it). But then it grew to become a sensation seeking thrill-seeking game with Modern Warfare 3. Part of this issue is the need to have the game come out every year, gaming innovation is incremental at best. There isn't enough time to come up with greater, deeper gameplay, and really test it. What I got out of the modern warfare games - gameplay wise - was not new ways to frame and vary shooting (and shooting down sites), but rather more shooting (and occasional stabbing) from different corridors. Nothing wrong with it, but not my type of game.

I don't see how my demand for varied gameplay and different settings is stifling innovation. I just don't buy the games that don't appeal to me. I'll give a franchise a fair shot, here and there.

Edit:

And also my desire for these games shouldn't take away from the fact that general audiences obviously LIKE Call of Duty.

However, it should be taken as a warning sign that they're actually downgrading Activision due to Black Ops II's performance.

jmarquiso:

Kopikatsu:

That's the point I was making earlier, though. It doesn't matter what Call of Duty does by this point, those who have already written off the series will most likely continue to decry it (as Yahtzee has). So why try to pander to those people when they already have a huge, well established market? Treyarch responded to some criticisms of the game and got multiple page fulls of 0's on Metacritic for the effort.

The people who decry Call of Duty from the onset are just as guilty (if not moreso) of the stagnation of the industry than the people who buy into it without a second thought.

Anyway, I'm glad you brought up Spec Ops. Games like Spec Ops have been and are being made. If you want a deep, thought provoking experience on the theme of war, you have those games to satisfy that itch. Call of Duty is made for an entirely different crowd who like to shoot through walls with x-ray scopes and rain death on (monetarily) poor brown people with advanced jets. Do games that are mostly for mindless fun not have a right to exist as well? Must every game about war be either ARMA 2 or Spec Ops: The Line in order to be not universally derided as shit on every gaming forum ever?

That's certainly a fair point. Up until this review, the reviews I read of Black Ops 2 has been largely positive. Honestly what had me write off this game were the trailers, the plot, my history with the franchise, and hiring Ollie North as a spokesman. This might have been unfair, but every step in their marketing told me that this game is simply not for me.

A quick glance at metacritic show 6 positive reviews, 2 mixed, 0 negative. 78 out of 100, so the positive was at the low end of the positive. As Yahtzee gives no score, he isn't counted among them.

Out of the military shooters this year (Medal of Honor, etc) Spec Ops is the only "deeper" military shooter. The majority will be the thrill-seeking style games that they are.

But let's go to COD4: Modern Warfare. It was a brilliant game (Yahtzee even liked it). But then it grew to become a sensation seeking thrill-seeking game with Modern Warfare 3. Part of this issue is the need to have the game come out every year, gaming innovation is incremental at best. There isn't enough time to come up with greater, deeper gameplay, and really test it. What I got out of the modern warfare games - gameplay wise - was not new ways to frame and vary shooting (and shooting down sites), but rather more shooting (and occasional stabbing) from different corridors. Nothing wrong with it, but not my type of game.

I don't see how my demand for varied gameplay and different settings is stifling innovation. I just don't buy the games that don't appeal to me. I'll give a franchise a fair shot, here and there.

Those are the 'professional' reviews, which is why I specifically mentioned it as being universally derided on gaming forums, not by the gaming community as a whole.

I wasn't referring to you when I was talking about people who decry it without giving it a chance though. I meant people like this

I've never played COD 4, to be honest. I really only 'started' the series with Black Ops 2, specifically because I was so sick of literally everything being blamed on the series, I had to go see what was so horrible and soul-ruining about the franchise myself.

Kopikatsu:

Those are the 'professional' reviews, which is why I specifically mentioned it as being universally derided on gaming forums, not by the gaming community as a whole.

I wasn't referring to you when I was talking about people who decry it without giving it a chance though. I meant people like this

I've never played COD 4, to be honest. I really only 'started' the series with Black Ops 2, specifically because I was so sick of literally everything being blamed on the series, I had to go see what was so horrible and soul-ruining about the franchise myself.

Fair point. There's a reason I don't stick to gaming forums or user review scores for if I want to buy a game or not. Spec Ops: The Line I didn't want to get due to its marketing. It was all the praise and stuff afterward that had me give it a second look. As mentioned earlier - I find reviewers, find their biases, and go with that.

COD 4 is a defining game in its genre. Modern Warfare 2 and 3 just basically took that and said "more of more of the same". I only played a little of Black Ops 1 off of my roommates Xbox. It seemed to be a more compelling story to me, but according to him it didn't fulfill on the promise. There's a lot of interesting history with military Black Ops, and it had potential - it just didn't go there. I don't know much about Black Ops 2 as much as what the trailers told me, and it told me not to be interested. Specifically in how they used Ollie North. The Iran Contra affair was a dark point in US history, but there were definite reasons for it, whether you agree with them or not (I'm in the "or not" category, if it weren't obvious). \

I'll probably give it a fair shake on a free weekend on Steam or something.

poiuppx:

And if I may say... why DO you care for him to tell you why so many buy the game? You clearly already have your answer, multiplayer.

Other games have multiplayer, but COD is almost a whole order of magnitude more popular, consistently, every year. But I dislike the multiplayer, I complain about it and yet at the same time am compelled to play it... yet feel so unsatisfied from it.

I value Yahtzees insight, with his humerus take he is often able to find simultaneously why something has such strong appeal yet at the same time why it is so awful.

THAT is my burning question! WHY! Why so popular yet so reviled, so loved yet so hated? But I feel he has - how can I put it - unhelpful focus. Focusing his critical eye on the singleplayer he's over-analysing the trivial part and going off in crazy directions.

I want him to make sense of the phenomenal success yet low opinion of COD's multiplayer, why they are the only ones who can do it. I NEED him to do this. I'd honestly feel betrayed if he said it was just a good multiplayer, because it isn't, it's so frustrating and ungratifying.

In Search of Username:

Yes but when does Call of Duty treat it as a 'socialist tragedy'? It treats it as a gung-ho 'FUCK YEAH AMERICAAAAA!' situation in which all the soldiers are like superheroes fighting off the evil foreigners. I know what you mean, but the game does not treat it like that, so the analogy still works; the game is from the point of view of a rich jerk, even if in reality the average soldier is nothing like what they are in CoD.

No, it's not "fighting off the evil foreigners". 50% of the time in Multipalyer you are non-Americans killing Americans. MW2 the final acts was killing nothing but Americans with the explicit intent of killing an American General. The player is REPEATEDLY put into the perspective of non-Americans and non-whites. Enough with the racism and xenophobia jibes, they are factually incorrect.

The games does lament the discarded soldier, Woods discarded and forgotten in a retirement home. There is lamenting the lack of recognition for efforts. Hell, the apathy of the American public to soldiers deaths was reason for General Shepard going rogue and is presented as a genuinely sympathetic motivation. It's hackneyed and ineffective, but it's there.

And the game isn't "rich" in gameplay features, COD games are made CHEAPLY. It's not rich to have on rails mechanics, those are far cheaper to develop than smaller games having fully fledged mechanics. The IDEA of a flying suit may be something that other smaller games may long for, but COD doesn't ACTUALLY have that, it has an on the rails mechanic and a character model of a flying suit that is NOT AT ALL an expensively wrought out game mechanic.

You want to know where most of the COD money goes other than to the private bank accounts of the executives of Activision? It goes into marketing.

It's not a rich game, the thoroughbred money-earning horse of rich executives.

In other news: Far Cry 3 has a fully functional wingsuit.

BarbaricGoose:
Yahtzee reviewing CoD is comical. Not because he's funny anymore, but because his reactions are so played out. You know, Yahtz (is it okay if I call you "Yahtz"?) you are a shitty critic if you refuse to play more than half the game. I'm sorry, but that's just the truth. You could be forgiven if the game was some 100 hour long JRPG and you hated everything about it from minute 1, but this ain't that. I get why you didn't finish the latest Final Fantasy--neither did I. But it's not exactly difficult to load up zombies or mutliplayer and play a few matches. It would've taken you all of 1 hour to do both of those things, and you didn't.

1) He attempts to avoid multiplayer unless it is a major part of the game play. He has said this multiple times that he feels that Multiplayer should not be a deciding factor on whether a game is good or not and it shouldn't be a cruch for bad games. So he avoids them unless their necessary. So unless its Super Smash Brawl, Borderlands or Left 4 Dead or anything similar to that, he is most likely not going to "fire up" the multiplayer and personally, I don't think that his refusal to play the multiplayer means that he hasn't played the game.

2) He's not a critic. He's a satirist and there is a very....VERY...big difference.

jmarquiso:

BarbaricGoose:

Maybe his humor was ALWAYS 90% sex jokes, and I just got tired of it somewhere down the line. Maybe it's me. Anyway, thank GOD for Jim Sterling, or I'd have zero reason to visit this site.

Sterling is a populist. The only time he touches on anything remotely controversial, it's usually in dealing with sexism or homophobia in gaming. Otherwise it's always on the consumers side stuff, and it's really very shallow without much investigation into things like DRM and the like that he's crusaded against. Not to say I disagree, but his arguments to straw-men industry people are usually "No, don't buy it, fuck off". I prefer deeper discussion.

Yahtzee's entire shtick is to tear down a game - whether he likes it or not. He tore down Just Cause 2, which made his top game of that year. He tore down Arkham Asylum, and it was his top game THAT year. He'll say whether he liked it in the end, but after tearing it a new one each time. We also know - especially from his Extra Punctuation columns - what his personal preferences are. He hates:

1) Multiplayer

2) Regenerating Health

3) Knee High Walls

4) Linearity

And yet, if those games do those things well, he'll be sure to mention it, as he had done with TF2 and Portal (in the same review!). So yes - he's harsh when those things show up. Sometimes he'll warm up to it if it's done well.

Part of following critics is knowing their biases and whether they match your own. Follow these personalities. I know what Jim Sterling likes and dislikes. I know what Yahtzee likes and dislikes. The same with Susan Arendt, Tom Chick, and Jeff Gerstmann. This would give me a better idea of whether I'd like a game than anything else.

You forgot quick time events.

Treblaine:

poiuppx:

And if I may say... why DO you care for him to tell you why so many buy the game? You clearly already have your answer, multiplayer.

Other games have multiplayer, but COD is almost a whole order of magnitude more popular, consistently, every year. But I dislike the multiplayer, I complain about it and yet at the same time am compelled to play it... yet feel so unsatisfied from it.

I value Yahtzees insight, with his humerus take he is often able to find simultaneously why something has such strong appeal yet at the same time why it is so awful.

THAT is my burning question! WHY! Why so popular yet so reviled, so loved yet so hated? But I feel he has - how can I put it - unhelpful focus. Focusing his critical eye on the singleplayer he's over-analysing the trivial part and going off in crazy directions.

I want him to make sense of the phenomenal success yet low opinion of COD's multiplayer, why they are the only ones who can do it. I NEED him to do this. I'd honestly feel betrayed if he said it was just a good multiplayer, because it isn't, it's so frustrating and ungratifying.

Ahh, I think I see your position now. My appologies, but in my defense you had obscured it slightly before. I confess, I wouldn't mind seeing a Yahtzee disection of the MP, why it attracts and repels players, etc. Though I imagine he'd be raked over the coal on a Super Smash Bros. level for doing so. I'd also honestly rather see that as its own seperate video... as I said before, my wonk is single-player. And if there's one thing I love, it's when I get a game he's reviewed to rewatch the old review after playing for a bit, just to add a bit of extra context to the jokes and opinions. A video where he ignored or downplayed the single-player in exchange for the MP would likely be something I myself would be bothered by, unless there was another five-minuter devoted to it. Such is the price of time constraints that to go the road you or I prefer, something must end up on the chopping block.

Still, that would be interesting. Maybe even as its own seperate encapsulating video where he could examine modern FPS MP as a whole. It'd be absurdly biased and insulting, but it'd be interesting to see him line up the current crop and show their faults and foibles.

Treblaine:

remnant_phoenix:

And the main flaw in your argument is that sales numbers are the be-all/end-all of legitimization.

Just because something is popular and financially successful doesn't make it classy, respectable, or objectively good. And many things that are classy, respectable, or good are not popular and financially successful.

Is CoD the game people want? Yeah. Is it rediculously financially successful? Of course. But neither of these things instill CoD with deeper value, and I'm confident that that was Yahtzee's point: Acitivision and the CoD teams could use their position ("we know that millions are going to buy this game on day one") to at least bring innovation to the genre (they could even push the boundaries of the medium if they chose) but they don't. And that is a waste of potential. Not potential revenue, but potential for something of deeper value.

But sales are at least a reason to look at why it is successful and it is NOT FROM THE SINGLE PLAYER!

Why are critics of COD so afraid of considering COD's multiplayer? Are they just so ideologically opposed to the idea of a game being about multiplayer rather than a structured linear single-player campaign they will indulge in the delusion that COD is popular for it's laughably shit singleplayer rather than its multiplayer.

There are so many sites on the internet completely dedicated to breaking down and analysing every aspect of the multiplayer, the total weapons stats of the weapons in multiplayer are uploaded... but not the same for the single-player.

What makes sense, tens of millions of players are wrong for loving COD's singleplayer, or a couple dozen internet critics are making a wrong assumption of the root of COD's popularity.

It might be traced back to COD4 that had a rather good single-player campaign (it only touched on trends that would be later overused and hated for the smallest mention) and was very popular in sales. They make the false correlation that millions bought it for the campaign, but no, it was the multiplayer. And when MW2 came along with a pants singleplayer and a compelling if unbalanced multiplayer then the critics were just too damn proud to admit they were wrong linking their assessment of COD4's singleplayer as key to it's success, and basically called millions of fans as idiots for liking the single player... which is hardly much of a selling point to them.

Okay, let's calm down a bit.

I never presumed (and I don't think Yahtzee did either) that CoD fans like the game for its single player or that buying/liking a game for the multiplayer when it has a shit campaign story makes them stupid.

Yahtzee and people with similar gaming tastes (such as myself) judge games primarily based on their single player component because that is what they care about the most.

Millions of people bought Black Ops II for its multiplayer and judge it by its multiplayer because that is what they care about.

Neither group has objectively stronger case. It's all opinion.

The fact that CoD is popular and sells millions? All that means is that the second opinion is the more popular opinion; that is all. It doesn't lend more credence to that opinion and it doesn't mean that Yahtzee, or anyone else, is "missing the point." With CoD, or anything else for that matter, people will judge it for what they care about.

heres the multiplayer review:

its the same as always just reskined.

thas what you want yatzee to say? that you spend 60 dollars for a reskined multiplayer?

Mel Theofficegamergirl:

You forgot quick time events.

I knew I forgot something! This is what happens when the screen doesn't flash the buttons I need to press to win.

poiuppx:
I confess, I wouldn't mind seeing a Yahtzee disection of the MP, why it attracts and repels players, etc. Though I imagine he'd be raked over the coal on a Super Smash Bros. level for doing so.

Ha! Like that's ever stopped him before!

That said, I.... AGREE! actually. That'd be fun and full of popcorn.

sonofliber:
its the same as always just reskined.

Well, except it is not. There are some serious changes (mostly how Create-A-Class works now).

Steve the Pocket:
Wait, don't James Bond games basically do the same thing? Giving you gadgets that only have one use over the course of the game?

Come to think of it, doesn't the James Bond film series do the same thing?

They do, which is why I got far more invested in Daniel Craig's Bond than any other, who just came off as pompous assholes with way too much time and money on their hands. I always thought he would be the worst agent because he draws attention to himself and causes massive collateral damage because he takes the most roundabout routes through the plots. At least with Craig, they explained why he was like that while showing him as a vulnerable human.

Back on topic, what he means by a waste is that there are countless uses for several devices in the COD series that are used in a small cutscene and nothing else. Games with a much smaller budget are able to afford more flexibility, such as operating such devices, yet COD refuses to. Why is that? Is the COD community so allergic to change that such diversity would cause them to reject it or has Activision caught on that no one cares? I'd say a bit of both. I also read that it's because it would take too much programming space to do so. Just Cause 2? Hitman? Spiderman? Was it too much then? Was it too hard to put vehicles and parachutes in Battlefield?

Regarding questions as to why he refuses to review online game portions of most FPSs, think about the game itself. Is a COD multiplayer worth reviewing when it'll be gone in a year? The SP is what will remain while the rest shrivels up with only the most ardent of players staying on each game, meaning that newcomers will encounter a huge wall when they have next to no gadgets or skill while everyone else has everything. Besides, the game is $60 and should have SP (which remains long after MP is gone) at least as strong as the (short-lived) MP. DayZ was something he did when he had nothing else to review and it turned out to be an actually good game, something rather unexpected.

You also have to consider that the game states that the SP is also important and will be a draw for those who do not have an internet connection, so when they buy it they will be disappointed (give each game a chance).

*sigh* It's really quite depressing how quickly "white people have had a history of abusing other, less-well-off cultures and should really stop glorifying it in games" has become "Yahtzee hates all white people and wants them to be hated and feel guilty all the time". It's really not that black and white, people.

EDIT: It was only after posting that and re-reading it that I realised how ironic that last sentence was. My phrasing is bad and I feel bad.

AnarchistAbe:

Kopikatsu:
The main flaw in his argument is this right here:

the privilege of being in a position to make a triple-A game with cutting edge technology, some of the greatest talent in the world, and under one of the highest-profile titles in the industry. A privilege which is utterly squandered.

Here's the thing: It has the talent assigned to it, it sells like hotcakes, and it's possibly the most well known name in gaming because it is what it is. It didn't start out as an indie stealth/platformer. If they changed the formula significantly, then a lot of people who do buy it probably wouldn't and the people who wanted the change wouldn't buy it either because they'd still decry it as long as it has the name 'Call of Duty' attached.

Dishonored is considered the best stealth title of this year, for instance, and it barely broke a million as of last week. No recent COD has sold under 10 million within the first month or two. CoD is the game that people want. No more, no less. It's pretentious to claim otherwise.

Very well put. People can bitch about it all they want, but it sells and it hasn't really deviated from what it has ALWAYS been. Don't like it? I can't really get behind your arguments, because you should have KNOWN what you were buying.

I couldn't agree more with both of you.

I find it incredibly annoying when people whine about "the new Call of Duty is exactly the same as the last one". Well, in terms of fundamental gameplay, yes of course it is. What would anyone expect it to be? And, of course, these complaints never come with a suggested solution of exactly *what* they would like to see the gameplay change to.

It's simple: if you don't like how Call of Duty plays, don't buy it.

rollerfox88:

AnarchistAbe:

Kopikatsu:
The main flaw in his argument is this right here:

Here's the thing: It has the talent assigned to it, it sells like hotcakes, and it's possibly the most well known name in gaming because it is what it is. It didn't start out as an indie stealth/platformer. If they changed the formula significantly, then a lot of people who do buy it probably wouldn't and the people who wanted the change wouldn't buy it either because they'd still decry it as long as it has the name 'Call of Duty' attached.

Dishonored is considered the best stealth title of this year, for instance, and it barely broke a million as of last week. No recent COD has sold under 10 million within the first month or two. CoD is the game that people want. No more, no less. It's pretentious to claim otherwise.

Very well put. People can bitch about it all they want, but it sells and it hasn't really deviated from what it has ALWAYS been. Don't like it? I can't really get behind your arguments, because you should have KNOWN what you were buying.

Yes, COD should stay as COD and not change dramatically, but as I see it that isnt the point Yahtzee was making. The point is (I think) that the amount of resources poured into making a new COD game is largely a waste. They have largely the same style of play from game to game, same art style, same engine etc, with just a few tweaks and a new story each time. Considering how much money each iteration makes, can you honestly say the company spends that amount making the next title? Of course not, and so maybe they could use some of the huge profit they make every year developing new ideas and franchises, as they are in an almost unique position to play around.

PS. Sorry if there are typos in the last quarter of the comment box, theres an ad here <-------------------------------->

You mean like Skylanders, perhaps? ;-)

It's very insulting to Treyarch to dismiss the hurculean effort from the hundreds of people involved in the development of this game.

"Largely the same style of play" - of course. What would you expect? A driving game?

"same art style" - why does this mean anything? ALL of the environments have to be created pretty much from scratch, the new characters, new animations, the cut scenes, the mocap, the weapons, the audio, the new gameplay code, and so on. All this takes a lot of people a lot of time. To dismiss it as the same as the last game is naive. I can tell you've never made a game before.

Kopikatsu:

jmarquiso:

Kopikatsu:

Have you played Black Ops 2? This isn't a negative comment directed at you, because Yahtzee didn't even mention it either.

If not, I'd strongly recommend that you look at one of my earlier threads (You'll understand why when you get there): http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.394298-Choices-of-Black-Ops-2

Wow. That's really fascinating. I guess we didn't expect it from previous experience with COD, so yeah, no, I hadn't played or noticed that. I'm really just trying to explain what I understood from the review. You're right, I may have misjudged it. This is just something about the franchise that has bugged me for awhile. Good on Treyarch.

Now I haven't played Black Ops, so I'm not going to comment directly on it. I'm glad to see that such choices exist.

Spec Ops: The Line did this. It gave you obvious binary choices, and then players managed to find third or fourth choices, and things got built up from there. For example:

When I'm talking about agency though - I'm not simply talking about narrative choice. It's more - is there strategy involved. Is there something deeper than "headshot here". When you're strapped to the back of a jeep, these are standard practices of a shooting gallery type game - a game that hasn't evolved much past the carnival guns showcases of yesteryear. Again - not a BAD thing in any way. Just shallow gameplay so one could have the sensation of being nearly blown to bits.

That's the point I was making earlier, though. It doesn't matter what Call of Duty does by this point, those who have already written off the series will most likely continue to decry it (as Yahtzee has). So why try to pander to those people when they already have a huge, well established market? Treyarch responded to some criticisms of the game and got multiple page fulls of 0's on Metacritic for the effort.

The people who decry Call of Duty from the onset are just as guilty (if not moreso) of the stagnation of the industry than the people who buy into it without a second thought.

Anyway, I'm glad you brought up Spec Ops. Games like Spec Ops have been and are being made. If you want a deep, thought provoking experience on the theme of war, you have those games to satisfy that itch. Call of Duty is made for an entirely different crowd who like to shoot through walls with x-ray scopes and rain death on (monetarily) poor brown people with advanced jets. Do games that are mostly for mindless fun not have a right to exist as well? Must every game about war be either ARMA 2 or Spec Ops: The Line in order to be not universally derided as shit on every gaming forum ever?

Very well said. I couldn't agree more.

You can tell that the programmers and script writers have never read a book between them. I don't believe that they did any research unless they count watching Black Hawk Down twenty times as research. No matter how many bells and whistles they pin to a turd they will forever be trying to fake a approximation of quality. Taste is cultivated and you can't buy class.

I know I sound snobby there, sorry but its true. Nazi zombies looks like fun but if a dead body really rose up and tried to kill you would you really care if he was a fascist?

Treblaine:

Why are critics of COD so afraid of considering COD's multiplayer? Are they just so ideologically opposed to the idea of a game being about multiplayer rather than a structured linear single-player campaign they will indulge in the delusion that COD is popular for it's laughably shit singleplayer rather than its multiplayer.

Could be that the Multi-player of Call of Duty hasn't really changed since COD4. Sure, a couple of things have been thrown in, and some game breakers (Dual Model 1887's, quick-scoping, Commando+Marathon+Tactical Knife) have been eased, but the main issues are still there. Lone Wolfing, lack of true weapon balance, bad level design, and his critique of wasted resources can be easily applied to the multi-player.

Can I ask why British folk constantly apologize for being one of the most successful Empires in the history of the world?

maddawg IAJI:
1) He attempts to avoid multiplayer unless it is a major part of the game play. He has said this multiple times that he feels that Multiplayer should not be a deciding factor on whether a game is good or not and it shouldn't be a cruch for bad games. So he avoids them unless their necessary. So unless its Super Smash Brawl, Borderlands or Left 4 Dead or anything similar to that, he is most likely not going to "fire up" the multiplayer and personally, I don't think that his refusal to play the multiplayer means that he hasn't played the game.

So you're saying that CoD's multiplayer isn't "a major part of the game," even though pretty much everyone who buys the game buys it for the multiplayer?

You know, I wouldn't care if he didn't play the multiplayer in, say, Bioshock 2, Dead Rising 2, Dead Space 2, or Spec Ops, but that's because the multiplayer in those games is just a gimmick to milk online passes or some such. In CoD, if anything, the single player is the gimmick. I still enjoy the single player, but I don't spend $60 for an 8 hour campaign; I spend $60 for the 100-some hours I'll invest over the next few months in the multiplayer. And I'm not saying he has to play it for a long time, but he should play it.

And Yahtzee IS a critic. Like it or not, he is. He is not a critic in the traditional sense of "This game gets a [number score]," but he is very much a critic. All the Extra Punctuation things he does are pretty much proof of this; he critiques games. He tries to be funny (and in my opinion, he's stopped succeeding), but he is still a critic. It even says in his profile that he is a critic, and that's from the man himself.

Also, I'm pretty sure he didn't play the multiplayer in Borderlands, but that didn't stop him from reviewing it.

BarbaricGoose:

So you're saying that CoD's multiplayer isn't "a major part of the game," even though pretty much everyone who buys the game buys it for the multiplayer?

Yes, I am. While that may be the franchises main selling point, it should come secondary to the actual game. Unless the game was completely designed around multiplayer in a similar style like TF2, Tribes: Ascend or Shadowrun:The FPS, the game needs to have a single player experience that can stand on its own. There are a lot of people who can and most likely will buy the game without access to the online portion of it due to not having an online account on the consoles or a crappy internet connection on the PC. In short, those people are spending 60 bucks for the single player experience. They should get a detailed idea of what they're buying.

BarbaricGoose:
You know, I wouldn't care if he didn't play the multiplayer in, say, Bioshock 2, Dead Rising 2, Dead Space 2, or Spec Ops, but that's because the multiplayer in those games is just a gimmick to milk online passes or some such. In CoD, if anything, the single player is the gimmick. I still enjoy the single player, but I don't spend $60 for an 8 hour campaign; I spend $60 for the 100-some hours I'll invest over the next few months in the multiplayer. And I'm not saying he has to play it for a long time, but he should play it.

Except multiplayer can't be reviewed effectively or at least not in the same mindset as normal reviewers tend to work in. A video game is 50-50, one half gameplay and the other half comprised of all the devices that create the game world (The plot, the level design, the dialogue etc etc.) In multiplayer, much of the latter is gutted out in favor of the former. There have been plenty of lackluster single player games with half decent multiplayers games (Bioshock 2, Deadrising 2, Dead Space 2 all come to mind), but that doesn't save them from the flack. Why should we be giving CoD a handicap? Because a lot of people who buy it mostly due to brand loyalty and peer pressure buy it? Even most of the CoD community agree that the multiplayer has gotten worse with time.

BarbaricGoose:

And Yahtzee IS a critic. Like it or not, he is. He is not a critic in the traditional sense of "This game gets a [number score]," but he is very much a critic. All the Extra Punctuation things he does are pretty much proof of this; he critiques games. He tries to be funny (and in my opinion, he's stopped succeeding), but he is still a critic. It even says in his profile that he is a critic, and that's from the man himself.

and I could call myself the queen of finland, that doesn't mean I am one, he doesn't fall under the definition of a critic. He can call himself a critic, because as far as things go, that's what his employers put him as when they hired him, but he's more of a satirical writer since his writing is often intended to be humorous and to shame the target into preforming better. A critic merely points out the facts. You could call Satire a form of criticism if you want, but that definition is arguable as well since Satire often uses misdirection and humor in an attempt to get their argument across rather than present it in a formal manner like say, Robert Ebert.

BarbaricGoose:

Also, I'm pretty sure he didn't play the multiplayer in Borderlands, but that didn't stop him from reviewing it.

He did try the multiplayer actually and listed a very brief rant on why he doesn't review multiplayer games. 1) He doesn't enjoy playing with people outside of the same room as him because he doesn't enjoy people being able to get away with breaking the rules of basic social etiquette. 2) He doesn't have enough friends that are able to play split-screen with him all the way through the game and 3) His connection literally timed out after 3 minutes and during those 3 minutes, he saw nothing different from the single player experience outside of tougher monsters and silent players running off to leave him to his fate. and 4) He believes a game should be able to stand on its own. He's been saying that for the last 4 years and every time he's compromised that one rule of his, he has stated that he has usually ended up disappointed.

In closing: The guy doesn't like nor does he play multiplayer games and asking him to review it is like asking me to cut my hand off, I could do it, but I'm not gonna put myself through something I'm not gonna enjoy just so you'll be briefly satisfied.

You know, I never really thought about the whole modern shooter genre in that way before.

And yeah, it is depressing how absolutely haphazard the focus is. The game feels like it has to do something new every five seconds, like it has a textbook definition of variety and applying it in all of the wrong areas.

And now I just remembered how CoD MW3's story jumped everywhere and I thought it was boring as sin.

Treblaine:

jmarquiso:
and the military tech porn isn't helping.

As a former/recovering military tech addict... no... COD is not military tech porn.

COD tech is to real world military tech what porn is to real sex. Not in the sense that it's super accurate, but that it caters to a particular audience. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TechnologyPorn

COD itself is a lot like porn, as both feature a lot of assholes and wanking.

WaitWHAT:
*sigh* It's really quite depressing how quickly "white people have had a history of abusing other, less-well-off cultures and should really stop glorifying it in games" has become "Yahtzee hates all white people and wants them to be hated and feel guilty all the time".

QFT

.. I thought BlOps 2 was okay.

But Yahtzee's points are mostly valid. Though I don't really appreciate the notion that one should submit to being fettered by cultural guilt.

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