Black Ops 3 – A tale of two betas

Black Ops 3 betaThe Black Ops 3 beta has had rocky and mixed results. The PS4 seemed to have a fairly smooth launch and even got an extension due to the first day having some issues. I already wrote my thoughts about the beta on the XBOX One, and it was overly positive. The biggest issue we dealt with on Thursday and Friday was periodic lockups and freezes when creating or exiting lobbies as a group. While I was pretty disappointed in such ground level features not working properly, it largely made me thankful they were doing a beta. Then the weekend arrived, and everything changed. In my first impressions I said my fear was that lag compensation and in-game lag could be patched in later as my friends and I were having a similar experience of dominance that we had in MW2 and MW3. I think the primary reason things ran smoothly before the weekend is the smaller player pool and that we were playing so early in the day. So what happened? Continue reading

Black Op 3 Beta – Hesitantly Excited

Call of Duty Black Ops 3As a longtime fan of Call of Duty I’ve been pretty vocal about how bad I think the franchise has become. After a decent amount of time in the Black Ops 3 beta, I still stand by my opinion that this game has lost its soul and identity. For those who have been playing since the inception of the franchise there is no getting around it, this game is completely new and worlds different than most of the previous COD titles. They have stripped down the game into a very fast paced, arcade-esque, quick twitch shooter. There is no depth here, nothing vibrant or dynamic. The game still primarily consists of players quickly darting around the map, running around corners or hiding around them, doing their best to find the quickest builds and guns to get the drop in the hundreds of gun fights that await them. Someone in my stream said the environments look like they are designed by IKEA and I had to laugh, because it does all look so pristine and modern that the game feels neutered and bland, like the abundance of overly clean special effects and green screen obsession in Star Wars Episodes 1-3. But, I simply cannot deny it, the game is still incredibly fun, especially with a team that is working together. Continue reading

Halo 5 may improve all multiplayer games

halo 5Anyone who has played a multiplayer game online knows how frustrating glitches or bugs can be. One of my primary concerns about future next-gen titles that utilize PVP modes is that they will continue to use old mechanics and methods while repeating entrenched problems. Sure, new games may look amazing and add new content, but if the online arenas aren’t cleaned up from lag or exploits, many of us will continue to feel it’s a fruitless endeavor. News from the devs over at 343 Industries has me hopeful for the future of online multiplayer, specifically PVP. Continue reading

Matchmaking needs to change

titanfallIf you are a gamer familiar with PVP games, and especially shooters, you are probably accustomed to dealing with matchmaking. Regardless of the title, genre, or franchise, matchmaking is the way players are matched in lobbies or servers to play against each other. Most gamers unanimously agree that dedicated servers are a ground level expectation for a more consistent game experience. However, even with more reliable connections there are problems that can plague and ruin the online experience, turning new or veteran players away. There are a variety of ways I think they can improve the player experience, beyond just making lag less of a problem. Continue reading

Black Ops 3 already let me down

black ops 3 next genThe cinematic trailer for Black Ops 3 had me singing its praises and excited for the story arc and campaign in the next Call of Duty. As I said before, it clearly displays creativity and innovation, even though someone pointed out on my YouTube that has similarities to the story arc of Deus Ex. I do want to quickly say that the “human-tech-hybrid-our-technology-will-destroy-us” idea isn’t exclusive or original to Deus Ex, so I think it’s fair game. Treyarch wasted no time capitalizing on the hype surrounding their teaser to have a reveal where they outlined details and showed some gameplay. I was excited to hear there would be a beta, but was then quickly disappointed when I heard the only way to get access to the beta is by pre-ordering, which ironically defeats any consumer benefit of a beta test. My disappointment continued when I saw the gameplay trailer. Continue reading

Call of Duty Black Ops III – Ember Tease made me doubt myself

Black Ops 3In case you missed it, Black Ops III just released a lengthy cinematic teaser trailer entitled, “Ember“. It’s a three minute long, live action, well directed and well edited piece of video game hype. I’ve already called for veteran gamers and fans of Call of Duty to walk away from the franchise, or at least refuse to buy the next release until sufficient game reviews have been written. This trailer, however, has me hopeful that at the very least we are in store for a really innovative story and campaign. The creative story arc in the teaser is absolutely brilliant as it is tethered to our modern world and the trajectory of our own technological advancements. To a certain point I wish this was a trailer for an epic movie instead of a video game, which is a testament to how good game companies are getting at hyping and drawing in would-be buyers of their product. I was a nay-sayer when I saw the newest Call of Duty title was not going to be a return to the World War era, but this trailer has me doubting my position. Don’t worry, I haven’t placed the entire bait hook in my mouth, I’m just taking a few nibbles. Continue reading

Rainbow Six Siege might be too hard

Rainbow Six SiegeI’ve certainly had my fair share of opinions about PVP shooters. Recently I wrote about and made a video discussing why PVP shooters aren’t fun anymore, and also called for veteran gamers to walk away from Call of Duty. Most of the footage and press about Rainbow Six Siege has me intrigued, but still very apprehensive. I managed to download and watch the closed alpha footage before it was taken down, and I learned a valuable lesson in uploading commentary on video game footage that a company doesn’t want to be seen. But what I also learned was that Rainbow Six Siege is going to be hard and may turn away most fans of shooters. Chris Watters at Gamespot confirmed some of my concerns about this title that has already received a good amount of hype and anticipation. Continue reading

Why you aren’t having fun in PVP shooters anymore

shooting gameThe video game industry has been dominated by shooters since the inception of splitscreen and competitive gaming. Goldeneye was probably the beginning for many of us who decided that shooting live players was far more exciting than mindless and predictable computer baddies. Recently, however, many of us feel as though competitive shooters have seen a drop on the fun meter. Regardless of the title or the outcome of battles, there just seems to be something missing. I think there a few things that we as gamers have control over that may help our experience, and a few things we just have to accept. Continue reading

Veteran gamers need to walk away from Call of Duty

Call of Duty Advanced WarfareCall of Duty has gone through a strange metamorphosis. They’ve taken us on epic campaigns with movie quality stories and voice acting while continuing to add to and attempt to elevate the multiplayer experience. All along this journey, however, they’ve seen a decline in sales, player base, and title longevity. In fact, the most recent title, Advanced Warfare, saw a 49% decrease in US retail sales from Modern Warfare 3 with all the titles in between showing a steady decline toward the 49% drop. So what happened? And should long-time fans of the franchise even bother with future titles? Continue reading

Stop Pre-Ordering Season Passes

Watch Dogs Season PassVideo games continue to increase and add to their worlds and titles with extra downloadable content after a game launches. It can be an easy way to provide extended experiences, add more to the story, and make some relatively easy profit. However, something strange and somewhat sinister has become more common with every big release. For a while games have been offering a season pass, which is a great way for someone to snag all the extra content at a slight discount. More recently though, games have been offering the discount along with other alluring incentives and day one content when you pre-order the season pass. Continue reading