Trailer: Titanfall “Gamescom Gameplay”


TitanfallReveal

Titanfall is really turning out to be one of my most-anticipated game titles of 2013.

It’s the very first title for Respawn Entertainment. A studio made up of the people who first created the Call of Duty studio, Infinity Ward, and who ended up being fired (or leaving to follow their fired leaders) by the powers-that-be who held sway over Activision. There was talk about whether Respawn Entertainment would ever get a chance to show Activision and it’s detractors that they still had what it takes to succeed in the first-person shooter market dominated by three titles (Call of Duty, Battlefield and Halo).

Titanfall looks to dispel such notions first with a triumphant return to this summer’s E3 where they revealed the title to everyone to much acclaim. Now we got to see more of the gameplay itself both in mechanics and graphics at this past week’s Gamescom 2013 over at Cologne, Germany.

The gameplay trailer pretty much dispelled whatever doubts I might have had about this title and now has my money ready to be exchanged for it when it comes out for the Xbox One (for some on the PC or Xbox 360) in early 2014.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3


So. At long last, here it is. The latest installment from the shell that remains of Infinity Ward, bringing back those endlessly popular features like sniper rifles, killstreaks that build on one another, and host migration that keeps the multiplayer modes playable!

The first reaction I’ve heard from people on the fence about this game (and, let’s be honest, there aren’t that many) is that they don’t want to pay the Madden Tax to play yet another Call of Duty that, much like any sports game, just isn’t that different from year to year. If you’re of that mindset, you’ve likely already made up your mind about this title. This review probably isn’t going to change your mind either way about this title, so I’m going to try and keep the review brief and focused upon specific observations I have about this game, the ground it breaks (or doesn’t break, as the case may be), etc.

Before I do some quick hits on the game though, it’s worth visiting the game’s new mode. The outstanding mode in Modern Warfare 3 is Survival Mode, which is an offshoot of the single/multi player Covert Ops mode from Modern Warfare 2. Like that title, Modern Warfare 3 includes a panel of special missions (based on levels that appear in the single player, of course) that you can run through that pose unique challenges. New this incarnation, however, is a wave-based horde mode that is very much in the vein of (nearly) identical modes in the last couple of Halo or Gears of War games. If you found those modes satisfying in Halo or Gears (or another title I’ve forgotten. Please forgive me?) you’ll like Modern Warfare 3’s take on it as well. The only possible downside is that, like the true PvP mode, Modern Warfare 3’s survival demands that its players level up to unlock certain equipment pieces. The problem is that the equipment curve in Survival begins with an even more boring selection of equipment. It’s worth noting that the level curve is so much lower that you should earn the equipment you really want in no-time flat, if you’re dedicated to doing so.

So, assuming you’re one of three human beings sitting on the fence today… you’re asking the question, do I want to buy this game? (Or, perhaps more probably, is this game right for X gift recipient?)

FULL DISCLOSURE: I pre-ordered and received the ‘Hardened’ Edition of Modern Warfare 3. I’ll try not to harp on pre-order features, but I’m not going to guarantee I’ve got it right. In addition, I am playing this title on the XBox 360. Addressing technical aspects of the game is pertinent only to the XBox 360 game system.

The Good!
– Multiplayer mode features more guns than ever. Not all of them seem powerful, but none of them seem un-useable (with the possible exception of the handguns, which I don’t deal in).
– Story isn’t bad, actually. It’s well-conceived, and fun to play. The variety in the level design is a nice change!
– Multiplayer mode rewards you for past service by giving you a head start if you’re achieved prestige mode in a previous title (going back to CoD 4!)
– The Prestige Mode now has its own shop that gives you a choice of rewards. Prestiging players can now keep a piece of equipment (such as a favourite gun) through the Prestige Mode. Players are, of course, free to go with more traditional benefits such as adding a custom class or gaining a bonus title and emblem set. The player is able to choose between options at each Prestige level.
– Netcode is very passable. The game will hand off host in extreme circumstances in order to improve gameplay (this was the single biggest downfall of Call of Duty: Black Ops, and no, it’s not close)
– The gun customization in this game is awesome. Adding the customize menu (including such benefits as reducing gun kick, or equipping two attachments) on top of the attachments available really makes you feel like you can get the gun you want to play with.
– New Strike Package system in multiplayer is endless fun.

The Un-Good

– Frankly, it’s Call of Duty. There’s no real innovation here, just a lot of touch-ups. It’s up to you to decide if that’s worth it!
– This game pushes the hardware limits of the console hard, and fast. I’ve noticed some weird system lag issues as a result of this, and the game frankly just doesn’t run as crisply as earlier entries (particularly, CoD 4).
– Story contains a horrifying twist… although, this can be disabled in the game options, much like the level ‘No Russian’ in Modern Warfare 2.
– Weapon balance is – as ever – questionable. Why bother including some weapons that feel utterly useless at higher difficulty levels and in multiplayer arenas? It’s worth noting that all weapons have some (read: dramatically more) use in the single player modes as opposed to the multiplayer environment, but it still feels like some weapons are universally strong, useful, and sustainable… and most others just simply aren’t. Given how many incarnations of Call of Duty we’ve suffered through now, this is the sort of thing that should have started to be fixed.
– Online players are as annoying as ever. Need proof? Take a look back at this review. I’ll see you on XBox Live. 🙂

Trailer: Modern Warfare 3 “The Vet and The n00b”


Well, the time that seems to arrive once every year around November has finally arrived. The latest iteration of the Call of Duty first-person shooter franchise from Activision will see a midnight release starting 12:01 am on November 8, 2011. Already there are lines numbering in the hundreds in major cities. Parties being held at stores such as Best Buy and Gamestop as hundreds of thousands, if not, millions of gamers flock to get the game in their hands. This game is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and it’s one of those rare video games which actually lowers work productivity the week of it’s release. It will be safe to assume that the morning of November 8, 2011 will see a high amount of sick calls and last minute PTO requests.

I won’t be one of them but I will still get this game in a week or two. Until then I’ll just continue to watch this funny and creative trailer for the game starring Jonah Hill, Sam Worthington and Dwight Howard.

E3 2011: Battlefield 3 vs Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3


This year’s E3 sees two well-anticipated titles that look to be on a collision course later this year as EA’s Battlefield 3  looks to try and dethrone the king of the modern war shooters in Activision’s latest in their juggernaut shooter franchise, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Both companies showed gameplay videos of their respective games today and both were impressive.

Activision’s title looks to continue the action-film look and tempo of the series with this third entry. From the look of the gameplay the graphics looks to be just slightly above that of Modern Warfare 2 and equal to that of Call of Duty: Black Ops. From the look of things the three development studios working on this title looked to follow the mantra of “if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it”.

EA and DICE showed more gameplay footage of their competing title. One was an extended demo video which looks to be even better than the pre-Alpha stage gameplay footage shown months ago. The look of Battlefield 3 through it’s use of the new Frostbite 2.0 Engine looks to surpass that of the Activision title. The question now is whether the gameplay (boht single-player campaign and on-line multiplayer) will be equal to that of it’s rival. There’s a good chance this time they will as Battlefield 3 looks to go back to it’s early roots by concentrating heavily on the on-line multiplayer.

Battlefield 3 set to be released on October 25, 2011.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 set to be released on November 8, 2011.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Reveal Trailer


A little over a week ago Activision released four different teaser trailer for their upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 first-person shooter title for the holiday season. These four teaser trailers pretty much didn’t show much other than four countries where the game would be set: America, England, France and Germany.

Now, we finally get the first major trailer for this title and it reveals the images only hinted at the previous four trailer. From what could be seen in this reveal trailer it looks like this latest game in Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series will bring the franchise into World War 3. While most of the trailer looks to be cutscenes the final scenes does show some gameplay elements that looks to bring back on-the-rails vehicle combat. What it doesn’t show is whether it will have full enviromental damage during gameplay (as promised by Activision) and whether players will be able to actually control vehicles during the game (campaign and multiplayer) the way players can in it’s rival game at EA.

Maybe more will details on the gameplay changes will be revealed during E3 this coming June. I hope so, because so far Battlefield 3 has been the one title that’s impressing me, so far. But even if this game only delivers on some of what it promises I probably will still get it since most everyone I will play with online will have it.

Modern Warefare 3: Teasers (America, England, France, Germany)


It looks like Activision has released a tad early the teaser trailers for the third game in their wildly popular Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series of first-person action shooter. Leaks began to appear about Modern Warfare 3 days prior to the release of these simple teaser trailers. With EA and DICE already months ahead of showing the public and game journalists peeks into their much-anticipated Battlefield 3 the ball was now in Activision’s court to respond.

The Modern Warfare fan-base continue to remain loyal to the series, but already there’s been chinks in the series’ armor as the previous entry in the game saw the head of it’s development studio, Infinity Ward, fired from Activision then followed by nearly half of the lead programmers and designers of the Modern Warfare franchise. This showed a weakness in Activision’s biggest franchise outside of World of Warcraft (which I still think more a Blizzard game than Activision). EA and DICE had an ok attempt to knock off Activision from the modern combat FPS genre with Battlefield 2, but it wasn’t enough. It looks like Battlefield 3 may be the one title that could do the job.

Modern Warfare 3 will be set right after the cliffhanger of the previous game and take players through battlefields in 15 cities around the world (the US, France, England and Germany being some of them). Just like Battlefield 3, this game will have fully destructible environments and a much more expansive gameplay map. Players will return to controlling vehicles (though Activision doesn’t specify if they’ll be on-the-rails vehicle controls or fully-controllable vehicles like those for Battlefield 3) like the AC-130 gunship and an M-1A2 main battle tank.

It would be foolish of anyone to say this game will tank. This game could be just a massive rehash of the previous two game with updated graphics like it’s new Black Ops sibling, but with the tens of millions of fans worldwide it will still sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of units. The question now is whether the strong push from EA and DICE with their retooled Battlefield 3 will be the needed kick in Activision’s collective pants to improve on their signature franchise instead of just sitting pat and hoping brand-name recognition makes them tons of money again.

Modern Warfare 3 is set to have it’s worldwide release on November 8, 2011.

DLC! Black Ops: First Strike


(This DLC is an add-on to  Call of Duty: Black Ops by Treyarch.)

Standard Open

Hey, it’s that time of year! No, it’s not time for a new Call of Duty game… but it is time for the first multi-player map pack that Treyarch has released for the latest iteration of the Call of Duty franchise –  Black Ops. The “First Strike” pack contains 5 all-new maps, four for the standard multi-player modes of Black Ops, and one for the “Zombies” mode. Since there’s no other content for this review, I’ll go ahead and give you the multi-player play-by-play (if for some reason you need a review of a zombie mode map, I don’t know what to tell you)

Ascension

Hey, it’s a zombie map! As you would expect, it has a lot of doors… I guess that doesn’t tell you much. This map has you climbing a missile silo. Like all zombie maps, it centers around team-work and cooperation. Don’t play it with your enemies.

Berlin Wall

This map is a (relatively) small battleground that is divided into two distinctive halves by the existence of a kind of ‘neutral zone’ across the middle. This zone, marked very clearly on your radar in red, is the home to multiple guard towers who will shower you with a pleasant hail of sentry gun bullets if you so much as set foot inside of it. The rest of the combat is, to a lesser or greater extent, defined by this dead zone at its centre. Although it initially seems like more long-ranged combat would be the result, you may find that most combatants are seeking ways around the dead zone in order to engage their foes, and that the map actually has a much more intimate feel than you might expect given its small size.

Discovery

This map is the arctic site of some Nazi laboratory. It’s very small, and divided into two distinctive halves. The division is not nearly as clear as maps like Nuketown, but the presence of a bottomless chasm that divides the centrepoint of the map still leads to a limited number of routes from one side to another. It definitely feels like a map where a spawn lock could be effective. That having been said, a central bridge which connects the two halves of the map makes for a potentially brutally-contested “B” point for Domination and other balanced side game-types. Despite its small size and the relative open-ness of most of the map, Discovery is very much a 2-3 level map, and enemies will often be above or below you, so pay close attention!

Kowloon

This map is based on the Hong Kong escape level from the single player campaign, using many of the same terrain elements to create a multi-leveled brawl. This map is very small. In terms of physical size, it probably would rival most of the mid-sized maps, but because of the way the multiple levels and terrain intervene, it plays as small as any level in the game. You’ll often find that combat over the central portion of the map is the key to victory, and is defined by numerous level-changing bridges which provide access not only from rooftop to rooftop but also between the combat levels. Enemies can, and will, come from all sides on Kowloon, and it’s important that a prudent player stay careful throughout.

Stadium

Another small map, actually, despite having several different distinct combat areas. Depending on your chosen game-type you’ll find yourself mostly embroiled in combat in one of the map’s main “zones’… which is to say, the hockey arena itself,. the area outside of the building, or between the rink and its surrounding structures. Spawn points, available cover, and the general feel, of this map change significantly from iteration to iteration. Like most of the best multi-purpose maps, the first time that you play Satdium you should find yourself wondering what it plays like in Death-Match, or Domination, or Demolition, or whatever you’re not playing. Out of the four maps, I personally think that Stadium is the most universally fun design, albeit with some potential for tiresome slug-fests over the same couple of areas of the map.

The Details

For X-Box Liver users, this game is going to run 1200 Microsoft Points (or roughly $15). For hard core Black Ops players the DLC is very much worth it, as it significantly expands the basic roster of maps that the game shipped with. Much like Modern Warfare 2 this DLC will not allow you to match-make on the new maps if you don’t own them, without forcing you to select an alternate play-list (Halo style). On the other hand, this method filters down the available pool of players based on the ownership of the DLC, so it probably evens out.


The Bottom Line

Is this DLC worth it? If you’re a serious Call of Duty multi-player mode player, then yes, it probably is. You’ll appreciate the additions to the game’s maps… and the new maps seem to have been founded with an understanding of what Black Ops really is; a game that features much more intimate combat than its immediate predecessor. You probably won’t feel any urgency to use your sniper rifle on most of these DLC maps (not to say that you can’t snipe, but merely that these have a feel more like Firing Range or Nuketown, and less like Array), but your SMG will probably get a workout.