Will Preston

Tag: Activision

World War 3 better be this entertaining

by on Nov.25, 2011, under Review, Video Games

We’ve been hanging on a cliff for two years now. “Which cliff?” some of you might ask. Well, back in 2009, Russia invaded America, and the corrupt US general involved got the closest view of a knife, killing him in the process. Now we have no idea when peace will glide over and sort this mess out. Before you start to panic and slide through the news sites, don’t worry: it’s just a game. Modern Warfare 2, 6th game in the long running Call of Duty franchise, gave us a taste of what to expect if the USSR invaded the USA (hey, it’s been a long time coming). Now, the imaginatively named sequel, Modern Warfare 3, skips the starter and goes straight to the main course: World War 3. It’s the end of the world as we know and it plays fine.

Lots of dramatic posing

After a series of teasing trailers, everyone was getting excited about the locals in the game. From Manhattan to the Champs-Élysées, from Westminster tube station to Somalia, it’s a globe trotting quest of nuclear proportions. Each level has it’s own feel to it and, just like a Hollywood movie, has very memorable set pieces. In New York, you take a chopper ride through wall street before taking a Russian sub in the harbour. In London, you speed into a truck chase in the bustling underground. I won’t even spoil what happens in Paris, but think Team America. Each level has a stunning amount of detail and brings World War 3 into shocking reality.

Continuing from Soaps unfortunate incident with someone else’s knife, the story flips between a handful of groups. After catching up with the remains of Task Force 141 (Captain Price still has the ‘tash), we’re onto taking control the American Delta force, then gunning with the British SAS, as well as tasking the role of a Russian bodyguard. After the invasion of America, The Russians begin to invade Europe like a red blitzkrieg. However, the Russian president is seeking to end the war. This is hampered with the appearance of series villain Makarov, who still wants to see Russia rise to take over the world. It plays out like the summer blockbuster epic that you’ll be watching over and over again. You’ll laugh, you’ll gasp, and, if you’re already attached to the characters, you’ll cry.

London Underground went downhill after privatisation

Whilst it’ll take around six to eight hours to get through, it’s still a fantastic example of how far cinematic gaming has come, as it makes you feel like you’ve been warped into a film. Of course, by this point the series has moved away from pretending to be a realistic shooter. It works better as the ridiculous Michael Bay style explosion gauntlet that throws realism away in favour of providing a dazzling spectacle. Just like Modern Warfare 2, there was a controversial scene that left a rather awful taste in the mouth. Without revealing much, it involves a chemical attack on jolly old London. Whilst it’s not as breathtaking as the nuclear attack in Call of Duty 4 or as uncomfortable as the airport massacre in the previous game, it still fills you with dread whenever you replay the level.

Thankfully, the game doesn’t handle with dread. The controls are just as effective as they always have been. Not only this, but it runs as smoothly and is flowing as ever. Apart from a few new weapons and upgrades, there is barely any new changes. As always, the visuals have had their yearly wash and scrub to keep up with graphic demands. The levels do have a large feel to them, but you’re still restricted to the linear tourist route. If anything, the gameplay has become simpler and more streamlined. The vehicle sections split up the action before it gets too repetitive. One of the new vehicles can only be described as an unmanned robot tank. Armed with a chaingun and grenade launcher, you use this mechanical mayhem-bringer to clear the path for your venerable team to get through. Death from above fans will be glad to know that the AC 130 gunship returns to rain fiery death to everything within it’s reach.

Why is it always the monuments that blow up?

Once you’ve gasped at the games ending and wiped the sweat from the pad, You’ve still got Spec Ops mode to conquer. Not only has a ranking system been included, a Horde-esque survival mode has been added. just like the previous Spec ops, you can complete them with a friend and they focus on various scenarios that have taken place throughout the main game. Each mini mission is challenging and will keep you coming back over and over again. The Survival mode also breathes longevity into the game. Starting off with just a basic pistol, you are trapped in one of the games maps and an endless supply of soldier, dogs and helicopters try to hunt you down. Think Nazi Zombies, but without the Zombies…or the Nazi’s, if we’re being pedantic. Weapons become unlockable as your rank increases, and the enemy forces become tougher and larger. It’s the ultimate arcade experience.

And who could forget the multiplayer experience, as well. Call of Duty’s legendary multiplayer returns yet again with this years edition. Gone are the unfair kill streaks that allow over-skilled players to end the game at the flick of a nuclear switch. instead the streaks have been balanced out, and acquiring them isn’t so unforgiving. The pace is still as fast as ever and you need to be quick on your feet as well as being quick on the draw. As far as the levels go, they are just as varied as the previous games with major set pieces ripped from the main game. The multiplayer is still fast, manic and explosive, even if there has been barely any significant changes.

Modern Warfare 3 delivers an action-spammed experience as usual. With a memorable campaign mode and the new survival game, this is the one Call of Duty title that you will keep coming back to play over and over again.

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A game of Good Graphics against a game of Good Christ, what the hell is going on!

by on Jul.22, 2011, under First Look

Another year, another edition of Call of Duty. Another year, another extremely similar looking edition of Call of Duty. But they’ve gotten away with doing the same thing over and over again until just about every single conflict in human history has been covered, from World War Two to that fight me and Barry had outside that pub last new year’s eve. Even then, Barry was played by Gary Oldman and it featured a lot more explosions and bullet-time then I seem to remember that night. Naked fighting aside, Call of Duty is in danger of having its Kevlar coated crown shot off by the skilled marksmen of the upcoming Battlefield game. It’s called Battlefield 3, but a more suitable title would be Battlefield: Better Looking Than Reality. Turbo edition. Which brings us to the real issue of the year: what is going to be the best shooter of 2011?

Well the first guess is usually Call of Duty, so we’ll begin with a look at everyone’s favourite look-down-the-sight-to-win shooter. As you guessed, it doesn’t take place in World War Two again (thank fuck for that). Instead, we continue the campaign of ludicrous display down the Modern Warfare barrel, which has moved from nukes and airport massacre, to just slamming it’s big fist on a table and yelling “It’s going to be World War Three! Deal with it!” Everyone in the meeting was silent after that. So instead of behind the scenes action in Eastern Bloc farm lands and Arab deserts, we’ll be executing combat in some of the biggest cities in the world: Moscow, Berlin, Paris, New York and, of course, foggy London town. It’s all a bit sporadic right now what exactly happens in each city, but the general theme is Russians invade and famous landmarks get exploded at.

Whilst looking completely ridiculous and over the top, I am actually pretty excited about the possibility of war on an urban stage in countries that are otherwise too rich to even think of staging a war on their own turf. Oh, it’s bloody refreshing I tell ya. And there’s also the fact that the story in this canon will continue without being rudely interrupted by a credits screen jumping at the screen like a hungry and particularly needy child. Yet again, I have to wait another two years to find out what the bloody hell is going on. Sigh. But enough about rushed stories, onto multiplayer. Well, to be honest, there isn’t much to say. It will be an improved version, but there’s also the launch of Activision’s new Call of Duty Elite service. This is some new way of getting more money out of…er, I mean providing a…erm…better service to online players. Yup, it’s lost on me, too…

Thank god for Battlefield 3’s superb quota for multiplayer. Whilst the newest edition to the series isn’t really going to give me the biggest single player hard on of all time, I will bet all five of my future wives that it will be the best multiplayer shooter experience to date. This is all judging on how good Bad Company 2 was for online gun wanking, and I can’t really see the new one screwing up the most perfect formula of murdering someone online. Apparently, there have been slight streamlined adjustments to the class layouts, but nothing major. In essence, the game is set to be the direct sequel to the Battlefield 2 edition, rather than the Bad Company series. But Bad Company 2 has been nice enough to leave Battlefield 3 the keys to its ever so delightful destruction physics. Oh, and before you ask; yes, they do look amazing in his new title.

One of the biggest head turners about this new edition is the vastly improved visuals. I say vastly improve, I mean to say monumentally improved. Without a doubt, it is the closest experience to reality gamers will ever have, apart to leaving the room to forage for more snacks and to take a shit. The frame rate is smoother than Justin Beiber’s bottom and the world around you just looks so real, you almost reach out to touch things. Without the aid of 3D glasses. Every other aspect about it looks top notch, but the graphics and multiplayer have pretty much sold it. Oh, and you can fly fighter jets. It’s almost embarrassing that I forgot that one, but that’s clearly a sign of how girlishly excited I am about the whole thing.

My recommendation, you ask? Well. If you’re rich like me, and you can spare a few kilo’s of Charlie for this week’s binge, buy both. If you’re stuck between the two, I’d go out on limb (my foot, in this case) and say buy Battlefield 3, but rent Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3. Any other shooters want to step forward? I thought not…

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So ridiculous it makes 24 look like a documentary

by on Dec.22, 2010, under Review, Video Games

The other day I was stuck for a game to play. Well I say stuck, I have enough Xbox 360 games on disc alone that should decimate any contact with the outside world for a good five months. That’s going to be one shining wanker’s tan should I ever decide to do that. Anyway, where was I? Ah yes! I was stuck for a game to play. The trouble with my collection is that it’s almost all first person shooters. All other games are either the odd RPG, racing game or other kinds of shooting games. When I get in the mood for something other than a game where you look down a gun and inject enemies with lead based love, I’m at a loss. And when you’re on this addiction, you need yet another FPS to feed your craving. Your shallow, linear craving. I already have six Call Of Duty games, so why on Earth I would need to own the next one is a mystery. They’re all the same. Sure, they might have different weapons, new tweaks on the multiplayer front and other bonuses, but the core gameplay is still the same simple layout. This is the same problem that the Tony Hawks series suffered from. Once you’re mastered one game, you’ve mastered them all. I mastered Call Of Duty 2 and now I am emulating my gun mastery onto the newest title in the series: Call Of Duty Black Ops.

So unrealistic, that your character can fly!

This is the seventh title in the series and almost nothing new has been done to the slightly stale format. If anything, it feels like an expansion pack rather than a full title. Luckily, this is the first COD game that I didn’t buy myself. Instead, I borrowed it off a friend rather than waiting for the price to drop down to a more realistic amount. And speaking of realistic, there’s of the sort. The story feels more like a mild science fiction film than a military simulation affair. In fact, the only things you can say that are real are that the guns kill people. After this aspect of the game has been checked, Mr Reality buggers off early down the pub with his good friend, Mr Ridiculous-Plot (double barrelled name). Mr Reality says he’ll buy the nuts on his round, but has the power to change everything to distract his friend into noticing that he’s a tightwad. The rest of the night is spent in awkward silence as it turns from a pub into a submarine and back into a pub again, but with a distinct smell of diesel oil and fish. To put it bluntly, the game is pretty ridiculous.

The over arcing story sets you’re character, Alex Mason (top CIA agent with a habit of stating the obvious) in an interrogation chair with an off-screen voice demanding to know what he knows about a series of numbers. This prompts a series of flashbacks from several US conflicts in the 1960s which make up the game. Fidel Castro and JFK also pop up, with Castro acting as a Bond villain and JFK acting like a robot doing an impression of JFK. It’s almost like Richard Nixon in The Watchman; more of a charciture for laughs. But that’s the nature of this game; it’s an imitation of reality. In one flashback, Mason is sent to a Russian labour camp after being caught by Castro in Cuba. After breaking free from his captors, Mason leads a prison break accompanied by Victor Reznov (still played by Gary Oldman) from Call Of Duty World At War. So far, things could be plausible, but it’s not until I grabbed myself a portable minigun (in a prison, of all places) that I became aware that things could only get more ridiculous.

I enjoyed all 2 minutes of this helicopter section!

After the breakout from the prison, Mason jumped about 5 metres from a speeding truck to a moving train. The suspension bridge of disbelief now lies in ruins. And it didn’t stop going in that direction. There’s combat in Vietnam, running across endless rooftops in Asia and an underwater fortress o’ death. But you know what? If you accept at how silly the game can get, you’ll enjoy it. The controls are still as tight and responsive as a game could ever be and the guns do their job. The only real improvement is on the graphics which seem to get better and better each time, but this is now an age where the visuals are first priority, whilst the gameplay can by copied in from the previous release. There are also some vehicle sections, but they end as soon as you’re enjoying yourself.

I didn’t bother with the multiplayer as it’s exactly the same thing as the last three times. Call Of Duty 4’s multiplayer was perfect first time round, why did the developers feel the need overload it with needless (kill)streaks of piss. I love calling in a helicopter as much as the next man, but that’s where I draw the line. None of this tactical nuke stuff and a few harrier jump-jets called into the match because I can’t play the game properly. Kids today, eh?

If you’re looking for another FPS campaign with some random zombie modes then just rent it. However, if you’re looking to spend £40 on yet another online shooter, then you can probably get one of the Modern Warfare’s for half the price. It’s pretty much the same thing.

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Analyst: Black Ops may offer online subscriptions

by on Nov.24, 2010, under News, That VideoGame Blog

Does anyone care about single-player in mainstream first-person shooters any more? All I’m ever hearing is “online multiplayer this” and “lag free server that”. And it seems that Activision might be about to focus more on the online multiplayer service in their recent release, Call of Duty: Black Ops.

[Article continues on That VideoGame Blog]

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Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

by on Nov.30, 2009, under Review, Video Games

Call Of Duty - Modern Warfare 2 - 1After the roller-coaster gunathon that was ‘Call Of Duty 4′, how could things get any better? How could you top fast paced action, a nuclear explosion and an unrivalled multiplayer experience? Several months of trailers and articles and I am already immersed in what has been quoted as the most anticipated game ever. The game is split into 3 modes: Story, Spec Ops and Multiplayer.

Let’s start with story. As usual, you assume the role of a handful of soldiers fighting in different situations. The story takes place directly after the last Modern Warfare and proceeds by making so much shit hit the fan that the fan is now clogged up beyond repair. Botched CIA operations, full blown war against America, several shocking plot twists, and a rather disturbing scene in an airport make this movie-like experience worth all the fuss. The only downside is that a determined player (i.e. Me) would have this licked in around 4 hours. Onto to Spec Ops mode. This is a new co op mode that feels a lot like the random challenges ‘Timesplitters’ loved to throw at you. 23 varied missions for 2 players to conquer including a rather nice spectre gunship level. And of course there’s the new multiplayer. Call Of Duty - Modern Warfare 2 - 2

Not much to say here for people who are familiar, apart from that there are now 70 experience levels, far better maps, more gun customisation, as well as over 10 new kill streaks from controlling a remote missile to calling in a tactical nuke. Leave a note of absence to everyone you know; this game will draw you in like no other experience.

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Call Of Duty: World At War

by on Jan.14, 2009, under Review, Video Games

Call Of Duty: World At War - Flamethrower

Jack Bauers method of making toast

To the dismay of history students, veterans, and anyone else who just wants to forget about the bloodiest conflict of human history, Activision bring us the next title in their acclaimed Call Of Duty series. The flawless control system remains rightfully untouched and the graphic engine has been tweaked to make eyes around the world burst out of their sockets.

Speaking of which, is the violence. Oh the violence. It’s the closest to Saving Private Ryan I’ve ever seen a game get to. Grisly detail on dismemberment, torrents of blood splatter, as well as a vicious torture scene all combine to make an experience that will cause wincing and utterances of “ow, painful”.

With that in hand, the game takes a far darker tone with an almost horror movie atmosphere in some levels. The game is split into two historic campaigns; The US Marines fighting the Japanese in the Pacific, and the Russians side of the war. To give a certain cinematic quality to the playing experience, 24’s Kiefer Sutherland and Gary Oldman voice two of the games main characters.

Call Of Duty: World At War - Running

There's a lot of running

With Oldman playing the Russian Sergeant Reznov, the siege of Stalingrad had a dramatic feeling like I was very willed to progress. Of course, these campaigns can now be played with a friend (or four if you have XBOX Live), or you can always play the improved multiplayer mode on XBOX Live, with tanks now included in the fray. An outstanding, if gruesome, audition to the series.

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