The multiplayer aspect of a computer game is what gives the game the life span it needs to keep gamers happy for a long time, preferably up until the series’ next instalment. Multiplayer offers gamers the chance to match up against other players from around the world, online; to compete against them, to shout at them, to virtually beat the crap out of them and so on and so forth
|Image courtesy of IGN.com|
Call of Duty is no stranger to Multiplayer. You could say that they changed online first person shooters for the better. It was definitely a turning point either way. Collectively both Infinity Ward and Treyarch have just over 7 years experience, Infinity Ward being the guys and girls that started the franchise off back in October 2003 for the PC platform. It was a massive hit, earning an average 91% rating on Metacritic. The first Call of Duty alone grabbed a lot of awards, including Game of the Year 2003 from several reviewers, Game of the Year 2004, Outstanding Innovation in Computer Gaming and many more.
So understandably, there is a hell of a lot of hype and expectation when a new Call of Duty game is announced for production, especially when they’re considered veterans of the online gaming world. It’s been a bumpy ride to say the least for the Franchise in regards to how well the games have been received, and Black Ops is the latest release to be brutally ripped apart and analysed by gamers and critics alike.
I was really excited to get started with the Multiplayer. Straight away I could see that they had made a few changes to the menu system, confusing at first, but never the less an improvement. The new character customisation feature in the game is really cool. It still has the usual custom class setup that you come to expect from the latest CoD releases, nothing much has changed there, apart from one notable thing... no more martyrdom! Yes, that’s right folks! You will no longer be subject to killing someone outright, only to hear that feint clink of metal bounce off the terrain followed by shell shock and hurt. However, for those of you who haven’t played this game yet, let me share with you an unpleasant fact – Claymores are still in the game. Those horrible little blocks of pain which when you run in front of one, make that trigger noise, giving you enough time to say, “Awww shi-” boom.
|Image courtesy of rmdclan.com|
Now, Treyarch added two really awesome features into the customisation menu this year, the first one being the all new player card editing screen. This will allow you to create your player card with much more flexibility compared to what was offered in MW2. For instance, you can now create your own logo to go onto your player card by using a variety of designs, images, letters, numbers and shapes – you can literally go crazy and do pretty much whatever the hell you want. I’ve saw people that have managed to create South Park characters out of the resources available. Just to give you an example though, mine is pretty simple, I have a skull and two Enfield assault rifles crossing over in the background to make it look like crossbones. Once you’re happy with the logo you have created, you can then slap it onto your weapon! This is as well as having your desired clan tag etched into your weapon also. This feature is basically win, which brings me to the next win feature, face paints! Now if you’re like me and love Brave Heart, Dutch (Arnie) from Predator and The Joker, you will not be disappointed, as you can have the option to give your guy a pretty similar, and well made, face paint design that’s a worthy representation of said characters. But apart from those three designs, there’s a shed load of other designs to choose from also, this will contribute to Treyarch’s mission to keep gamers happy, is it working? Read on
|Image courtesy of tgntimes.com|
Modern Warfare 2 for PC was missing one vital thing, dedicated servers. Giving a PC game an option to run dedicated servers for multiplayer is just the right thing to do, period. So a lot of gamers were angry that MW2 turned out to be “just another crappy, lazy console port.” Matchmaking is for consoles only, it works well for consoles. PC? Not so much. You will have always encountered a session that on every other map, the match had to stop because a player’s connection was so dire, he or she cannot host anymore. So you, and all of the other players, were left sitting there until the new host was found. This often took about an annoying 10 to 15 seconds of your gaming time away from you, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re in the flow of owning noobs, it’s a lot! So a bit thumbs up and a golden star to Treyarch who re-introduced dedicated servers to the Call of Duty franchise, because as I said earlier, it’s the right thing to do!
Now, with Call of Duty having been around for so long, you would have thought they would be able to release a game pretty much perfect from release, right? Wrong! There were many issues that came with the release of Black Ops. A mammoth issue that was not dealt with so swiftly by Treyarch was the consistent game play glitches that gamers were experiencing when moving around maps and coming into an encounter with the opposing team. Not all problems were able to be resolved client-side, either, so it was left up to the patching team. Unfortunately, PC gamers were the ones suffering from this massive problem more so than the console gamers – to my knowledge their problem wasn’t as bad as the PC’s version. This sparked mass anger being channelled through the Treyarch forum and third party forums alike, expressing disappointment and resentment toward the developers, so it was easy to see that it had been an evident shaky start by Black Ops.
|Image courtesy of IGN.com|
It took Treyarch a good few weeks until they completely abolished the problem, but at least they eventually fixed it, and all was well in that department. However, there were still quite a few issues to be fixed, here are a few examples:
- Final Kill Cam lag
- Server connection problems
- Unable to join friends’ games
- Game freezes
- Ranking up to then be put down back to the rank you started the session at
By now, most of the problems have been fixed, both on PC and on console. More notably for the PC, as December 16th brought a new patch for gamers that had been highly anticipated for many weeks since the release of the game back on November 9th. The patch contained a fix for pretty much everything that was wrong with the game, the main issues anyway, such as sorting out the incredibly annoying final kill cam lag, general server connection problems, certain system performance issues, team changing and much more. Go to http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/66855 for a full list of fixes.
On that note, that concludes Part One of my Black Ops Multiplayer review! I hope you've found it interesting and enlightening! Part Two will be up tomorrow, where I will be sharing more about the gameplay and controls, the current stability of the game to date and a general conclusion for Black Ops. Should you really buy it, or not?
Thank you very much for reading, and I hope you'll leave a comment sharing your own personal experiences with the game! If you have any questions so far, please feel free to send them accross for me to read, and I will get back to you!
Thanks again and TTFN!