How to fall out with your gamerbase.

So, plenty of chatter in recent weeks over Black Ops. Big surprise there. 
This story starts with me buying it about half a week after it's release and after my due restraint thinking something along the lines of "let's blast through the SP for some quick and easy practice to get me ready for MP and maybe even entertain me a little." Oh how foolish a thought to think, I set it to veteran; as we all know that CoD is plainly simple on anything lower. Then I set to work mincing through enemies with occasional bouts of storyline, unfortunately my joy was cut short at the end section of the third mission where I discovered a small tunnel of infinite enemies (oh yes, that's accurate, that's all kinds of "time wasted" accurate, they are definitely infinite for a given value of the term) each of whom had some stunning sharpshooting abilities. After about half an hour of tedium and zero progress I figure my lucks out for the day and I decide to hop into MP anyway. 
 Now I'm pretty far from what you'd call a skilled gamer, in fact, I'm not too embarassed to admit that in the multiplayer CoD world I'm essentially SHITE. But fun was had! And in large amounts too; I even had my housemates join in with some online split screen action for a while here and there and so the evening descended into blood, violence, bullets and merriment. 
 Day 2: Returned to my dismal approach at that veteran corridor of infinity... where I stayed for quite some time before reaching the same conclusion as the previous day and simply killing/being killed online for a large portion of the day. Now, I'd like to say at this point that as much fun as I was having online I was also starting to find little gripes here and there that were lessening my love for the game. The matchmaking was slow, the spawns random and occasionally the maps felt like they lacked direction or organisation and were simply a box filled with random objects at random points. Now I'm willing to forgive the poor map design to a large extent because lets face it, the world we live in is not designed with imminent gunfights in mind. But really, the spawns were a mess, though I'm told that this has been patched and I have admittedly seen a slight improvement, I still think that there is further for Treyarch to go in terms of correcting this. 
At last I returned to my single player campaign when my scores online were telling me it was time to take a break. I allow myself a few failures before getting disgruntled and knocking it down to hardcore. This is the point at which the single player broke for me: I completed the game with very little trouble and in a short space of time. I mean come ON! I put it down by 1 single setting and suddenly I can muscle through damn near every little bit and occasionally have to cover when I'm protecting my Hazmat suit? I've not returned to the veteran again yet but if and when I do I hope it was all in my head and that I'm greeted with a structured, difficult but completable challenge for me to enjoy and feel proud of finishing rather than a corridor with bodies wall to wall, floor to ceiling. 
And now for me to return to my final and by far the LARGEST gripe with the game. I have typed this entire post whilst in matchmaking without finding a single match that failed to connect. I've reset my xbox. I've tried different game types. I've tried to join friends in progress. I've reset the damned router. This is quite simply the worst matchmaking of any game that I have ever experienced. This isn't even an isolated incident, on several days I've simply given up on trying to get into a game in favour of going for a walk, staring at space, juggling, drinking etc. How are we supposed to enjoy a game we cannot play? I'm not sure whether to blame XBL or BLOPS matchmaking, but neither is especially good at resolving or even identifying these issues.  
 
As a small note for those of you that make it this far, I'm very grateful for your time and patience in reading this and I apologise for the long drawn out ranty nature of the post, but damn I've been sitting here a long time doing fuck all and I just needed to type it or get drunk (and I'm broke so drunk wasn't an option) 
 
Kindest Regards my fellow duders 
Grim 
 
(also, anyone else got constructive solutions to crap matchmaking that doesn't involve waiting for a better patch or XBL service?)

12 Comments

Oh fer Blog's sake...

Hi again folks, 
side note to start with (really?): this blog gives me the giantbomb quest thingy... whoop. 
 
 Onto more pressing matters: 
Started to play Mass Effect again recently so that I could have a complete save the way I wanted it through the first two games when the third game arrives. This brought with it the remembrance of just how terrible I had originally found the combat in that game and that I had previously played it on normal or easy purely for the story rather than the gameplay *uber-sigh*. Oh well, dedication is now required I suppose, I've started so I'll finish etc. 
 
Also got 7 days free on my old WoW account, only halfway into it and I'm thoroughly hooked again, so very tempted to renew my subscription but then I can wave my course bye bye and since my exams aren't all that far away I reckon I'll have to wait til after that at which point cataclysm will be in full swing and I'll miss out on killing arse-hat (arthas) :( oh well. 
 
So any thoughts? 
what did you think of Mass Effect the first *after* playing the second? 
can you stop playing WoW without having to unsubscribe? (obviously it makes more sense since you're saving money, but can you take a little break in the middle while still subscribed or is it a guilty addiction?) 
 
Sorry to keep it so short, addictions beckon... 
 
Keep up the RSI practice folks 
Grim

4 Comments

Bye bye blog-virginity.

Why hello there folks,
what the hell do you want?
 
Lovely to see you all too, that's right, I'm watching you from here...
 
ok then, aside from the creepy, lets try out this blog thing by starting with a small review of Bioshock 2.
 
Keeping it simple: I enjoyed it, you should play it.
 
I remember playing the first bioshock and before that reading through all the press saying how it would be groundbreaking and setting new precedents. I also recall claims of meaningful decisions and an open world to explore and tackle as you saw fit with random events. I can safely say that I enjoyed bioshock despite it's failure to genuinely deliver on any of these promises. There is plenty to criticise in the first bioshock but it's still just fun. 
The second installment is, in my opinion, much of the same. Admittedly the gameplay is improved, but it could still be better. I still feel that the stealth option is greatly ignored, yes we have the quiet footsteps tonic and a big drill to bash people around with but most splicers see you pretty sharpish and suddenly all of the buggers in the local area have you lined up for some pain.
Onto other things though, new gripe: hacking. I didn't mind the puzzle in the old game, it wasn't special but it required a tiny bit of solving. Now we have a test of reaction times that occasionally doesn't seem to register correctly. The number of times the needle stopped over the blue but still triggered an alarm or buzzed me was infuriating. I can say for certain that I died many times to fucking up the hacking and being swarmed by bots which then needed hacked or killed, but I barely died on any other occasion. Big Sisters, Big Daddies, Alpha Series, none of you have anything on that endless swarm of pain in the arse bots. In the end I purchased every possible hacking tonic and sacrificed my combat or survival prowess. I also found that the fastest solution to a failed hack was to dive straight back into the hack again and try to complete it as fast as possible. Naturally this lead to greater stress meaning more fuck ups and more deaths or dozens of wasted first aid kits.
Ok, I've possibly just got a personal vendetta on that score, I read back and it sounds like I'm bitching a lot... I am, I want a wrench for those bots.....
Simply put, in the mind that is mine... puzzles > quick time events.
Ok, next thing, story. Where should I go with this?
I liked it. I did not love it. Though this reflects my feelings on the first bioshock as well. Many people found the story to be hugely compelling in the first but I wasn't overly impressed. I still only saw it as a means to drive the character through an interesting landscape, fair enough though, that's what a game is for the most part. This time around however the story was levered into a space that wasn't there from the first game. Since I knew this to be the case before I started playing the game I decided to play it as a different story rather than a continuation. I believe that this vastly improved the storyline, I could sympathise with trying to get my little sister back, the essential part of me that I needed to survive, and I was willing to tear apart anything that stood between me and her if it tried to stop me and I would take any friendly help I could get. She was the goal and I wanted the fastest route. I'm not going to discuss the plot because I haven't yet learnt how to hide spoilers but I will say that it starts slow and builds up as the game progresses. Nearing the end there was a point that genuinely made an emotional impression on me and for that I add a whole extra level of respect to this game. Could just be my sentimental side though.
Next point: Environment.
Yes:
beautiful
interesting
fun to search and kill in
No:
it IS linear (that's ok in itself, but don't pretend it isn't.)
a little more interactivity with props would be nice. I'm a big daddy, surely I can move heavy objects such as cupboards...
 
I'm not going to comment on the multiplayer just yet. I've barely touched it and haven't really got a balanced view to share. I have enjoyed what little I've played of it so far though.
 
I've run out of thoughts...
perhaps in future I'll try to make notes ahead of time and remember things as I play...
or maybe play twice before saying things...
 
Comments are for constructive thoughts and feelings! I expect plenty.
 
Blog cherry officially popped.
 
Kind Regards folks

3 Comments