It's been a while since i've regurgitated some of my nonesense in blog form here but i'm gonna speak on a weird phenomenon that some are also probably familiar with. It's happened a few times recently where i've gone back to a game i tried and didn't enjoy or thought it was kinda "meh" previously and be completely infatuated with the experience the subsequent time.
What the hell is up with that? Citing specific examples, I played Metal Gear Solid 4 when i got my ps3 the beginning of last year, played through it within a few days, and the only thing i took away from it was that it had frustrating mechanics and (i mean this lovingly) a rightful very japanese sense of identity to it. This was my opinion up until the past weekend when i started reading about the Metal Gear Solid HD collection (which i loved the first 3 MGS games) and decided to give 4 another go. While i'm still frustrated with the things that seem culturally or thematically strange to me as an american military veteran who has trouble turning off his bullshit alarm with regard to miltary things, I'm actually enjoying the game. I'm playing it differently by more emphasizing stealth and hand to hand and i also care to listen to and watch the extensively long codec conversations and cutscenes the whole way and the game mechanics are pretty much comfortable to me.
Another example is that i bought the Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare DLC back in fall last year, played it roughly once for maybe less than an hour and didn't touch it again until the past few weeks. What an amazing piece of add-on content. It completely overhauls the tone of the game while leaving the majority of the game intact. Not only that, it actually brings a sense of lightheartedness to a game thats core story is pretty serious.
These are not isolated instances of this occuring because i've also done this with games like Mass Effect 2, Oblivion, and Bad Company 2. I'd like to know why i keep doing this to myself. I can't help but wonder how many fantastic games i've missed from not giving them the time of day because i had my idiot goggles on. My hope is that if i can figure out what causes me to formulate these opinions and stop it or realize when i'm doing it so i can recognize it in the future.
It seems like from watching all the interviews and developer diaries on this game that Treyarch has had an axe to grind with sniping since the first planning meeting of this game. At launch the sniper classes were basically what you should choose if you wanted to have your ass handed to you in anything except Search and Destroy. We've been promised measures that will level the playing field but even after a title update that was supposed to "fix" the sniper rifles to make them more competitive, they're still impractical to use because of several issues.
First, The sniper rifie, by design, is best used at a distance and with the exception of 1 map (Array) that's IMO actually best suited for it, most of the maps are not. Most of the maps have a tight corridors or such a limited number of sniping positions, many of which that are easily flanked from multiple angles, that choosing a sniper class often becomes a recipe for failure
The other problem besides the map design is that the sniper rilfes in this game just don't handle as well. The generous aim assist that was present in Modern Warfare 2 has been dialed back in this game and as such, sniping requires more precision. Conversely most of assualt rifiles, LMG's and even SMG's in this game handle better and are more than capable of taking out the same target at medium to long range. As if making a sniper's primary weapon nearly useless by comparison wasn't enough, Treyarch also dialed down the damage dealt by the pistols in this game effectively leaving a cornered sniper without a close range weapon to fend off a rushing opponent, again leaving the deck stacked against a sniper.
The final nail in the coffin for the snipers, which is one i don't really have a problem with "on paper", is the decision to take measures against quick scoping. In case anyone doesn't know what that is, just go to youtube and type in quickscoping and see for yourself. Now i'll be the first to admit the rage that consumed me when a quickscoper would decimate my entire team in MW2, but coupled with the rest of the changes listed above, this just comes off as overkill. The snipers are effectively nearly useless class unless you need a last resort tool to take out a person who's been dug-in a particular location and all other efforts have failed.
In short, i think Treyarch has made a fantastic multiplayer game. I enjoy it even though i have my opinion on things that could be made different just as i'm sure you have yours. Still, it's a bummer to see a whole class of weapons rendered useless because of abuse they've suffered in the past (and I admit that they WERE abused in previous games). The draw to CoD multiplayer for me has always been the different play styles all being thrown into the same game creating a delightfully fun sense of chaos that i don't want to see reduced to 12-18 guys running around with the same 3 weapons.
Seeing the general consensus of the finally arrived GT5 has given me a bit of chance to say "I told you so" to a lot of the people I've discussed this game with. Multiple delays, overwhelming scope of the content and a strong competitor that has appeared, equaled, and arguably even surpassed this series in the time since its last release has done this game no favors. In my humble peon opinion, crap like this does no favors for any game, no matter how well established its franchise may be.
When anticipation begins to wan into unrealistic expectations, nothing but disappointment is sure to follow. I'm sure the main problem was probably overwhelming scope and possibly a lack of direction from the project leads, but it’s a shame to see a once great franchise fall so short of expectations. When you screw around and delay things that should have been out years ago, you have only yourselves to blame when it fails.
First off i'll go ahead and get out of the way that i feel there IS a difference between the way Infinity Ward and Treyarch make there games and overall i feel Inifinity Ward still does it better. That being said, I have to say kudos to Treyarch for making a game that truly feels like an evolution in the right direction for the series. So many things in Modern Warfare 2 were put in there with the idea that they would aid newcomers into being competitive. Things like Stopping Power, Danger Close, Commando, Death Streaks, Shotguns and Machine Pistols as secondary weapons, and a very generous magnetic aim assist were put into last year's title meant to aid the less skilled and ended up being abused by the majority of players making the game, at times, unbalanced and broken. Treyarch identified a lot of these issues and decided to correct them in this game. The aforementioned items are either nerfed or completely removed to implement a greater sense of balance. Of course, i'm not saying the game is perfect. There are sure to be issues balance that will crop up but i've seen none so destabilizing thus far that make game a frustrating experience.
I've seen a lot of people complaining online sayin that "Sniping sucks now" and that "the game is broken". Well about 8-9 hours into the multiplayer, i can tell you that if you every fired a sniper in the previous games without using stopping power as the crutch that it was, you'd realize that the snipers are the same, what's different is there's not as much assistance helping you hit your target. Headshots still kill in one shot so maybe you should watch your replay in the theater mode and see where your shots are actually hitting. (Which i also feel the theater mode is a welcome addition should be a standard feature for any serious competitive multiplayer game.) As for the issues i have encountered, I've been playing on xbox live and there's been some issues keeping me and my party members together. However, this could be related to the massive amount of stress on the service over the past week. I believe one night this week i saw the game reporting nearly 4 million players were online at one point.
As for the game itself, often times the spawn system seems even less forgiving than in previous Call of Duty games. Given that the call of duty games seem to be notorious for having bad spawn systems, and that a completely fair spawn system in a multiplayer shooter is a bit of a "white whale", it's a bummer that not much has changed here. Frequently i can hit a patch where i get spawned consecutive times into crowds of enemy players or spawned a few feet from the location i was just killed in. Just this morning, i was killed 3-4 times in a row by a player's chopper gunner because the game kept spawning me in the same location.
With my list of complaints toward it relatively short at the moment and i'm fairly confident that i'm past the honeymoon phase with this game, i'm making a ruling that this game is great in my opinion. It's not a dramatic departure like Call of Duty 4 or even a MW2 but rather treyarch has done to MW2 with this game what they did to CoD4 with WaW, new content, more CoD and they did a better job on this one than they did with World at War.
In just a few short weeks i had already forgotten that i was due to get a member t-shirt. I guess it's just that i when i signed up for my year sub, i just considered it a donation as me doing my part to support the best site i've ever had the pleasure of calling myself a community member of. All the other stuff was just a bonus. This site gives me hours of entertainment and if there's some way i can give back to it's creators, I'm all for it. Big ups to you GiantBomb.
I don't think game releases could have picked a better few weeks to hit a lull. In the past 3 weeks, I've gone on vacation to florida, and gotten several moments of outside time regularly. Still addicted to MW2 like a crack addict hits his crack pipe. Also enjoying Borderlands. Looking forward to Splinter Cell Conviction and Red Dead Redemption in the coming weeks. Also curious about this Halo Reach Beta coming up. Stay cool out there peeps.