I love the Giant Bomb guys. I’ve listened to their podcast since it was the Hotspot over on Gamespot. They make me laugh whilst also providing excellent information and insight into the world of video games.

That said, occasionally I disagree with them; in this case with regards to Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

On the one hand it attempts a lot of things, which is admirable, but it’s also the only CoD game I couldn’t finish. I’ve played through every CoD game except Call of Duty 2, by my reckoning. Many of the more recent ones I polished off in a single sitting. Couldn’t do that this time.

The problem for me was that after playing for about four hours I found myself groaning out loud and literally saying “This isn’t fun!”

On one mission I was being briefed about using a drone to clear an escape route for my vehicles. I literally didn’t want to do it. Then I had to drive through the cleared path whilst being pursued, uh, I think. It wasn’t clear how many vehicles were with me and how many were against! Everything was happening so fast as to be incomprehensible.

That pretty much summed up my experience. I didn’t get the chance to try anything because I was constantly having the rug pulled from under me.

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So yeah, there’s horses to be used in the 1980s in it. Nothing too crazy about that except how it portrays horse riding. Apparently the devs have never been on horseback, let alone whilst cantering. Okay, fine, I can forgive that but I couldn’t tell whether the helicopters were all enemy ones or not. I knew I had to take out the enemy tanks, fine, but where do I place these mines? How am I supposed to know where I’m going to be whisked off to next on the map? Hurry, hurry, hurry!

4061Call-of-Duty-Black-Ops-II_FOB-Spectre_On-the-Ground-Xbox360In fact the only time I didn’t feel the game was in a hurry was in the abysmal “strikeforce” missions. Of course there’s a timer. I love timers. It’s always easy for me to concentrate when I’m being bloody timed. There’s a limited number of retries and the units under one’s command would lose a battle of wits with a pot of yoghurt. Order them to do something and they’ll repeatedly bollocks it up and take their time doing it.

See the big walker things? They’re called CLAWs. They’re basically useless. I don’t know about you but something with legs, whilst handy, should probably have wheels too. I’d order them to do something and they’d spend several minutes getting there, sometimes getting confused along the way. FUN.Call of Duty: Black Ops

Robot Chicken sums it up with a sketch about Go-Bots:

The campaign tries to do some clever non-linear stuff but it didn’t work for me. That is to say it took a long time before the relatively simple narrative was clear to me. I’ve got to say if I never have to hear Harper (Michael Rooker) talk ever again it’ll be too soon. The problem for me was that Frank Woods aside, I really didn’t have any stake in any of the narrative. I didn’t care about the characters, the setting, the near-future stuff.

I do enjoy a good non-linear narrative. Alpha Protocol was lovely like that, except there I felt I was steering. CoD:BO2 does some things right – I wasn’t sure when I was making a choice, which is a little fun. The problem being that after each mission it would show me an outcome. Don’t tell me what I failed to do, it smashes my immersion!

What annoyed me most, I think, was that most of the optics on gunsights were broken for me. I did some searching and apparently this isn’t an uncommon problem. Something like this:blops-2

Not annoying at all.

I love playing with guns in the modern CoD games and this forced me to reject most weapons. Bleh.

Also the 2025 stuff, whilst cool in some respects, was mostly aggravating. I can stand two years in the future but longer just feels like sci-fi. I enjoy sci-fi in the right context but this isn’t one of them. I want modern military stuff and to feel like some sort of action movie elite soldier, or recent past military stuff. Instead it’s a mish-mash that actively put me off playing.

Black Ops, as opposed to the sequel, at least had the advantage of Cold War mysterious charm - conspiracy theories, censored documents, and so on. This one on the other hand has, uh, stompy robot things and some sort of nebulous enemy organisation with some sort of ties to social media? I kinda stopped paying attention.

I uninstalled it. You can keep this one, Treyarch. Make a game that I don’t actively not want to play.

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