Are bugs and glitches common place in today’s games?
First I must say that Black Ops II is a great Call of Duty game. It changes things up enough to make it feel like a new experience than the original Black Ops. The story is great (or at least to the part I got to, more on that later). It’s well written and, although the graphics look more cartoony than Modern Warfare, the voice acting is well done too. It’s also great to see Michael Rooker play a good guy after three seasons of playing the evil Merle Dixion on The Walking Dead.
To understand the problem we must realize that many developers — including Treyarch and Infinity Ward — are stuck to a strict deadline by their publishers. The publishers are the ones that have the big pocketbooks, so they make the rules. In this case both of the Call of Duty developers have two years to create a new spin on the franchise. Modern Warfare 3 was an unbelievable failure; it was the same game as the previous Modern Warfare 2. But Treyarch saw the future of technology and gave us futuristic weapons and gadgets; something that makes the game feel… new.
Now the problem with having a deadline to push out a game, other than limited time to come up with a new idea on an already played out franchise, is not every bug gets addressed. There is just no time.
During a recent mission in the campaign my gun went invisible so I had to run around hip-firing, which is difficult but doable. After completing the mission, I watched the next cut-scene and was ready to get back into it — with a gun — when the game went green:
Green Ops 2?
So I haven’t been able to go any further in an otherwise enjoyable story. Shame. There is always multiplayer though. Unfortunately there are some glitches there too.
I usually play split-screen with my brother (I know, damn those split-screeners!) who has his own Xbox Live account. Nine times out of 10 I’m first player and he’s second. Now I wouldn’t think this would make any difference but for some reason it does; he can’t see any new emblems or calling cards. All he can see are the ones I unlock even though he hasn’t for his account. Weird, right? It’s annoying to see “New” plastered all over the emblems and calling card screen and you can’t get rid of them unless given first player.
That’s not all. Another small glitch is the ‘helicopter blade’; the nickname we’ve given the bug where, what looks like a helicopter blade flashes on the screen distracting you from the action. We’ve been able to tune it out after multiple games but it’s still annoying.
So, I ask it again: Is bug and glitches acceptable in today’s games? Have we just come to terms that we spend $60 on a game that isn’t complete? Are we OK with update after update to fix said bugs?
‘Tis the season for awesome new games!
It may as well been Christmas morning as my brother and I entered the Fifth Social Club in Toronto for the Nintendo Holiday Showcase. Nintendo really put something together for us media-types this time; a much bigger venue packed with many popular games for us to play on the Wii U!
In front of us, there was New Super Mario Bros. U, Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, Ninja Gaidian 3: Razor’s Edge and many other games ready to go on Nintendo’s new system. On the other side, there was an area with at least 10 different Nintendo 3DS systems to try out.
However, the bread-and-butter of this event lay in the hands of Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Ubisoft’s ZombiU for the Wii U.
Unfortunately, everyone else thought so too.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
With many people waiting to play Black Ops II and ZombiU, we decided to start with the Nintendo 3DS section. There we stumbled upon a system with New Super Mario Bros. 2 on it.
Before I could start a game, the Nintendo attendant noticed it was two guys staring at one 3DS screen, so he suggested we play it co-operatively. On the other side there was another 3DS with the same game on it. After setting up the connection (which is super easy), it was Mario and Luigi taking on one of Bowser’s minions in an early castle.
It was hard not to laugh as we jumped off each other’s heads into enemies, traps and other deaths I probably could never repeat on purpose. Unfortunately, just as those deaths were funny at first in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, they got extremely annoying in later levels and more focused on beating the game. It’s very likely that will happen again with the 3DS version of Mario.
At points I was tempted to flick the DS (bad idea) in order to make Mario do a spinning jump or to bring my bubbled character closer to Luigi so he could pop it and allow me to come back into the game. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is very similar to its Wii counter-part, except you gain a hell of a lot more coins.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
After wondering around a bit, the booth with Black Ops II finally opened and we jumped at the chance.
Due to tighter restrictions this time around, we couldn’t film any gameplay, so I’ll be as descriptive as possible.
The first thing we noticed was how easy it is to switch between the touchscreen GamePad and the GamePad Pro; just double-tap the “A” button and voilà, you can use your preferred controller. On that note, I actually liked using the touchscreen controller to play Black Ops II because it gives the player a nice graphical advantage.
The GamePad screen displays some vital information that is usually cluttering up the T.V. screen, like ammo and the map, but goes one step further. Loadouts can be changed much easier via a few taps on the screen and the same can be said for calling in Score Streaks. This means you don’t have to scroll through your streak rewards (and waste precious killing time); you just have to tap the one you want to use at the moment.
And the GamePad doesn’t stop there!
You can actually take Black Ops II off the T.V. and play it on the GamePad! Hear that? That’s my mind being blown!
Although you need to keep the GamePad in the same room as the Wii U due how the system transmits data to the controller, it still allows someone to keep playing Black Ops II and give up the T.V. screen. This is great for those that have only one shared T.V.
As a bonus, according to the official Black Ops II FAQ distributed to the media, you can use the GamePad screen for multiplayer games in your own home, but we never saw this in action.
It’s blasphemy to admit this, but the controls are the same as the Xbox 360 version of Black Ops. If you know the 360 controls, the Wii U version has no learning curve, except for the added screen.
After killing the opposing team (a bot team, yes you can do setup bot games in Black Ops II), and calling in a few Score Streaks, I pleaded to take some video but was ultimately refused.
After killing some NPC soldiers, we headed over to the system with ZombiU. This isn’t the first time I got to play Ubisoft’s survival horror game, so the GamePad felt natural in my hands. Being comfortable with the controls allowed me to focus on the game’s story, and not having to rely on the on-screen control prompts. It’s nice to just know.
Being able to play for a good 20 minutes (and I don’t think I reached anywhere near the half-way point in the demo) gave me a great sense on what Ubisoft is trying to do with this game. You really need to survive; it’s about taking out the right zombie and checking everything.
At one point there was a zombie sitting in a corner of a room, seemingly not dangerous. Upon scanning him with a gizmo in my inventory, he was in-fact undead and apparently taking nap. A few smacks with my cricket bat let him take that nap forever.
Later on in the demo, there were three zombies in the distance and, of course, in my way. With the assistance of Ubisoft’s Jay Acevedo, I picked off one zombie with a backpack. Apparently in post-apocalyptic London, they love to carry around a backpack full of explosives. I’m not one to complain since it worked in my favour. The explosion took out the zombie’s other two buddies and the coast was clear to continue.
ZombiU is a true survival game, and one I’m looking forward to the most. The game will make you think about your next move, meanwhile making sure you’re always aware of your surroundings.
The end of a great day
It was over before we knew it, and after some good-byes we headed back on the subway for the ride home.
It was great meeting some of Toronto’s known gaming personalities, some new ones and, of course, playing the Wii U!
We give your greatest thanks to Nintendo for inviting and hope to see many more to come!
The Wii U console launches in North America on November 18, 2012.
Nintendo made a bold claim a few days ago, saying that Treyarch and Infinity Ward have an opportunity to enhance the Call of Duty experience by utilizing the Wii U’s GamePad controller.
Scott Moffitt, a marketing executive at Nintendo of America, had this to say about core gamers and the Call of Duty franchise:
Core gamers are very much part of our audience and the group of consumers we hope will find the way you can re-imagine games on the Wii U. The Wii U could become the preferred way to play those games for some of the core gamers.
You can imagine how a game like Call of Duty would work on the Wii U – the GamePad will allow you to declutter the TV and pull gaming items like maps down and not interrupt your interaction and enjoy the cinematic quality of the game on the TV. That’s one application that could be exciting and could enhance gameplay for a core gamer.
Taking the map (the mini-map I assume) off the screen and putting it on to the GamePad seems counter-productive. No core gamer wants to take their eyes off the T.V. screen in such a fast-paced game. It’s an obvious overlook by a company that hasn’t done any research into competitive first-person shooters. But they’re trying to sell to core gamers, so I get it.
Can Call of Duty work on the Wii U?
I’d like to think so. I’m a fan of the Wii U and Nintendo’s efforts to target core gamers, so maybe I’m a bit biased with my answer. The GamePad could become the scope of a weapon, or maybe new Perk in the game. We’ll see.
Get ready for your timeline to “bleed in agony and drown in facts” about Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
What’s eight weeks from now? Well, that would be Gamescom on Wednesday, August 15 in Germany. Treyarch Game Design Director David Vonderhaar has already admitted to having something special planned for the event, leaving many to speculate that this is the official reveal of Black Ops II.
David went on and tweeted:
I will single handily make your timeline bleed in agony and drown in facts. Might want to find the unfollow button. Just in case.
The most anticipated piece of news for any CoD gamer is multiplayer info, so what do you hope to see from Black Ops II?
Seems like it may heavily rely on unmanned aircraft and landcraft which is a major switch-up from the run-and-gun playstyle of other Call of Duty games.
Cesar “pcdev” Stastny, the director of technology over at Treyarch, confirmed that PC gamers will have ranked dedicated servers in Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
Confirmed: Ranked Dedicated Servers for #BlackOps2
Props PC Gamers! Finally you can enjoy ranking up with good connections! No more will the server kick you out (and give you a loss!) after trying to migrate to a new host because some douche decided to rage! Me and the other lowly console gamers will never know how that feels.
Well, to be clear: Treyarch has not officially said if they will host dedicated servers for consoles. It’s highly unlikely though.
Both Modern Warfare 3 and Black Ops were successful with peer-to-peer hosting, and I can understand why. Having players connect to each other is probably cheaper than hosting servers for the majority of Call of Duty gamers. That’s great for them, but what about us?
We have to put up with latency issues all the time. If it’s not someone with a shitty connection (read: downloading), it’s someone who leaves the game and causes everyone to wait for a new host. And sometimes that “new host” never comes and we get booted out of the game. Fun. Lag issues are one of the main reasons I do not play Modern Warfare 3 anymore.
Console gamers want dedicated servers. It’s a no brainer. I hate to say it, but PS3 gamers get online play for free, so I understand why they get peer-to-peer connections. Xbox gamers on the other hand, we pay to play online, so what’s the hold up?