Every year gamers are treated to a very familiar lineup of games for the holiday season. This year Activision decided to shake things up a bit. First they announced the latest Call of Duty installment from developer Treyarch would arrive without a single player campaign. Then they announced that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 would be releasing a month earlier than normal. And finally they announced no shooter would exist without a challenge from the money backed behemoth. Watch out Fortnite, Black Ops 4 has a Battle Royale mode. Available on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 ditches single player for a full multiplayer experience. Does it work?
Activision still understands blockbuster video games and the fans of said blockbuster video games. They still know how to put the pressure on developers to make sure the games look good. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is confidently the best looking Call of Duty game of all time. It’s especially impressive because the whole game is online. Unlike previous games there are no scripted moments to use super high fidelity cgi on and then revert to in game. Replicating locations and battlefields from previous games in better quality makes the nostalgia feel justified. Seeing all of this big money quality pushed into a battle royale made even more of an impact. Up until now most Battle Royale’s looked like games in development. Black Ops 4 is the first game with a battle royale that looks complete.
Doesn’t exist. Get over it. It’s sad but just move on. Seriously though, the lack of a true single player campaign is a bit of a bummer. Instead the team at Treyarch included a set of tutorials that feel like the independent special op missions from Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. It’s a fun experience for anyone who gives it a try but it doesn’t really provide any reason for anyone who’s ever played Call of Duty before to dive in. The Zombies mode also provides a little bit of plot for those really in need but it’s of the same quirky variety as past games. Maybe next time they’ll be kind enough to include some true single player content.
Sound design has always been a weak point for the Call of Duty franchise. Even with the best voice actors and top notch musicians, sound has always felt like an after thought. Black Ops 4 is an exception to the run with very little to brag about. The lack of a single player campaign makes it so the focus of sound design was about creating ambience in multiplayer maps. That was done extremely well making certain perks all the more useful. It also translated well to the zombies mode allowing for certain areas to feel scary enough to add a new layer to the mode. Now the dark corridors provide a slight intensity. The voice acting was decent in the areas where it made sense. It’s hard to tell how good it was though because zombie mode dialogue has always been cheesy.
The Black Ops series has been a major fan favorite in the franchise and with the latest installment it’s super easy to see why. Despite not adding a ton of new mechanics to the game, the team at Treyarch added just enough. Reusing maps from previous games would be awful under most conditions, however in Black Ops 4 it’s great. Not only because of the updated graphics but also because of different weapons, perks, and equipments. Using a fully powered nine-bang has significantly more impact than a standard flash bang. That difference represents entirely new tactics for playing fan favorite maps in 4k. Call of Duty doesn’t sacrifice anything its great at to make space for anything new. Even the battle royale mode feels completely polished and fresh. It’s everything a certain other super serious battle royale wanted to be. Oh, and there are zombies in battle royale.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 as a Party game after a long day of work is a hell of a great time. Solo after a long day of work, not quite as enjoyable. Do not misunderstand that statement. Call of Duty is still super fun for all the solo gamers who just like to kick back and play games. However, this time more than ever, the game is designed for people who love the multiplayer experience. The closest thing to a story in the game are the shenanigans taking place in the zombie mode. The zombie menace is an equal threat to all. The ridiculousness of every single chapter makes for a constant stream of fun. The debate on whether Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is a good game will go on for ever. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 being a fun game can not be contested.
Call of Duty returns to the forefront of online military warfare. It avoids sending any soldiers to the single player battle where it’s already lost to all the other great titles this year. Precisely aiming its sights at any competition that thinks it stands a chance against the unmatched wallet of Activision. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 delivers everything the core fans of the series expect plus more. Even if thats at the expense of the casuals who just wanted a single player military based story campaign to play through.
Picture this. It’s the middle of August. Chet finishes his 3rd round of selecting new released to pre-order for Q4. The decisions were tough, and several interesting games had to be nixed. That’s when the big question hits. Red Dead Redemption 2 is coming out this year. For realsies. Chet and Vega stare at this and ponder who should cover the game.
Vega doesn’t like open world games for the most part. He also doesn’t like westerns very much. He has plenty of other Japanese games to play because he is an unabashed Sony fanboy. Chet has played so many open world games by then, he doesn’t want to play it either. He also doesn’t like westerns. So they asked some of their regular contributors to look at the game. One contributor hates all modern games so he was out. The other was stuck playing another game and didn’t want to stop, so he was out. Who will play this game?
Then we thought… do we actually have to review Red Dead Redemption 2? Do we REALLY have to? What crazy thing could we possibly say about this game? This game obliterated sales figures as expected. It sold 15 million units so far, and that’s just physical copies. We knew in our head that not even Call of Duty could touch the heaps of money that RDR2 would make (however, that said, Black Ops 4 did pretty good compared to the last few titles).
It was no surprise that the game sold what it did. It had to. It’s a Rockstar game. They are responsible for the most profitable piece of media ever made with their figures for Grand Theft Auto V. They know how to sell. But we just weren’t having it. But we did hit a bump on our way through the winter release madness.
Vega got a game he didn’t want to play since it required too much knowledge of the anime that it was based on. That got returned. But what did he get instead? RDR2? No, he got Warriors Orochi 4. A game he deserves because it follows the traditional roots of warriors game, and not the abomination of Dynasty Warriors 9. Good on him. Then Chet received Let’s Go Pikachu and he hasn’t played a pokemon game in decades. But, despite thinking that the game requires pokemon go, it’s actually a full experience on its own, so he was down to give it a shot too.
We don’t need RDR2. If you are reading this right now, its 95% likely that you already bought the damn game and came here wondering what was wrong with us. Nothing is wrong with us, we don’t like westerns and we all have shit we’d rather play. Vega has a ton of multi and figting games, Chet has Assassins Creed and Forza Horizon, both of which he cannot stop playing.
And that’s just it. Despite having several titles we have to miss and several titles that are must-plays, this game isn’t on the list. We don’t need it to be on the list. You’ve played it, you’ve seen the metacritic scores, that’s all there is to it.
You know, Black Ops has been the frontrunner in FPS games for a long time. It was only a matter of said time before they made a Battle Royale game mod. But it’s a good mode, along with several other great modes. Check the video on what we think.
Purveyor of critical thinking and sociopolitical happenings, Alex Jones has once again come under fire from mainstream outlets. Only instead of social media, it’s social gaming. A recent post on infowars.com sheds light on the subject. During one of his radio shows, Jones points out “the globalists are trying to discourage us by taking away our games!” It turns out, that his official Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Network Plus subscriptions have both been terminated. His profile was also removed, causing him to lose over 113 cloud save files that he can never get back. He has appealed this ruling but it’s not likely to change.
Alex continues, pointing out that he’s “fighting the good fight” and ending the scourge of the lizard people in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. He’s stated several times how excited he was for Black Ops IIII but it seems those dreams of fighting the elite are dead. Jones was also a very big fan of DOOM (2016) and has posted several let’s play videos. Many of them highlight just how passionate of a gamer he is. He frequently reminds his viewers that the antagonist of the game is, in fact, a phony Hillary Clinton.
As the head spokesperson for the entire alt-right movement, Jones vehemently defends most first-person shooter games. The fake news companies constantly report these games can be harmful and dangerous. But Alex insists that first-person shooters are just a celebration of the second amendment and regularly donates the proceeds of his gaming patreon to the NRA. It is no longer known how he will continue to support the cause with this most recent ousting in the game-o-sphere.
Reportedly, Jones is looking to purchase a Nintendo Switch. It appears that he now sees that the ink in Splatoon 2 is turning the frogs gay, and that just won’t fly with him. As is required by Nintendo, he will have to join the Nintendo Creators Program to post his gameplay footage. All that’s left is for him to find another web video outlet that will allow his content to be presented. AJ is currently looking at websites like DailyMotion, Vimeo, and PornHub.
It’s officially official ladies and gentleman. Call of Duty Black Ops 4 will be arriving this fall, sans single player campaign. One of the top selling franchises year over year is completely abandoning it in favor of the super popular Battle Royale. For those still attached to the idea of enjoying a game by themselves at home this could be very disappointing at first. However, after a ton of thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that this could be a very good thing. Now before you grab your tiki torches and plan your attack allow me to explain my thought process for just a moment.
First, unofficial data has shown that less than 50% of Xbox players have actually completed a Call of Duty campaign. Yes, I’m going to use the Xbox data as a Playstation fanboy, get over it. With that said, this is not an attempt to bash the Xbox player base, it’s actually almost the opposite. Historically, Call of Duty has been an Xbox favorite. Even with the recent attempt to transition the audience to Playstation, most people still rather play their first person shooters on the green machine. Ask Chet if you don’t believe me. It makes sense for Activision to spend less money on a part of the game that, hypothetically but realistically speaking, most players are completely ignoring. In no way am I defending the decision but I can totally understand the business move.
Which leads into my second point. Battle Royale is huge right now, but technically its still an indie game concept. I mean even the most popular Battle Royale game, Fortnite (sorry PUBG I know how much that hurt to read), was just a crazy idea thrown into a game that was very different to begin with. See, I bet you didn’t even know Fortnite is a totally different game than Fortnite: Battle Royale. That means that Activision has officially positioned Call of Duty as the first AAA Battle Royale game on the market. Seriously, think about it for just a couple seconds. Activision, although tightlipped about how much they spend on development, is known for throwing millions into every game every year. You think the random partnership with Marvel was amazing, let’s see what the people who have the budget to work with Hollywood actors regularly can do. The same people who can assemble some of the most iconic actors of all time to be apart of a secondary game mode (Zombies) can pull off a Battle Royale. Graphics, content, scale, network, literally every aspect of the game just received a small loan of a million dollars. Not collectively either, that’s each.
More importantly for me though is my third and final point. Free up some writers. Call of Duty campaigns have had some pretty crap writing but, there have also been some gems. Black Ops 1 is still my favorite FPS campaign to date, and I finished Crysis 2. And played Bioshock. Oh and Borderlands (a little bit). I mean I can list my credentials if need be but we can all pretty much agree that the campaign from Black Ops 1 is the reason most of us are fired up about the team that gave us that are not giving us more. I choose to look at this as an opportunity. Now without the pressure of having to write a story around the multiplayer component, which is always what it feels like, maybe some writers will have free reign. Maybe focusing Call of Duty on Multiplayer puts us in an alternate universe where Activision produces a FPS series with the powerful storytelling found in Spec Ops: The Line. Got your attention now huh?
Don’t get me wrong, I know this perspective is wildly optimistic but thats kinda my thing. At the end of the day, I believe the campaign was cut to focus on building what may end up being the best Battle Royale on the market. Maybe the business monsters at Activision are secretly working on a campaign mode DLC that they will try to sell us a few months after release. Not sure why I said try though. Or maybe, honestly.
If there really isn’t going to be a campaign in Black Ops IIII then this might be the time for another developer to step up to the plate. We have one particular franchise in mind that needs to be re-rebooted.
God of War, Yakuza 6 and some other less important stuff.
It’s been a long time coming but the worst part of the pre-E3 drought is here. Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. It was a great release week for PS4 so it can’t be the worst. The worst is when there are no good releases and news is as dry as last week. Either way this week sucked pretty bad too. But as always I did my best to bring some glorious, or at least interesting, news for my fellow Lucky Gamers:
1. To play alone or not to play alone?
I would never have thought that the day would come where I would be questioning how much longer single player games have left. Sure on one hand we have the incredible single player adventures like God of War or Yakuza. But on the other, we have the recent rumor that this years Call of Duty may arrive with no single player campaign. That is crazy. Absolutely unexpected. The rumor is this years Call of Duty ran out of development time to perfect the single player campaign and it was scrapped. Of course, this could all be hype train boarding because all parties involved have declined to comment. If Call of Duty goes campaign free, it may set the example that single player is dead. At least for triple A titles. Is that something we are ready for? My answer: No.
2. The Anthem Story.
Mass Effect: Andromeda’s story was so poorly received that EA and Bioware haven’t been able to shake the nightmares. Now on the rumors of an industry shaking decision, Bioware has go on record to say that they are focusing heavily on the story for the upcoming Anthem. Anthem was shown off last year and immediately touted as a Destiny clone. In a world dominated by Battle Royale it may have become apparent that a Destiny clone might not be enough. Anthem was set to launch this year but was recently delayed to 2019. Let’s just hope they don’t butcher the story before launch because “there wasn’t enough time”.
3. Battle Royale!?
Let’s sum up the interesting Battle Royale news category real briefly this week. First off congratulations to Epic for Fortnite mobile bringing in over $25 million in its first month. That’s a lot of money. Like a lot of money. So much so that it brings us to point two. Dice is currently prototyping a Battle Royale mode for Battlefield V. Reports say that they are testing mechanics and gameplay styles in engine but it most likely will not be ready for launch. Rumors also claim Treyarch is doing the same for Black Ops 4. And while the big guys are playing catch up the other little big name on the scene is innovating to compete. PUBG just added a new underground cave system to the map. The cave had various exit ways and an entire underground system of its own.
4. Switch delay Switch Hooray!
Bad news out the way first. Dark Souls Remastered for Switch has been delayed. The Dark Souls amiibo has also been delayed and Bandai Namco did not provide any clear reason. The delay only effects the Switch version with the remaster still releasing for all other platforms on May 25th. Good news, NBA Playgrounds 2 will be launching this summer. Season mode, over 200 players, and a championship online mode are just a few of the new improvements to the game. And random over speculation of possible great news, new Wave Racer incoming. I’m talking about the game series, not the musician. In a brief interview at BAFTA, series producer Takahashi said it may be one of the games they are working on bringing back.
5. One long awaited, one hardly expected.
This console generation has seen the long over due return of traditional horror games. Great experiences like Resident Evil 7 and Outlast have given the genre new life. Canceled projects like Silent Hills have shown us how crazy things can really get. Now Agony, a kickstarter horror game, will be released on May 29th on PS4, Xbox One, and PC will be aiming to further darken your underwear. The other genre this console generation has has a massive impact on is Open World. With damn near every game exploring the idea of open world for better or worse. Still not enough and so we have the announcement of Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass. Not much was shown about the game besides the announcement trailer but I’m sure we’ll see more at E3.
6. It’s never too late for training.
If you’ve ever thought to yourself after playing a game for a whole year, “man this game could really use a training or practice mode”, don’t give up. That’s what I’m guessing happened over at Ubisoft. Some noob kept getting wrecked in For Honor and finally someone was like “Fine Steve! We’ll put a training mode in so you can ‘git good’ and stop crying”. So now a whole year later, For Honor will have a training mode. Dreams do come true. And if that was enough class in a game how about Disgaea 1 making a comeback on Nintendo Switch and PS4. No exact date was given yet but it will be coming sometime this year with collector’s editions available for preorder now.
7. Classic gaming in a possible modern classic?
That was an awful title mechanic. Either way stick with me and see where it goes. First, Kingdom Hearts 3 finally gave us a little more information about itself. The game will feature mini games inspired by classic LCD gaming from days of old. Days of old being a quick reference to 1980’s games and old Mickey Mouse animated shorts. Supposedly still slated to release this year it won’t be much longer before you can have Sora reliving our gaming past on his current gaming tech. I really don’t expect this game to still be coming out this year but boy would that be a pleasant surprise.