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.
On the core, the game is still the essential battlefield experience. Chet is a relative newcomer to the series, he’s just not a hardcore fan. He may be missing something by not being a regular user. But, the rash of recent backlash and hate left him surprised. Now he feels like because the expectations were set so low, he liked it. That said, EA isn’t off the hook quite yet!
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.
Stabilizers? Check. Laser Canons? Check. Frequency Blade? Probably not what its called but check. Let’s start f*cking sh*t up baby.
I’m in the cockpit of the all powerful orbital frame Jehuty and even though they keep calling me Dingo, Vega is ready to party. First objective is to get this gate open so I can get in there and see what the big hype over this other orbital frame is. I have two panels, obviously super far away from each other, and that should set things straight. Alright, let’s get to it.
Ok, alright cool, let’s try that again. This time I’m gonna go for the one on the left first.
As I proceed to destroy these robots I start to wonder “Who the hell is piloting the enemy machines?” Eh, none of my business. Keep slashing and destroying this endless supply of machine enemies. I finally arrive at the panel and with an over charged spirit bomb (it’s not really a spirit bomb but dammit thats what it looks like) I destroy it. Now I gotta travel all the way to the other side of the gate. Let me save real quick in case something goes wrong. Playing this from a first person perspective is way harder than playing in third person. And the lock on system still doesn’t work properly.
On to the other side. Alright here we go, not doing to bad.
What the f*ck! Why doesn’t this damn game lock on to the closest enemy instead of whatever f*cking random enemy it wants. Wait. Are you kidding me! It’s making me start over and I gotta clear the first panel again. Aahhh!
An Old Mech Game Given The Present of New Life By Future Tech
In a landscape nearly devoid of mech-based adventures, Konami (the company best known for being terrible) dug deep into its bag of old games and gave Zone of the Enders a second life. The irony behind Konami remastering another amazing series by the great Hideo Kojima is pretty amazing, but enough politics. Zone of the Enders: 2nd Runner Remastered is a third-person action adventure set in a futuristic world where humans inhabitant both Earth and Mars and war is fought in space. Released for the Playstation 4 and PC on September 6th, 2018, the remaster was developed by Konami and Cygames. Does Zone of the Enders deserve to exist alongside the rest of the recent remasters?
More importantly, how does Zone of the Enders work in VR?
(Note: VR Review does not impact the overall score of the game because it is not the originally designed experience.)
There should absolutely be a standard for allowing companies to use the term “Remastered” for any future game release. Zone of the Enders: 2nd Runner treads the line between just better than the craptastic Shenmue remakes that Sega released and the absolutely stunning Yakuza remakes that Sega released. One major advantage for Zone of the Enders is the great way that the game was originally designed to not look hyperrealistic. The visuals paired with the level of fun the game carries makes it very possible to kick back and look beyond the broken character models. Without ever having been to Mars, its safe to assume that Zone of the Enders did a great job recreating exactly what the surface of the red planet looks like.
“Developers truly benefit from the skill of using cartoonish art styles and Zone of the Enders wins heavily thanks to its anime style.“
VR: The game looks worst. The real question here is: was anyone expecting any other response? When playing in first-person through VR the game doesn’t look bad but it definitely doesn’t feel immersive. Think about this one thing for a second. When playing in third-person all of the lasers and explosions are happening, visually at least, in front of the character. When playing in VR the player can look at all the angles of this lighting special effect that was designed to be viewed head-on. Boom, worst, not entirely immersive but not bad. Shenmue was still worse and it wasn’t even in VR.
For anyone who has not played the first Zone of the Enders, STOP. There will be spoilers ahead because Zone of The Enders: 2nd Runner is a direct sequel. With that said, it’s been damn near 15 years, so get over it. Ready? Let’s go. The game takes place two years after the events of the original game. Playing as Dingo Egret, a miner working on the planet Callisto who comes across the all-powerful orbital frame, Jehuty. That is literally the last part of simplicity this game has until the very end credits. From that point it goes into true Kojima mode with main characters dying and being revived, past significantly important characters appearing then suddenly deciding they want absolutely no part of the new story, and a world-destroying battle between two superweapons on the brink that falls on poor Dingo’s shoulders to be smack dab in the middle of.
Anyone who has ever been a fan of Gundam, Metal Gear or any mech-based anime will absolutely love this. Anyone who read that last sentence and thought what the f*ck is a Gundam, maybe stay away.
VR: Same story. Really not sure what anyone expected to see here.
Sound effects help to drive the validity of any game’s atmosphere and Zone of the Enders sounds like a robot war. Nailed it; not a beat missed. Lasers flying by sound way more dangerous than they look. Explosions are short-lived, but in the moment they sound very great. The voice acting and dialogue is great even though it doesn’t seem like any of it was updated for the remaster. It was just really great from the source. The menu sound effects sound exactly like the sounds from Metal Gear Solid 1-3 so super fans should be prepared for some nostalgia. Some excellent nostalgia. Damn Konami why you do Kojima so bad.
VR: Sound is the most critical aspect of VR. If the game sounds right the player can get fully immersed in the experience. Zone of the Enders takes place in space and space is, by most accounts, pretty quiet. That empty atmosphere is great as long as there are no other sounds in the outside world. Most people can’t afford to play their VR in an isolated perfect environment but everything else sounding great is definitely a VR experience.
Zone of the Enders: 2nd Runner Re-Mastered is a remastered PS2 game, and it definitely shows. The control schemes are extremely dated and very light on motor control demands. There are only a handful of buttons used from the entire DualShock remote. Even with the highly bragged about adjustment of the way the secondary weapons button works it still feels super dated. The biggest issue with the controls for the game is found in the lock-on system. For whatever reason, the lock-on system locks on to whatever target that it wants to and when changing targets, probably due to the fast-paced gameplay, the thing goes bonkers. Rather than simply pushing the analog stick towards the closest target to lock on, the game just cycles randomly through all the targets on screen. That’s a really bad thing to happen when playing what is essentially an on-rails shooter.
VR: Probably the best VR experience available to date. The entire game is playable in VR and it feels amazing. Jumping into the cockpit of the super mech known as Jehuty is everything most people want from a VR experience. This is a VR Experience that should not be missed. With better visuals, it would be the epitome of VR gaming. It still suffers from most of the things that made the non-VR version hard to play but in VR those are well worth the pain.
Wooooooooooohoooooooooo. Playing Mech games is arguably always fun. Anyone who disagrees is entitled to their opinion but is completely wrong. Outside of the frustration of losing a battle due to a faulty lock-on system, it’s very easy to let time fly by as Jehuty flies or slides all around the surface of Mars, the interior of a massive space battleship. It’s an on-the-rails shooter for the most part in the vein of a super modernized Gradius, but who didn’t like throwing quarters in those old arcade machines? The other issue with the game that hinders its fun levels just a tad is that the save system doesn’t play entirely nice with pick up and play gamers. Fortunately, the PS4 rest mode is a nice workaround for this objective-based issue.
VR: How do you make a fun game more fun? Add the latest technology to its tool belt. Playing Zone of the Enders 2nd Runner in VR mode feels like the way it was meant to be played. Zipping around Mars in first person perspective could only be more exciting in a Sword Art Online style full dive mechanism that doesn’t exist yet. Just to reiterate, everyone should play Zone of the Enders: 2nd Runner in VR Mode at least once. It is truly an experience.
Zone of the Enders: 2nd Runner is a remaster like no other. Sure, a ton of remasters exist that look a million times better, but Zone brings a brand new element to the game that hadn’t existed previously. Hideo Kojima must have shattered at least three or four rooms’ worth of valuable merchandise when he saw what Konami was able to accomplish with one of his crazy ideas. Honestly, it’s a bit confusing as to why Konami didn’t make the VR mode a more significant marketing push for the game. Priced at only $29.99 brand new, this is a must-have experience for anyone interested in VR.
Scratch that, anyone with a PSVR or PC-based VR system needs to get their hands on Zone of the Enders: 2nd Runner today. Especially since the evil monsters at Konami published the game, so we never know what to expect. This last good review pushed them to start making pachinko versions of the game.
Another jam-packed October coming up on our wallets gamers but fear not the great folks at EA have our back. Or maybe they just have their best interests in mind. Who cares, however you look at it Battlefield V has been delayed.
Oskar Gabrielson, general manager at DICE, has said in an official blog post (no bogus crap) that Battlefield V has been delayed to November 20th. That’s right a nice little Thanksgiving shootout. Should be amazing.
The post kind of seems like they are crediting player feedback for the delay which means someone was listening. I just hope they were listening to the right complaints.