Activision: Success over Innovation [UPDATE]

Posted: November 18, 2010 by Tim Utley in Editorials

Newest Call of Duty, but is it really new?

Another year and another major blockbuster success for Activision.  The latest iteration in the popular Call of Duty franchise entitled Call of Duty: Black Ops is smashing records left and right.  A reported $360 million in its first day and $650 million in its first week crushing its predecessor Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Kotick Tales: He could probably do this in quarters

The massive popularity of this franchise has lead to subsequent after subsequent annual release since 2005.  In the early goings newer iterations felt like just that, new iterations, but I haven’t felt like I have played a new Call of Duty since the first Modern Warfare.  Treyarch has been piggy backing on Infinity Wards controls and engines since they were brought on to develop new COD titles.  With that being said, I do enjoy the Treyarch entries into the franchise, but why are the always plagued with problems.

Black Ops has a memorable campaign to say the least, but with drastic difficulty spikes and with faulty linear progressions (Khe Sanh mission, enough said) I don’t think I will be visiting the campaign multiple times like I have in other versions of the franchise.  But where most of my grievances lie are in the multiplayer arena.  I understand that the game has only been out for a little over a week, but the multiplayer is fucking broken.  I have the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game and both experience variable performance issues.  The Ps3 version being the more downtrodden of the two has huge connectivity and frame-rate issues.  I was playing a TD match on the map “Grid” and there were 6 host migrations before the game even started and when the game actually began it was dropped to a connection error.  Little quips like not being able to see headset icons really dampens the experience because I don’t know whom I can communicate with.  The party system is also performing poorly.  You start a party to play with your friends, but if the servers have other devious plans for you, you will spend the match killing your friends because you were put on the other fucking team.  Another fun thing is when I join a game and I get disconnected and put into theater mode, that makes perfect sense right?  As far as the frame-rate is concerned many others including myself have witnessed huge spikes when the action elevates.  This is a problem because when you are playing a game with gunfire and explosions reaction time is crucial, but when I can’t move or reposition my weapon getting stabbed becomes my normative fate.  Treyarch’s servers need to ditch the whole “mind of their own” bullshit and get some serious patchage going on.  These patches have been rumored around on the web for a few days now, but I have not seen any change.

I want to enjoy Black Ops, but these huge technical and performance issues just revert my behavior to that of a caveman (occasional grunt and thigh slap).  I find myself screaming obscenities at my TV and my friends probably think i have anger management issues.  My allocation for frustration is reaching its quota and I need a remedy in the form of a serious patch.  Treyarch let me play your game again, pretty please.

[UPDATE]

I just turned my PS3 on and there was an update for Black Ops.  Don’t get to excited because it doesn’t seem like it has fixed any of the issues that i have addressed.  It actually locked my system up twice and dropped me from 3 games with the error “no suitable host found”.  I’m hoping that my next update or post will bring better news.

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