I’ve lived with Call of Duty: Black Ops (COD:BO) for a week now, and have even prestiged once (yesterday). So I thought I’d tie off my impressions on the multiplayer game. Notes: I play the x-box version, liked World at War slightly more than Modern Warfare 2, beat both games on veteran mode, and really do like COD:BO quite a lot, despite the cons down below. See my previous post for a huge list of pros, which still all apply. My notes here start get pretty nit-picky…
- Map flow is broken, probably due to spawn code. I’m still not sure what the exact problem is, but it certainly is not the maps. I believe strongly it is involving the code that decides where to spawn players. I think this is still based on putting you close to your team but also with a weighting towards the player who just killed you. In WaW/MW2, you could track the flow of a game when one team is dominating the other, as a sort of slow circling of the map as you chase the team slowly around. In BO, there is no such flow at all, and I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve been killed or surprised by an enemy that should not have been present in the location he was present in. I blame poor spawn code for lack of better candidates. Runspeed may be a tad too high, but not really sure on that. Spawning is just not right.
- Throwing grenades upon respawn. WaW and MW2 seemed to get this right, but in COD:BO, if I am cycling through players in spectator mode while I wait to respawn, I’m hitting the right/left bumpers to do so. But if I’m not watching the timer and it hits 0 and respawns me, when I hit that bumper (which I do sometimes to see where my buddies are and who is under fire) it immediately tosses a grenade. Lame. At least in the previous games I swear you couldn’t toss something like that for a split-second or two after spawning. Perhaps this is needed because of the strange spawning issues described above…
- Lots of awards, medals, and challenges pop up during games. This is really cool, but sadly there is just no time to glance up and check out what you just did. The messages are too quite and way too often. Likewise, you don’t get any list of them after matches, one of the only oversights in all the stats and information you get post-game and ongoing. In WaW and MW2, I always knew which challenges I just finished, but in COD:BO, I don’t think I’ve been cognizant of any except the Perk Pro things I need to get (because I’m looking for them and doing them specifically). This may also be a product of just overwhelming players with so many things to do and track and pay attention to, that challenges get left out for me. I’m busy with classes, contracts, equipment, working on perk unlocks, leveling, etc.
- Points in Hardcore Team Deathmatch (HTDM) seem low. I really like HTDM, but unfortunately the rewards are small compared to the points gained from even crappy Headquarters matches. You want to level up quick, stick to Headquarters. It is not uncommon to score 10,000 points in a round, and far more in a good round. Unfortunately, the game is quick and fast, which is not for all people.
- Voiceover status messages can be late. If you get a lot of care packages and killstreak rewards, and game status changes (someone is planting the bomb), you can get a really weird long list of voiceover updates, some of which occur significantly late. “Yeah, I got that care package like 30 seconds ago, thanks!” I’d have liked quicker ones, or even just overlap the damn things…
- The one issue with buying upgrades: timing. When you hit the max level in WaW or MW2, you’ve unlocked everything and can do whatever you want. In COD:BO, I made level 50 and while I had all the perks unlocked (not all pro, of course) and most of the weapons I wanted to try out, I didn’t have anywhere close to all the attachments and enhancements I would have played with. When you prestige, these all get reset along with your “money” in game. Not sure what I think about that…I like that I can open what I want to open, but I’d like to have had a chance to try everything once hitting the top, ya know?
- Playercard interface could be enhanced. Yeah, this is pretty low to pick on a really cool new feature, but this section could see some enhancements with previews and such. Also, it’s really annoying to see the…creative…things some kids come up with.
- No payback dollars. I thought the payback kill dollar bills flying out of those kills was fun. I kinda miss it now that it’s gone.
Pros: I really have nothing new to add here. The game is pretty darned fun and a good successor for the series.