Feature: I’m Not Buying Black Ops II – And Here’s Why…
I would like to start off by saying that in no way, shape or form is this an example of me being a stern maverick not wishing to feed money into the grubby corporate machine, or anything so ridiculously pretentious like that. (Not entirely anyway…)
Rather, it can be put down to a case of clear foresight and calculated assumption in the respect that, forgive me for stating the obvious, all Call of Duty games since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare have… uhh… well, they’ve sucked big time, putting it lightly.
And it’s because of this that I have to ask myself: Do I really want to lay down £45 for the next piece of caught-in-the-cogs gristle from the assembly line, going by their track record since World at War back in 2008?
I’ve said it once and I will continue to say it again and again ’til my face turns blue and my eyes doth boil, and that’s that futuristic shooters should be left only to the professionals – the likes of Bungie and 343 with the Halo series; Crytek with the Crysis series, and, most recently, Ubisoft with Ghost Recon: Future Soldier – instead of trying to tap into a market and following that you will most likely never be accepted within.
|Activision’s Bobby Kotick, dying happily…|
But, as we all know, regardless of whatever anyone says – whatever their concerns may be – the game will be friggin’ lapped up by the critics and community; breaking records, selling twenty-million copies in four hours, receiving critical acclaim from all the big-name publications; being called the “granddaddy of futuristic shooters,” and whatever. All rubbish, but people must just love same old, same old (and stale and crap and broken and unbalanced and crap and broken…) that hasn’t undergone even the slightest change in five years, right?
Well, not me, I’m afraid; and five games of the same old tosh later, despite the hope that I always hold for the next Call of Duty game actually being a step-up from the adjoining trail of turd? Yeah… no £45 for you from me, Activision. Instead, I’m putting my trust, as ever, in LOVEFiLM as a rental – a company who actually care and don’t mess around – who will be getting my £11.99 subscription charge for the month, and I challenge myself to even keep it that long without sicking into a glove and punching Bobby Kotick in the chops with it. Much better arrangement, methinks!
The original Black Ops teetered the issue precariously on the edge, but it was a combination of Modern Warfare 3 and the recent debut gameplay footage from E3 that really snapped the camel’s spine for me, as I found myself looking at the screen, lax-eyed, iPod Touch in hand with Twitter primed, thinking one thing: Wallpaper. It’s the same brittle skeleton, ugly and mutton-dressed-as-lamb as ever, but with a new layer of greasy textures rubbed over the surface. Explosions, sirens, the obligatory car crash followed by a moment of shell shock and whooshing sounds as you clamber out of the vehicle with a president that you’ve been tasked with rescuing; racing over to a console to take down multiple air targets, followed by taking point atop a highway as you defend your squadmates with a piece of futuristic weaponry that can only be described as a techno-sniper’s best friend. It’s a new concept of sniper rifle – one that has to be ‘charged’ before taking the shot, depending on how penetrable the surface you’re shooting at is.
Oh look, another shipping container yard…
I quite liked this new weapon, actually, but all of this happened within the first five minutes, and the rest of the gameplay – eleven minutes in total, including a familiar “In the interest of time…” interval – just dragged on for the remaining six minutes. You could feel the tension of bore just by watching the stream, so I daren’t even wonder how it must have been in the room at the time! Big surprise, there was a load of running through streets, gunning down enemies, getting covered in dust; all ending with boarding a fighting jet – clearly recycling the Hind interface from the original Black Ops, but with a little more glitz – and shootin’ at stuff in the sky. Yep – same old, same old…
Call of Duty: Black Ops II – a rental. But Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4? Who knows – maybe I’ll have given up on the series entirely by then…