Posted on Saturday, October 27th, 2012 at 12:47 PM by Michael Dalgleish
Such is the ever growing popularity of the franchise, that one could stipulate we are not far off seeing the annual Call of Duty release date become a public holiday. That date is rapidly approaching, as Activision and Treyarch’s latest foray into the series, Black Ops 2, is set to drop into stores worldwide on November 13th.
With the release being just a couple of weeks away, I thought I would do a hands-off preview of the multiplayer portion of the game explaining what new features in the game you should be excited for and how Treyarch are doing there upmost to make this the best Call of Duty experience ever, ever if that means breaking the mould.
Call of Duty’s multiplayer has always been about fast, accessible action that is easy to pick up but hard to master and although each new games brings with it a few new features, none of the games since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare have really, truly broken the mould. Although this has lead to the series becoming the most popular FPS franchise of all time, it has also lead to a significant proportion of the community criticising the games for being repetitive and accusing them of stagnating.
David Vonderhaar, the community manager for Treyarch, is widely regarded as one of the best in the business at his role and he has listened to the concerns of the fans and this has, in turn, allowed the development team to produce a game that hopefully offers a new experience whilst also retaining that same Call of Duty feel that makes the games what they are. With all that being said, let’s move onto the features, new aand adapted, that you will be seeing in the final product.
The You-Pick-10 System
Starting with the most radical change first, this new way of creating a class replaces the traditional ‘Create-a-Class’ system seen in previous Call of Duty’s with a radical new system. Whereas traditionally you would pick one primary weapon, on secondary, attachments on each, equipment and three perks, this new system gives you 10 points per class witch can be used on anything, within reason, that you choose.
This means that you could, if you wanted, forego your primary weapon and kit out your secondary weapon with two attachments and run with extra perks and grenades. Or, if you are feeling very daring, you could forget your guns completely and go knife only, but the extra points would allow you to go into battle with six perks instead of the usual three through the use of ‘Wildcards’. These Wildcards, which David Vonderhaar referred to at Gamescom as ‘rulebreakers’, cost extra points but allow you to change the system through various means for instance; taking two perks instead of one from a certain category or replacing your lethal equipment with a second type of tactical grenade. This all means that you, the player, should have greater control than ever before as to what goes into your classes which in turn will hopefully lead to less people all running around with the same setups.
Ever since Call of Duty 4 was launched, members of the community have taken it upon themselves to record their gameplays and upload them to YouTube. The amount of Call of Duty players doing this increased exponentially when the original Black Ops was released, as the theatre mode not only gave people the option to save their best games and go back and record them retrospectively but it also allowed anyone with a YouTube account to upload 30 second clips directly from their game to the website. Alongside that, in the last couple of years the professional gaming scene has also exploded, with more clans performing in more tournaments then ever before. COD Casting is a brand new feature for Black Ops 2 which aims to aid both announcers on the professional gaming circuit and YouTube gamers by offering a new level of control over how you watch the games play out. It allows you to report directly on the action by seeing map overheads with all the players on, the current scores of every team, and you can even bring up a list of players to see who currently is on a long killstreak and who is playing an objective so you can instantly switch the action to them. Hopefully this new feature will prove to play a big part in how gameplays are recorded for YouTube or announced at live events.
Each Call of Duty game seems to bring with it a new set of game modes. Black Ops 2 is no different. From the footage I witnessed at Gamescom I noticed three new modes that players will be able to sink their teeth into once the game ships. Hardpoint is very much like a traditional style king of the hill game. There is an objective on the map that teams must lockdown. If any members of one team are in the hardpoint when no members of the other team are, the controlling team will get one point per second. The hardpoint will then move to a new location every 45 seconds. Another new game mode is multi-team team deathmatch. This is a first for the series as never before have more than two teams been able to compete in a public match. This mode comprises of four teams, each with three members and works just like a standard team deathmatch. However, the fewer numbers per team and the increased number of enemies should necessitate teamwork more than ever and hopefully change the dynamics of the experience. The third game mode, which unfortunately I have a feeling is only available in private matches, was round based domination. Domination is one of the most popular modes the series has to offer, tasking teams with capturing and maintaining control of flags. Round based domination works the same mechanically but each round is three minutes long, the spawns then flip and the games start again for another three minutes, with the scores carrying over. It looked to be a fairer version of the game mode as it means both teams have to start from both spawns and it could potentially give a team that is being dominated a way back into the game. This appeared to only be a private mode match at Gamescom but I truly hope they make it a public match as it would be great fun.
Modern Warfare 3, to its credit, initially introduced the idea of objective plays increasing your killstreak. However, Black Ops 2 overhauls the system as for the first time ever you earn scorestreaks, not killstreaks. This means that everything you do has a score assigned to it, whether its killing someone, capturing a flag, assisting a kill and so on, every one of these scores will count up towards your scorestreaks. This means that something as simple as a UAV is better than ever before as you get a certain score for calling it in, but then every kill a teammate gets whilst your UAV is active will earn you a UAV assist and more score with it. This new system aims to encourage more people to play the objective and hopefully it lead to less complaints of people just racking up kills and not helping the team.
Weapons and Maps
One of the main criticisms levelled at the series is that all the weapons and the maps in the games look and feel the same. Black Ops 2 aims to change this by giving gun more unique characteristics than ever before and introducing more visually unique maps than before. On the weapons front, Treyarch has always been the company in the Call of Duty series to offer more ‘kooky’ weapons such as the flamethrower in World at War or the crossbow in Black Ops. Black Ops 2 keeps the unique weapons such as the assault shield and the aforementioned crossbow but it aims to also give the regular weapons more of a unique. Some examples are the AN94 Assault Rifle, which fires the first two bullets of each burst faster than the rest, the KSG shotgun, which now fires a heavy slug instead of the buckshot the rest of the shotguns fire or the Chicom CQB, which is the first burst fire SMG to be featured in a Cal of Duty game.
Trayarch has also listened to feedback on the maps and aims to deliver a set of maps that each have a distinct, unique feel. The map layouts are much more on point with the original Black Ops maps, as opposed to Modern Warfare 3’, which is good new for fans. With maps such as Hijacked, set aboard an luxury Yacht, Raid which is set in a hillside mansion in Hollywood and Promenade, set on a floating resort in the middle of the Indian Ocean, each map should have its own character and in turn should lead to much less repetition between games.
With all that being said, I must admit that although I was trying to avoid it, I am catch the Call of Duty fever once again. What are you looking too from the new game?
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