Blizzard's powerful Text Wall spell hit the Warlords of Draenor website late last week, conjuring a tome-sized post previewing planned class, ability, and content updates for the alpha version of World of Warcraft's fifth expansion. I would pull out the "too long, didn't read" excuse, but that got nerfed 10 press releases ago.
The Devastation map pack for Call of Duty: Ghosts will include four multiplayer maps and part two of the increasingly mad Extinction mode. The co-op players vs. NPC aliens aside is set on a "high-tech ghost ship" besieged by a "skyscraper-sized" sea monster and infested with dog-like alien creatures. The trailer also teases the inclusion of the Predator. The actual Predator, from the films. I haven't paid attention to Call of Duty in a while, so it feels like returning to a familiar old house I thought I knew, to find it full of dinosaurs.
Reinstall invites you to join us in revisiting classics of PC gaming days gone by. This week, editor Sam Roberts returns to the fury of Call of Duty 4's singleplayer campaign.
With Titanfall jettisoning the idea of a traditional single-player mode and Battlefield 4’s campaign inducing widespread sighs, this has become a disposable bolt on to most of today’s big shooters. Titanfall is able to create much of the drama of a single-player game in the midst of its impressive systems, but it’s worth remembering that the old Infinity Ward were really good at making campaigns, too.
But it might be that Titanfall’s lack of a true single-player mode is a sign of the times: COD’s rigid campaign formula has been exhausted. Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was its peak
Why do Call of Duty characters hate each other so much? Yes, they're at war - that I can understand - but the lengths they'll go to annihilate their enemy is almost sadistic. In Ruins, one of the four maps added through the Devastation DLC, somebody has gone through the time, danger and expense of rigging a volcano to explode on command. It's as if Infinity Ward have created an fiction in which every person is a Bond villain.
Diablo 3 historians will probably mark the time after patch 2.0.1's sweeping changes as "post 2.0.1." The upcoming update's major systems revamp—such as the removal of the real-money and gold auction houses, scaling difficulty, and the implementation of clans—marks a divide between the old (and dubiously designed) Diablo and a new Diablo far more in tune with what players want. Its end-game Paragon system will get a complete rework as well, and in an official blog post, Blizzard explains how the new system will work in Reaper of Souls.
Activision's quarterly earnings call was yesterday and—to no one's surprise—the company made a lot of money. $1.5 billion in net revenues to be exact. A lot of that money was made with the Call of Duty games, which, according the Activision's calculations and the NPD, was the number one franchise in retail in North America in 2013. As you may have noticed, there's a new Call of Duty game every year, which may be part of the reason why we've grown weary of it. Activision announced that while it will keep to that relentless schedule, it will give the games' developers three years to work on each title as opposed to two.
After yesterday's Instagram teaser, today Infinity Ward have released a more fleshed out promo for Call of Duty: Ghosts' first DLC campaign. Onslaught follows the traditional COD DLC pattern: containing four maps and a few extra bits. This time, the extra bits include a gun that's actually two guns, and a new episode of Extinction.
The most notable of the new maps is Fog. To go along with its horror-themed setting, players who complete a Field Order are transformed into Michael Myers, tearing up the map with his trademark axe and mask. It's a pretty weird bonus, but not as strange as if you'd been transformed into Mike Myers and forced to act out scenes from The Love Guru. On second thoughts, that would probably be more horrifying.
Infinity Ward have announced their first DLC pack for Call of Duty: Ghosts. In an ideal world, this would update the campaign with even more animal followers. Personally, I'd love to see the addition of a stealth-friendly attack owl, a Worms-inspired exploding Sheep, and a bagful of hedgehogs to be thrown spines-first into the exposed faces of enemy soldiers. Alas, with the Onslaught DLC the Activision studio are instead sticking to the formula that guarantees them a truckload of money: four new multiplayer maps and some extra bits.
As 2013 drew to a close and with only a few hours left until the end of the Steam Holiday Sale, Marvel pulled Deadpool from Steam. Deadpool, which was deeply discounted during the sale, was one of several games Marvel pulled from all digital storefronts at the end of 2013.
Call of Duty: Online, the free-to-play, online only, microtransaction-fueled multiplayer shooter published exclusively in China, is adding robot zombies to the game. I didn’t miss an “and” there—these enemies are mechanized walking corpses, or, rather, robots that once lived and have come back from the dead. Actually, I’m not sure what they are, other than cooler than anything I’ve seen in a Call of Duty game lately.
Previously, I'd assumed Call of Duty: Ghosts' heavy RAM requirement was there because loading a nice dog was a memory intensive procedure. Either that's not the case or canine computer tech is becoming increasingly advanced, because a new multiplayer patch has lowered the game's 6GB RAM restriction. Now you'll only need 4GB of memory juice to access the multiplayer portion, which should naturally mean more dogs chewing on more throats. Hooray?
The tenth Call of Duty game came out this week, and by all accounts it's full of the same man-shootiness we've come to expect from the series. It's also not well optimised for PC. The frame-rate bobs all over the place and the apparently unshakeable mouse acceleration makes aiming feel slippery and weird. Players sensitive to narrow fields-of-view have also been suffering with Ghosts.
The good news is, there are a few tweaks and fixes popping up to alleviate the worst of it. Here are a few you might want to try from around the web.
Call of Duty: Ghosts will be damned if you peek away from your screen. Boredom is absolutely not allowed as the campaign pelts you with action vignettes—including a scene directly snagged from the opening of The Dark Knight Rises—and repeats its mantra ad nauseam: “Keep moving!”
I’m in space, I’m underwater, I’m piloting a dog, I’m piloting an Apache, I’m driving a tank that handles like a Lamborghini—all without ever really learning a new skill. The Apache, for instance, is magically repulsed from the ground—it’s like piloting an air hockey disc—so finesse is unnecessary. On-screen cues tell you what you need to know as you’re plunged into an airstrike: fire flares when an enemy locks on, left mouse button to fire your cannon, hold down the center mouse button to lock on with missiles. Then go to town.
The most important thing about Call of Duty: Ghosts is the fact there is a dog. Therefore it is only logical to conclude that the most important thing about the Call of Duty: Ghosts launch party is the fact that there was a dog. A real dog, that it was possible to pet. As conscientious videogame journalists we thought it only right that we reviewed this crucial part of the game for you. We're selfless like that.
Where will you be at midnight tonight? Personally, I'll be randomly clicking on internet links, delving further into the hole of unproductive time-wasting and feeling guilty about not getting a Good Night's Sleep. As PC gamers long acquainted with digital distribution, I'll guess that your own plans probably don't involve queueing in the cold, or in some barely-lit supermarket, waiting for a copy of Call of Duty: Ghosts. For some, though, it will. That's because Call of Duty: Ghosts is a Big Deal. Just look at all the trailers Activision are throwing out for it. One of them even features Megan Fox, who you may remember for the uncredited role 'Stars-and-Stripes Bikini Kid Dancing Under Waterfall' in Bad Boys II.
From a game that contains ghosts, to a game that's called Ghosts... and contains aliens? As predicted yesterday, Call of Duty: Ghosts has now officially trailed Extinction, with a two minute video showing glimpses of the series' "all new" four-player co-op mode. As you can tell from the gratuitous "BWAAAAARM" noise, the tone here is steely determination, ruminations on the nature of change, and acid spitting monstrosities. Essentially, the military equivalent of a pub night with the PCG team.
If aliens do ever attack the planet, let's hope that their arrival will be pre-empted by a more official source than Instagram. Call of Duty: Ghosts is teasing cryptic extra-terrestrial activity through the image sharing site, with a video posted to an official account showing its skeletal mask shifting into an alien apparition. Leaked images appear to clarify the announcement, showing an "Extinction" game type that would appear to be a chitinous variant of past games' co-op Zombies mode.
Nvidia put out some unofficial Call of Duty: Ghosts system specs a couple of weeks back suggesting that Infinity Ward's peppy manshooter would require a 64 bit OS, and they were right. The Call Of Duty site now has the official specs, which adjusts the 50GB install to a 40GB one (lets face it, 30GB of that is hi-res dog), but retains the 6GB RAM requirement. Watch Dogs, another game designed to span the gap between current and 'next-gen' console hardware, needs similar tech.
We can expect system requirements to quickly jump up when we start seeing ports of games that target the PS4 and Xbone exclusively next year. Will the similarity of the new console hardware to PC architecture make for smoother ports? I can only hope. Meanwhile, get yer Call of Duty: Ghosts system requirements right here.
I get it, you're a busy person. You've not got the time to watch every video that comes your way. I'll save you some time, and describe Call of Duty: Ghosts' launch trailer in its entirety. "Explosions, explosions, explosions, explosions, FISH PHYSICS, explosions, dog, wolf, dog, space, space explosions." Just imagine all that with an Eminem song in the background and you're golden.
Are your hopes up? You might want to lower them a bit. Lower. Lower. A little lower. Too low! ...Lower. Perfect. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has been announced! It's a film tie-in sequel to the film tie-in original, which I only learned about five minutes ago. Metacritic tells me that was 'alright', and if this follow-up follows through with its light RPG elements and more detailed Manhattan, we may well be able to upgrade that to 'pretty good I guess'. Teaser trailer after the break.