Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
As far as I can tell, the job of financial analyst is half seaside fortune teller, and half looking at the Financial Times and doing the teeth-sucking noise that mechanics make when they realise their clients don't know enough about cars not to be persuaded to buy an unnecessary replacement. I'm not saying they don't provide a valuable and accurate service, just that this service is so far outside my realm of experience as to be utterly bizarre and incomprehensible. Take the following as a perfect example.
According to Arvind Bhatia, a financial analyst with Sterne Agee, sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 are on a trend to be 15% down on Modern Warfare 3's, which itself was down 5% from the first BlOps.
Treyarch took chances with Black Ops 2's campaign, and in this video critique, Evan and Tyler discuss which of those undertakings succeed, which flounder, and why they feel just one cutscene was able to invalidate the story and belittle the developer's creative effort. Opinions are levied in the video inside.
How's your brain? Is it full of thoughts of the weekend and exciting upcoming things like DINNER and CHRISTMAS? Good, you might be pleased to know that thanks to action games like Call of Duty, your brain is probably better at juggling multiple thoughts of dinner and Christmas better than the average non-gamer brain. It's also good at tracking happy and sad children as they bounce around a circular playground, and is better at picking grey objects from a grey background. We can thank Gears of War for that. Cognitive researcher Daphne Bavelier can do a much better job of explaining it all than I, so I'll give up the stage to her TED performance, which you'll find embedded below.
Martin's steed got stuck in quicksand and couldn't extract itself during our review of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. According to the latest patch notes posted on the CoD forums, spotted by Strategy Informer, the problem has been fixed. The update also boosts CoD's field of view allowance to 90 degrees, good news for anyone experiencing the strange tunnel vision queasiness that those tight FOV settings can cause.
Performance has also been smoothed out for those with four or more CPU cores, server matchmaking has been improved and "connection interrupted" multiplayer errors fixed. Patch notes below.
It's hard to imagine the circumstances in which yoinking your pre-order bonus less than a week after launch would be considered a really good PR move. Nonetheless, this is the peculiar position Treyarch found themselves in when they removed the Nuketown 2025 playlist last night - a multiplayer mode dedicated to the exclusive bonus map - leaving the content only playable in unranked custom games.
As Treyarch's game design director David Vonderhaar tweeted yesterday: "Double XP weekend is official over. That means Nuketown 2025 / 24-7 is as well. I know. RIGHT? Don't kill the messenger. [...] Nuketown 2025 / 24-7 will be back for special events. You can always play it with your friends in Custom Games."
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is out. Evan, T.J., Tyler and Omri toss around their initial thoughts on its conspiracy-laden campaign alongside this week's news: the GTA5 trailer, Valve's new Source engine, next week's healthy lineup of releases, and more.
All that and more in... PC Gamer Podcast 337: The Blackest of Ops
Like their brethren in other FPS games, the bothersome bullets buzzing around in Black Ops 2's frenetic multiplayer regularly takes flak from players lamenting perceived imbalances. Speaking to Destructoid, Treyarch Design Director David Vonderhaar said he'll "drop knowledge bombs" backed by recorded match data whenever complaints arise.
It's inevitable, I know. Do bears tango in the woods? Is there a party like an S-Club party? Will Call of Duty make money this year? Yes, to all these things. A thousand times YES. $500 million is the day one worldwide sales figure Activision are bandying around today for Black Ops 2.
I haven't experienced any ping-related dysfunction in Black Ops 2 multiplayer yet, but to stay safe, here's a quick tip which may improve your matchmaking connections.
Everybody’s second-favourite Call of Duty sub-franchise returns, picking through the carnage of the preceding game’s CIA conspiracy while simultaneously barrelling onward into the cyber-enhanced future-war of 2025.
The game flits between control of David Mason, son of the first Blops’ protagonist, and flashbacks to (not terribly) covert missions taking place during the conflicts of the late 20th century. For the most part, it follows familiar Call of Duty rote: enemies swarm out and you pop their heads and push forward. Like Whack-a-mole, but with foreigners. You shoot men in 1980s Afghanistan. You shoot men and robots in future-LA. Hither and thither, men are shot, their demise serving a globe-trotting anti-terrorism yarn that would be amusingly ludicrous if it weren’t laser-targeted to evoke actual middle-American paranoia.
Chris Tom S and Rich discuss the soon-on-PC Assassin's Creed 3, Football Manager 2013, Planetside 2, some game called Call of Duty, and much more - including plenty of Twitter questions and the first novelty physical challenge in the podcast's history.
Yesterday we reported that around 1,000 buyers of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 had discovered their disc 2 contained not more military manshoot, but BioWare's space epic Mass Effect 2. Embarrassing for Activision, sure - supplying their customers with one of their rivals biggest franchises probably wasn't high on their key strategies - but it was always going to be EA's reaction that proved the most interesting.
Behind every bullet-bordered brawl in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 lies a rich mosaic of data, data that governs weapon behavior. Like an Oompa-Loompa sniper with Ghost Pro, the calculations putter quietly in the background unnoticed—until now. Strapping on their math goggles, brothers Pwnsweet and Corpsecreate (what strange nicknames siblings think up for each other these days) set out (via Reddit) to chart and break down gun performance based on frame counts, deductive reasoning, and presumably lots of airholed corpses.
Gamers on the Steam community forums, Reddit and the Call of Duty forums are reporting that when they try to install disc 2 of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, they instead get Mass Effect 2. So that's what Treyarch meant when they said they were adding moral choices to the campaign.
As is its wont Nvidia has released a new set of beta graphics drivers, hot on the heels of the 310.33 release a couple of weeks back. This is being called an "essential upgrade for all GeForce GTX gamers". Compared with the current WHQL certified drivers the 310.54 release is boasting up to a 26% frame rate boost for anyone playing the just-released Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 or the still-waiting Assassin’s Creed 3.
Although we'll soon pepper each other with bullets and trade drone-guided explosions in Black Ops 2's multiplayer later this evening, Treyarch still wants the chaos guided by a set of rules keeping abuse in check and ensuring friendly times all around. Eurogamer scoped into Treyarch's weekend post of its stiff-sounding security and enforcement policy, and among standard ban pitfalls surrounding piracy and hacking, players using the in-game live-streaming service with "unlicensed content" such as music risk a ban as well.
Treyarch have tweeted that Black Ops 2 is going to have a maximum FOV of 80 - the same as the original CODBLOPS's multiplayer mode - on the grounds that anything higher will break things. That's an unfortunate number, with unusual fields of view being one of the leading causes of in-game motion sickness. It seems unlikely that Black Ops 2 will be doing more than other shooters to justify this claim, but this close to release, don't expect to see any last minute reprieve for higher numbers.
Forthcoming Black Ops 2 map Nuketown 2025 has been given its own trailer, and to rub salt into the oozing radioactive wound, one of the most celebrated Call of Duty maps will be made exclusive to people who pre-order the game. They'll also accrue double XP during the launch weekend, while the rest of us will be forced to beg for scraps at the experience table, like little Oliver 'Snip3rDude69' Twist.
The first player-controlled action in Medal of Honor: Warfighter is to shoot a guard in the back of the head with a suppressed pistol. I can’t move the pistol away from his head. An icon indicates that I should press the left-mouse button to fire. I don't want to.
After a few missions, I don't want to keep playing Warfighter's campaign at all. It isn't fun. It isn't lonely, either: along with Battlefield 3 and the last couple Call of Dutys, I don't think I like military FPS campaigns anymore. They've changed, but my taste hasn't changed with them.