Nuketown: NUKED!
November 22, 2010

Ok, so this is nothing new, but I only now got around to griping publicly about it.

Call of Duty: Black Ops is not a great game, despite what all the expensive advertising (Kobe Bryant and Jimmy Kimmel like it--it must be good!) will try to tell you. And all the pro gaming mags and sites. 9/10? Ridiculous. The game is NOWHERE as good as Modern Warfare 2. Like, it's not even close.

It doesn't look as good. The characters have big heads in the single player campaign. In multiplayer, you get this sense that you're controlling toy soldiers on a play battlefield. That's not good.

More importantly, the single player campaign is hella boring. Surely this is due in small part to my playing too many of these sorts of games in a short space of time. Might be all "FPS'ed out." Might be.

But it's mostly because the campaign is a disjointed mess with characters I don't care about, fraught with bad accents and plagued with moments where the game wants you to do something, but doesn't tell you what.

Multiplayer isn't wonderful, but it has a few crazy fun maps, and unlike in MW2, you can actually vote to play the map you just finished with again. And again. And again.

And that map was Nuketown. Most folks loved it, and so you might find yourself playing it ten times in succession. Of course, if you got tired of it, or if Nuketown wasn't your thing to begin with, you could just exit the lobby and go back in.

Treyarch didn't like you having to do that. So they crippled their own voting system. It seems as though too many were having too much fun with Nuketown, and so Treyarch saw fit to do two things: 1. make the occurrences of Nuketown coming up as a map extremely rare, and 2. when it does come up, you can't play it more than twice in a row.

Listen, I understand you made other maps. And I understand that Nuketown is ridiculously simple. I won't get into the argument I've seen some having about 'intelligence level' as if it has something to do with wanting to play a manic level over a more sprawling map. God knows Nuketown isn't perfect, with its crazy spawn points and whatever else elitists want to cite as making the map beneath them.

The fact of the matter is: most people loved the hell out of it. They voted to play it over and over, because they loved it. Others could opt out if they didn't love it. What's the issue? Contrary to what some 'purists' have claimed, players murdering one map did not and would not 'break' the online experience; eventually, Nuketown lovers would calm down a bit and move on to other maps (or other games). Yes, the interest would not stay at the level it was at initially, forever. Really!

The fact that Treyarch felt the need to step in and abort what seemed to almost universally be considered the best thing about their new game is pretty sad.

My own obsessive interest in Nuketown had already started to die down before the infamous patch was forced upon me. I would have played it less often. Now I can barely play it at all, and the other maps are almost all whitebread. Time to play some Modern Warfare again.

Most recent blog posts from Marc Golding...

Suskie Suskie - November 22, 2010 (07:40 AM)
I've been playing Brotherhood and hadn't heard about this until now. That really sucks. Like you say, everyone who didn't like it had the option to simply not play it, and those of us who love it can't play it as much now. That's ridiculous.
Masters Masters - November 22, 2010 (07:53 AM)
Yeah, it's quite stupid.

But, on the bright side, my bitterness has moved me to look for something entirely different to play. I'm working on Silent Hill: Shattered Dreams now.

Which by the way, has really brought to light how poor I am at using the Wii remote. Maybe the sensitivity is too high? Jesus, I could barely aim it to unlock and open a car door.
overdrive overdrive - November 22, 2010 (10:56 AM)
I was at my best friend's yesterday and we played the single-player campaign. I'd say part of your non-impressed viewpoint might be FPS burnout, just because I generally liked it and I haven't played a FPS for some time (whatever came later between MW2 and Project Snowblind). I do say that MW2 was better overall. Black Ops had some ideas that might have been good in theory, but weren't in execution. Like that part where you get in the fancy plane with a completely new character to...coordinate stuff on the ground. Dullsville. I could see what Venter was saying in his review about how challenges were more of the "go somewhere, get killed...and then figure out what killed you", as opposed to being able to work out of situations at times. And there are a few non-intuitive bits. Like that late-game level where you have to sneak behind your Russkie friend to infiltrate that Rebirth base or whatever it's called. I followed him to the first point. I followed him to the second point. I followed him to the third point...and was discovered and killed. This happened again. The third time, I ran farther and hid in the shadows of the next building over. Despite there being no logical way I could have been seen, I was discovered (amusingly, it was like 5 seconds after the Russian said they spotted me that I was shot). Then, I finally figured out that you're supposed to not hide there and instead run up and tomahawk the guard to take his gun and progress the level. I just found it funny that was the ONLY solution and that you'd be found no matter where you hid.
Masters Masters - November 22, 2010 (11:05 AM)
Hey Rob, that's a pretty funny story, and it sounds in keeping with what I've experienced so far--and I'm not even as far along as you are.

But seriously, you don't think the character models look a bit funny? They all have heads that seem slightly too big, I'm telling you!

Did you get to play any multiplayer?

Finally: the graphics in the zombie mode are turrrible. Like a Resident Evil game on the PS2...!
overdrive overdrive - November 22, 2010 (11:19 AM)
To be honest, I never really noticed the character heads, but I find myself horrible at noticing things like that until someone mentions them...and then they never leave my head. Like when Zig mentioned the plastic features of characters' faces in Uncharted 2. That sort of artificial mannequin-like quality was something I never noticed. Now...I can't look at a "realistic" face without seeing that. It really made the cinema scenes in Lost Odyssey bizarrely creepy. Like, the only thing I could notice was how weirdly mouths stretched over teeth.

We only played the single-player campaign, but he did show my the zombie mode, which he'd been fiddling with while waiting for me to show up. And yeah, the first thing I thought was RE.
Masters Masters - November 22, 2010 (12:27 PM)
Yeah, Zig ruins a lot of games for people. You should try Medal of Honor's single player--much more enjoyable.
EmP EmP - November 22, 2010 (12:51 PM)
It's not. It's rubbish.
Masters Masters - November 22, 2010 (12:59 PM)
This coming from a guy who hasn't played all the games being sampled for comparison's sake.
Suskie Suskie - November 22, 2010 (01:20 PM)
Hey, you know what this Nuketown thing reminds me of? It reminds me of Reach, when Infection was on the Rumble Pit playlist. It was a popular mode, but people who hated it (like me) were annoyed that they couldn't play a basic deathmatch without risking getting stuck in some mock-Left 4 Dead variant. So what did Bungie do? They gave Infection its own playlist. That way, people who like it can get as much of it as they want and people who don't like it never have to play it again.

Treyarch is no Bungie.
Masters Masters - November 22, 2010 (01:32 PM)
Ha, definitely not. Are you familiar with MW2? Have you played the map called RUST? People are likening NUKETOWN to that. I see the similarities. The only difference is that RUST sucks. =\
EmP EmP - November 22, 2010 (02:30 PM)
I've played Black Ops. I'm playing Black Ops now. It's pretty poor.

I did it right off the bat on Hard and the corridor slog though the Russian space base is killing me. I might give up and knock it down a difficulty.
zippdementia zippdementia - November 22, 2010 (02:31 PM)
Huh. That sounds SHOCKINGLY like a certain corridor slog in a missile base in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
overdrive overdrive - November 22, 2010 (02:34 PM)
What I think I ought to do is go on a Halo binge sometime. The only problem is that: 3 and Reach are 360 games, 1 is a DL purchase over Live Arcade, but I don't think 2 is. Which means I'd have this gap. I don't think I'd really care about missing some of the series story or one game or whatever, but there's a part of me that's just like..."This would not be right!"
EmP EmP - November 22, 2010 (02:39 PM)
Buy 2 for $1.02 on Ebay.
Masters Masters - November 22, 2010 (02:59 PM)
Well you're right about one thing, Emp. Black Ops IS pretty poor. But your Medal of Honor hate is right up there with your Mafia II hate -- but NOT on the level of your absurd Half-Life 2 hate -- for worst opinion ever. =D
overdrive overdrive - November 22, 2010 (03:05 PM)
EmP. Don't have a regular XBox and didn't think the 360 hardware was innately backwards-compatible or am I missing something?
Masters Masters - November 22, 2010 (03:06 PM)
You're missing something. It's backwards compatible!
overdrive overdrive - November 22, 2010 (03:11 PM)
Really? Well, I guess there is a Wiki list of compatible games and Halo 2 is included. I guess I was mainly going off memory of a year before buying the 360 where it sounded like you had to download emulation profiles to run (term used on Wiki article) and over time, that got confused in my head to where I thought if it wasn't available through Live Arcade, it wasn't compatible.

Next FPS mood I'm in, it's mo-fo-ing Halo time, I guess.
Suskie Suskie - November 22, 2010 (03:12 PM)
I still say Halo 2 has a pretty fantastic campaign. You don't want to miss anything story-wise if you're planning on playing Halo 3, either. (And you won't have to wait three years for the cliffhanger to be resolved. Lucky you.) But yeah, you shouldn't have much trouble finding a copy and you should be able to play it on your Xbox 360.
Masters Masters - November 22, 2010 (03:12 PM)
Haha I like how you temper the MO-FO part with "I guess" right afterwards. I've never loved Halo games, despite wanting to. I should give 'em one more shot. Everyone else seems to think they're awesome--I feel left out.
espiga espiga - November 22, 2010 (03:13 PM)
I don't think they're awesome.

Then again, I can count the number of FPSes that I think are awesome on one hand.
Masters Masters - November 22, 2010 (03:14 PM)
What might they be?
espiga espiga - November 22, 2010 (03:21 PM)
Unreal Tournament, Team Fortress 2 and Portal, and Portal only half-counts.
Masters Masters - November 22, 2010 (03:23 PM)
Nice. UT is my fav FPS of all time. It still holds up today--I played it a couple months ago and had a blast. Sadly, UT3 feels like a pretty, soulless retread.
Suskie Suskie - November 22, 2010 (03:31 PM)
UT04 is awesome, however. I will not accept disagreements.
EmP EmP - November 22, 2010 (03:39 PM)
It's no Quake III.
Masters Masters - November 22, 2010 (03:48 PM)
I've never played 04, but I have it as part of that PC package that includes UT, Unreal, Unreal 2 and UT04. Isn't it supposed to be classic UT but with vehicles added?
overdrive overdrive - November 22, 2010 (04:01 PM)
Oh..and before anyone asks, yes, I do see the irony in me on one hand bemoaning my "more games to play than I'll ever get to" situation and on the other, contemplating a conquest of the Halo series.

That's the story of my gaming life: "I don't think I'll buy another game for yea...OOOOO SHINY...ME WANTS!!!!"
Suskie Suskie - November 22, 2010 (04:38 PM)
It's been ages since I played the original UT, but to the best of my memory, yeah, that's pretty much what UT04 is. Also, it's got this game type called Onslaught that is absolutely the shit.
zippdementia zippdementia - November 22, 2010 (04:52 PM)
You're not alone in your underwhelming feelings about Halo, Masters. I had an Xbox for years and really tried to like Halo 2 but I found it pretty boring.
Masters Masters - November 22, 2010 (09:27 PM)
Zipp: yeah, that's it--I was bored when I tried to slog through Halo 1 and 3. Never did try Halo 2, though. I've used this analogy before when describing my experience to Hartley, but it really does feel like a game of Lazer Tag to me. Pchew Pchew! The weapons lack punch and so shooting doesn't feel satisfying to me. I can appreciate that the music is great though...
Suskie Suskie - November 22, 2010 (09:43 PM)
No, Assault is in there, too. Onslaught is this crazy connect-the-dots thing where you capture power nodes, and the vehicles play into that. It's really cool.
Masters Masters - November 22, 2010 (09:58 PM)
I wonder if anyone still plays it online... do you have a PS3 or 360 or both? I need to add some folks.
zippdementia zippdementia - November 23, 2010 (01:31 AM)
Lazer tag... what an apropos comparison! I think design was part of the problem for me, too. It's been ages, but I remember a lot of the enemies looking the same and the many corridors I went down being a similar color and construction.

If there is one kind of game that needs good visuals to back it up, it's the FPS. I felt Halo lacked in visual appeal, even if its gameplay was solid.
Masters Masters - November 23, 2010 (06:32 AM)
Well Zipp, that's the thing: Halo has a distinct visual flavour--I just don't like it. Some people go on and on about the graphics being awesome, and I can see what they mean, but the look doesn't quite do it for me.
Halon Halon - November 23, 2010 (05:03 PM)
I'm about to speak the truth!

UT > Quake III CPMA > UT2004 > Quake 3/Live >>>>>> UT3

As far as arena shooters go Painkiller and Warsow were also a lot of fun.

I only played a little bit of Black ops on 360, but what I played was way better than MW2. The biggest improvement to me was kill streaks not stacking; constant airplanes/grenade launchers/choppers and a million other things is what made MW2 unplayable for me. I hear singleplayer is bad but the only Call of Duty singleplayer I really enjoyed was United Offensive. Playing that on Veteran was a REAL challenge.

I've never been the biggest Halo fan mainly because of how you can absorb so much damage and the effectiveness of melee. Also never cared for the floaty feel, either.
Masters Masters - November 23, 2010 (05:08 PM)
I'm about to speak the truth!


I only played a little bit of Black ops on 360, but what I played was way better than MW2. lied!
espiga espiga - November 23, 2010 (05:58 PM)
Nice. UT is my fav FPS of all time. It still holds up today--I played it a couple months ago and had a blast. Sadly, UT3 feels like a pretty, soulless retread.

I remember WAY back in the day when you, Scott, and myself would play online with a few other chaps whose names I fail to recall.

I was a little cow named Moo. I wasn't the greatest but I was decent enough to stand my ground for a while. It's actually those times that makes UT one of the most memorable FPSes I've played... All this dialogue about it is making me wonder if there's still servers up for it, haha.
Masters Masters - November 23, 2010 (06:40 PM)

Dude, all this time I had no idea who you were. Didn't you have a different AIM or HG name before?
espiga espiga - November 23, 2010 (07:37 PM)
I have 2 AIM accounts: Spike6d9 (which I usually keep on Private) and Espiga Freth (which I don't).

As for HG accounts, this has always been my only one, though my life randomly enters tumultuous moments that require me to disappear for months at a time.

I'm pretty sure I have you added to my Spike6d9 one though!
Suskie Suskie - November 23, 2010 (10:52 PM)
I can't remember the last time I signed onto AIM and Spike6d9 wasn't online.
Masters Masters - November 24, 2010 (05:29 AM)
Yeah, I didn't have him on my list for some reason. In other news, I can't remember the last time I logged onto AIM and Tokitikino WAS online. I can see through your block, you bastard.
Suskie Suskie - November 24, 2010 (01:23 PM)
I just don't use AIM much anymore because what the hell do I ever use it for in the first place?
Masters Masters - November 24, 2010 (01:43 PM)
I was only joshing.

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