Pixel Count: How Do You Like Your Shooter Campaigns?

Welcome back to “Pixel Count Tuesday”!

Having just wrapped up Crysis 3, I’ve been thinking about the way shooters are leaning these days in terms of how their campaigns are structured. Very few games walk the line the that Crysis 3 does by having its levels be a blend of openness and linearity; most of the time, games are just corridor shooters like Call of Duty or open-world type affairs like Far Cry 3.

While it does have a lot to do with the mechanics (Call of Duty would never work as a semi-open shooter in its current form), it also boils down to personal taste. Some people can’t stand linear games, while other get turned off by games that are too broad. What about you guys? What kind of shooter floats your boat?

What kind of shooter campaign do you prefer?

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Skyrim Dawnguard DLC and Black Ops 2 Revealed Updated

call of duty black ops 2 screenshot

These two bits of news are kind of small so I’m smushing them together to get a decent sized post out of them. Hope you don’t mind.

In news that will surprise no one, Activision has announced the existance of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which will finally make the long rumored jump TO THE WORLD OF TOMORROW. More like 10-15 years down the line, but still. Yes, this Call of Duty will take place in the future, as the second Cold War makes its way to Los Angeles. There’s a trailer tonight airing during an NBA game but the leaked screens show tiny quadrotor remote control helicopters and a trooper in a full-face helmet with a big old gun (looking very Battlefield 2142 to me). Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will apparently be out November 13. The trailer is out now:

Continue reading Skyrim Dawnguard DLC and Black Ops 2 Revealed Updated

Poll: Best or Worst Generation of Games?

Let’s face it: this generation has been one of a kind. Some of the best quality games we have ever seen. And some of the worst service and disasters we have ever seen. As consoles have become more complex, there is a lot more room for errors and I don’t think any opportunities for screw-ups have been missed. But…the games, man! They are so good! But are they enough to overcome the PSN Hack, the Red Ring of Death, the terrible DLC debacles, the DRM nightmares, constant patches due to broken games on release day and the countless other crap we suddenly have to deal with now?

I mean, Uncharted, Gears of War, Bioshock, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Portal and the Arkham series, just to name a few, are all amazing new franchises that stand with some of the best all time. But is the high quality of the product enough to call this the best generation? Or is the terrible state of things for us consumers too much for these stellar games to overcome? Hit the poll and then hit the comments!

Is this the best or worst generation of video games?

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The Case Against Annualization

modern warfare 3As the end of this generation draws near we’re seeing an increase in the amount of franchises that are taking a stab at faster release cycles. Call of Duty has been pulling this trick for a while but even titles with a bigger scope like Assassin’s Creed and Dead Rising are trying to give us a new game every year.

The term “new game” may be a bit of a stretch because in the rush to meet the deadlines a lot of these titles are getting flak for not adding enough to previous iterations. While waiting years for a game may be painful, is it preferable to basically buying what equates to an expansion pack? Continue reading The Case Against Annualization

GamerSushi Asks: Call of Duty and Videogame Vampires?

Game Vampires

While reading Game Informer issue 220, I ran across a section called “Feedback.” In here they list responses from readers and one in particular caught my eye. The response was entitled “Call of Duty: Time Vampire.” What follows is the entry and Game Informer’s response.

“This letter is coming from a previously avid Call of Duty online player. Recently, I’ve begun to actually think about what I’m wasting all these hours of my life on. I decided to pop back in my copy of CoD: WaW, and after getting shot up quite a bit, I quit in frustration. Then I moved back into my comfort zone with my usual gaming selection: Black Ops. I played for a little while and suffered more than my share of frustrating deaths. Then I rage quit and walked outside, thinking about what I had just endured. I asked myself, “Aren’t video games supposed to be fun? Why am I wasting hours upon hours of my life on such a meaningless and even disturbing experience? Why does my kill/death ratio even matter?” I then stepped back and realized that Call of Duty is just a massive waste of time. I went into the barracks option and looked at the amount of time played. It read 10 days, 18 hours, and 34 minuets. Call of Duty, you were like a leech, sucking away at me and my time. I’m glad to be rid of you.”

Matt Bernsdorf
via email

Then GI responded with this:

“So we’re guessing you don’t plan on subscribing to Activision’s new monthly Call of Duty: Elite service?”

So the article hit me in a way that may surprise some people. I felt like this letter was totally worthless, as was the response from GI. I talked about it with my girlfriend and she agreed that the article seemed pointless. Games within themselves are just that, ways to waste time. They are for entertainment, like a movie or a book. They are for you to spend your free time and have fun, two things that the author seems to be re-thinking.

I have spent 8 days 2 hours and 31 minuets playing Black Ops alone. I have had horrible games and been frustrated, but I never consider it an absolute waste of time. I play with my friends and I have fun. To me it seems the author of the letter is not having fun, which leads him to believe that said games are a waste of his time. What I find interesting is that this can be taken to more than just the Call of Duty series and FPS games. I guess MMOs and RPGs are all wastes of time, too. What’s the point? Why should I go for the best weapon or armor? Why should I level up?

I find that it defeats the whole purpose of gaming all together. Perhaps he has grown out of videogames, but I feel he is just being a bad sport. So what do you guys think? Is Call of Duty a total waste of time? Are videogames in general worthless vampires that suck away at us? Give me your thoughts!

Source – GameInformer

The Curse of Annoying Online Teammates

Black Ops

We’ve posted a lot in the past about online multiplayer. Everything from awesome moments of pwnage to griefers to foul-mouth bigots and the racists who love them. But as I was playing Call of Duty: Black Ops on Sunday with my brother, something new occurred to me to ask the wise veterans of the GamerSushi community (that’s you guys and gals).

Team Deathmatch can only take you so far. Sometimes, the urge to work together, to be a part of something greater than yourself rises from somewhere deep inside you and you find yourself playing objective games…with strangers…online. You can probably see where this is going already, but I saw some of the dumbest things of all time on Sunday.

During a game of Domination, people running past enemy flags, instead of stopping and capturing them. Not an enemy in sight and they can’t be bothered because apparently they still think they are playing team deathmatch. Then, during Search and Destroy, you get people who defuse or plant the bomb while standing up, in plain sight. No crouching or going prone, or hiding behind the box to maybe buy yourself a few more seconds of precious time. Just morons.

And the icing on the cake for me was when you die and you can watch your teammates play while you wait for the round to end. You get people camping and sitting still when time is running out, practically forfeiting the round. Also, I guess some people had ADHD, because if there is even one moment where they can’t shoot someone, they switch weapons, just to have something to do. Switch back and forth and back and forth and oh look, an enemy just shot you in the face while you were playing with yourself.

Whew. Sorry. I had to get all that out. So those are my complaints. What are some of your biggest annoyances from teammates while playing online? This is a safe zone: no one will hurt you here. GO!

Player Investment in Multiplayer: A Necessary Evil?

gears of war 3 beta unlocks

The Gears of War 3 beta is coming out next Tuesday, and I get to partake in it thanks to my holding onto the Epic Edition of Bulletstorm. As I was checking out the Gears of War 3 Beta Featurette that Eddy posted a few days ago, I noticed that Epic Games has taken a cue from their fellow developers and added a bit of player customization into the game, namely the ability to paint your weapons with a variety of colors (and a few other treats as well, I’m sure).

In an age where the game trade in business cleans up and publishers are trying to get people to hang onto their games, player investment in multiplayer has become a predictable addition to any big budget title. While Battlefield 2 was the first game I can think of that pioneered this (and I’m holding to that), Call of Duty 4 brought this out in a huge way. Even Halo has had a bit of that with the different armor pieces in Halo 3, and went whole hog with it in Reach.
Continue reading Player Investment in Multiplayer: A Necessary Evil?

DICE Calls Out Competitors

Battlefield 3

I think this is when junk, in a very official capacity, “gets real”.

Apparently one of the bigger trends in the industry these days is for game developers to call out other game developers in a no holds barred type of way, causing the blogosphere to erupt in a collective chorus of “oh snap”. The most recent edition of this would have to be Battlefield 3 wranglers DICE, who in the upcoming issue of the Official Playstation Magazine has dropped notice to its competitors.

Here’s what general manager of DICE Karl-Magnus Troedsson (or should it be Trollson?) had to say.

Our competitors are getting lazy. They’re using the same engine, the same recipe for building a game. At some point you need to take that leap. I haven’t seen them take that leap since a long time ago. We are doing that now. They had better watch out. We are coming for them.

This seems specifically aimed at Call of Duty, which is everyone’s favorite target these days. While it makes for a funny quote, I don’t think anybody is going to knock Activision’s shooter off of its sales throne anytime soon. Honestly, my attitude toward this kind of statement is that I wish guys would just be quiet and make awesome games.

What do you guys think about stuff like this? Are you rooting for DICE and Battlefield 3? Do you want them to keep their mouths shut? Go!

Source – CVG

Infinity Ward Gets Help With Modern Warfare 3

call of duty modern warfare 3

We all know two things are certain every year: A Call of Duty game will come out in November and it will be the biggest game of the year. Well, you can rest easy because it looks like all is right with the world, as the L.A. Times is reporting that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 will be released this November, as expected. Please be aware this isn’t confirmed by Activision yet.

What’s interesting about this is that the article states that Sledgehammer is working closely with Infinity Ward to get the title ready and Raven Software is helping out with the online multiplayer aspect. If true, this would destroy all the predictions that were made about Sledgehammer and Raven working on a separate Call of Duty title. I am rather glad to hear this, actually. I want Modern Warfare 3 before any other kind of Call of Duty series starts up.

What do you think? Would Activision go to such lengths to protect their cash cow? I think so. Are you excited about this or has the backlash still tainted you? Speak!

Source: L.A. Times

Xbox LIVE November Activity Shows Call of Duty Domination

xbl activity list cod4

We all know that most Xbox LIVE users are all about Call of Duty, but I don’t think any of us could have fathomed how deep their collective addiction goes. Since 2007, we have had four, count them four, Call of Duty titles, and they all are being played enough over LIVE to take up a spot each on the Xbox LIVE activity list for the week of November 22.

The Call of Duty game with the lowest placing is the original Modern Warfare at number thirteen. Holding the top two spots are Modern Warfare 2 and the recently released Black Ops. Halo: Reach stays steady at number three, while its predecessor, Halo 3, amazingly comes in above Call of Duty 4 in seventh place. Hit the jump for the full list: Continue reading Xbox LIVE November Activity Shows Call of Duty Domination

ScrewAttack’s Top 10 Online Multiplayer Console Games

Alright fanboys, it’s time to polish off your sticks. I know that we all just love to argue until we’re blue in the face about the lists that other game sites come up with, so I thought I’d bring a new one to your screaming attention.

You see, ScrewAttack just recently released a video that goes through what it considers to be the top 10 online multiplayer console games. They cover everything from Call of Duty to Phantasy Star Online, and manage to have a few other surprises on there as well. One only imagines how much different this would have looked if they had included PC titles on here as well. In fact, I think only a couple of these titles would have made the cut if they opened up the criteria in such a fashion.

So what do you guys think of the list? What other games would you include on there if PC games were added? Go!

Demons’s Souls, MAG And More Are Now PS3 Greatest Hits

Mag: Greatest HitsSony’s popular line of Greatest Hits titles just leveled up with some big names being added to the library of lower priced games. The program, started back during the PS1 era, is a really great way to get some slightly older games at half price. Each game is listed at $29.99 and the new games added include:

Not too shabby a list and it’s nice to see Demon’s Souls get a fresh run as some were afraid that copies were becoming scarce. For those of you who need a little more information about these games, click on our reviews section at the top or click on the hyperlinked games in the list above for reviews of Demon’s Souls, Ratchet and the two Call of Duty games. Do any of these games seem worthwhile to you now that the price has been slashed? Did anyone just buy one of these and is now unable to type due to a facepalm being administered? Go!

Source: Playstation Blog

Poll: How Do You Buy Your Games?

The other night, I gathered in a line of the nerdiest of nerds, standing in mostly single file all with the same goal: Halo: Reach. I know, we’re trying to cut back on Reach posts, and you’ll see some more impressions/reviews in the coming week (I’ve already beat Campaign), but the line got me thinking about something else entirely.

As all of the nerds (I say this with mostly affection) began clamoring for whatever merchandise was being thrown out as prizes, I wondered how they all came to arrive there, and how the hype is different for a release in this digital download age. After all, you won’t see quite as many people lining up to play an exclusively PC game, since they can just order it with the click of a mouse. In the future, when Call of Duty 11X is being released for download on consoles, the hype machine will take a different appearance than we know it right now. Even talking to all of my friends, there are a variety of different methods that people used to obtain Halo: Reach. Online, pre-order, walk-in, etc.

So, I thought I’d ask: how would you say you purchase the majority of your games, and through what service? Go!

How Do You Buy Your Games?

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Game Music Face Off!!! Halo 3 vs. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Time for some more juicy gaming music goodness. This week, we have the two biggest FPS franchises in the world, squaring off.

Less than an hour ago, I finally finished the fight and completed Halo 3. During my many runs of the final level, I came to know this song rather well, as it plays during the mad dash you make at the end. Through many retries, I finally managed to best it, but it wasn’t so bad because the music was kind of kick ass. An epic song that honestly was the part I liked most about that last level.

On the other hand, Modern Warfare 2, for all its heights and lows, has some pretty good music, too. Whenever this song plays before an online match, it gets me pretty pumped up. Crunchy metal guitars mixed with orchestral music? Count me in!

So which do you prefer out of these two songs?

Halo 3 – Greatest Journey

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – Going Loud

Which song do you prefer?

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Black Ops Multiplayer Trailer Teases Replays

Another year means another Call of Duty and this time Treyarch is back in the driver’s seat. Following up on Modern Warfare 2’s massive success, it doesn’t look like the franchises’ B-studio is taking any chances with the formula. Judging by the gameplay it looks to be largely the same, but with a few graphical tweaks and a remote control car bomb. The big news this time, though, is the inclusion of replays to the game, allowing you to go back and watch old matches. If the few moments it appears in the trailer are any indication, it looks to be similar to Halo 3’s Theater mode where you can break the camera out and rotate it around. No word on whether or not you can share the films, but I don’t think that’s out of the question. Take a look at the video:

Ever since Treyarch announced that Black Ops would have dedicated servers on the PC, I’ve been slightly hopeful for this new Call of Duty. If Treyarch brings us more cool stuff, I may consider sinking money into this iteration. What about you guys? What’s your opinion on this video reveal?

Obvious News of the Day: Black Ops Pre-orders Going Like Crazy

black opsAs reviled as Activision is among the hardcore gamer population, the constant success of their franchises really makes me wish I bought some stock in the company. Whether they’re printing money with World of Warcraft or breaking sales records all over the globe with Call of Duty, Activision seems to be doing quite well for themselves.

While Call of Duty may be experiencing a little fatigue brand-wise, there’s no question that the next installment, Black Ops, will still pull in massive numbers over the holiday season. An analyst for Pacific Crest Securities has predicted that, even with the current kerfuffle between Activision and CoD-creating studio Infinity Ward, Black Ops is outpacing Modern Warfare 2 for pre-orders at this current time. His information comes from some of his “retail contacts”, so take from that what you will. The same analyst also says that even though Black Ops will have a greater number of pre-orders, he expects it to only move about 12 million copies during the holiday season, about four million less than Modern Warfare 2 did.

Black Ops is coming into a tough market this season with a lot of big-name titles from competing publishers hoping to vie for consumer’s holiday dollars. Could this be the first step on the road to mediocrity for Call of Duty, or do you think that the veteran franchise will have another stellar year? Has anyone pre-ordered this yet?

Source: 1up

Treyarch Hears The Call Of Duty

Well, bad news for fans of Treyarch’s Spider-Man games, all four of you: the developer recently revealed in an interview with CVG that they are all about the Duty now. Call of Duty, that is.

That’s right, everyone’s favorite B-team in the CoD bullpen has forsaken all others to focus exclusively on Activision’s Call of Duty franchise. They claim this has been the case for sometime and is not a result of the hoopla involving Infinity Ward that you might have heard of. I can’t really blame Activision for such a decision, as despite my pre-release hating, World At War was actually really good. Treyarch even has a whole team dedicated to just multiplayer, which can’t be a bad thing. Right?

How do you guys feel about this sudden change in focus for Treyarch?

Source: 1UP

Call of Duty: Black Ops Trailer Dishes Gameplay

Well, that was fast. Only a few weeks after the teaser trailer, Activision and Treyarch have dropped another video for Black Ops on us, bestowing us with visions of the upcoming Vietnam-era (and beyond?) shooter. While the trailer is pretty light on story, it does show stoic men with firearms and plenty of explosions, and isn’t that what we want from Call of Duty? Take a look and tell us what you think:

Call of Duty: Black Ops Brings Back Dedicated Servers

black opsLike many of the PC gaming faithful on this very website, I was a bit dissapointed in Infinity Ward’s decision to use a peer-to-peer matchmaking service for their multiplayer. While it was fun for a bit, the amount of glitchers and hackers I would run into during every single match became a bit much. I quit playing that game in January, and I haven’t looked back (mostly because of how awesome Bad Company 2 is).

With a new Call of Duty on the horizon, you would expect developer Treyarch to continue on with IW’s plan of no dedicated servers, right? Fortunetly, Treyarch is thinking for themselves this time around, and studio head Mark Lamia recently went on record with PC Zone (via CVG) saying that he thinks, quote:

…dedicated servers are excellent. I don’t see any reason not to see them unless… well, I just don’t see any reason not to.”

Honestly, I think this is good news for the Call of Duty franchise. When you take out dedicated servers, and with it the ability of admins to moderate the player base, what you get is an unholy mess, where only those with the latest aimbot hack comes out on top. I’m still not digging this new Call of Duty that much, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. What do you guys think? Good news? Enough to get you to purchase yet another CoD?

Source – CVG

Top Six: Our Favorite Developers

If you’ve ever watched the credits after the end of a game, you know that it takes a heck of a lot of talented people working very long hours to craft the piece of art you just enjoyed. Before that can even take place, though, you need someone with drive and vision that can get a project off the ground and keep it going when it falters. That’s where the lead developer comes in, and a lot of your favorite games have been made or broken on the whims of these visionaries. Who are some of the most prolific designers in the industry? Read on the see who, in no particular order, we’re pledging eternal obeisance to.
Continue reading Top Six: Our Favorite Developers