COD: Black Ops Multiplayer. A Counter Point.

Right, so I need to know what’s so special about Black Ops. Hopefully you guys can help. I’m just gonna go ahead and list the things I think make it a bit ‘meh’. Your job is to shoot me down in a glorious platoon-esque style as the Internet flames lick the lush vegetation of fanboyism. I’ve got about 10 hours of multiplayer Black Ops under my belt and over 200 hours of Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and I think that says it all.

First off, there’s not even a semblance of tactical  nous required. The nearest I’ve seen to anyone getting clever is guys following each other and waiting for the sacrificial sod at the front to fulfil his duty as bait before the cowardly slowpokes unleash hell in the direction of the gunfire.

Being so utterly focussed on the rapid-fire delivery of death also makes it difficult to get along with for any significant amount of time. Sure, there’s a certain delight in repeatedly killing everyone and everything in range, but it’s the joy associated with something like pinball: playing better is simply a matter of improving reaction times.

And you’re never playing with people. This may sound nonsensical, given how popular a multiplayer game it is, but you’re never given any kind of incentive to buddy up, or use any kind of teamwork whatsoever. I’m not just talking in reference to Bad Company 2’s squad system, here, as Counter Strike managed to instill a desire to stay in a group before the advent of squad mechanics.

This, to me, is a symptom of another glaring failing in COD’s attitude to multiplayer: you never feel the need to keep yourself alive. There’s no immediate drawback to dying, yet the reward for killing an enemy is fantastic. I’m talking immediate, emotional reward, here, as I can’t see the kill-streak rewards as anything other than a nice-to-have feature. It’s all played at such an intense pace that you don’t really feel anything but a desperate desire to kill. It’s like you’ve been dragged from the deployment vehicle, given a gun and pumped full of drugs, to be unleashed on the enemy with no awareness bar the unassailable knowledge that killing feels good.

And, I guess that pace is what makes it so difficult for me to genuinely like. Of course it’s a good game, I’m not doubting that, but it has longevity issues that I find utterly prohibitive to real enjoyment. Hence 200 hours of Bad Company 2 (not to mention over 150 hours on the first Bad Company) and a mere 10 on Black Ops. Don’t get me wrong, but wouldn’t it be nice to take a breather every once in a while?

Anyway, I wan’t to be proved wrong here. Please try.

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One Response

  1. Liam Pritchard November 24, 2010
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