09 November 2009

Call of Duty and Gaming News, 9 November 2009

Taking aim at Modern Warfare 2...

So, as noted in the Vent below, no early MW2 for us. Just as well, I wouldn't have had the willpower to avoid jumping into multiplayer. I've been playing the single player Cod4 campaign again. I initially played it on Easy the past couple of times, as I was aware of Call of Duty's notorious reputation for placing endlessly respawning enemies and wickedly obscure mission objectives. (Well, maybe not the objectives, but the little compass thingie kinda blows...) Well, I tried it on Hardened, since I consistently made the FNG run in the mid-20s, and the game "helpfully" recommended that level of difficulty. (Best time for me is 20 secs with accuracy bonus on both the PC and the console versions, bearing in mind I'm playing mouse/keyboard on both.) I'm just at the point where the heli pilot has to be saved... and I've gotten a fresh realization of how badly games cheat players.

Just prior to the heli being shot down, you have to move through what is essentially the Backlot multiplayer map. Coming into the partially built two-story building, you're overlooking the stacked steel girders, some corrugated tin fencing, and the 2-story building to your right. There's some semi-stiff resistance. (I got a kick out of popping both the incoming enemy helis with my grenade launcher, tho. I was proud of that since it takes out a buttload of enemy soldiers.) After taking out the helis, there are guys in the 2nd story window to your right, guys in front of the girders and behind the corrugated steel fence to your 12 o'clock, and one guy with an RPG to your 10 o'clock. From the second story of the Backlot building, you can clear the whole area -- until you jump down to the ground level.

Once you do that, enemies come pouring out of every cubbyhole on the map. Now, I don't have any biatching to do about the guys who run around from the left from behind the corrugated fence. But the guys who magically appear in the two-story building after I personally fumigated each window with a 40MM grenade really, really pissed me off. So, after getting killed more times than I like to, I reasoned flanking would be a good idea -- except the game had sealed off the level. The door where you entered the partially constructed building is closed, so there's no way to proceed except to drop down to ground level and do a frontal assault.

It seemed that no matter how many grenades I put through the doorways and windows of the 2-story building on the left, enemies endlessly spawned in there and elsewhere on the map until I personally went through the door to clear the building. As soon as I started moving, the enemy concentrated all their fire and grenades on me, ignoring all the friendly AI on the map. My bullets apparently stopped going through thin cover as well. Tossing a grenade into the ground floor of the 2-story building failed to kill the enemies inside, though all were well within the kill radius.

Well, I ultimately flashbanged through after a few tries, but it was more luck than figuring out the best way to get through. I doubt I could go back and do it again without trying multiple times. Instead of a feeling like, "Wow! That was really hard, but I did it!" there's a feeling that "Wow! That was a cheat!" Most people like a challenge, but, as I can tell you from many (failing) attempts to complete the Epilogue mission on Veteran, there's a point where it ceases being fun. I hope Modern Warfare 2 avoids the "endlessly respawning enemy" mechanic completely.

Need I add that, once I fought through to the helicopter landing zone beyond the Backlot map, I had a brain cramp, and let the helicopter land on me and squash me like a bug?

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