Wednesday, January 13, 2016

More catch up

If I could find time to write two days in a row, well, my life would be much less busy than it is.

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CoDBlOps III. Now that is a fine acronym, second only to KUFCoD (Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom. Hey, I found an old review I wrote about it right here). Call of Duty games are like candy to me: fine is short doses but playing them too much or too often leaves one feeling nauseous. This is just as true for Black Ops III as it was for all of its predecessors, with one important distinction: at about the half way point it is no longer a Call of Duty games.

After Call of Duty deserted World War II for the present day it marched slowly from modern shooter to advanced warfighter to straight up speculative fiction. Black Ops III portrays bipedal warrior robots, full limb replacement, matrix style plugs in the back of the head and an evil AI with the same dreadful seriousness that the older, more grounded games deserved. One does not make jokes about the Battle of Stalingrad. But does an emo AI who travels from soldier to soldier, whining about all of the death it finds and searching for the 'frozen forest', deserve the save level of gravitas? Ehhhh....

It doesn't get it. The game shifts from military bravado to wacky shit once the real 'enemy' is revealed and it is better for it. There is no 'no russian' moment this time, no nuclear explosion inserted just to evoke a visceral reaction from the player. Instead the final levels are in the player's head, possible after he died, in which World War II style battles are played in reverse. Building assemble themselves from their shattered pieces and dead soldiers stand up to fight again. It doesn't make a lick of sense but it is a welcome relief for the usual serious fair.

Still, there are problems. The shift in tone brought along some dreadful voice acting and a few overly difficult and not at all enjoyable boss encounters. How well does a foot soldier stand up to an over sized mech shaped a lot like ED-209? Not well. The results look a lot like hamburger with shards of metal included.

There was also an attempt to lengthen the single player campaign by overlaying the levels with their other game mode. In other words, you play the same exact levels, including the cut scenes, with all of the enemies replaced with the undead. Bonus points for trying, but no, I am tired of shooting zombies.

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