DoubleTake: The Future is Black
The Call of Duty series has a unique relationship with gamers in that it is one of the most successful franchises in the history of video games, yet hardcore gamers can’t seem to help but complain about the series and what they feel it’s doing to the industry in general. Now, with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Activision and Treyarch are looking to take things quite literally into the future. Ray Carsillo and Blake Morse recently sat down to chat about their own love/hate relationships with the series.
Blake Morse, Contributing Editor: Ray, I’m about to admit something to you, and the rest of the internet that I’ve never revealed to anyone before: I sincerely enjoyed playing the original Black Ops story mode. It’s true. I know a lot of people would be ashamed of me for it, but this is who I am and I’m proud of it. It seems like every E3 I go into the latest CoD demo just like all the journalists: tired, jaded, and cynical. BUT, without fail, every time I leave excited to play the next one. The same things I hate about Michael Bay movies are the same things I love about these games. This year was no exception, although the futuristic setting and weaponry, such as the sniper rifle that could be charged up to shoot enemies through several feet of concrete and the squads of remote controlled quad-copters that could be used to ambush enemies, made things feel more Halo and less CoD.
Ray Carsillo, Reviews Editor: I hear you there Blake. What we saw in the futuristic setting of 2025’s Los Angeles was something we’ve never seen from CoD and although it was very believable, you wonder how they will craft half a game around it and how it will play out. That being said, I was also a huge fan of the first Black Ops story mode and knowing that the other half of Black Ops 2 will take place in the 1980s with our old friends Mason and Woods has me cautiously optimistic. And if anything, this is simply CoD’s response to us jaded journalists. They’re giving us deep, parallel storylines, branching mid-level paths, and a near unheard of amount of character development this time around. I honestly haven’t been this excited for a CoD game since the original Modern Warfare and the demo we saw at E3 only reaffirms that excitement.
Blake: It’s nice to see L.A. get some of the brunt for once, we’ve seen NY blown up so many times. But I think what excites me most about BlOps 2 is the robots. Fighting and controlling four-legged battle walkers equipped with machine guns and mortars, that’s my cup of tea right there. What I’m really curious about though, are the “Strike Force” missions you’ll play in the campaign. I find the mix of FPS action and tactical squad commanding intriguing. Being able to switch between both soldiers and drones could easily be a lot of fun, and the fact that you can fail these missions and it will affect the difficulty of later missions is interesting. But it’s also a new mode, and new modes are infamous for giving off that “tacked on” vibe in the final product.
Ray: Finding the right balance between playing “Strike Force” on the ground and as that all-seeing eye in the sky is really what will make or break that mode. The game play comes off tight enough, but if you become too omnipotent with eye in the sky and make it too easy, then the levels will be no fun. If you make it too hard though and everyone keeps dying and losing, then the mode loses its value as well. But the idea of multiple endings and outcomes is indeed very intriguing.
Blake: Yes! The one major problem with single player has always been length and replayability. They’re finally giving incentive to do something other than grind away on team deathmatch modes, which is something I’m grateful for, because I never get that much enjoyment from getting my butt kicked by 12 year olds over and over again online. Actually making a robust solo mode? What a foreign concept!
Ray: For sure, and that’s not to say they’re sacrificing the multiplayer modes to do that either. Zombies mode, Team Deathmatch, and all our other favorite multiplayer modes that we associate with CoD games by Treyarch will be available. And I think that’s what has me so excited. This could be the most complete CoD game we’ve seen in a very long time and it ensures something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a deep online multiplayer experience, or a ton of replayability from the single player campaign, Black Ops 2 looks to deliver that well-rounded and robust experience we’ve been looking for from them for years now.
Blake: Agreed, I’m definitely hyped to see where this takes the series. Hopefully it’ll live up to the buzz it’s been receiving when we get our hands on it November 13th. I am ready to make my enemies eat robot laser death! How about you, Ray?
Ray: Not to overly use the slogan for this game, but I think that Treyarch and Activision hit the nail on the head with this one dude. The future… is black.