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Call of Duty Modern Warfare Multiplayer Review

If you’re like me, you will have played the Call of Duty campaign to get you back into the swing of things before you charge into the Multiplayer. I did so once I had completed the campaign and I am 8 hours in, which isn’t much but it’s enough to get a feel for the game modes. Has it managed to capture the magic from Modern Warfare 2’s heyday?

Judging Modern Warfare against those rose-tinted standards is difficult. I probably spent just as much time being murdered on the old games, I just remember the highlights. Calling in a Nuke on Highrise and finishing the game with 31 kills and no deaths in a Team Deathmatch was a moment probably up there with my best in multiplayer achievements. Second only to my legendary exploits on FIFA Pro Clubs.

Over the years Call of Duty’s multiplayer had become a frantic wall running triple jumping horror show for me. Every time I would play, I would be slaughtered in most matches by people at angles I wouldn’t even think to check. That changes with this year’s CoD. Everything is stripped back, it’s you, a gun, 3 perks and some grenades. That simplicity means it relies more on your skills and reactions, and although I am far from being the Rambo I once was, I am thoroughly enjoying it again.

CoD has always had the best FPS gun play in the world; I don’t think that has ever changed. aiming and shooting feels so good on Modern Warfare that just letting that shine leads to some great multiplayer fights. I will shout “Oh fuck off” nearly every time I am killed, but in reality, the kill-cam doesn’t lie, I got hit, and I died.

This year the Killstreaks are more restrained, but still very useful. The UAV is a vital tool and although most players after level 24 will equip cold blooded to be hidden from this, just forcing an opponent to select that over something like the hardline perk is a tactical advantage in its own way. The air strikes are different, with you forced to be able to see the area and mark it with a laser before the bombs drop meaning a little more risk if you want to get it right. You can’t bomb the ever living fuck out of the other side of the map just to try and spawn kill people anymore, unless you run over there and risk being killed by the spawning team.

I mentioned the Nuke earlier, but as far as I can tell that is not in play here. The top killstreak is the Juggernaut armour, which whilst fun, is probably one I will never see equipped by anyone. The Chopper Gunner is pretty much the top dog in the killstreaks. CoD’s killstreaks have not changed much in general because they’re one of the most satisfying gameplay mechanics in any multiplayer. You’re constantly rewarded for getting multiple kills and that determination to get the next notch on the list keeps you playing.

In terms of modes I haven’t seen before, the new Cyber Attack is a welcome addition. It’s essentially a faster Search & Destroy, but with games that last just as long. Each team must grab a device and plant it at the opponent’s base, but you only get one life. You can be revived though, which adds an interesting slant to the gameplay. If you’re the last person against 2 or 3 enemies, you suddenly feel the need to be sneaky and get to your teammates and revive them and even up the game. It means that the game can be evened up during the fight and I have already seen games go from 1v1 to 6v6 again. It’s a cool mode and one I will probably get deeper into once I have honed my skills a little more in the bread and butter for me which is Team Deathmatch.

CoD classic modes are still present, Search and Destroy, Headquarters, Domination all present and active. The one mode I am yet to play much of is Ground War, which is CoD’s take on Battlefield’s larger more all-out war approach. I will be giving it go but I like my Call of Duty to be close maps and fast action.

I was a little sceptical going into this new Modern Warfare. The love I have for Modern Warfare 2 is deep, and it’s a game that really made me realise how great this franchise can be. Since then, the yearly titles have never reached the same heights for me, but this game is threatening to do exactly that. I don’t have the same number of hours to commit to this game that I used to, but I am very happy that I finally have a Call of Duty game to enter the rotation of regular games I play.

In a marketplace flooded with Battle Royale’s and hero shooters, Modern Warfare is a throwback to the games that started the multiplayer shooter genre off. It’s a return to form for the franchise and a game I will be playing long after release for the first time in years. CoD is Back.

9/10 – CoD’s multiplayer is back to its best.

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Call of Duty Modern Warfare – Campaign Review

It’s been a long time since I have been remotely excited to play any Call of Duty game. As soon as the double jumping, wall running craziness started, I was out, and I have tried a few of them with no success. This year’s entry is a reboot of the classic Modern Warfare titles that essentially made CoD into the biggest game on the planet for a long time. The single player campaign was a big part of the original MW games, and this new iteration is no different. 

First, I have to mention the graphics. This is the most realistic looking game I have ever played. It competes with even the Sony first party games and sets the bar for Death Stranding and The Last of Us Part 2 to beat over the next year. The characters are all stunningly detailed and their facial animations are impeccable. This is the closest we have ever come to real people being rendered in game and it really does help sell the immersion.

This year it seems the story writers were given licence to make whatever they want and told to try and be controversial. They succeed at times, and at others it feels like they’re trying to be a bit too edgy. For the majority of the story, I was invested in the characters and the events and CoD legend Captain Price coming back with his unbelievable moustache got me to buy in even more. As the story continues, it’s a pretty standard CoD affair, there are twists and turns but nothing you won’t see coming story-wise. The story is there to give you reasons behind each mission, and those missions are where Modern Warfare steps out from the crowded FPS genre.

During the very first mission, I knew this was a bit different. Your character feels slower, each step feels more deliberate than the sprinting and diving for cover CoD is known for. As you work your way through the mission, you take out the guards as you get used to the shooting and how good it feels to be back playing CoD, or at least that’s how I felt being a lapsed CoD player. At one point in the mission, you enter a warehouse, and the lights are cut out. Its pitch black except for the light radiating from the torch you have that only illuminates a circle in front of you. All the sudden, I didn’t feel like an invincible soldier. The footsteps I could hear in my headphones were unnerving, I knew there was enemies. The tension in these moments is something no FPS has given me in years, if ever. As soon as I saw movement, I aimed at it, sometimes I nailed an enemy, other times I aimed at nothing.

Those moments are scattered throughout the campaign, and the tension is created in different ways. One of the most talked about missions is “Clean House” which is an incredible, slow paced mission that has you doing exactly what the mission name suggests, cleaning out a house. Not a house in the middle east that has been blown apart by a war. Oh no this is just a regular Town house in North London which is full of men, women, children. Some of them are armed. Some of them are terrified. Some of them are terrified, and then they grab an AK-47 and you must take them out.

The shock value feels earned in missions like “Clean House”. As the end of the campaign approaches it starts to wear out, and it’s a little too much. Eventually you’re a little desensitised to the situation of “person looks like they’re surrendering and then they grab a gun”. There are other missions that have their moments, Piccadilly Circus is a stunning recreation and the events happening there are frightening for someone who has walked around the area countless times, and the Embassy mission is the longest one in the game and changes up the gameplay multiple times to give things a slight twist and keep you on your toes.

I honestly did not expect much from this new Modern Warfare’s campaign. I was excited to see Price and the shooting mechanics of MW have never been beat. It turns out that I really enjoyed playing through this campaign, and at the end I was sitting in my chair squealing with delight about the name drops and references. I did not expect CoD to get that kind of a reaction from me. Modern Warfare has brought me back to the series, and even if it takes a couple years between this and the sequel, I am very excited to see what comes next in the rebooted story.

I have jumped in and played a big chunk of multiplayer, and I will talk about that more later in the week. The fact I have played a lot should tell you something though, as I have already sunk more hours into this multiplayer than the last few CoDs combined. The campaign is a reason to play Modern Warfare, and the Multiplayer may just be the reason I stick around.

Good: Incredible Graphics, Stunning set pieces, and some brilliant missions that change up the CoD formula.

Bad: The story will never be that great in CoD games, but it doesn’t really need to be. Some scenes that are shocking for shock’s sake that don’t add to the narrative at all.

8/10 – Modern Warfare is back and I am very happy about it. 

 

Bethesda annoys everyone.

I hate being ill. Yesterday I spent the day laying on the couch staring into space and wishing I was at work. A rarity for me, to wish I was at work, but not being able to focus properly on anything meant I wasn’t even using the time to watch films or something that could be useful for this site. 

Thankfully Bethesda gave me something to write/rant about with the Fallout 76 subscription being launched. On top of the initial £39.99 that they ask for to allow you to play the game, they have now stuck a price on several features that have been heavily requested by the small but passionate community playing that game still.

I never jumped into it, it never struck me in quite the right way despite initially intriguing me. The idea of a multiplayer coop fallout game was something I had always wanted. To be able to run around Fallout 4 with a mate or three would have really added to the already great experience. What I did not want was a relatively empty world populated only by other players. No NPC’s no single player story.

Upon launch the game was met with terrible reviews and it came out with bugs that had been fixed by the communities’ mods on Fallout 4, suggesting that the players were more capable than the developers of the game. That aside, a community began to develop, people love the fallout world and therefore wanted to enjoy this world despite Bethesda’s own mistakes.

Now, ages after release they are releasing a subscription service that players will have to buy on top of the initial fee, in order to get a load of new features. On the one hand I understand why they feel entitled to some money for the development time spent on this, but on the other hand these are not ground-breaking features. They’re essentially Pay to win features like a move-able fast travel point and unlimited storage for the materials you collect in the world.

I have been tempted over the last year or so to jump into 76 and see what it’s like, this has now turned me off completely. It also has put questions in my head about Bethesda in general. They were once my favourite studio. Fallout New Vegas & Skyrim are two top tier games that I will always love. Skyrim came out in 2011, a year after New Vegas, and since then they have not made a game that has really blown anyone’s socks off. Fallout 4 was just more fallout. It released 5 years after New Vegas, and yet was built on the same engine with basic graphical improvements and not much in the way of new gameplay mechanics besides the crafting/building of the settlements. The shooting was improved, but for a 5 year cycle the game felt very similar to its predecessors.

The call for a new engine has been going for years, and although that is not really the right thing to be calling for (The game engine has changed a lot over the years), it’s the easiest way of saying Bethesda need to produce something new. Outer Worlds will be with us this weekend, and that game looks much better than Fallout 4 and it’s going after the same audience. Whatever their next game is will be scrutinised for bugs and errors, things that were once put down to Bethesda’s ambition and their games being so huge in every way.

That excuse has been burnt to a cinder because of games like The Witcher 3, which have released with bigger worlds, more stories, and a lot fewer game breaking bugs if any. Bethesda can’t afford another Fallout 76, and if the past is anything to go by, the next game will likely be an Elder Scrolls title.

Now I am a little bit protective of that property, and I will be so annoyed if they fuck it up. I have played through Skyrim 5 times, on 3 different platforms. I will play the next game on day 1, and if they only give me Skyrim with a fresh paint job and a new map, I will be…probably too in love with the world to care but deep down I will be furious. I want Bethesda to be the best again, but right now they’re so far behind the Naughty Dogs and Respawns of the world I am worried they may have had their best days already.

That was a long winding roundabout way for me to say “I want a new elder scrolls game” but that’s just where I ended up today. Hopefully Friday’s post will be about something more relevant.

‘Til then.

ChAzJS

Nothing But Star Wars

The last trailer for Episode IX is here, the new game’s been previewed by some people, and the first 30 minutes of The Mandalorian have been shown off to some other lucky people. Basically, over the last week Disney has decided to kick the Star Wars marketing machine into overdrive. Between now and December 20th, we will have a new tv show, a new game, and the final movie in the Star Wars Saga. 

First things first though, that trailer. I don’t know if everyone will love it, because it doesn’t fix some people’s problems with The Last Jedi, but I thought the trailer delivered a load of interesting nuggets and some beautiful visuals. Star Wars allows the film makers to put some incredible shots on film, and this trailer is full of them. JJ Abrams has embraced that, and his long-time cinematographer Dan Mindel have really pushed the boat out and gone for some shots to wow you.

The shots can be beautiful without having any substance though, but this trailer, possibly because I am a massive freaking nerd, is full of things I want to know more about. Is that an old-style star destroyer rising out of the sea? Is that Endor at the start? Was that desert Tatooine? Is that throne on the Sith home world Dathomir? Does Kyle hold a Blue lightsaber at one point? Are Mars Delights Ever going to come back?

And of course, is that Big Papa Palpatine chilling on a throne laughing at Rey. Technically, we didn’t see him die. We just saw him thrown down a big old’ hole, and then we saw the Death Star where that hole was exploding into shrapnel.

I am a huge Star Wars fan, and honestly, I love all the movies because they’re Star Wars. Watching it from a critical standpoint is tough because I am so biased, but if I have to say one thing, it’s that this movie seems to have a lot of ground to cover. I do not mind that, because I will see this film at least 3 times before I decide what it all means, but I have a feeling it might be a bit hectic for those uneducated in the Star Wars lore. It’s out on December 20th and I will be buying 2 midnight screening tickets today, so I guess the trailer did its job.

Onto Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, the game being developed by Apex Legends creators Respawn. I was a little worried we was getting a shiny new version of the Force Unleashed games from years ago, but it appears my fears have been extinguished. The game is apparently closer to a Souls style game, with some elements of other games like God of War and Uncharted mixed in there. That is some exquisite company, and if, as I have heard from some previews, it’s taking elements of those games and even if it doesn’t do them all quite as well as them, it does them very well.

It’s slower, more deliberate take on lightsaber combat is intentional, as this is a Jedi character, they’re supposed to be defensive and pick their times to strike intelligently. It may be a little odd for those who want to sprint in with their laser sword and batter everyone in sight, but that tactic won’t work. You need to decide how best to approach each combat situation and that sounds really intriguing to me. I have never been into the Souls style games, but you can wrap Star Wars around just about anything and you’ll have me intrigued.

The game isn’t too far off, and I am going media blackout now as the story does seem like it could be an interesting one. The different planets and the customisation options have me very excited to make this character fit into my own style, and by the end of this I will have him wielding a Red lightsaber if all goes to my plan. *insert Palpatine laugh here*

Finally, The Mandalorian had the first half an hour-ish shown off to a select few, and by all the responses I saw on twitter, its exactly what people wanted. It feels like the Original trilogy, and it has some characters and reveals that will get fans excited. I don’t know what they are, I assume Jabba the Hut will appear as well as favourites like IG-88 who we already know about, but beyond that I have no idea.

All I want personally from the Mandalorian is for it to feel like Star Wars, and to be consistent with the look of the films. The TV show budget would normally be a concern, but as this is going directly to Disney + I have a feeling they will have spared no expense when it comes to the production design of the series. They will know the pressure is on, it always is with a fan base as rabid as the Star Wars one.

All in all, Star Wars fans have a lot to be excited about, and I am looking forward to all this delicious content coming in the final months of this year. We’ve already had Endgame this year, and I can’t help but feel there will be comparisons between the end of that franchise and the end of this one. As much as I love Marvel, and honestly their films are better in general, there is nothing quite like Star Wars.

‘Til Tomorrow!

ChAzJS

 

An old man is angry, and Jared is sad

You know who doesn’t like Marvel movies? Old white guys who were popular in the 80’s. Does it matter that Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola don’t like the Marvel films? Not even a little bit. But journalists seem to be loving the easy story of “person not in target audience doesn’t care for ____”. 

I saw a tweet mentioning that they haven’t criticised those who created the blockbuster genre, probably because they’re mates with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. They’re older gentlemen being asked about something they’re not attached to in the way I am, but I am 50 years their junior. Times change, old men don’t. I have already written about Scorsese’s comments, and as much as you must respect both him and Coppola for their work, you don’t have to agree with their opinion, or anyone else’s.

Coppola’s comments have reminded me of a quote from Grandpa Simpson. “I used to be with it, then they changed what it was, and now what’s it is weird and scary to me”. It’s odd how much that applies here, the guys who made the Mobsters movies everyone watched in the 80’s don’t like the new hot thang in the 2010’s.

It isn’t just old white guys complaining though, there is also a younger, baby faced white guy complaining. Now I am biased, I enjoy 30 Seconds to Mars and Jared Leto was a man crush for a bit. As much as it is painful to say this, it appears he’s been a bit of a prick. If the stories are true, he threw a massive tantrum upon hearing the news that Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker film was given the green light. The story is he called his agents and demanded they contact Warner Bros and try to get the film cancelled.

Of course, it didn’t work, and someone just had to pick up all his toys and put them back in his pram. He’s an actor, who went deep into a character that unfortunately didn’t work for audiences. Warner Bros were apparently unhappy with his conduct on set, with him actively trying to freak out his co-stars. I understand some actors feel compelled to be super “method” about every role, but I am not sure we’ve ever seen an actor go this deep in a role that nobody really enjoyed.

As I mentioned, I like Jared Leto as a performer, and it’s well documented that I love the Joker character, what Leto has done here is confuse that character for his own private property. He was hired to play the Joker, he did so. Now someone else is playing the same character in a film completely disconnected from the DC universe as far as we know. If Leto had been a hit, and everyone had loved Suicide Squad and his role in it was lauded as another great Joker, the likelihood is we would never have seen Joaquin Phoenix put on the clown make up.

It didn’t work, we probably won’t see him as the tattooed joker again and frankly Jared Leto needs to grow up and get over it. He’s a man in his 40’s acting like a petulant child because he was told it was his turn and he didn’t have enough fun on his turn and now it’s someone else’s turn, and Jared isn’t happy about it.

If all the rumours are false, all is forgiven and a massive F you will go out to the journalists who reported it as fact. I have a feeling it isn’t false and its sort of ruined Jared Leto for me. Him thinking he has any ownership over a character that has been around longer than he has make’s him seem like a twat. I will still watch his films, and when I am next driving around with my friend Emma and she finally decides to listen to more than the first 3 seconds of a song, I will sing along to every word of “Attack” by 30 Seconds to Mars as if he isn’t a man child.

Hopefully tomorrow I have something more uplifting to write about! Well I know I will. There will be a new Star Wars trailer. Here’s hoping for more hints of Big Papa Palpatine.

‘Til Tomorrow.

ChAzJS

Some of the things that annoy me.

Somehow, I have missed that Zombieland Double Tap is now out in theatres. I loved the first one, so I want to go and see the sequel, even if it is 10 years late. It got me thinking that there have been a few films like this lately. I wanted to see Hustlers, but it came and went, Hobbs and Shaw too. I really need to get back into going to the cinema. 

It’s well documented that I don’t watch much normal television now, it’s always a streaming service unless it’s a sport, in which case I stream it from the NFL pass or something. This means I don’t see trailers or TV spots anymore, and maybe that’s making me oblivious to the films coming out, or perhaps the films coming out just aren’t compelling me. Why doesn’t YouTube advertise films instead of web browsers and VPN’s, I’d watch the adds longer than five seconds if this was the case.

In the first half of this year I had a list of every film I wanted to see, for some reason I did not repeat that for the second half of the year, and I have seen much fewer films. That’s upsetting, because it means I have missed out on some decent films as well as bucket loads of popcorn I could have munched through. Salty is the way to go by the way. If you get a mix, I can deal with it, but just the sweet popcorn is not OK. You should consider therapy to try and correct this minor character flaw if you’re one of those people.

My most recent trip to the cinema was alone, and I enjoyed it for the most part. I saw Joker, a film about a loner who doesn’t have any friends and becomes a psychopathic killer. There I was alone, standing behind someone on the left of the escalator to the exit thinking “I understand why he turns”.  In case you’re not versed in the do’s and don’ts of escalators, stand on the right, and get a shift on and walk down on the left. It’s not hard, its basic decency. If you stand on the left, do not be surprised or upset when I push past you and give you a disappointed tut of disappointment.

You know what else annoys me, playing any kind of battle royale with other people who aren’t in my party. If I was a streamer, I would be dropping into Apex Legends with random players all the time, because I hurl insults at the dim-witted nincompoops that I seem to be regularly paired with. The idea is you drop together and search different buildings. Not drop right next to me and run into the same room. Who is that benefiting exactly? I get half my loot, and you steal half my loot when you could have had your own stuff in another place. Meanwhile our enemies are strategically sharing the loot out as they should and it’s no wonder when it comes to a firefight, I am reloading my running out of bullets in my shitty Mozambique shotgun and having to punch fools to get any kills early game.

Speaking of the Mozambique, why does that piece of limp dicked nerf shooting crap exist on Apex Legends? What role does it fill? It’s a waste of everyone’s time. The developers have spent hours crafting this weapon but forgot to make it remotely useful to anyone. I cannot think of any other guns I hate as much as that gun on other games, but the G7 Scout from Apex was a close contender for a long time. I have reconciled with the G7 since then and now appreciate what it offers, but the Mozambique is a piece of shite and anyone who says otherwise is wrong.

In case it wasn’t obvious from the random nature of this post, I am over tired today. I have started to play Fortnite with mates and somehow, with very little skill, we are nearly winning games. Most of the time we are being idiots and making jokes, but then at some point in the final game it became serious. I don’t remember the gun play on Fortnite being so good, but I really enjoyed that aspect. Normally the reason we don’t win is because the final team we must fight is Bob the Builder and his friends. We win almost every gunfight that’s not super heavy on the building side, and then as soon as someone is chucking stairs and walls left right and centre as well as shooting at us, we are done for.

We will win a game at some point, and that is when I will finally feel I can retire from Fortnite again. Ironically it will be when I am capable at the game again, which is a bit of an odd time to stop, but that’s just how I tend to play these games. I got pretty good at Apex, top 3 was the minimum, and now I have played one game in the last month just to see the new map.

I am going to have fun trying to title this one. It turned into a list of things I can’t stand but there you go. Anyway I am at a respectable amount of words now, so I will leave it here. Have a great weekend!

‘Til Monday.

ChAzJS

 

Between Two Ferns Review

I don’t know how I had never heard of the Between Two Ferns show on YouTube before. If you don’t know what it is, it’s an interview show hosted by Zach Galifianakis, and he ask’s some of Hollywood’s biggest names some very insulting questions to hilarious effect. I discovered this all by watching the mockumentary about the making of the show “Between Two Ferns: The Movie” which is now on Netflix. 

I can honestly say I do not remember laughing as hard as this watching anything since maybe the Pink Panther movies when I was a child. Something about it just hit me exactly in the right way and I was laughing for most of the brisk hour and 22-minute run time. Zach is so good in this role, his ability to say the most absurd things and keep a completely straight face leads to some amazingly funny moments. He’s so good in the role, because he is playing himself. There is a lot of him in the role, but it’s just all dialled up to 11.

The 3 crew members he works with are a solid supporting cast and have moments to show they can deliver some great laughs too. They are never front and centre long enough for us to feel any real connection and even in the scenes when it seems like we are starting to build to that we get another joke that stops it developing. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean the entire film rests on the audience being fans of Zach and his style.

The premise is that they must make ten episodes of the show on the road, and that leads to where the movie is at its best, the interviews. Zach’s deadpan face and the generally great job by the actors and actresses who play it straight as well really made me laugh. It’s juvenile at times but there is enough gold in these moments to warrant spending the time to watch the film.

The film’s structure is like a lot of similar sketches stitched together. Sewing together the interviews is the challenge the film faces, and it has moments where it struggles. The humour can be hit and miss in these sections. Whilst the highs don’t reach the same level as the interviews, the jokes that missed don’t really grind the film to a halt either. There is always another moment just around the corner. The film doesn’t let you dwell on an unfunny moment because you’re into the next moment, and this scatter gun approach works for the most part.

It’s only when I have stopped to really think about those moment in between the laughs that I’ve realised there are chunks of the movie where we are just waiting for the next laugh, it doesn’t have a narrative thread that is keeping you hooked that other mockumentaries like “American Vandal” have.

That would be a bigger problem were this a series of hour-long episodes like that is, but the shorter run time allows it to just be what it needs to be. A vehicle for Zach Galifianakis to make you laugh for a bit and remember not to take everything so seriously. I personally enjoyed it a lot, and I think a lot of my friends would love it. It’s not perfect but it does have some very good highs that make Between Two Ferns the Movie worth watching.

Good: If you like Zach’s comedic style, this will crack you up. I laughed throughout and the interviews are gold.

Bad: Scatter gun approach may not hit enough for some to think it’s worth the watch, but it really does depend on your sense of humour.

7/10 – Great fun and doesn’t overstay its welcome.