Jun 022011

Putting away our CoD Subscription snark for a moment, you may want to know that through Steam, a free to play, no strings attached weekend for Black Ops is available.  Simply go to this page here, install CoD Black Ops, and play your heart out until Sunday, 1PM PDT.  The multiplayer in Black Ops is entertaining for at least a weekend, so it’s not a bad idea if you want to check out the latest CoD.

While we’re chatting about CoD again, you can also sign up for free beta access subscription of CoD Elite here.  The good news for diehard CoD fans is the Elite subscription doesn’t take away anything you are used to getting for free (like multiplayer), it only adds new services, eventually for a price.  What I find interesting is that they took this long to tap into extra services for CoD, right around the time I’m hearing from many friends and gaming sources that people are starting to get tired of the recycled CoD formula year after year.  Had they unveiled Elite even one year ago, it probably would be a larger success than it could be now, as CoD seems to be approaching the downward side of its popularity arc.

Apr 142011

CoD Black Ops mod tools are reportedly coming in May, if Treyarch pc developer @pcdev is to be believed.    This will mark the first CoD game to have mod tools since CoD (5) World at War.  Better late than never?

What’s interesting is that CoDBlops has done more to try and restore faith in PC gamers than any other CoD game since arguably CoD4, but it still gets little to no respect from PC gamer elitists, myself included.  Is it rational?  Probably not.  Let’s recap what Treyarch has brought to the PC since the woeful, Infinity Ward developed, MW2.

  • Dedicated servers / Server browser — after the abomination that was IWnet, something so simple like dedicated servers is a huge bullet point for CoD Blops PC.
  • Steamworks integration — They could have tacked on GFWL or Gamespy, but they choose probably the best 3rd party PC “platform” that has generally accepted DRM and is most likely the least hated of the available options.
  • Always-on server side demo recordings — this is a really great feature, to play back some great in-game moments with easy editing and sharing options.  Sorely lacking from BC2, especially with the opportunity for great “battlefield moments.”  If BF3 doesn’t have a similar feature, shame on DICE.
  • Single player game — of course nothing great here, but if you like that sort of thing, it’s playable and probably a bit less cheesy than MW2 (ok, that’s not saying much).
  • Co-op zombie mode — Again, nothing earth shattering, but a decent diversion and on the PC from the get-go.  DICE never could bring their co-op mode to the PC BC2.
  • Top-down shooter “Dead Ops” — both available in single and co-op mode.  Another nice add-on, included in the box.
  • Yet another easter egg — a playable game of Zork.
  • Lots of post-release patches / enhancements based on player feedback.
  • Less “BS” perks/play-style than MW2
  • No added PC hurtles we’ve seen elsewhere like encrypted ini files, sparse graphic options, menus designed for controller input and slaps in the face like “Press start to begin.”
  • Mod tools — sure, 6 months after release, but still, it’s hard to complain about ongoing support.  DICE is already preparing the PC community to not to expect any mod tools for BF3, and had plenty of excuses why they’d never come to BC2.

Why do so many PC gamers hate CoDBlops again?  I’m starting to forget, refresh my memory.