If you’re connected with me via any social network (or even via real life), you’re probably aware of my deep and obvious affection for Titanfall. It’s really a fantastic game and a much needed, swift kick in the groin of the FPS genre. Seriously – just watch the gameplay footage above involving a bunch of Titans trying to work out their differences. Madness!

A few of my favorite things in the game are two Titan abilities in particular – Electric Smoke and Nuclear Ejection.

The former is a sort of smoke screen that you can deploy to cause damage to nearby Titans and also shield yourself from the vision of enemies. It has the additional benefit of just pissing people off. And Nuclear Ejection allows you to, when you’re about to be doomed, eject from your Titan and detonate it at the same time – causing, of course, everything nearby to explode. It’s fun even if you’re killed by it – and that’s a rare thing.

Anyway, I’m afraid of how you’ll feel about me after knowing this, but I actually had a Titanfall-themed dream last night involving my two favorite and aforementioned aspects of the game. For whatever reason, I was in a Titan doing chores around my home (I didn’t get a backstory) when my wife approaches me…

Chrissy: “Hey buddy, you know this lawn isn’t going to mow itself.”

Me: “Uh, yeah, well…

*DEPLOY ELECTRIC SMOKE*

The lawnmower is then destroyed by the Electric Smoke, and I use the screen to split. Brilliant move on my part.

She finds me again, unfortunately, and brings me a brand new lawnmower. At that point, I have no choice but to use the Nuclear Ejection and blow the damn thing to hell. The End.

Of course, Katy Perry eventually showed up, but I really shouldn’t get into that here.

codghostsI’m a few weeks into absorbing Call of Duty Ghosts and think I’ve nailed down a final opinion on the shooter (I don’t care for rushing judgment). In case you’re not interested in reading past a few sentences, it’s absolutely playable but an incredibly far cry from what I would have expected at this point in one of my most beloved franchises.

I challenge to a duel anybody who doesn’t agree that Modern Warfare 2 was the absolute peak of the franchise. It took a classic formula and added really interesting elements that ended up making regular appearances in FPS titles everywhere. The maps were fantastic and, above all things, strategic. The weapons roster was unmatched, and the progression system was lovely in its simplicity. With it, I formally (at least in mind) declared the CoD franchise in sole possession of Infinity Ward.

When the death grip of Activision dismantled IW, I feared we would eventually end up with a franchise guided by the moronic minds of Treyarch. The studio that brought us the laughable Call of Duty 3 (remember the driving missions?!?), the comical Black Ops, and the absolutely mind-numbing Black Ops 2, is now in sole control of CoD’s fate. And it’s sad.  Ghosts, while officially under the IW namesake, is just an extension of Treyarch’s post-BO efforts.

And that’s the problem. The path set forth by the Modern Warfare arc has been completely discarded and replaced with the (in my opinion) broken Treyarch formula. Maps completely devoid of any strategic perspective. Instead of “hey team, let’s find a chokehold to fortify and jazz this team up”, it’s “let’s just run around with a SMG until I turn a corner and can shoot someone in the back. What’s more, the upgrade/loadout/progression system is unnecessarily (and laughably) complex  that makes  zero sense unless you spend more time studying its logic than actually playing the game.

Beyond the Treyarch-inspired problems, the weapons list is uninspired (with little variation between options) and the spawning logic is probably the worst I’ve seen in 10 years. The maps are overly large, and I suppose that IW intended to keep players engrossed in the action instead of running around trying to find someone to shoot. But spawning – literally – surrounded by 2 or 3 enemies currently firing their weapons in your direction is, well, bad.

But again, it is a playable game. In fact, I have lots of good times with my friends blasting away online. It’s just not what I wanted for the franchise. If you asked me, back when playing MW2, if this is was what  I would expect out of an IW-made CoD four years later, I would have laughed. And cried. So, while I’ll continue playing Ghosts until spring, I’m not sure if CoD can find its way out of this mess (at least for me). And all of those great developers who brought me the joy of MW2? They’s currently working on a little game known as Titanfall. And that – I guarantee – will be the spiritual successor to Modern Warfare. Maybe even better.

Call of Duty, Games, Reviews, Video Games

How I Really Feel About ‘Ghosts’

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