I picked up Call of Duty: Black Ops on launch day within an hour of when the store opened. I’ve taken two half-days since then to devote to getting leveling up and learning each map. I even invited a friend over this afternoon to spend a good few hours with it. Let me be clear when I say that, though the single player campaign is fantastic — MUCH better than Modern Warfare 2 — the online is an absolute nightmare right now.
It pains me to say this, but there is no way I’d recommend anyone go buy this thing, at least for PS3; reports have it that the 360 isn’t face such drastic issues. Connection issues, lag, terrain bugs. It’s a problem and FAR under what most of us expected the game to be.
I’d also be lying if I said the graphics being MW1 era doesn’t bother me a bit too. I can get over it but this is a sequential release, players expect refinement and are right to do so. It almost strikes me as a half job, because some things, such as terrain and select weapons, are improved. Others, the very first assault rifle (the M16) for example, look half textured. The iron sights are great: scraped, metallic, they look real. The M16’s body, however, doesn’t even look like it has a texture on it at all. Some guns also seem to sight awkwardly in the hand, similar to how MAG’s did.
But, again, they’re graphics and, though disappointing, aren’t a game breaker.
The real problem is with connections. Now, I get that, as of this post, there’s about 240,000 players in TDM lobbies right now. Even still, the problem seems to run deeper than that and is rooted in the player-hosting system. I’ve been in around a dozen games where the host’s connection literally breaks the game. In these cases, the nearest I can figure is that bullet/knife detection gets totally thrown off. You can literally be right on top of someone, knife, and miss only for theirs to hit you instead. The last match saw the host with 28 kills and 3 deaths on one of the most compact maps in the game, Nuketown. It reminds me a lot of how instances in Vindictus would sometimes be when the host was laggy.
Connecting, and staying connected, to a game is another huge problem. It’s not uncommon for the game to hang when trying to join a lobby, so that you have to back out and try again. Nearly every game boots you from the lobby as soon as its done. Many simply disconnect or try to migrate halfway through, which, to note, has not once worked. Migration means a disconnect. Another small issue has been happening quite a bit is temporary freezing when games conclude (disconnect or naturally). The PS3 will totally freeze up — no sound, no animations, no response — for a good 15 seconds until it boots you from the lobby.
Do you guys remember the FMJ in MW2 and how it would let you shoot through drywall and sheet metal? There’s no FMJ in this game, but terrain glitches essentially eliminate the need in many maps. The Silo map is especially bad. Throughout there are missile hangar doors that open and close; they’re a good six inches thick, at least. Pistols have no problem shooting through them. That same thing goes for storage bunkers (those big tractor trailer looking things) and, in at least one place, concrete flooring. In another, that host I mentioned above, managed to shoot me through a wall and the upstairs floor, after which I promptly fell through the floor.
Black Ops has a lot going for it. The customization is great, the wager matches are a ton of fun, zombies and the campaign are wonderful. That bears repeating: the campaign is an absolute blast. They’ve improved on so much that it’s a shame to see basic technical things drag down what should be an awesome experience. I’m sure that they’ll patch up their problems but, until then, I’d wait on dropping money on this. Modern Warfare 2 will offer a similar enough experience without nearly as many headaches.
When it works, it’s great; really good stuff. It’s just too bad that’s not happening nearly as often as it should.
Anyone else having problems?
Updated to Include: Two other pretty huge issues I forgot to mention that drastically drop the experience and need tweaking: sub-machine guns are woefully overpowered. They can literally shoot as far as a sniper rifle without losing any damage. They’ve become the standard for most players and I’ve seen more than a few put an AGOC Scope on them and use them as sniper rifles. Add into that their extremely high fire rate and damage and you can kill people WAY faster than any single other weapon. The other issue is with spawning points. There’s a big problem with spawning extremely close to enemies or having them do the same thing to you. You’ll also find yourself spawning in the same spot repeatedly. This makes it so your time alive is drastically reduced unless you camp. The more I play, the more disappointed I become. They really need a big patch to fix these problems.