My name is Jared Whittaker, one of the hosts and Audio Chewbacca of the Super-Fly Podcast and PCW! Welcome to Game Changer, a weekly burning missive about all aspects of video gaming with a little bit of opinion thrown in for fun. Proceed with caution and tread lightly, gentle gamers. It’s going to be good time. Like the first time you saw Super Mario 3 good time.
Rumors have been floating around the internets about a big announcement regarding the next Treyarch Call of Duty game, Black Ops 2. While I’m sure many fans started salivating and planning how they were going to get the day off work on launch day, I started thinking about all the things I didn’t like about Black Ops and started hoping that they could maybe fix the problems I had with it. Completely selfish, I know. But as a fan of the Infinity Ward CoD games, I’ve always felt like Treyarch’s CoD games were always two steps behind. Black Ops especially. So, I came up with 6 things Treyarch (and Infinity Ward) could address to make Black Ops 2 give the Modern Warfare series a run for it’s money….
Tighten up the story
Now I know what you’re saying: “Jared, none of the Call of Duty games have had a realistic story! Why are you bagging on Black Ops, jerk!” Well, sir or madam, you have a point. The plot lines in the Call of Duty games are razor thin at best. Especially when Modern Warfare hit the scene. The bad guys have a nuke, you and your team shoot endless bad guys to stop them only for them to blow up some part of America anyway. Dramatic, Michael Bay-ending sequence and credits. But Black Ops was pushing even those slim plot lines. It was so convoluted, that I can’t even remember most of it because I went straight into multiplayer as soon as the credits ended. How many nukes can terrorists get their hands on? If would be nice to see the story for Black Ops 2 to be little easier to follow and maybe more based in reality.
Very the locations more this time
Like all the Call of Duty games, the locations never really pop like in other games. When you walk into a new area in a game like Uncharted, you really have a sense that you are in a very different place than you were before. Call of Duty games have a tendency to have the same kind areas repeating over and over. Outside war zone, indoor war zone, gun battle in some setting that gun battles wouldn’t normally happen in. Maybe this could be solved with more of a shift in story, a wider idea of battling in a modern era. Which leads me to the next gripe that’s in the same vein….
Very the multiplayer maps more as well
My first multiplayer complaint is one that can be leveled at all the “modern” Call of Duty games. The multiplayer aspect of CoD is the selling point of the whole game of many gamers. It’s a shame that the maps don’t vary much further than the main story locations. Black Ops did this as well in it’s multiplayer. The locations really just overlapped the places you went in the single player game and didn’t really explore the possibilities of putting players in different locations. While having the same parts of a map for different play styles is good, having a map with a huge hill to siege up and try and take from the enemy team or having a shoot out set by a waterfall would be a welcome change of pace from fitting in a airport hanger or a warehouse. And while we’re talking about it, why couldn’t I have a MP map inside the White House? They did that zombie mode with all the ex-presidents, why not a full on, MP experience set there? Sorry. That’s just a thing that I’ve wanted for a while.
Lose the unlock system
The biggest pain in the ass for me was the points system Black Ops employed for unlocking weapons and perks in the multiplayer. I’m not a betting man. The point system really showed me that people were a lot better at the game than I was and that shouldn’t be a focus. It also showed me that people are a lot better at gambling than me as well. The best multiplayer game systems rewards the best players but also gives mere mortal players something to keep them going and wanting to keep climbing the ladder. Savvy players could game the system and maximize their points early to gain a quick advantage over others and make the games very one-sided. The atypical leveled unlock system works the best, in my opinion, and Treyarch should really rethink the currency system.
Stop relying on zombie mode
The zombie mode that was bundled in Call of Duty: World at War was a very fun component and overshadowed the main game in many ways. But since then, it seems like many other games have had similar modes and have been gaining ground. With Gears of War’s Horde mode and Halo’s Firefight mode stepping up the intensity, the zombie mode this time around really needs to come out with something more than ex-presidents shooting the undead for the mode to step ahead of the other wave-based game modes. Or maybe just skip it this time and try something else.
Have a level (or two or three) in space
Ok. I know it sounds crazy, but this could be the best way to one-up the Modern Warfare series. Before the release of Black Ops, rumors about the game taking place in space got a number of fans excited about the prospect of the Call of Duty series heading to the great beyond. Well, “Future Warfare” never ended up happening, but people to this day are still wondering out loud about when the series will take the leap. I think that Black Ops 2 could take a serious left turn and have a few levels in a space station or a space shuttle. I mean really, how much more absurd could the Call of Duty series get? A space battle with future weapons like lasers and freeze rays and whatnot could be insanely fun to play. It could really shake up the franchise and it could beat the Modern Warfare series to the punch. I might just want a freeze ray in an FPS, though…
It’s not to say that whatever the Black Ops game ends up being, that it won’t be fun. It’s just, with some tweaks and some added features, Black Ops 2 could finally get out of the shadow of the other Call of Duty game and really turn up the heat in the FPS market.
What do you think? What would you want to see in the new Call of Duty game?
Also, in the next few weeks, Game Changer will be going through a schedule change. I’ll be moving Game Changer to a more feature based format from an every week column format to start a new weekly series coming soon. I’ll still be doing Game Changer, just in a more “Hey, something important is going on in gaming. I need to yell about it” way. I want to thank everyone for reading and supporting the column and me in general. I dig it the most and I can’t wait to show you the new project I’ve got cooking up.
Jared Whittaker plays a lot of games. Not as much as he’d like, but as much as time and money will allow. If you want to play some games with Jared, you can find him on Playstation 3; PSN tag: JFX. He is also on Steam and Battle.net as JFX316 and while he doesn’t have an Xbox 360, he has the coolest Gamertag in the world: Obiwan Jaborni. Feel free to add him as a friend or email him at JWhittaker@PanelsonPages.com. and on Twitter as JFX316