Posts Tagged ‘ Call of Duty ’

Killer7 is killer…awesome.

Killer7


If you, like me, have been stuck inside by the recent Snowgnarok, the end of days predicted by Norse mythology where the gods of old fight to the death and snow rains down upon the Earth, then you’ve probably been playing video games for the past week. Aside from the Call of Duty, League of Legends, and Dungeons and Dragons I’ve been playing, I felt it time to pick up my old copy of Killer7 again and see if I could beat it on one of the harder difficulties. Suffice it to say I didn’t get too far, but I thought I would share with you, the people of the internet, why, in my humble opinion, Killer7 is one of the best games of all time.

Personal favorite

When it was released for the PS2 and GameCube back in the day of 2005, Killer7 was one of those games no one had ever heard of that, while receiving both good and bad reviews from critics, flopped by its publisher Capcom’s standards and fell to the wayside of modern gaming culture. Yes, it was not one of the best looking games around, but it had and still has one of the best storylines ever put into a video game. Newer games do not even begin to compare to the depth of story held by this now five year old game, leaving me with the feeling that, possibly because of how Killer7 turned out, no one wanted to put good story in games because developers believed they would flop.

The crew. They bad.

A large part of Killer7‘s appeal comes from the relative simplicity of its gameplay. It is an action-adventure first-person rail shooter. This means that the player moves throughout each labyrinthine level on a line, with a few forks in the road to choose from now and then, and whenever an enemy appears they can go into first person view to aim and fire their weapon at the enemy. Killing enemies lets you collect blood which can be used to either power attacks or buy upgrades. Simple enough to let the story take main stage and allow the gameplay to help convey that story without being cluttered with extraneous details. Anyway, I digress. The players takes the role of one of 7 characters, members of the elite assassin’s gang Killer7 with the last name Smith, to go throughout the level, each with their own talents, weapons, and personalities. Should one of them fall in battle, Garcian “The Cleaner” Smith, the weakest character by far at the close of the game, must be sent out if you wish to retrieve the brown paper bag containing their remains and revive your fallen comrade. If Garcian should be killed then it’s game over since there is no one to pick up his kibbles ‘n’ bits.

So what’s so great about the Killer7 story. Well, for starters, it has one, something modern games can barely boast. There is even a surprise twist at the end that even M. Night Shyamarmalade wouldn’t see coming. The game starts out in the not too distant 21st century after the world has signed a non-aggression pact and destroyed its entire nuclear stockpile (by shooting the missiles and the launching more missiles at them). But, there are members of Japan’s political system which want to separate from the rest of the world (mainly the US). The separatists, calling themselves the Heaven’s Smile are taking drastic measures to ensure that they gain control over the Japanese political giant. That’s where the Killer7 assassin’s come in. BTW, this is all on the inner cover of the instruction booklet, the story just gets better as you go on and I’d hate to spoil any of it for anyone, so just go play it yourself and get the big picture.

This guy is your main contact...yea

Anyway, so what exactly are you fighting? Every level, the Killer7 assassins have been tasked with a mission to kill some member of the Heaven’s Smile gang, of which belong some of the creepiest enemies I have ever seen in a video game. The Heaven’s Smile lackeys are created via a virus which increases the human desire to kill and have been equipped with a “bomb organ” which allows them to explode at will, totally not like anything else in the world. This is frightening. At first Heaven’s Smiles will shamble forward like Resident Evil zombies, slowly walking at you, and one on one they aren’t that hard to kill, but when half a dozen are sprinting at you and you have to land 6 precisely aimed shots before you have to reload which takes forever and then they explode on your face and you die it can be fairly intense and, after the first few levels anyway, this doesn’t happen often. The standard Heaven’s Smiles get quickly replaced bigger and badder ones, which are out for blood. Granted you are also out for their blood (you get extra blood for pro-shooting), but that’s beside the point.

Pretty much looks like this

One of the main failing points for Killer7 was that the graphics were considered subpar. Initially the game was designed to be GameCube exclusive, back when the GC was losing to the video game giants, the Xbox and PS2, and was forced to have a very limited budget, both monetarily and memory wise, concerning graphics. Also, Cel-shading was, for whatever reason, really popular in game development at the time, especially on the GameCube, which was often looked down upon by gamers if not done exceptionally well. Killer7 comes off as heavily monotone and blocky and can be, and is quite often, visually uninteresting to the average player. That isn’t to say that the people at Grasshopper Manufacture, the team who went on to make No More Heroes, did a poor job. The main characters are incredibly well done and do not suffer the same block shaped downfalls as many of the Heaven’s Smiles and other characters face. The game also switches animation style in a few places that look incredible, but, as I wish not to spoil anything, you’ll just have to play it yourself to see.

If you have ever complained about a video games story for being bad, then Killer7 is the game for you. It has a story that, like a good book, will make you keep playing until you reach the end which, unlike in so many other games today, will not leave you disappointed. Granted obtaining a copy may be a little difficult given your current situation, Amazon has it for around ten bucks which is very worth it. If you are not big into story games and want to just kill stuff there are plenty of other games out there to fulfill your violent needs, but for a unique and truly delightful experience, Killer7 is a classic and absolutely fantastic choice.

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Call of Duty: African American Ops

Released November 9, 2010 for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and PC by Treyarch studios, the group responsible for Call of Duty 2 and 3, and recently condemned by the Cuban government for being too violent is the newest game in the Call of Duty series Call of Duty: Black Ops. Personally, I believe that this game has, thus far, been a little too well received. I have heard reports that there was literal dancing in the streets (and laser tag) to celebrate the release of this game as well as an average Xbox Live population of over 5 million. Just let it sink in that, right now, there are more people playing Black Ops on Xbox Live than live in the state of Oklahoma. Frankly, I don’t understand this but I suppose it can’t be helped, but I digress. As COD:BO is similar in form to Halo: Reach, this review will be split into 3 separate parts, each being rated on their own merit: Single Player, Multiplayer, and Zombies.

Single Player

The first thing you notice while playing the campaign portion of Black Ops is that you, Alex Mason, are strapped to a chair and being tortured for information about the Russians or something. This is where most of the campaign’s story originates from, most of the missions being Mason’s flashbacks. The flashbacks are of your adventures during the Cold War. The missions involve all kinds of neat gimmicks, from flying a spy plane to running through poison gas in a hazmat suit, but all eventually devolve into kill the Russian/Viet Cong/Nazi/British enemies rushing at you with whatever gun Mason can get his hands on. Normally, this would be fine, but after you assassinate Fidel Castro,

You also get an achievement for headshotting Castro.

the first mission and the scene that caused Black Ops to be condemned in Cuba, the game becomes highly repetitive. Run into room, shoot enemies in front of brown border, and repeat ad nauseum. A few hours in and the player starts feeling tortured. The campaign does, however, pick up during the infrequent vehicle based sections. These are the more fun and intense sequences that kept me playing but were often over as quickly as they started, possibly because you don’t die as much, something you do a lot of when on foot.

Outside of the flashbacks, the game feels like it was made exclusively for people suffering from ADD. Flashing lights and constant camera cuts to nothing in particular make the scene incredibly hard to focus on, possibly because someone told the game industry that’s what the people wanted. The story, once you can find it, is childlike in its simplicity. There are two major plot twists at the end, one of which is spoiled by the third mission (if you’re paying attention) and the other seems tacked on to the end out of nowhere. I won’t spoil anything, but let’s just say that Oswald couldn’t have done it better.

Black Ops also suffers from somewhat lackluster acting, which is surprising given the cavalcade of stars brought in to voice the game. The two main characters, voiced by Sam Worthington and Gary Oldman, are more annoying than anything else. The voices are backed by a very impressive soundtrack, featuring selections from Credence Clearwater Revival and other original compositions that are quite good. Especially for a shoot ‘me up video game.
Realistically, the single player is not why anyone will purchase Black Ops, as it is far too weak to stand on its own and is just bad in its execution. The online multiplayer is what the Call of Duty series is known for and what is selling Black Ops.

Multi Player

Nice Dog-OH MY FACE!

The meat and potatoes of the Call of Duty franchise is the online multi player, and Black Ops expertly implements its version. At its heart, the multi-player is just like that of its predecessors but there are a few important differences from the previous Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Firstly, Black Ops is more balanced as many of the weapons and perks that were before considered unreasonably overpowered and easily abusable have been neutered or cut entirely from the game giving a more entertaining and fun experience for everyone involved.

Outside of the core gameplay a few new game types have been added (including wager matches which are always fun) and the weapon upgrade system differs slightly from COD:MW2. Players still level up to unlock weapons, but everything (except the starting set) is truly unlocked by purchasing it with COD cash (also known

Stick and Stones: Best MP mode ever.

as space bucks). Each piece of equipment for each gun comes at the price of 2,000 space bucks (average earning for a match), as do as the guns after you unlock them. This system is more flexible than the achievement based system from before, except for unlocking guns, which are, oddly enough, still level based. It just seems like an odd system when you have to unlock a gun and then buy it, even if it is for a relatively small amount.

Overall, the multi-player aspect of Black Ops is very fun to play. The new maps are very clean and nice looking. There is enough balance for even new players to have a chance at winning. As far as multiplayer games go, Black Ops isn’t a bad choice.

Zombies

A staple of Treyarch’s Call of Duty: World at War, Black Ops ships with the much anticipated Zombies mode. Here, four friends can pit themselves against undead Nazis as historical figures John F. Kennedy, “Tricky Dick” Nixon, Fidel Castro, and Robert McNamara (no one cares about him) in the Pentagon. Why are they there? Who cares!? It’s time to kill Zombies. There are a few other maps with different characters but they all follow the same high-concept, just with less historical relevance (I think one is about time travelling communists?).

World leaders at work.

 

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