Monday, November 15, 2010

Xbox Live, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and where the hell have I been?!

*taps the dust off the mic*

Yeah so I kind of got married.

But, like every other red blooded gamer this past week I picked up Black Ops. This time however, a first for me - I purchased the Xbox 360 build.

Up until this point (due to the fact that I owned the PS3 prior to the 360), I had purchased all my console COD adventures for the Sony platform. To be quite honest, I wasn't planning to even bother with Black Ops due to the drama over at Activision over payouts to Infinity Ward for Modern Warfare 2. Really, I mean it, I wasn't going to buy this one... But then everyone starts talking about it. And then the reviews praised it. And then i found myself with $60 burning a hole in my pocket.

Yeah and I also happen to have some land in Florida I'd like to sell you....

Anyway - Let's cut to the chase here. The single player game with Black Ops is pretty damn spectacular. Treyarch, i have to hand it to you guys - you killed it. This is leaps and bounds better than World at War. Bravo - i was wrong, very very wrong. Graphically there is much to like - lush landscapes that you'll at some point get caught looking at, resulting in a death. But that's not what I'm dying to write about today.

Black Ops multiplayer is exactly what you would expect from a title called Call of Duty. There are new maps and a few different guns, but really, if you have played a COD title in the past say... 4 years, you should know what to expect. Xbox Live on the other hand? THIS is what shines from this experience. Yes, Treyarch could barely keep up with the player demand so it was pretty hairy actually getting into a game at points, but the high-level Xbox Live experience was flat out beautiful.

I'd like to remind you dear reader - my prior COD experience has been on the PS3 (and on the PC if you want to go all the way back). Joining groups, sending game invites, the party voice chat system... made playing with my friends, and their friends so easy.

The PlayStation Network can't even compete. I'm sorry, it's true. Sony has been attempting to tack on live-like features, but to be honest the overall feel and use just pales in comparison. The system-level party is superior to the in-game party systems found on PS3 titles - your friends are not required to already be in-game for it to work (xbl also allows you to send game invites to your entire party with a single click on the xbox blade menu - this was INVALUABLE. Trust me, manually sending invites to more than 2-3 people is a pain in the ass).

It does pain me to say this on some level. I've been a loyal PlayStation gamer since the PS1, and to see Sony truly and fully bested like this is somewhat shocking. But... I gotta give it up to MicroSoft's Xbox team... You guys know what the hardcore online gamer wants and needs.


'til next time...