Monday, August 2, 2010

I hate modern gaming, and here's why

There are a lot of reasons I'm growing increasingly frustrated with gaming. Some are to do with the developers, both commercial and mod, and some are to do with the community. This won't be a comprehensive guide to my pet hates, but a list of things that do irritate me and why. Feel free to chip in - the comment section is there for a reason.

Let's start with the sudden, almost unanimous swing from 'quality' to 'quantity'. While this is at least understandable on some level for some of the larger commercial developers and their publishers, what really gets me is how infectious it seems to be. The mentality of modders almost reflects this to a tee: pack in more shiny features, and focus on blinding players with a plethora of new toys before worrying about 'small' problems like game-breaking bugs or substandard gameplay. It's astounding just how rapidly this has spread; I've been hard-pressed to find a game or mod in development which isn't more concerned about adding in more filler than delivering what's needed most: consistent, enjoyable gameplay. It's another example of how devs are trying to be average at everything, but good at nothing, and it's not something that works well.

Back in the old days of gaming (read: last decade), the focus was almost solely on improving gameplay. Indeed, devs would cut enough content to create an entire new game just to streamline the experience. Some games were cut and restarted altogether, like Half-Life 2. There was no DLC, patches were entirely devoted to bugfixes and gameplay improvements, and people seemed happy with this arrangement. I certainly was. If we wanted more, we could add it ourselves; it wasn't the devs' job to pack the game full of whatever whimsical wants each and every player possessed. No longer! Devs will now go out of their way to accomodate for as many people as possible, broadening their target audience from a well-chosen niche to literally anyone. We high-and-mighty PC gamers usually attribute the overwhelming dumbing-down of games (particularly when favourites are ruined in this manner) to console gamers, but that's not entirely true. We, too, are the ones causing this downfall. More on this later, as now I'll explore some of the effects.

There's no two ways around it: modern games are becoming increasingly easy. I don't mean that we're all getting so good at them it seems easy, I mean that developers are deliberately dumbing these games down so they're more accessible. In a lot of cases, this is absolutely not a good thing. A game with a steep learning curve will usually have a strong, dedicated fanbase (no matter their size), and more often than not, this fanbase have become very good at the game through a lot of hard-learned lessons. Opening up that game to the 'drooling masses' usually results in a much bigger and more mainstream fanbase, but very likely will drive the old hands away. We'll look at two examples: Red Orchestra: Ostfront and its mods, and Il-2 Sturmovik.

From its earliest days as an Unreal Tournament mod, Red Orchestra has been aimed squarely at those looking for a more immersive and realistic WWII shooter. It's hard to pick up and even for veteran players, it remains unforgiving. There's very little room for error, and what room there is tends not to exist for very long. It says a lot about Tripwire's dedication to staying true to their roots that upon making the retail game, Ostfront, they did very little in the way of making the game more accessible to new players. While this means RO has a comparatively tiny community for its age, those players tend to be fairly close-knit and have stayed the course, despite newer shooters coming out in the years since. I recall watching a G4 review of the game shortly after I got into it, and sitting there in disbelief as it was labelled pretty much the worst game ever just because the presenters - who presumably don't care about any game that isn't Quake - thought it took "forever" to reload the bolt-action rifles. The video accompanying this review showed quite plainly why they had such a horrible experience: they were trying to play the game as if it was a typical fast-paced FPS. They were running around in the open with a 91/30, trying to hipshoot enemies from across the map. At the time I was pretty mad that such a good game was reviewed by such idiots and thus given a bad image, but now I'm rather glad that was the case. It's kept the CS:S kiddies away and kept bullshit to a minimum.

The mods Mare Nostrum and Carpathian Crosses follow the same path as the game itself, providing quality content and not dumbing the gameplay down at all. Both mods are, for all intents and purposes, dead. Mare Nostrum is under continuing development, but I've yet to see a populated server; the last time I recall anyone playing it was after its release on Steam. This is an almighty shame, as it's one of the better mods I've played for any game.

On the other hand, we have Darkest Hour. The mod takes place in Western Europe - chiefly France, Belgium, and the Netherlands - but I suppose someone had to do it. Unfortunately, this immediately ropes in a whole lot of gamers with little or no interest in RO or any of its other mods; all they want to do is relive scenes from Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers. A whole Day of Defeat clan, numbering somewhere beyond two hundred members at last count, immediately came into the mod, bought up a whole lot of servers, and set about trying to turn it into their previous platform by making replicas of maps like Donner. Any other RO vets should know how this turned out - for the rest of you, 'badly' doesn't even begin to cover it. The map was dominated by SMG classes and an exercise in misery for everyone else. By the time they finally got over their hard-on for bringing DoD:S into the mod, they decided to play realism with the long-standing units. At time of writing, they own the only frequently-populated mixed-map server outside of Europe, and take a generally hostile stance to anyone and everyone. In short, a single external influence has a monopoly on the game servers. You work it out.

Even if there were some less strictly-run (and equally populated) servers to play on, the community has been so saturated with imports from other games that each passing update makes it that little bit less fun for the old hands. Rather than adapt to the RO way of gaming, the overwhelming impression I get from the Darkest Hour community is "this is too boring, it's too realistic, it's not fun, change the game to make it perfectly balanced". Balance is not something that works out so well in a game like RO or its mods; you end up with the Tiger situation (i.e. the Tiger was nerfed to the point of uselessness in the retail game) or the SMG situation (they suffer worse muzzle climb than rifle-calibre semiautomatics). Both of these were measures to try and prevent complaints from the less attentive players, and both (in the opinion of this writer and also many others) is the game's biggest downfall. Mare Nostrum did away with both issues and is far better for it; Darkest Hour got rid of both issues and replaced them with ten more. Grenades, as of the last patch, are utterly useless; they have to land within three feet of your target, and even then it's not a sure thing. The reason? To prevent "grenade spam". Never mind that oftentimes during not just WWII but before and since, whole sections would throw a grenade or two each into a building to clear it out. There is currently a lot of debate about putting Pershings or even Super Pershings into some maps, because apparently no Allied tanker has the sense to just flank their German counterparts and kill them from behind. The 'Super Stuart' is so incredibly buffed that it's preferred over most Sherman variants.

Unlike the other two mods, DH also suffers from an acute case of 'Shiny Kit Sindrome' - every update, scores of new features (usually of questionable value) are added, while the basic art assets remain less consistent than my shooting scores. Some of the art is beautiful and a handful of the maps are on par with the best commercial offerings, while a good deal of the weapons look horrible and most of the other maps are a few boxy buildings on some flat ground. Calling for these issues to be addressed will earn you a lot of abuse from the community, whose only concern is how many more updates they need to wait for X super tank which saw little to no combat in the war, or Y useless fantasy feature I wouldn't expect from ArmA II let alone a mod running on the UE2.5. I'm not kidding; some of these people unironically beg over and over for a single, massive open-world map, field repairs for vehicles, and logistics chains. Of course, they also ask for the team they don't play as to be nerfed into oblivion as well.

Like RO, the Il-2 Sturmovik series is extremely hard for new players to get into; going online is like attending the Hartmann family reunion, even for someone who's been playing flight sims since CFS 1 (like myself). While the original developer works on the next game, Storm of War: Battle of Britain (which looks to be continuing the tradition of realism over all else), a third party released Il-2 Birds of Prey on consoles, and later Wings of Prey on PC. Playing the latter was a serious eye-opener; even with the settings on full realism, I felt more like I was watching the aerial combat sequences from Pearl Harbour than playing a game in the Il-2 series. While the graphics were gorgeous, they were stylised to hell and back; everything was either desaturated or over-saturated with no middle ground; the aircraft models, while detailed, lacked the accuracy of the former games; the aircraft paint schemes weren't even vaguely close to what they should have been (even the average Hollywood flick does a better job of replicating RAF markings than was done in WoP) and overall, the flight models just felt... wrong. I still can't pin the exact problem, but I do know that I didn't feel like I was playing an Il-2 game at all. It felt more like Battlefield flying.

In previous posts (if memory serves correctly, as it's been a long time since my last update), I have spoken about how Fallout 3 suffers horribly from this dumbing-down. It's not so much a hardcore post-apocalyptic survival game (like the true Fallout games) as it is babby's first venture into post-apocalyptic games. Apparently New Vegas remedies this, but I am going to have to wait and see; it doesn't unlock here until tomorrow. Why we still have to deal with staggered release dates and regional pricing in these days of Steam is anyone's guess - mine is publishers are concerned only about profits and not about actual gamers. Prove me wrong.

Jesus, I go on a bit when I'm irritated, don't I?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Atmosphere vs. Gameplay - Round Two

Back to gaming, finally.

Lately (mainly due to the two more recent STALKER games being broken, and me having played Shadow of Chernobyl through about six or seven times by now), I've been playing more Fallout 3. Technically, I've finished the game once; however, on my first run I was still in the 'hurry up and finish the main quest, before it all goes down the pan on you' mindset of nearly every other game I've played. This sense of inevitability drove me to blast through the main quest at such a rate that I had barely explored the map beyond the central area of the Capital Wasteland, as well as the most direct routes between quest objectives. In doing so, I missed probably a good 50-60% of what the game had to offer, and it was too late to do anything.

Thankfully, I'd saved halfway through the assault on the Jefferson Memorial. After the credits finished, I immediately loaded up and put as much distance between myself and the ensuing battle as possible, before wandering off to explore. This broke the game pretty badly, but at least I got to explore a little.

Recently, I started the game over for the sake of altering my playing style a little. It's this character I've been playing on, and it was halfway through a trip between Meresti and Arefu that I decided on the topic for my next post.

Fallout had a very tangible time restriction on the main quest, and this was very apparent. You were told in your briefing, you had a countdown timer accessible from your Pip-Boy, and it added the very real risk of not getting things done in time and suffering for it. Fallout 3, on the other hand, seems happy to do away with this utterly. STALKER used time constraints on its side quests, but Bethesda wouldn't even take this step; even where a sense of urgency seems logical, there is absolutely none. The Big Town residents you're supposed to save from the Super Mutants in Germantown can and will wait for as long as you want. You could feasibly spend a year ingame; they'd still be there, and you'd still be able to rescue them. With this in mind, it's not entirely strange to ponder whether they really need saving at all.

Bethesda seem to half-do things a lot. The potential for character variation is decent at worst, yet everyone looks and sounds the same. Some areas of the Wasteland shine in their own desolate way, while others look like they simply took rocks, puddles, dead trees and grass and scattered them willy-nilly around the landscape. I haven't been to Washington DC (or at least not that I can remember), but I'm fairly certain even all-out nuclear war wouldn't make it look like some kind of incredibly rocky hinterland. Most pertinent to this post, they try and create a sense of urgency through the briefings for your quests, but they utterly fail to follow this through by creating any kind of consequence at all for not completing them as soon as possible.

Of course, this would present problems for players like me, who try to do everything at once: it'd result in a lot of failed quests and a lot of bad consequences. Presumably the main reason for their choice is to comply with the ever-worsening trend of molly-coddling players, making things nice and easy for them while making sure they never feel a sense of failure or regret. Fallout was made back in the day where games were challenging to the point of frustration, and the player was left on their own to work things out. Very few games seem to opt for this philosophy anymore, and that's a sad loss on our part.

To be honest, I wouldn't mind sacrificing a little of the openness of the game world for the improvements to the overall atmosphere that such a change would bring about. Sure, you might have to decide whether to save those settlers or not in order to complete another quest. You may even need to drop everything halfway through and run back to the other side of the Wasteland in order to complete something of a much higher priority. Having said that, though, it's important to realise that the way the game works is a large part of why quests will always wait for the player.

Basically, nothing happens without your presence. Until you show up at the quest start location, it simply hasn't started. Once it's completed, that's it, there's no more. Everything that happens within the Capital Wasteland hinges upon the player, and the player alone. In some ways, GSC did get something right with Clear Sky and its faction war system: things will happen, whether you're there or not. If your friends in the Cordon are attacked while you're in Yantar, then hard luck. Life (and death) will go on with or without you or any other given character. This created some frustrating scenarios, but in the eyes of this gamer, that's preferable to a magical world where everybody simply sits around, waiting for that inevitable protagonist to show up.

The Zone feels fluid, almost real. If you're not there to help your friends, they die. If you die, nobody really cares. Your body will be looted, maybe eaten, and will decay back into the irradiated earth it lies upon. The Capital Wasteland feels like some kind of bizarre dream. If you're not there, your friends won't even be attacked; if you die, everything stops.

I doubt we'll see anything change in New Vegas, but I certainly hope that as more open-world games are released, we'll start to see more believable environments and less shallow facades.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


If this works out to be hype, I don't even know what I'll do. Likely something involving copious amounts of alcohol.


Good riddance.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This was actually written in March, but it hadn't posted yet (presumably the fault of my oh-so-wonderful connection). Since it's still rather relevant, here it is.

I'd best warn you now, faithful readers. For this article, I'll be breaking from my usual attempts to avoid anything people would get offended by; if you do, for whatever irrational reason, find yourself offended by arbitrarily-chosen words, perhaps you'd best stop reading for now.

I've had a pretty boring day. My internet has been causing me no end of trouble - as usual - and so even Youtube was out of the question for entertainment. I couldn't start many of my games, because Steam kept crashing and then wouldn't switch to offline mode. I didn't really feel like playing any of my non-Steam games, either. Eventually, I resorted to a mix of Lock On and sitting around waiting for Steam to start working properly.

Eventually, I was able to get it running. I then found myself with only a few games to play, as I can't update anything (my connection is shaped, so I'm running at dialup speeds right now). I decided to give World in Conflict MP another shot, since I've been playing against the AI a little and I seemed to have made at least some improvement. I sign in, find an Australian server with a pretty decent number of active players, and figure I've lucked out. Not so.

We lose three games in as many minutes because our support player seemingly can't be bothered to get any anti-aircraft cover up and running. In light of this, and the fact that I'm sick of watching my units get slaughtered defending our last capzone while my teammates mill around an empty zone doing absolutely nothing, I decide to go support and drop some artillery. I settle into this pretty well, and when I don't actually make kills, I'm still denying the enemy any hope of taking the capzones.

Apparently, though, I'm violating some unwritten rule of the game by doing this, and my own team starts gobbing off at me and trying to votekick me. I raise the issue that I'm by no means good at the game, and instead of actually being helpful, they figure this is an even better excuse to harass me. Eventually, one bitches that I'm just dumping artillery and not providing air support; last I checked, nobody else had been in any of the previous games, but no complaints were forthcoming then. Not only that, I was actually dropping effective barrages, eventually dumping a nuke right in the middle of the map and shaving a fair chunk off of the enemy force. You'd think my teammates would be at least a little appreciative of this, especially since the explosion wiped out several helicopters. Nope. Not good enough, apparently. I got kicked about ten seconds later.

It's fucking well hard enough having to deal with sore losers and other pricks in general without your own team joining in. As far as I saw I had the second best score on the team, was constantly disrupting and destroying enemy assaults on my teammates' forces, and I actually saved up my tactical aid points rather than pissing them away like everyone else was. Just because some self-absorbed piece of shit thinks I should be personally sacrificing every unit I can to protect him as he ponces about doing sweet fuck all, I got kicked from a game which I was helping to win. With all the bullshit gamers have to take, you'd really think they'd be less inclined to act like absolute pricks to each other, but I guess not.

It sure is a good thing I like the game and I'm not easily discouraged by morons (quite the opposite), because this kind of thing is what kills off good games. Sorry if you don't like me using an effective weapon to maximum potential; I guess if WWIII comes, you're going to ask the enemy to stop bombing the shit out of your house so you can finish that one more game before you get up to the next rank by cruising around and dragging yourself up off of your teammates' hard (and utterly thankless) work.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A little originality, please.

Some time ago, I posted an article on the generic locations used by many games, and put forth the proposal of developers going to a war far removed from any they've portrayed (however accurately or poorly) so far. Perhaps I was setting the bar too high. Perhaps it's too much to expect from the modern PC gaming industry, where large developers are so single-mindedly fixated on churning out the next reiteration of the same game in time to seize the Christmas market (yes, Activision, I am talking about you right now) that any suggestion of originality warrants the deposing of a studio's chiefs.

Maybe we should take this a little slower, then. So here's my new proposal: why not stick with the same locations, but go to a different war. Surely this isn't too much to ask? There have been plenty of wars in every developer's favourite areas, so it's not as if there's a lack of choice. In Europe alone, war has been raging since the dawn of time and it's only since WWII that things have settled down. The Middle East has probably never been at peace in human history. Likewise, central and south-east Asia have been hotbeds for conflicts through the ages.

As the favourite of late seems to be the Middle-Eastern Area of Operations, let's go to Afghanistan. But how about we do it differently this time? No more ACU-clad Americans. No more high-tech rifles which will never actually end up replacing anything, let alone the M4. No, let's take a trip back in time to the 1979-1989 conflict with the Soviet Union, in what has come to be known as their own Vietnam.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I watched Charlie Wilson's War recently. By recently, I actually mean yesterday. I see no reason this game does not exist, aside from the industry's apparent reluctance to make anyone who isn't American (or sometimes British) appear good at all, let alone a heroic character. The war was long, was bloody, and had a distinct turning point; it had a spectacular victory by the underdog, only to plunge back into chaos due to cessation of support from the US government; it had plenty of intrigue, thanks to the incredible scheme that saw the utterly outgunned and outmatched mujahideen armed with Stinger missiles. The Soviet helicopters, in particular the Mi-24 gunships, had been the absolute scourge of the Afghan resistance fighters. However, as the imposing machines began to fall from the sky, the entire course of the war changed and the eventual withdrawal by the unsuccessful Soviet invasion force was considered a contributing factor in the crumbling of the USSR.

So once again, I'm putting out a challenge. Quit working on the tenth samey re-release of a tired series, and put the love back into games that has been missing from the mainstream for years now. Eventually even the drooling diehards, who are currently oblivious to the sharp decline in quality of their favourite franchises, will come about. Try actually doing something different, something which sets you apart from the rest of the industry. Who knows, you may even make a killing.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Just when I thought I’d heard it all

Yet again, I find myself amazed at the sheer idiocy of a certain individual within this country. As I sat reading an article on the Black Mesa mod in the latest issue of PC PowerPlay, I hear something on the radio which absolutely stuns me. Immediately, I cease reading and pay closer attention. I hear that in South Australia, a law was proposed which would force any person within that state to provide their full name and postcode when commenting on politics online. Think you can work out who proposed this? Take a guess. It was every gamer’s favourite misguided bigot, SA Attorney-General Michael Atkinson. Clearly not satisfied with demonising violent games and making insulting generalisations against Australian gamers, the man seems determined to stamp out any criticism whatsoever. Instead of being able to voice an opinion anonymously, without fear of retribution beyond the usual name-calling, Atkinson seriously expects South Australians to provide all the information needed for any given nutter to rock up to their house and do whatever they please. This comes in the wake of Atkinson calling one online poster who criticised him a Liberal creation, despite the man living only a few doors down from his office. He even came into it to collect some paperwork. Of course, this means nothing to Atkinson.

I’m usually the first person to complain about the immense freedom of speech the Internet allows, because I hate having know-it-all armchair experts vomit their misinformation in my face, but to strip this altogether is absolutely mind-boggling and, for any sensible person, an appalling violation of basic rights. I don’t doubt that if I had to provide my full name and my postcode every time I expressed an opinion online, various people would’ve tried to intimidate or even harm me. I have a habit of going to town on the ignorant, and most of the time they don’t like this. Atkinson likely realises full well that this is a possibility, but since when did anything like that ever stop him? Apparently, his own precious image is more important than the safety of his critics. In my eyes this shows just how perverse an interpretation of democracy this country’s politics are becoming.

Of course, I heard this on 2GB, and any Australian will probably tell you how often 2GB gets into trouble and how prone their talkback hosts are to shooting their mouths off with reckless abandon. I haven’t heard the other side of the story, but at the same time this strikes me as precisely the kind of thing such a grossly incompetent person as Atkinson would do. How the man remains in office is utterly beyond me, and I can only hope he finally gets the axe (and I don’t mean that literally, as he would likely construe) before he manages to make an even bigger mess of things.

Internet filters, inconsistent bans on violent games rather than appropriate ratings, and now the removal of anonymity which allows people to voice opinions which may cause them great amounts of misery otherwise – I’m beginning to wonder what this absolute joke of a government comes up with next.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ghillie suits in the Modern Warfare games: a perfect example of concealment done right

Too many games use unrealistic, easy-way-out devices to render concealed players invisible. In many cases, they fade into nothing, or become literally no more than a shadow. In some - ArmA 2, looking at you - they would barely stand up to a cursory glance. But of all the games I've seen so far, only one series has really done concealment right. You might be surprised to know that it's the Modern Warfare series - then again, if you play the game, probably not.

Without a doubt, this is as good as it gets. Unlike ArmA 2, your suit matches the grass sprites perfectly. Colour, density, shape - it's all there. You don't fade as you lie there on the ground, as seen in Empires or many RTS titles. Instead, your suit is what renders you invisible. To discover exactly how effective the suit was in a controlled (i.e. not mid-game in a crowded TDM server) environment, and partially to kill some time, Kolby and I took to an empty server on Overgrown, by far one of my favourite maps and easily the best map for concealment. I had long suspected the suit as modelled by Infinity Ward's artists would be effective, but it wasn't until we put it to the test that I realised just how incredibly so it was.

The guidelines were simple: one of us would stare into a corner of the barn, the other would find a position and conceal themselves. To make things fairer and a little faster, the concealed man would give a rough location so the seeker would know which area to concentrate on; if this didn't result in a find, the location would be narrowed down until the former was standing up and talking the seeker onto his position.

The results were astounding. Even when I knew exactly where Kolby was, I could only just make out his outline - if it hadn't been for the outline of his rifle, I would never have seen him. Numerous times I stepped on him, and when my turn came, he walked past me some six times before I rose up into a crouch; he passed me again twice before I stood and talked him to a point only a few feet in front of me, by which time he only noticed me because the muzzle of my rifle was right in his face.

While browsing Youtube out of boredom I happened upon the following video, which demonstrates this rather well - notice how the sniper remains nigh invisible even when he takes a knee, and how hard he is to see while prone, even while moving slowly:

If only as many developers followed the example set by IW, the gaming world would be a much better place - particularly for people like myself.

The dust settles: MW2 and matchmaking


What a drama that was, and how unwarranted it was, too. As I'm painfully aware, there are still plenty of people who will waste no time in extolling the horrors of matchmaking and just what a low and depraved group of individuals comprise Infinity Ward; no doubt they do this despite begrudgingly playing (and probably enjoying) the game. MW2 created such an uproar that despite being literally half the world away from my own PC, I figured it pertinent to look back on the entire fiasco and share my thoughts here. I've also got little else to do for the next few hours, so naturally, typing this will amuse me enough to kill some of that time.

Right from the outset, my predicament varies drastically from that of many MW2 owners; I had the game pre-loaded, all ready to go, but I couldn't play it. It wasn't until four weeks after its release - nearly five, in fact - that I finally got to fire up the game which has caused one of the biggest online shitfights I can recall. Communities fractured, friends became arch enemies... it was absolutely ridiculous, and in the end, it was also absolutely pointless. While I have no doubt at all that various people will disagree with me, I thought MW2's multiplayer a drastic improvement over the ever-frustrating experience of the original Modern Warfare. The touted lag was nowehere to be seen; in fact, I ran into no more trouble with it than I have in any of the locally-based dedicated servers I frequent. Yes, occasionally the game has to pause for a minute or two while it migrates hosts, and yes, that has resulted in my painful and very avoidable death on multiple occasions. So what? It's a minor annoyance. It happens maybe once every five games for me, and that's at most - some days it won't happen at all. One unfair death or missed kill a day is hardly justification for the mess that followed the big announcement.

One of the other major concerns was the tactical nuke; again, this was something I found to be a non-issue. If one person can seriously get that many kills in a row without dying, it's a pretty sure sign to me that there's a severe skill stack going on, and most of the time that results in the game being little to no fun at all for those of us who still whoop with glee when we get killstreaks of more than five. An early ending to a game is hardly a life-ruining experience, and if it keeps happening, there's nothing stopping you from dropping out to find another match. I guess we're all just so used to being spoon-fed by developers that today's gamers will suffer a severe mental breakdown at the thought of actually needing to act on their own behalf.

Another concern - the customisable killstreaks. Again, non-issue. Don't like getting hammered by that C-130? Then find some cover and stay there, like any sensible being equipped with a survival instinct would do. I don't see how the new killstreaks are any worse than MW's helicopters or airstrikes were - in fact, a number of them are significantly less destructive and in the case of the care package, even useful to the other team if captured. Truth be told, the two killstreaks which proved most disruptive were - and brace for a shock here - the air strike and the helicopter. Amazing.

After several days solid of enjoyable play in various gametypes using matchmaking, I can honestly say that I'm glad Infinity Ward dared to rattle the cage of the PC gaming community. I'd even go so far as to say I'm glad that they went on to thrust a gigantic middle finger at those who couldn't accept this change.