Sunday, November 22, 2009

MW2 and the Tempo of War

My review of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is up on Techcetera. Take a look and see if you concur. TeeBoan and I discussed the game's virtues during a hardcore team deathmatch last night.

TeeBoan is one of the folks who shares my slight annoyance at the party-chat ban during matches, but we also agree that the game is amazing.

The only problem I'm having is that most of my Xbox Live shooting buddies prefer hardcore mode to regular "core" mode. My skill is somewhat deficient in hardcore mode, and my scores are far better in core mode.

My joy in playing the game is far greater when I've scored 20 or 30 kills in a core free-for-all than when I've scored 3 kills and 16 deaths in a hardcore match.

Farttknocker is so far ahead of me in multiplayer rank that I hear only rumor -- spoken in hushed tones of awe -- of his relentless ascent. I cannot fathom how he scores so highly playing hardcore, because the kill counts in hardcore are so low compared to core mode.

My problem with hardcore, as I've said before, is that it rewards players who sit and wait for others to come to them, a passive way of playing also known as "camping." I have little patience for doing this.

The fun of the game, it seems to me, depends on the initiative of players who move around and mix it up. Otherwise, everybody sits still, camping and waiting to snipe, like the stalemate in the trenches of World War I. The hallmark of modern warfare is the speed of maneuver, the suddenness of action and violence. Erwin Rommel figured that out and put it to work in the Blitzkrieg, and George Patton read the beautiful bastard's book.

The speed of maneuvering was accelerated again when the First Air Cavalry was formed in Vietnam, as infantry was lofted around the battle zone in Huey slicks, escorted by Cobra gunships.

In the recent HBO series Generation Kill, the First Recon commander, Lt. Col. Stephen "Godfather" Ferrando, talked about how the Marines were outnumbered in Iraq and their entire strategy depended on "tempo, tempo, tempo" and "the violence of action."

Note the discussion about 1:40 into this video:

Suddenness of action probably was used long ago, too. I'm also reminded of the scene in Excalibur when Arthur, his knights outnumbered as he rides into his final battle against the forces of Mordred, says, "We'll use the old ways. Speed of horse!"

Now, I understand that a hunter's patience, waiting to ambush his prey, is a warrior's virtue that is reflected in MW2's hardcore mode. I do not mean to disparage the skills of my friends who prefer hardcore mode. Farttknocker probably is so good at it because he's a turkey hunter, and he possesses the necessary patience. It's just that I personally don't think it's as much fun to play. I prefer to keep moving!

Ghost in the Joe

Moving on, I call your attention back to my recent post showcasing the G.I. Joes I customized to resemble characters in Modern Warfare 2.

(Here you go, TeeBoan!)

There are no Modern Warfare 2 toys as yet, so I make my own.

I'll be adding to this collection soon, so stay tuned ...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Midnight launch for MW2

I lined up with about 30 other folks at midnight at my hometown Walmart for the 11-10-09 release of Activision's Modern Warfare 2.

As soon as I got home with the game, I played about three missions of the campaign, and then dived into the multiplayer.

I was slaughtered in the first match by a bunch of guys who had apparently had the game longer than the hour-and-a-half since the game was officially launched. They already seemed to know the maps, and had unlocked high-level perks.

Then I found my Sythbane Squadron mates Bama Breeze and Smokin Buddy, and we teamed up for some multiplayer and started scoring some kills. It was a good start!

I made a few notes on Techcetera about the midnight madness, too, so check it out. Did you play the campaign first, or multiplayer? First impressions?

I look forward to playing with all my SB-S friends in days and weeks to come. See y'all online!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Borderlands like living in a graphic novel

My review of 2K's excellent new shooter/RPG Borderlands is up on Techcetera. Check it out and let me know what you think!

I have a siren at level 37 now. With my 4x flame elemental submachine gun, I can kill most anything. We should issue those things to our troops.