So yesterday I finished Call of Duty: Black Ops. I had a lot of fun with it, mostly infuriating my friends by referring to it as “Blops” in real life, rather than on Twitter. Of course the game itself is a lot of fun, and the storyline is absolutely superb and way more compelling than I’d imagined it would be. However there was a small thing that I really didn’t like and that’s the lack of flexibility and control in some areas.
If you’ve played the game you probably know the parts I mean. There are levels in the game that are basically interactive cut scenes when you’re going from checkpoint to checkpoint without a single enemy in sight. From a gameplay perspective this is hardly amazing, it seems dull and uninteresting. However from a story telling and cinematic perspective it’s great and works really well.
It seems that most games make a distinction between telling the story and actually playing the game, and seeing the two mixed together in Black Ops was actually quite interesting. The best most games attempt is revealing information over the radio or having some NPCs talk to you as you move through the level. Whilst all Black Ops is doing is essentially giving you control over a cutscene, at least it’s actually more interesting than just having a cutscene and keeps you involved in the way that Call of Duty does brilliantly.
Whilst I enjoyed the cutscene parts, there are other aspects of control in Black Ops that I wasn’t so fond of. Mostly it was the fact it feels exceptionally linear in some places, even when you’re above ground you frequently feel like you’re being driven down a tunnel. Compared to other titles like Halo: Reach where openness is embraced, Black Ops feels almost claustrophobic in the way you’re driven through levels. Of course this was present to some extent in other Call of Duty titles, it’s just the way the games are built, but Black Ops feels like it’s taken this to new levels.
So I apologise for talking about Black Ops so much today, if you don’t like the title you probably hate me now. However last week I talked about Sonic twice, so I probably pissed of Mario fans then. Anyway, how do you feel about these control issues. Do you like the concept of being able to drive a cutscene to some extent? How about openness in games, do you prefer flexibility or being driven?