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Checkpoint: Annual Call of Duty Edition

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This time last year, I was pretty excited for Infinity Ward and Activision’s Modern Warfare 2.

This year? The hype is replaced with cautious optimism.

2009’s Modern Warfare 2 wasn’t a very pleasant experience as time passed. It happens with all games, but Modern Warfare 2 was especially frustrating with nonsense like this and the abundance of killstreaks.

Black Ops looks like a more reasonable and level headed Modern Warfare 2 in many spots. Just check out these changes Treyarch made to the core game itself (taken from NeoGAF’s official thread):

No More Killstreak Stacking
In a first for the series, kills earned by using your killstreak rewards will no longer continue to build your killstreak.

No More Stopping Power/Juggernaut/Danger Close
Stopping Power, Juggernaut, and Danger Close (a.k.a. Sonic Boom) have been staple perks of the franchise ever since Call of Duty 4, but no longer. This opens up a wealth of new options for class customization, as you will no longer have to sacrifice increased health or damage for a more tactical perk.

Going Commando Is Out of Style
Yes, Commando is gone. In its place is the Ballistic Knife, a secondary melee weapon that fires blades in a straight line. You get one shot before reloading, and only two shots total. The days of teleporting super ninjas are over!

No More Noob Tube Rain
Modern Warfare 2 had its share of problems, but none was worse than the seemingly endless shower of explosive rounds (i.e., noob tubes). Not only has the One Man Army perk been completely removed, but the Scavenger perk will also no longer restore grenade launcher rounds. If you need the noob tube to get kills, you’re only going to get two shots with it per life, and you can’t use an explosive perk as a crutch to make it stronger.

Who Needs Deathstreaks?
Arguably the worst new idea in Modern Warfare 2, Deathstreaks will not make an appearance in Black Ops multiplayer.

Quickscoping Crutches Removed
In Modern Warfare 2, the Sleight of Hand Pro perk would radically increase the sight time of your weapon. This caused “quickscoping” (a technique where a sniper will quickly raise his sights and immediately fire) to be much more effective than it should have been. And even though the Sleight of Hand Pro perk returns, it has been confirmed that it will have no effect whatsoever on sniper rifles.

Grenades and Equipment are distinct again
Modern Warfare 2 lumped all grenades and deployable equipment into the same category, which was a departure from previous entries in the series. This time around, grenades and equipment are two separate categories, allowing you to have equip both a grenade and a claymore once again.

Shotguns Are Primary Weapons Again
This change is fairly self-explanatory; you can no longer equip a long-range assault weapon and a short-range shotgun in the same class.

Dive To Prone
Treyarch is introducing a brand-new multiplayer mechanic called “Dive To Prone.” If you press and hold the crouch button while running, your character will execute a diving maneuver, quickly lowering their hitbox during their animation, but preventing them from firing until they have landed and recovered. This will prevent sprinting dropshots, although regular dropshotting is still possible.

Looks like many of the issues were addressed.

However, as good as that all sounds, it’s new “Wager Match” game modes that are enticing me — specifically, Gun Game.

As for the single player? I don’t have much expectations. Even with the celebrity talent they’ve signed on. There will be explosions, there will be vehicle sections and there will be a lot of bobbing enemies to pick off.

I’m hoping the cynicism and lowered expectations are wrong because I used to enjoy this franchise a lot. It may have wandered down the path of idiotic decisions as of late, but there’s still a lot promise here.

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