Surprise! Game-Breaking Problems Mar PC Launch Of Call Of Duty: Black Ops

Call of Duty: Black Ops launched to great fanfare yesterday, but, at least on the PC side of things, it hasn’t exactly been a flawless launch. Users are filling up message boards from here to somewhere else with complaints of all shapes and sizes, from stuttering frame rates to unplayably laggy multi-player sessions. And keep in mind that the game is based on the 11-year-old id Tech 3 (Quake 3) engine. Any computer released in the past, I don’t know, five years (being generous), should be able to run that thing flawlessly. Clearly something is amiss.

The game’s Steam forums are of particular note, with users swapping what amounts to old wives tales on how to fix the game. “I hear if you close your left eye while double-clicking the .exe the game runs OK.” It’s the same story on other PC enthusiast forums, like HardOCP and Guru3D.

Tweaks abound.

The game ships with multi-core CPU support turned off for some reason, as if a modern PC gamer doesn’t have a multi-core CPU at the heart of his or her rig.

And yet at the same time, the game ships with multi-GPU support turned on. Everybody has a multi-core CPU, but finding someone with a multi-GPU setup is somewhat rarer.

It would seem that, as it’s currently coded, the game all but ignores the GPU, and instead puts the CPU under tremendous stress. This leads to wonky frame rates, as you might expect.

Activision suggests that people make sure their PC isn’t running any additional applications when they launch the game. Next thing you know Activision will be asking us to make sure our computers are plugged into a power outlet!

Multi-player is another issue altogether. Players have been reporting terribly laggy conditions, to the point that the game is unplayable.

Oh, here’s a video!

So, if the game doesn’t work well on Day One, what’s the point of pre-ordering it? Again: a $60 PC game, and one that, at its core, is based on an 11-year-old engine. Does not compute!

Another thing I noticed: the disparity between professional review scores and and user scores.

The game’s Metacritic average (seen here) is currently at 90, while the average user score is 6.7. GameFaqs shows a similar disparity.

It’s almost the opposite of a summer popcorn film: professional critics hate it, but the general public thinks it’s awesome or whatever.

And yet this game will make a boatload of money, so in the end none of this will matter even one bit.