As many of you readers know I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with the Call of Duty franchise. To be clear ; my disdain for COD stems from more than just an opinion on the basic fundamentals of the game ie. Graphics, gameplay, etc..
At the risk of ranting for the length of this entire article I will try to keep it brief. My biggest issue with the Call of Duty franchise is the fact that the publisher ( Activision) feels the need to release a new version of the game every year! That in itself is not inherently a bad concept as other companies have done so with decidedly good results; but when the game displays no visible improvements over its predecessor in the form of graphics, sound or playability then it becomes blatant “milking”.
Here is what we know. Call of Duty is running on a game engine that dates at least 4 years ago. The developers have not upgraded or enhanced the engine to keep pace with the latest and greatest games on the market. Now I know you are all saying “graphics don’t make a game'” but really!? Shouldnt the biggest selling game of all time also be one of the best looking games and deliver a game experience like no other?
I am troubled by the fact that the gaming public is blinded by pure marketing hype that they cannot see that the publisher is not spending any money beyond the bare basic amount to create sequels that will sustain at least another year of sales. What is even more saddening is that our industry is being destroyed by this game. Activision has create d a franchise that eclipses all other games. Gamers are not taking a breath to try new games or experiment outside of their COD habit. As a result the industry has become a 1 game industry. I know many people who have only played COD on their chosen system.There is hardly any room left for new IP’s and variety in games to exist.
Lets talk about gameplay. COD4 ( Modern Warfare) was heralded for giving us a RPG style unlocking system and progression path in a FPS. It was the first time we where able to take pride in our accomplishments through an in-game ranking system that rewarded us. Four games later we are now staring at the same system just with more and more unlockables.The Developers of each subsequent COD installment since that game have simply layered more and more on top of each game where finally we have a convoluted and unbalanced version of COD4 being handed to us every year.
This brings me to my main gripe about the current state of any Call of Duty game. Balance.
In an effort to give gamers a world of choice and customization Activision has forgotten that more is not always better. It’s okay to have a dozen or so weapons and options to customize you’re in game warrior but as long as it’s all balanced and still favours player skill over your chosen weapon of destruction. All the great shooters have had a higher emphasis placed on player skill despite offering a good amount of weapon variety. The current state of Call of Duty has shifted the pendulum the other way and made it such that your individual skill is less an issue than what weapon load out you are armed with. Throw on special abilities and the massive destructive ” push a button and get instant kills” Killstreak rewards and you have a game that rewards you for having a better gun than your opponent vs how good your aim is.
COD has lost its way….
so what can it do to redeem itself and ” what will it take to get me to play Modern Warfare 3 ? ”
Lets itemize this shall we.
1: Impress me with better visuals than your previous outings. DO NOT give me a game that makes me have to squint in order to notice improvements to the games graphics. Show me that at least some of the billions of dollars you have made of this franchise has gone into improving the visual experience of this game. Graphics are the equivalent of first impressions on a date.You have one chance to make that impression so don’t blow it.
2: Less shooting in campaign. The last 2 COD games literally became a duck hunt style FPS. I felt like I was being moved to one shooting corridor after another. Granted cut scenes broke up the action with some story but when the CGI was over it was on to more and more shooting. It got so bad in Black Ops that I actually got a headache. There was no pacing and my senses where in full throttle. Ease up on the trigger and give me something else to do during each level.
3: Fewer options. Based on what I have seen of MW3 previews it will require me to take a night course in Video game level progression just to understand all of the options in MW3. Less is more Activision.
4: Balance. If they are going to overwhelm us with a crazy amount f weapons and gadgets then please make at least a solid attempt to balance everything out. If they were smart they would talk to the boys over at Bungie since Activision now owns them. Killstreaks and perks need to be slimmed down and weapon quantity needs to be roped in at this point. The one thing I can’t stand is someone ” out gunning ” me as opposed to ” out shooting ” me.If I can’t win a match with a starting gun and a couple of grenades then you know you went overboard with gun selection.
5: Hackers be gone! To be honest I actually loved MW2 when I first got it. About a month or two after it was released was a different matter. Between balance issues ( Dual shotguns shooting across the map) and the hackers that descended upon it I was officially done. I cannot stand playing a game where I do not know if loosing was a result of me sucking or a result of someone cheating the game. Out of map glitches, one hit kills and a wide assortment issues layered onto a flawed prestiging system pretty much killed it for me. If they can lock out the hackers and assure me that me dying is a result of my own noobish skills then I am happy !
Will I still play MW3 if some of the things on the above list are fixed? I sure will! If the game is balanced and has somehow locked out the hackers and returns to form then I will embrace it as I have other shooters this past year. I am a well-rounded gamer and will always try a game once but mark my words Modern Warfare 3…If you let me down and don’t think for a second that I don’t have a prettier and more polished date waiting in the wings then you have lost me forever!
Dawyne ” EVO Knight” Morash