This past month saw the release of the fourteenth Call of Duty game, and although that’s including spin-offs and mobile apps, it still serves to point out just how much Activision have ridden this cash cow extremely successfully since the first release way back in 2003 . COD is the only franchise now headed up by two tag-teaming developers, ensuring an annual release schedule and giving whichever team has just finished one year off to think of inventive new ways to blow things up in your face.
Now, blow things up in your face they most definitely do, yet for all the franchise’s use of real-world military weaponry and quasi-authentic terminology, subsequent instalments now resemble something as hollow and trotted-out as a Michael Bay flick, hurtling from one set-piece to the next with barely a thought towards any appropriate context filling in just who it is you’re gunning down.
It’s down to developers Infinity Ward and Treyarch literally sticking to their guns, and whilst it’s definitely praiseworthy enough to reinvent the genre in the first place with the Modern Warfare sub-series, ramming subsequent iterations down our throats every year is forever shining light through increasingly bigger holes in the game’s structures, being that the actual core mechanics of the game haven’t advanced that much.
Rock music has Nickelback and film has guys like Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham, thus now gaming has Call of Duty. It’s a series built to appease those who know exactly what they’re getting with each yearly release, and for the most part that’s completely fine.
However upon sitting down to play Ghosts, the newest entry to the series (and the first I’d played since Black Ops) it’s immediately evident just how much the games have devolved into a box-ticking exercise of necessary inclusions, especially for the single player campaign. Hopefully by getting a discussion going on where the franchise is heading on the cusp of this new generation, there can actually be an essential Call of Duty purchase for someone outside the core demographic.
Many of the examples within are taken from my experience with Call of Duty: Ghosts, however there are no plot spoilers.
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This article was first posted on November 28, 2013