Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 - A Necessary Evil

After reading Luke Schlosser€™s opinions on the Call of Duty series and some of the rather harsh feedback he received, I thought I would air my own thoughts on the controversial franchise. In truth I agree with what Luke has to say about the yearly reincarnation of the game, and whilst I hate what Call of Duty has become, I have embraced it as an integral part of gaming today. Regrettably, I€™ve played every single Call of Duty game (with the exception of CoD3) and thoroughly enjoyed the series until Modern Warfare 2. I€™ll talk a little more on that later, but for now let us talk a little history. By the early 2000s, there were so many WWII shooters that you could call it its own genre: we had titles from Medal of Honour as well as Battlefield, and Infinity Ward had released two successful Call of Duty WWII games, and Treyarch chose the same setting for Call of Duty 3, leading to questions of how many more WWII game titles could possibly be released. Infinity Ward looked to address the issue by bringing the series into the present day, and despite the widely accepted view that gaming needed to move away from the WWII genre, people were nonetheless skeptical of what Modern Warfare would bring. They would be proven wrong, with the game enjoying both financial and critical success. I myself enjoyed the much-needed reinvigoration to the series and despite Treyarch€™s return to WWII with World at War, I still enjoyed the game given the similar based multiplayer system that was in place. By the time Modern Warfare 2 came out, I was hyped €“ sort of. In the lead-up to the launch, Infinity Ward came out and stated that it would remove dedicated servers from the game. Many PC gamers, as well myself were less than impressed of having to play on listen-based servers; and so a petition followed and promptly reached over a 100,000 people. When then Community Manager 'Robert Bowling' was asked to respond to the petition, he stated that it €œdefinitely made a big wave, and the response will not be ignored. I€™ll ensure everyone at IW sees the petitions and responds to it.€ They didn€™t and PC gamers shunned it in droves. For the most part, I stuck around, despite the issues with listen servers; albeit with my playtime steadily decreasing. But I left the game shortly after One Man Army/Danger Close and Commando/Lightweight or Cold-Blooded/Commando kicked into gear, which left me frustrated thanks to cheap gameplay. Coupled with the glitches that continued to show up (javelin anyone?), the game has left me with a very sour taste in my mouth. Following the Infinity Ward vs. Activision controversy as well as the so-called €œStimulus Package€ DLC, I lost faith in the series altogether. After Modern Warfare 2, I did manage to borrow the following two games from a friend, and whilst I finished the single player option for Black Ops, I never did complete the campaign for Modern Warfare 3 and never took to multiplayer with either game. To say that Black Ops or Modern Warfare 3 were boring, would be a little too harsh, but to say they were enjoyable would probably be a lie. I liked them, but only because they killed time sufficiently for theirs to be fun experiences. I make no reservations in admitting I don€™t like the Call of Duty series anymore. How could I? But I have learned to embrace the series for what it is - it is designed to be simple and easy to play, as gaming today is no longer for the hardcore. The pick up and play style is becoming more prominent than we would like to admit, and that is where the Call of Duty series comes into play. The game is fast paced (usually deathmatch style) that allows for free-flowing gameplay. The nature of deathmatch means a death is never really punished except on your score. Casual players enjoy the benefit of low recoil weapons and a 'run n gun' style of gameplay, which means that they can still hold their own against experienced players. On the other hand, systems like the upcoming Pick 10 give the hardcore more customisation allow for non game-breaking advantages, such as perks or attachments that reduce recoil on more powerful weapons. The main issue at hand though, is that there€™s simply no other game that comes close to Call of Duty in terms of appealing to the masses. Battlefield 3; probably its closest competitor, is by no means the toughest game I have ever played, but there is no doubt it my mind that the game is much harder than Call of Duty. The sheer effort of staying in touch with squads, knowing where 32 different enemy players are, and dealing with things like recoil, bullet drop and real consequences in death make it less appealing for the casual crowd. That isn€™t to say Battlefield is the better game because it is harder, it is just targeted differently to its audience. Still I do agree with what Luke had to say: I€™m still not sure how this series continues to enjoy so much success year after year. If I had to put it down to anything in particular, I would have to say it is the rotating roles between Infinity Ward/Sledgehammer Games and Treyarch. Whilst they may share the same base engine (IW) and similar multiplayer based systems (tier based weapons and perks), having two developers with different views in terms of creative direction may just be enough to put Modern Warfare and Black Ops into their own respective franchises. If this is so, then Black Ops 2 is only the second game of a series and would unsurprisingly come into launch with massive hype. The Call of Duty series is what it is: a game franchise that appeals to the masses that has found the perfect balance. The game isn€™t so easy that it doesn€™t reward good play for experienced players, but yet not so hard that casual or new players can remain decently competitive. The trade-off is a series that comes out year after year with relatively similar content, expensive DLC and a franchise that continues to line the pockets of a publisher who believes its OK to take advantage of their consumers. For all intents and purposes it is a necessary evil.

Raymond Ly hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.