Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Call of Duty: Banal Warfare

 Does anyone care about Call of Duty anymore?  I mean seriously as a franchise, not first person shooting just Call of Duty.  The annualised format of releasing big name games certainly takes it toll on gamers, especially those of us who remember playing the original COD years ago now.

I know people still play Call of Duty Ghosts: holy shit a terrorist/Muslim/Russian/Chinese/Commnunist/African American/Liberal edition but how much longer can the series continue for at this pace?  The recent announcement of Call of Duty advanced warfare starring Kevin Spacey in his easiest payday to date hasn't even registered for me.  Without even looking at the website or information out there I bet the game will feature:

Domestic terrorism
Non American terrorists - likely Russian because you know COLD WAR!
Big name actors voicing two dimensional characters no one will care about
'Murican flag waving patriotism
Knife kill animations
Tiny multiplayer team sizes with tiny maps to run around in

It's just the same old shit each year now.  The same with other titles like Battlefield which has never gone beyond the 64 player format despite titles existing that have blown that number out of the water with the likes of Planetside 2.  Assassin's Creed births sequels every year without pause and despite having some nice historic touches and pretty graphics, the games are largely the same.  Ghosts already came under fire it's generally mediocre offering and this year will no doubt be the same.
It's a shame such a good actor will be wasted in this game
I can't blame Activision for doing this though because people lap this up each year, forking over ridiculous prices for standard copies and then paying over the top prices for maps featuring the Predator or Halloween's Michael Myers.  That right there is an example of the developers not only scraping that barrel but smashing through it and scooping up dirt instead.

The gameplay has yet to change since Modern Warfare came out.  Run and gun, twitch based shooting with special perks and super powered weapon call in abilities.  It's fun the first time you play but when it never evolves past that, what is the point?  It's not like the campaign is any good.  Sure they are grandiose and full of set pieces you never take part in but honestly these campaigns never stand up for long and are forgotten about quickly.

Call of duty needs to take a year or so out to really allow the developers to iterate and improve the formula.  The same goes for other games obviously but this series is the greatest offender here.  Battlefield will probably crash and burn with it's fifth game no doubt and Assassin's Creed will hit the same wall with consumers who just aren't interested anymore.

Annualised gaming is great for sports titles because teams are constantly changing and updating each year so players need that relative completeness for the game to feel right.  Where in the case of games that are fiction based there is no need to pump them out at such a pace.  Activision Blizzard aren't exactly short of cash and likely never will be as long as they have big name titles like World of Warcraft to fall back on. 

In closing I don't think Call of Duty Advanced Warfare will be a terrible game, it will likely do what previous titles have done in the past.  But honestly how long can even the diehard fans accept the same old, same old before even they become jaded by the middle of the road offerings from Activision?


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