Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Words Cannot Hurt Call of Duty

By Carlin Au

If games were students at a school, distinguishing their different cliques would be very easy. Games like Skyrim, Battlefield 3, and Batman: Arkham City would be the jocks of the school. Grand Theft Auto, Saint’s Row, and Just Cause would probably be the kids who just don’t care about anything. But, what about Call of Duty? It seems that Call of Duty is in its own category; it’s hated by many, but also loved by many. Those who hate the franchise like to go out of their way to insult it for whatever reasons, but here are a few common ones.

Sir Hackedalot

Remember those times in Modern Warfare 2 when you’d get pelted by a shower of AC-130 shots? Or those moments when you were harassed by an aimbotter? It happens a lot in Call of Duty, despite Infinity Ward’s efforts to prevent them. It is almost impossible to completely eliminate hackers, but it is possible to keep it to a minimum which Infinity Ward has failed to do. Fortunately, they’ve made the wise decision to implement dedicated servers into Modern Warfare 3. Not much is known about the usage of dedicated servers besides the fact that user-side servers are un-ranked.  With dedicated servers, admins can kick hackers and ban them from their server. After that, Valve Anti-Cheat will take care of them. That being said, it would be very hard for hackers to exist as long as you stay in a server with active admins. Hackers aren’t as much of a problem now than they were in Modern Warfare 2.

Can’t Fit With The PC Clique

No matter how hard Call of Duty tries, the PC community seems to reject them every time they re-add normal PC features in. Sure, there’s no leaning or console, but the more important features are back. With dedicated servers confirmed, there is also a possibility of mod tools in Modern Warfare 3.  Even when these standard features come back, the PC community still seems to despise them.

Call of Duty: Black Ops released last year with dedicated servers, leaning, and a post-launch mod tool, but some still shunned it. Back at E3 2011, EA announced that Battlefield 3 would be fully supporting the PC platform and the community had the feeling it was going to be better than Modern Warfare 3. Tons of people had high expectations of Battlefield 3 and some even thought it was going to be one of the greatest games of all time. When push comes to shove, Battlefield 3 released last week, chock full of bugs and without mod tools. To me, Call of Duty: Black Ops is a more PC-friendly game than Battlefield 3, yet the PC community values Battlefield 3 more. Yes, Battlefield 3 is focused more on the PC platform. Yes, Battlefield 3 has better graphical capabilities. Yes, Battlefield 3 has better social features like Battlelog. But, in the end, all of that is null and void when many people can’t play it because they’re experiencing crashes and server disconnects. How could a game that has the PC as the leading platform have so many problems like that? When Call of Duty was released, it was buggy, but it did not have the same outrageous bugs Battlefield 3 has. It seems that within the PC community, it’s cool to hate games everyone else hates.

IW Engine 2031.0  

“It looks TERRIBLE! Why would you want to buy a game with such ugly graphics? The Call of Duty series has been using the same engine since Call of Duty 4.” All right, I’m not going to deny any of this. The game doesn’t look as pretty as other recent games and Infinity Ward has been using the same engine for quite a while. But, does graphical quality really matter? The visuals and aesthetic look should be the least of your concerns when developing a game. When Portal 2 came out, did people complain about the aging 2004 Source engine? Of course not, because people looked beyond the graphics and applauded the gameplay. It’s pretty shallow to make a decision based on what something looks like.

S.S.D.D.

For most people, the biggest reason for their dislike of Call of Duty is the gameplay remains the same throughout the series. The multiplayer portion doesn’t feel like it has changes at all. It doesn’t seem like they are different from each other. You turn a corner and you kill a guy, turn another corner and repeat. It’s the same fast-paced, close quarters action people find in the other titles Activision has published

Call of Duty has always been known for its great multiplayer. Saying that it’s the same game throughout each title is inevitable. Of course it’s going to be very similar to the previous title; in fact, I’d be surprised if Infinity Ward or Treyarch tried to change the core gameplay. Reason being not that they wouldn’t make as much money, but that it’s what made the franchise what it is. If you don’t like the core gameplay of a game, then don’t buy it and definitely don’t complain about it. If you want the game to change its core, it most likely won’t unless it has a small playerbase. Telling a game to change its core is like telling Battlefield to lose the large open maps and make it less teamwork-based. Similarly, it’s like telling Portal to stop using the portal gun to maneuver around levels.

Back in 2009, Red Faction: Guerilla was released. There were several HUGE changes to the series since the last title, Red Faction II. Rather than being a first person shooter with a linear story, Red Faction: Guerrilla made a radical change to being a third person shooter in a sandbox world. The franchise lost most of their old fanbase because of the change, but also gained new ones. However, the new fans were not enough to compensate for the loss of their old fans. When Red Faction: Armageddon was released, it promised to go back to the linear story, but it wasn’t enough to call back all the old fans. As of August 30, 2011, the franchise was shut down. Changing the core gameplay of a game will do more harm than good as we can see in the case of Red Faction.

Revelations

It’s strange how we value different games. What makes game A different from game B? It’s all about how they are fulfilling our needs. Most people who have played Call of Duty in the past can say that it’s a good game at the center. I would agree that the game hasn’t changed too much from the normal standard Call of Duty, but do they need to make a lot of changes? Infinity Ward will make a couple of changes to the multiplayer and try to make things interesting like the weapon level system or the addition of the Trophy System. It’s the little things like that which make a game different from what it was. When Portal 2 added gels into levels, it opened up more options and paths to create new levels. That’s what sets one game apart from the other.

Point is, Call of Duty does change and tries to satisfy what people want. The franchise makes a lot of people happy every year Infinity Ward or Treyarch release a game. Is it wrong for people to like a game and buy it? If Call of Duty is what 17-year old Johnny likes, then you shouldn’t call him a fanboy or mock him because he likes it. The game makes people happy, and for the most part, it fulfills its goal as a game.

Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not trying to make people like Call of Duty with this article. If someone doesn’t like Call of Duty for what it is after playing it, I can’t change that. But maybe I can change someone’s opinion on Call of Duty, that maybe it isn’t so bad of a game.

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9 thoughts on “Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Words Cannot Hurt Call of Duty

  1. Just a small note, I actually saw quite a few complaints about Portal 2’s graphics and dated engine, as stupid as that is, I thought the game looked good myself not great but good, above average even.

    OT: I think that CoD suffers from tall poppy syndrome, it is so much more popular than everything else it draws attention from all corners and it’s faults are exaggerated. People often feel it doesn’t deserve success when the games they like are kept in the dark.

    And in the end as much as gamers everywhere may shun it in public, it is still the most popular game around even on PC where the CoD games stay on the top sellers list on steam for months and in the most played list year round, often with 2 versions in the top ten.

    • @Portal2 Yeah, some people told me that too, but I don’t think most of the people who bought it cared.

      Tall Poppy Syndrome… that’s interesting. I think that’s definitely true with Call of Duty. It is very popular, but I feel the majority of the PC community doesn’t like it. So much, that you can see it on Reddit, PCGamer, and etc.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Also, some of us don`t think war to be a gaming subject.

    I love shooters, but only when it doesn`t deal with the saddest part of humanity.

      • Well I do enjoy some war themes when it is in a fictional setting, like Front Mission or Resistance.

        As for genre of games I like, it ranges from puzzlers (Catherine, Bejeweled, Portal) to platformers (LBP, Kirby), to shooters (Serious Sam, Borderlands) to RPGs (From obscure stuff like Rune Factory to AAA titles like Fallout and Elder Scrolls), a bit of everything really.

        But Battlefield, C.O.D. and their many clones have me hating the game I play ,not because of it’s technicality, but because it is a glorification of true human drama. If it was war against alien invaders or mutated zombie mutants, I’d have no problem. Or if the stories were told with that tact and thought of titles like Metal Gear Solid.

      • Not exactly sure if I got what you mean, but here goes:

        I think the glorification of human drama is what everyone wants in a story. More specifically, a war story because we want to hear a story that continues to surprise us. Maybe not so much surprise, but to make us feel emotions that we don’t usually feel even though some games do a terrible job at that. For example, let’s take a generic scary movie with some kind of killing involved. Scary movies will try to instill fear in people as they watch it. Now, people don’t just go into a movie theater and randomly select a title to watch, but they will know what they’re watching. So they know what they’re seeing and they know it’s going to scare them and involves some kind of killing. Do the movie’s viewer support scaring and killing people? Not necessarily.
        If that wasn’t right then consider this. If killing zombies or aliens is okay, then what isn’t? What makes them any different from humans? Some games that do involve a war against aliens do tend to offend people, for instance Duke Nukem Forever.

        Thanks for commenting!

  3. Carlin you have the worst writing skills and reviewing abilities I have ever seen. You are an insult to the gaming community, and a stain on this website that needs to be removed. I will be contacting your boss about your terrible and incomplete work, and make sure nothing like this appear again.

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