On its own, Call of Duty is probably the reason why FPS Multiplayer games have skyrocketed into the mainstream. Not to say that there weren't any FPS Multiplayer games before then (Quake, Unreal, CS, etc.). But Call of Duty has to be the only FPS game that's also a household name.
Now, I've enjoyed playing Call of Duty at one point (exactly eight years ago) but something happened along the way that made this series less fun than it originally was. If you enjoy playing Call of Duty, that's great. Good for you.
But here are ten terrible things about Call of Duty and why I won't go back to playing the game.
1. It Lost Its Edge
There was a moment when the first Modern Warfare came out when I thought it was an intense experience. Both the single-player and the multiplayer. But along the way, it started losing that allure. By committing to a yearly release schedule, it suffers from the Madden issue or the same problems that the Assassin's Creed series started to see. A sequel every year is cool but it doesn't give developers enough time to improve upon what made the initial release great.
2. That Controversial Mission Has No Weight
The first time I started to realize that I stopped enjoying Call of Duty was during the No Russian mission. You play as a character who's undercover with a terrorist organization and you shoot up an airport. All of it is pretty heavy, especially since this is something that happens in movie theaters and schools way too often.
But this mission, or the message it was trying to send, failed because at the end of it the character you play as gets killed because they knew you were undercover the whole time. Now, that might be cool or okay for some of you. But can you imagine the territory that the game could have covered if it forced you to continue to play the game and your character had to "live" with their actions during this mission. It opened a door to a conversation about terrorism and the line between what's right and wrong but shut the door immediately. To me, it was a wasted and missed opportunity.
3. Emotional Moments Fall Flat
And it only gets worse from there. More recently, there's a moment where you have to press a button to pay your respects to a fallen comrade. Now, I can understand that the developer wants the player to get into the game and participate. But by using the "press [button] to pay respects" prompt, it reminds the player that they aren't experiencing a moment in the character's life of story and they're just playing a game. It takes the weight away from a funeral, which should be an intensely dramatic moment.
4. The Campaign is... Unfortunate
And that being said, the storylines in each Call of Duty game have been falling flatter with each iteration. It's cool to see that actual movie actors sometimes show up in the Call of Duty games but the writing is so subpar that it's like they wasted their money for a famous face instead of an engrossing story. Now, I'm not saying older Call of Duty games had narratives that rivaled Mass Effect or Fallout or any actual game with a story but they were enough to keep someone interested.
5. The People Who Play This Game
I don't think I need to say anything more about this. Because you probably have your own experience with this game and the children that somehow play it.
6. The DLC Season Pass Nonsense
I personally don't buy DLC or Season Passes unless they add more to the base game. When it comes to multiplayer games, you might think that adding new maps is adding to the base game. But personally, I think that add-ons such as maps should come to games by way of the free update. Maybe add in a new game mode or something to the single player campaign. Or maybe even a co-op mode. Just something other than a new environment. Even The Division has two updates that are coming for free and I'm sure you all know how I feel about that game.
7. The Zombies Mode
At first, the Nazi Zombies mode was a fun little way to kill time. It was a smaller, less developed mode that was, really, just a good way to waste time. It was Call of Duty's Horde Mode and for a while it was fun. But the point where it's at now is absolutely confusing. There's a story plastered into the mode that's more of a chore to get to than an actual draw to the mode. I'm sure there are people that enjoy finding all the secrets in each Zombie map but if they want to put a story to the game mode, then just make a whole new campaign all together. I'm sure it'll be more enjoyable to experience that way.
8. Has Modes People Rarely Play
Speaking of game modes. When I used to play the game, it was hard to find matches in game modes other than Team Deathmatch and Domination (I think). When multiple game modes are a selling point to the game, we should all be able to experience each mode at least once. But most people are more enticed by the twitch-shooter nature of the game to work as a team in some of the more tactical game modes.
(This might be the biggest reason why I stopped playing these games)
9. The Prestige Mode
Working your way to the top of the multiplayer ladder is an achievement that feels pretty good. But in Call of Duty, it doesn't. Instead, it's reminder that you need to prestige so you can get a cool new icon. And deciding to do this means that you're willingly starting over from zero for a cool picture. That's all this adds to the experience. It's like the devs knew that it was an experience people would get bored of and they needed to add replay value. But by the time you hit that moment, you forget about how boring the game is because...
10. It Puts You In a Skinner Box
And a Skinner Box or an operant conditioning chamber is something that's used to study behavior. Essentially, it's a box with a rat inside that learns to do the same thing over and over again to get a reward (or food). And in the sense of video games, or Call of Duty in general. While you're working your way towards the top of the pops so you can prestige, the game is conditioning you repeatedly do the same actions in order to get a reward -- whether or not you actually enjoy it.
I'm sure there are moments when you've played the game where you happen to lose a match or die when you didn't want to, you get all mad and angry and pissed but you still go back to playing the game. Logically, if something gets you that angry that you're yelling at your TV screen, you should probably stop doing that thing. But by this point, your behavior is already conditioned by the game to make you want that non-existent reward, whether it's a new virtual gun or that icon that shows everyone you play with that you hit prestige a ton of times.
And you know, this can be applied to almost any video game. Especially MMOs or MOBAs. But you know, when my behavior is being modified so I believe that I'm actually receiving a real reward, I'd rather it be subtle instead of how overt it is with Call of Duty.
Think I missed anything? Think I'm wrong? Let me know in the comments below!
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