Thursday, 22 August 2013

In Defence of Call of Duty

Many of those in the 'highbrow gaming community' slag off COD as being nothing more than a stupid, mindless, racist, artless, homogenized piece of tripe for the masses of annoying 9 to 14-year-olds. Which is mostly true, but there are many things that Call of Duty gets right; things that people don't appreciate as much as I do. So please, at least try to indulge me.

Firstly, 60 Frames-per-Second. Many people complain that Call of Duty has subpar graphics, which is true, the graphical fidelity is inferior to most games that come out, but that's fine, because I prefer swifter, more fast-paced gameplay that an ugly, slugging 30FPS. And Call of Duty is very fast-paced, and the 60FPS benefits the game extremely. Most games prefer huge, sprawling, pointless sky-boxes over swifter gameplay, but Call of Duty doesn't, it prefers a smoother game-feel.

Secondly, the level system. Leveling up in Call of Duty multiplayer mode feels awesome. The first few levels start out easy, then it gets harder, then a lot harder. The difficulty curve on leveling is perfect, encouraging you to play more so you can gain more XP and unlock the new equipment and whatnot. The most interesting part of the multiplayer is Prestige mode. This gives you the option to restart your entire progress from Level 1 to Level 80 or 55 or whatever. All your guns, XP, camos, equipment and unlockables go. And for what? Isn't it much better to be loaded out? But prestiging higher means that you're more respected and well recognized. This isn't a number that goes steadily up, or a bar that gets higher, this is the equivalent to street cred. People treat your ability by your prestiges, and that's awesome. Getting to level 30 on League of Legends is cool, but doing it all again just for a little emblem? That's even cooler. Once you've completed a game, you lose to will to want to play it anymore, but with prestiging, you can play it all again with the added bonus of 'street cred'. You are now a higher being. Awesome.

Thirdly, the aforementioned fast-gameplay is awesome. Small maps are generally better, as they require less trudging from the corner of the map to the battle zone. With a small map, everywhere is a battle zone. With the 60FPS, everything is more clear and fluid, so small maps are actually fun and remind me of the days when shooters weren't a conveyor belt of chest-high walls, which coincidentally is what most Call of Duty campaigns consist of.

Lastly, Black Ops 2 is actually not that bad. It's campaign, whilst short, at least tries to do something more interesting with the series. There are choices, there are alternative endings, there are mini RTS side quests, and the aesthetic and game feel is awesome. The zombies, whilst not great, is still a fun distraction, but it suffered from trying to do to many things, and many of the maps suffered from being heavy on corridors, which just slows down the fast. fluid gameplay to a screaming halt. The multiplayer is pretty much the same with some minor differences, but that's ok, because the multiplayer is actually pretty fun. There are unique game modes and cool guns and there's a focus on small maps, which is much better.

Sure, there are loads of things wrong with Call of Duty, such as a stupid, gaming-illiterate community, most of the campaigns are short and stupid and boring, it's extremely over-rated, it's an incredibly safe series, it's designed for the masses and it made an entire generation of gamers care exclusively about multiplayer and graphics... ok maybe there's a lot wrong with Call of Duty but I still find it to be at least a functional shooter with some cool bits like Zombie mode and those RTS mission in Black Ops 2.

I just felt I needed to defend this game among those who consider themselves to be too high brow for Call of Duty (me partly included), because this series gets a lot of hate, and it seems like most of the hate is for the sake of it, which sucks, but I can understand it. After all, it's got the worst bloody fans in the world. They make me too ashamed to admit that I kinda like Black Ops 2. Defence over. Go back to over-thinking the metaphors of Braid now.