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A Call of Duty Retrospective

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Source: https://alyxxgameroom.blogspot.no/2018/05/a-call-of-duty-retrospective.html




So with the releases of Call of Duty WWII and now the announcement of Black Ops 4, I have reached the sad conclusion that I will not be buying either of these games, after getting each annual Call of Duty game for about 5-6 years now. And to properly explain why I have decided to not get them, I think it's time I gave a proper retrospective look on my relationship with the Call of Duty franchise. It will be less of a review of these games and more just a look back at the franchise and the memories I have with it. Those of you who hasn't should probably check out my reviews of the older games on this blog to get some perspective but here we go.


For about 5-6 years now I've been borderline obsessed with Call of Duty. It's been not only my go-to multiplayer game but also surprisingly games that I would buy for the single player campaigns. And while my interest in the zombie modes have never been that great I have dabbled into them too.


My first experience with Call of Duty was buying Modern Warfare 3 in 2011. I had recently built a new gaming PC so in many ways 2011 was the first year that I really got into current gen gaming as my previous rig up until that point just couldn't handle modern games beyond Half-Life 2 (which I had to run at 640x480). The jump in resolution, quality and so forth was extreme for me and it really felt like I was jumping a generation ahead. This PC that I built, which is the same PC I'm using today and will soon retire from gaming as I am planning on building yet another PC, was built to last at least 5 years into the future so in a way, this PC has been the PC I've enjoyed the entire Call of Duty series on.


I had never really been into Call of Duty as my interest in WW2 shooters and generally more realistic shooters was never that great. While others were playing multiplayer games like Counter Strike and Call of Duty I was kind of on the sideline of it all as I was never really that into multiplayer as most of the places I lived at never had stable internet or I was not allowed to use it for multiplayer gaming. So MW3 was really my first venture into online multiplayer. And most shooters I had played up until that point were mostly sci-fi shooters like Quake 4, Doom 3 and Half-Life 2, shooters that I played more for the single player campaigns than anything else. At heart I remain a single player gamer but this all changed with MW3.


Aside from the campaign, which I really loved, I found myself addicted to the multiplayer part of the game. Around this time my boyfriend had also gotten Steam so he could chat with me online and one of the first memories I have of chatting with my boyfriend on Steam was doing so while playing Modern Warfare 3. This game got a lot of bad criticism from gamers who had been long time fans of the series, especially seeing it as a clone of MW2 and I think this was just the point where the series was being criticized for essentially releasing the same game over and over. Ironically this was the point I got into the series so my perspective was entirely different from most fans of the series. I had never played the first 3 games, nor had I played much of MW1 and MW2 and thus I didn't have the same bias and I really enjoyed MW3 for what it was. It was and still is a rock solid shooter and I felt really enamored by the slightly futuristic tech in the game. Of course being a sci-fi geek I was over the moon when Black Ops 2 was unveiled in 2012.


Black Ops 2 was the point where my love for the series grew bigger than before. I was actually really craving a Call of Duty that was more futuristic so when Black Ops 2 came it felt like a game more tailored to my taste. It also had actual colour as opposed to the drab grey and brown tones of Modern Warfare 3. And the multiplayer was probably one of the best in the series, introducing the new point build system which introduced even more flexibility in class creation. What had really drawn me into the multiplayer was the custom classes and the freedom that came with that. MW3 and BO2 were really made to suit YOUR playstyle and whether you wanted to play defensively, offensively or any other combination, chances were high that as you leveled up and got more gear you could really find a combination that worked really well for you. I absolutely adored this and playing around with different builds became one of my favourite things to do in these games.


Then Call of Duty Ghosts came and while I was a bit disappointed it didn't entirely continue in the futuristic direction Black Ops 2 had taken it was still an amazing experience. It brought a really engaging single player campaign and mixed it with the first time you could actually play as female soldiers. Once again it felt like the developers had read my mind and knew what I wanted from the series. While it wasn't perfect and I had some issues with it, Ghosts was still a great experience but then they revealed Advanced Warfare.


It was 2014. I had just moved down to a new city and moved into a new apartment. I wasn't in a particurarily good place mentally, struggling with a lot of anxiety and it didn't help I was starving myself to lose weight. But it didn't really matter cause when Advanced Warfare came out I was beyond excited. It had jump jets, lasers, a futuristic setting, everything was made for exactly what I loved to see. Innovation, and most of all, just sheer fun! Advanced Warfare remains my favourite CoD to date as I had immense fun with it, so it's a bit sad that nobody really plays it anymore and it received very lackluster reception from a lot of people. I didn't care, I enjoyed every second of it and I once again felt that same excitement I had when playing Modern Warfare 3 for the first time. It felt new, refreshing and unlike anything that was on the market with the possible exception of Titanfall. And I loved Titanfall so seeing the Call of Duty series take some notes from it was not bad in my book. It still felt like Call of Duty to me and even better than the older games. There was no way I could go back to playing Black Ops 2 or Ghosts at this point. This game blew everything out of the water. And the campaign had a ton of really great moments and setpieces, with everything from sneaking into places to mountain climbing and even piloting a jet. It felt just like a CoD campaign should, like an interactive high budget action movie and with the new amazing technology behind the game providing life-like facial capture and motion, it was even more into that area than ever before.


2015 rolled around and Black Ops 3 came. While not impressing me as much as Advanced Warfare, it was still immensely fun playing the campaign co-op with friends, and the multiplayer is still something I enjoy today as the game still has a healthy amount of people playing it and it's really fun to pick up once in a while especially seeing as the game continues being supported by Activision with new modes like the newly introduced Prop Hunt mode being added 3 years after the game's release. It once again continued the futuristic direction of the series, which while a lot of people disliked, I was all for and it felt just slightly different from Advanced Warfare in some ways so I still loved it enough on its own. And apparently despite what people felt about the game's direction, a lot of people are still playing it.


2016 would see the release of the final game of the series that would follow in this style, Infinite Warfare. For some reason this game was almost universally hated when it came out and I failed to see why. The campaign was really strong and it was actually really refreshing seeing a Call of Duty set in outer space. In a lot of ways it didn't even feel like a Call of Duty game anymore and felt more like something from Mass Effect, especially in how you approached missions as you had side missions and story missions and could choose which to accomplish. The multiplayer also wasn't amazing or anything but it got the job done and was a lot of fun. Again, I still don't know why people were so negative towards it. People kept screaming about wanting games like Modern Warfare back and wanting the series to go back to its roots. Yeah, this was the SAME fanbase who just a few years back had been screaming for the series to innovate and when it actually did they just wanted it to go back to how it was? To this day I absolutely fail to see what's so wrong about the innovations they did cause they ultimately made the franchise way more enjoyable and more fun. Call of Duty has never been about realism, it's always been about arcady shooting, about high budget experiences and more seeing where warfare could go and what it could become in the future rather than focusing on realistic scenarios.


But people had their voices heard and 2017's WW2 certainly proved that. It stripped the series of its futuristic direction and went back to a WW2 setting with one of the most bland and uninteresting trailers I've ever seen. Nothing about it felt interesting or exciting and it even looked really grey and drab and for that reason I just skipped on it. It wasn't MY Call of Duty and it seems... neither is Black Ops 4. Yea, surprisingly they are going back to a "boots on the ground" gameplay which to me is flabbergasting. The devs of the series have prided themselves on the innovations they've done and how much fun they have made the games and now they're just stripping away those elements. And yeah, call me negative but I don't see how a freakin' Battle Royale mode can replace a single player campaign. I mean, I get it's not meant to but seeing as they scrapped a single player campaign in favour of Zombie and Battle Royale modes just disappoints me on so many levels.


At this point I'm just done with the series and it feels really sad and almost kind of melancholic for me. This is a series that have delivered annual releases that have excited me, inspired me, captivated me and kept me addicted to the series since 2011. And now I'm just not feeling that excitement anymore. I get that things change and sometimes these changes aren't always for the better. It seems Call of Duty is no longer made for me and so I guess it is my time to sign out for good. It's really sad cause for years now Call of Duty has always been this annual thing I've been excited for, always safe bets for me cause none of them disappointed me. I am happy for those who wanted these games and wanted these changes but man... I just can't share your joy. And with a new PC coming, it's also time to retire my old gaming beast. Times are changing indeed...


Alyxx out.

Game developments at http://nukedprotons.blogspot.com

Check out my music at http://technomancer.bandcamp.com

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Meanwhile, I got bored with the CoD franchise from Modern Warfare 2 onwards... I tried to play and like MW2 and the first Black Ops but hell if I could.


But even now, after so many years, it warms a little bit my elistist cunt's heart to fire up Call of Duty 2 and go liberate Stalingrad or fight the Germans in North Africa again.

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