The Call of Duty series does not suck. There is no point in arguing whether this statement is true or not. Sure, every game in the franchise involves shooting somebody – usually a terrorist, a Natzi, or an undead version of the two- but it’s a first-person shooter after all, so this comes with the territory. It’s like saying the Madden games feature too much gameplay involving football.
Most people who protest their hatred against the Call of Duty franchise are mainly concerned that a new game comes out every year, which sacrifices originality in design and gameplay innovation in favor of flashy sights and sounds that can easily be mass-produced. In other words, people hate this series for the same reasons the majority of people hate remakes: abusing an already popular title (or in this case, a brand name) for profit.
Obviously Call of Duty is a massive cash cow now, but isn’t this because there is a fundamental reason they are so wildly popular? These games know their target audience and bludgeon them to death with extremely accessible gameplay that is literally the definition of the term, “pick up and play”. The control scheme has never been a complaint of the series, not once has it been brought up as a negative or that it needs improvement since the original Call of Duty was released back in 2003.
With every new title avidly played by millions worldwide, the developers over at Infinity Ward and Treyarch recognize that maintaining the high level of quality the series is known for must constantly be outdoing itself. Call of Duty is now established as being the premier shooter in gaming today, holding back its numerous competition by being a triple-A experience. Every once in a while a strong contender like Battlefield 3 comes around, but that’s to be expected when other game studios see the kind of success Call of Duty has garnered and they feel the need to compete in order to survive.
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It’s obvious how many hours the development teams behind the Call of Duty titles spend reading blogs and forums, deciding what needs to be tweaked or enhanced to make the next game even better. They may be small changes -which is usually a common complaint the franchise keeps being called out on – but polishing up an already phenomenal engine is safer than adding a new part that may go haywire.
Any addition – either big or small – the series has implemented over time, was carefully thought out in order to fit with the overall dynamic and feel that the games are known for. Right now, every Call of Duty game released appeals to both the casual gamer who just bought a new system and the hardcore veteran who plays clan matches every night. So why change courses and needlessly add something for originality’s sake? This could potentially risk losing the stronghold in popularity the games already have during the process. When it comes down to it, it’s a business decision to keep these games relativity similar in design, making more money is the main goal. This is what Call of Duty haters fail to grasp.
Yet, the series has shown more originality in the last few years than it usually gets credit for. Who would have thought that a simple bonus zombie mode would have developed into the addictive craze it is now. Not only was the thought to add co-op survival with the undead innovative, it was downright unnecessary for the developers to include it in the first place. But taking chances like that paid off big time for the series, with another ingenious way of getting more people hooked into what Call of Duty had to offer besides a competitive online mode that sucks away hours of free time.
Look at the recently released Black Ops 2: you get your standard single player story, massive multiplayer content and an even bigger zombie campaign with various options and modes to play around with. That’s not only varied content for a so called “ordinary” shooter, but also a ton of bang for your buck. Even the survival mode in Modern Warfare 3, a separate feature that almost every shooter adds now to supposedly try and fit in with, was a full-fledged idea that was expertly made. That’s the general emphasis these games always try to drive home repeatedly; they do what they do phenomenally well and don’t make mistakes that other games -Medal of Honor for example – would make. You don’t expect Steven Spielberg to use dodgy CGI and you don’t expect Infinity Ward to allow a framerate to be less than silky smooth.
This article isn’t suggesting that the Call of Duty titles are the best video games of all time. In fact, there hasn’t been any specific details actually referring to the individual games at all. EA’s NHL games, all the Madden games, the Grand Theft Auto series, all these titles own their respective genres because they have repeatedly improved year after year, to the point where they stand high above their various competition.
Call of Duty is no exception to that statement, since it has slowly been refined into the juggernaut it rightfully is. It deserves to be a cash cow, it deserves to be a brand name, it deserves to come out yearly, and it deserves to be the king of shooters. All of this has already been demonstrated why. You can hate these games or you can love them for your own reasons, but there is no denying that the Call of Duty franchise deserves to be what and where it stands in our society today: a hugely successful video game franchise.Previous