I'm part of the problem, and I'm okay with that.

The last Call Of Duty title I played with any amount of reverence and adoration was Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. I speak of that in terms of both the single player and the multiplayer experiences. I never Prestige'd the original Modern Warfare. I bought Call Of Duty: Black Ops II on Friday. I Prestige'd the following Sunday. I'm less than ten levels away from hitting Prestige number two. I'm not apologizing. Most of you who know me, know that I don't make excuses or apologize for what I do, the experiences I have or the types of games I like. I like what I like, and I don't try to fit my opinion in with any singular opinion or views. If my opinion happens to fall into the general consensus, then so be it.

It had been awhile since I've been into a multiplayer game, and I wanted to jump into one. I recently got an awesome new gig, and so I had (and have) some funds to spend. I like what I saw in Black Ops II, so decided to purchase it and dive in. There's something about the gameplay loop that I find compelling. I find it to be legitimately so, the complete opposite of empty calories. It works my fingers, the puzzle-solving part of my brain and my reaction speeds. Most people would consider this to simply be twitch.

They're not wrong.

But I think there is some legitimacy to this type of multiplayer shooter. It's still a gold mine. No game has really been able to match or copy the Call Of Duty experience. Sure, there are other, more tactical multiplayer experiences, (Battlefield 3, Gears Of War 3, various PC shooters), but those experiences are going for something different. There's something satisfying about seeing who can formulate a plan of attack in a split second and have it pay off for them. I'm all ears, and every part of my senses and motor functions with a controller are working at one-hundred percent during a multiplayer game. If I'm not shooting, I'm looking for the next kill. If I'm not looking for the next kill, I'm looking to how I can gain an advantage. If I'm not gaining an advantage, then I'm combing my loadouts to see what went wrong and how I can fix it. It's puzzle solving. The end game is pull left and then right trigger and, "shoot that guy in the face," but there are steps needed to get to that point where that's a viable tactic.

I know it's easy to dismiss something simply because of it's popularity, the community, or even for personal reasons which are still valid as all of those reasons are, because it comes with the territory for this series as I've unfortunately found as well. Playing the Black Ops II multiplayer as much as I have been has forced me to sit down and do some thinking about the games and the types of experiences I enjoy, which leads me to where I am right now. I have no parting question, or higher philosophical observation about the state of videogames, or whatever, so I just wanted to get my feelings out and maybe get some conversation going.

42 Comments
43 Comments
Edited by Napalm

The last Call Of Duty title I played with any amount of reverence and adoration was Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. I speak of that in terms of both the single player and the multiplayer experiences. I never Prestige'd the original Modern Warfare. I bought Call Of Duty: Black Ops II on Friday. I Prestige'd the following Sunday. I'm less than ten levels away from hitting Prestige number two. I'm not apologizing. Most of you who know me, know that I don't make excuses or apologize for what I do, the experiences I have or the types of games I like. I like what I like, and I don't try to fit my opinion in with any singular opinion or views. If my opinion happens to fall into the general consensus, then so be it.

It had been awhile since I've been into a multiplayer game, and I wanted to jump into one. I recently got an awesome new gig, and so I had (and have) some funds to spend. I like what I saw in Black Ops II, so decided to purchase it and dive in. There's something about the gameplay loop that I find compelling. I find it to be legitimately so, the complete opposite of empty calories. It works my fingers, the puzzle-solving part of my brain and my reaction speeds. Most people would consider this to simply be twitch.

They're not wrong.

But I think there is some legitimacy to this type of multiplayer shooter. It's still a gold mine. No game has really been able to match or copy the Call Of Duty experience. Sure, there are other, more tactical multiplayer experiences, (Battlefield 3, Gears Of War 3, various PC shooters), but those experiences are going for something different. There's something satisfying about seeing who can formulate a plan of attack in a split second and have it pay off for them. I'm all ears, and every part of my senses and motor functions with a controller are working at one-hundred percent during a multiplayer game. If I'm not shooting, I'm looking for the next kill. If I'm not looking for the next kill, I'm looking to how I can gain an advantage. If I'm not gaining an advantage, then I'm combing my loadouts to see what went wrong and how I can fix it. It's puzzle solving. The end game is pull left and then right trigger and, "shoot that guy in the face," but there are steps needed to get to that point where that's a viable tactic.

I know it's easy to dismiss something simply because of it's popularity, the community, or even for personal reasons which are still valid as all of those reasons are, because it comes with the territory for this series as I've unfortunately found as well. Playing the Black Ops II multiplayer as much as I have been has forced me to sit down and do some thinking about the games and the types of experiences I enjoy, which leads me to where I am right now. I have no parting question, or higher philosophical observation about the state of videogames, or whatever, so I just wanted to get my feelings out and maybe get some conversation going.

Posted by Phatmac

I like BLOPS 2 mostly for the choices it presents in the story. It evens tricks players by putting the kill mark UI on a unknown individual. Unlike many FPS it asks us the question that few ever ask. I didn't think that cod had the balls to trick me into believing that I had no other option instead of just shooting that person. I didn't realize that I could have just shot him in the legs twice. Powerful stuff in my opinion. I like the multiplayer fine( I prefer halo 4 as my multiplayer game this year). Still the campaign is all I care about in BLOPS 2.

Posted by Pierre42

Forgive me if I don't fully understand but er...

What problem is there in liking and being good at a game?

Posted by Napalm

@Pierre42 said:

Forgive me if I don't fully understand but er...

What problem is there in liking and being good at a game?

The general consensus being that Call Of Duty is working on a very old-formula with yearly boxed updates that don't add or differentiate enough from the previous year.

Posted by Pierre42

@Napalm:

Oh right that issue.

I dunno I feel the GB guys are just getting too jaded about stuff like that these days. FPS's aren't cool because they are all the same, Mario isn't good because it plays like Mario. Perhaps with the increase in really good innovative indie games they've seen kicking about lately they've been spoiled by innovation and it's raised their standards a bit too much.

I don't really consider it a problem if a game does something it's good at again for a sequel.

Posted by Napalm

@Pierre42 said:

I dunno I feel the GB guys are just getting too jaded about stuff like that these days.

Not sure why you decided to bring the "GB guys" into this. I was referencing the general consensus on this franchise from the gaming community at large. Giant Bomb just happens to be my go-to for stuff like this, which is why my blog is on this site.

Posted by Pierre42

@Napalm said:

@Pierre42 said:

I dunno I feel the GB guys are just getting too jaded about stuff like that these days.

Not sure why you decided to bring the "GB guys" into this. I was referencing the general consensus on this franchise from the gaming community at large. Giant Bomb just happens to be my go-to for stuff like this, which is why my blog is on this site.

Sure maybe it is the gaming community as a whole. Would make sense.

Posted by Skytylz

Burn in hell you piece of shit.

Not really, but whatever. I'm pretty sick of call of duty, but a lot of people don't mind playing almost the same game. Which is proven by sports games and at this point I'd say Call of Duty is basically like a sports game which receives map and weapon updates rather than roster updates.

Posted by believer258

This is one of those times where a "like" button on forums would be cool. I do agree with everything you've said, especially about CoD being at least a little bit deeper than most give it credit for, but I don't have much more to say than that.

Online
Posted by Kyreo

Dude. Cod BLOPS 2 is good. Like... the best in a while. Nothing to worry about.

Posted by laserbolts

Nothing wrong with liking a good game. As far as gameplay goes there are few that do it as good as call of duty. Rarely will you see someone say they hate call of duty because it's a bad game but it's more the yearly release reason. Why that would stop you from enjoying a game is beyond me.

Posted by onarum

The game is good because there's very talented people behind it, the real problem is not the game but the state of the industry, and that's not easy to fix.

Posted by TheHT

Shame on you-whoo, shame on all you dooo.

Posted by Napalm

@Kyreo said:

Dude. Cod BLOPS 2 is good. Like... the best in a while. Nothing to worry about.

How so?

@laserbolts said:

Nothing wrong with liking a good game. As far as gameplay goes there are few that do it as good as call of duty. Rarely will you see someone say they hate call of duty because it's a bad game but it's more the yearly release reason. Why that would stop you from enjoying a game is beyond me.

I haven't played enough of any other modern military multiplayer game to get that kind of sense, but beyond a few tweaks to some of the weapons, perks and customization behavior, there isn't a whole lot I would change.

Posted by Kyreo

@Napalm said:

@Kyreo said:

Dude. Cod BLOPS 2 is good. Like... the best in a while. Nothing to worry about.

How so?

@laserbolts said:

Nothing wrong with liking a good game. As far as gameplay goes there are few that do it as good as call of duty. Rarely will you see someone say they hate call of duty because it's a bad game but it's more the yearly release reason. Why that would stop you from enjoying a game is beyond me.

I haven't played enough of any other modern military multiplayer game to get that kind of sense, but beyond a few tweaks to some of the weapons, perks and customization behavior, there isn't a whole lot I would change.

The whole choices introduction to the campaign added a whole walking dead/heavy rain mentality of "Holy shit what if this guy wasn't supposed to die and I totally fucked up?" I replayed the campaign as soon as I beat it. Also the multiplayer class customization has reached a new height with a specific allotment that can be readjusted. For instance... not every class has to have grenades and if you choose not to have grenades you could use the allotted "class Space" to something like a 4 perk, or an extra gun. It gets crazy when you rejigger it in new ways. Also the whole league play really helps it so that you never play someone significantly better or worse than you and because of this I've had some of the most satisfying games in my whole Call of Duty history. Mind you, it's the same ole formula, but it's brought to new heights with different and interesting changes.

Posted by Napalm

@Kyreo: Yeah, I was already tweaking with that [multiplayer] stuff a bunch. I have five classes I use regularly and switch out of depending on what's happening on the battlefield. One of them is a "Pistolero" class in which all I take is a pistol and six perks all related to moving quickly, silently as well as my trusty flak jacket.

Posted by Nadril

You know, Call of Duty is an easy game to hate on. I have to say though, I decided to get Black Ops II and I've been enjoying myself so far. It's a fun game, and there really aren't good alternatives.

The thing that always bugs me is when people try and talk about how there are all of these millions of FPS games out there to choose from. There really isn't. As a PC gamer, what choices do I have for a modern FPS?

  • Battlefield 3 (not really what I want even though I do own it. Much more a focus on the large scale stuff)
  • Team Fortress 2 (a fairly old game at this point, and one I had played for years already)
  • Counter-Strike:GO (it's pretty much just CS in a new engine, with the same maps and all.)
  • Call of Duty.

I mean, there isn't a whole lot of options. I'd love to support an awesome, arcade-y shooter with a map editor and all that but there really isn't one. The ones that are out there are usually using a fairly old engine and are real Quake inspired.

For what it is Call of Duty does it well. Guns feel great to shoot and Killstreaks, love them and hate them, are still fun to get. It's not an incredible game, but it's a well made one.

Posted by Kyreo

@Napalm: I have a similar class but with just a knife. I have always loved stabbing guys in the Call of Duty games and this is one of the best multiplayer stabbing games in a while. It always gets peoples blood up whenever I get the last kill cam when all I have is a fucking knife!

Posted by Napalm

@Kyreo: I don't know if the knife was overpowered in the previous games, but there are plenty of times when I just randomly miss with the knife from a short distance away. I'll run up on a guy and swipe him, nothing happens, and then he just fills me up with rifle rounds. Conversely, I've had guys knife me from five feet away and not even facing me, so you know, questionable hit detection sometimes.

Posted by Skyfire543

I was running with a class with no weapons save a Tac. 45, no grenades, no perks. It was fun getting top of the score board.

Posted by Kyreo

@Napalm: The distance of attack was reduced a bit but the cone of range was increased ever so slightly but it shit still happens when guys get all tangled up and you start swinging randomly. It feels really good in this one, as compared to the overpowered "Zero from Borderlands 2" vibe I got from modern Warfare 2.

Posted by Hungry

@Kyreo:

When you are playing in a lobby full of good people Assassin's Creed is an amazingly good stabbing people game. Some of the most adrenaline-fueled experiences I've had in gaming and everyone was just walking around or sitting on benches.

Oh and if you count bodyparts that can stab playing as the Alien in the old 1999 AvP was beyond delightful, though that is far from recent. As for being on topic, Call of Duty has never caught me. My favorite shooters hail from early Unreal Tournament and Quake so what people call "fast paced" in shooters these days is slow motion for me. Don't think it is really bad, I just can't personally stand to play it. Also some of the people who play it are monumentally stupid, like saying you are cheap when you go prone to avoid their return fire. Then again I don't think there is a single multiplayer community that does not have that kind of player.

Posted by Jazzycola

Nothing wrong with liking something. Heck think of it this way, you're keeping Activision afloat which in turn keeps thousands of people employed which enables them to feed themselves or their family.

Posted by Kyreo

@Hungry said:

@Kyreo:

When you are playing in a lobby full of good people Assassin's Creed is an amazingly good stabbing people game. Some of the most adrenaline-fueled experiences I've had in gaming and everyone was just walking around or sitting on benches.

Oh and if you count bodyparts that can stab playing as the Alien in the old 1999 AvP was beyond delightful, though that is far from recent. As for being on topic, Call of Duty has never caught me. My favorite shooters hail from early Unreal Tournament and Quake so what people call "fast paced" in shooters these days is slow motion for me. Don't think it is really bad, I just can't personally stand to play it. Also some of the people who play it are monumentally stupid, like saying you are cheap when you go prone to avoid their return fire. Then again I don't think there is a single multiplayer community that does not have that kind of player.

I will admit there are better stabbing and killing multiplayer games but it is the most populated and accessible. Like the 40K Space Marine lobbies on the PS3 are fuckin barren and it bums me out because that game is rad.

To counter your assassins creed argument, the best time I've had in a while in terms of multiplayer was the Splinter Cell Double Agent where the Agents have to assassinate a single, wandering Mercenary. Nothing got my heart pumping more than doing that with a couple of buddies.

Posted by JasonR86

The people who bitch about COD don't matter because the game sells like mad regardless. It's like living in the US and bitching about the NFL. The bitching is falling on deaf ears. And there's no solution or problem or anything with this franchise. You either like it or you don't. You buy it or you don't. Feeling guilty or sorry about playing it is dumb. Bitching about it is dumb. Buy it or don't buy it. Like it or loathe it. But shut the fuck up about it.

Online
Posted by Orbitz89

I have no problem with Call of Duty or the people who enjoy it. I really enjoy playing online split-screen with my younger brother sometimes.. it's great fun.

Posted by Hungry

@Kyreo:

Oh man Splinter Cell multiplayer is just. Oh man. Words cannot describe... I can't even use words to describe how to describe how much I loved it.

Posted by Kyreo

@Hungry: You don't have to use words, I already understand! :P

Posted by xMEGADETHxSLY

COD are greatly made games

Posted by TheManWithNoPlan

I always find myself down the same hole with COD.I always say I'm done and then the game comes out and I find myself playing it again.There definitely something I find compelling about the gameplay that keeps me coming back.

Posted by kgb0515

My weakness is YouTube videos. I see those guys play and think "I could do that", and then I end up sucking more and more each time. The kicker is that I used to be decent at Black Ops 1, and got progressively worse at Modern Warfare 3, and now Blops 2. I think I'm still at a negative K/D for this one, but I switched to Xbox after the first Blops. Maybe I'm just better with the PS3 controller?

Posted by SpudBug

Yeah, a lot of people rail against the Call of Duty series but I think the games themselves are pretty great. MW3 was shitty, but Blops 1 and 2 were both really good.

What I will talk shit about is the effect they have on making every other game feel like the game game and just trying to get some of that call of duty money. Not every game needs to play like call of duty.

Posted by DarthOrange

I am bad, and that is good.

I will never be good, and that's not bad.

There's no one I'd rather be than me.

  
Posted by Hippie_Genocide

Being "part of the problem" would be not buying a good game that you like simply because thats what the vocal minority of indie-loving hipsters told you to do.

Posted by Lysergica33

You say you make no apologies for what you do or what you enjoy, yet you seem to feel the need to justify your enjoyment of this game on an internet forum? Play what you enjoy, nobody needs to justify what kind of games they enjoy to other people.

Posted by BigBoss1911

@Skyfire543 said:

I was running with a class with no weapons save a Tac. 45, no grenades, no perks. It was fun getting top of the score board.

I do the same sometimes for the lolz, but seriously, this game requires almost zero skill.

Posted by AndyMP

@BigBoss1911: I agree, it's all about speed in my opinion. And securing kill streaks for the perks.

Posted by Troispoint

@BigBoss1911: This game requires zero skill? Well you're wrong.

Posted by rentfn

You like what you like. Don't apologize for that. If you have fun finding out the best way to shoot dudes, shoot dudes.

Posted by kmdrkul

@BigBoss1911 said:

@Skyfire543 said:

I was running with a class with no weapons save a Tac. 45, no grenades, no perks. It was fun getting top of the score board.

I do the same sometimes for the lolz, but seriously, this game requires almost zero skill.

I actually let a friend of mine who rarely plays video games play Black Ops II earlier today. He was positively horrible. He could barely get the hang of the controls, and when he was able to aim down the sights and shoot at somebody his actual aiming was all over the place. Plus, he had no idea where he was going most of the time despite there being a mini map to guide him. I say this because I definitely disagree that this game requires zero skill - even if most of the skill has to do with muscle memory and memorizing all of the level layouts, there still is a steep learning curve for those who are just picking it up. I've taken it for granted because I play (lets be real here) way too many video games and I think within the online gamer crowd, most have too.

Posted by BigBoss1911

@Troispoint said:

@BigBoss1911: This game requires zero skill? Well you're wrong.

You could go lone wolf in cod and get to the top of the scoreboard no problem, compared to other online shooters, say Unreal Tournament, Tribes, Socom 1 & 2, it takes very little or no real skill or teamwork to win.

Posted by BigBoss1911

@kmdrkul said:

@BigBoss1911 said:

@Skyfire543 said:

I was running with a class with no weapons save a Tac. 45, no grenades, no perks. It was fun getting top of the score board.

I do the same sometimes for the lolz, but seriously, this game requires almost zero skill.

I actually let a friend of mine who rarely plays video games play Black Ops II earlier today. He was positively horrible. He could barely get the hang of the controls, and when he was able to aim down the sights and shoot at somebody his actual aiming was all over the place. Plus, he had no idea where he was going most of the time despite there being a mini map to guide him. I say this because I definitely disagree that this game requires zero skill - even if most of the skill has to do with muscle memory and memorizing all of the level layouts, there still is a steep learning curve for those who are just picking it up. I've taken it for granted because I play (lets be real here) way too many video games and I think within the online gamer crowd, most have too.

For those who have little experience with online shooters or video games in general, its understandable that there would be a learning curve for them because they are new to it, but like I said for people who have put enough time into shooters, it should be obvious these games are some of the easiest to prevail in online.

Edited by Troispoint

@BigBoss1911: Teams working together will almost always win over a team that isnt working together. Proof of it is how party groups facing off a team made of random people will win 90% of the time. And yes, you can go lone wolf and dominate a lot of the games. But that still takes skills anyway. Even IF this game required no teamwork, it still wouldnt mean the game doesnt require skill. In fact, your premise is absurd. All games that arent mechanically broken requires skills.

I myself have gotten myself much better at the game(see, that implies that you can gain 'skills' in this game) by improving my decision making by rushing and avoiding enemies at the right moments. In other words, tactics. But of course, if you're just going to mindlessly rush guys left and right you're going to be mediocre forever. The gunplay is hindered by the annoying lag compensation, but its a game where tactics are crucial. I'm getting high level streaks on a regular basis nowadays for a reason. And its not because of luck.