Running Around Shooting Things
I took advantage of the current summer sales and pre-ordered the next instalment of Call of Duty, succinctly named WWII, due to be released in Autumn. After straying far from the established model, it’s nice to see CoD returning to its roots. The Second World War is a tried and tested formula and will no doubt be well received by fans of the franchise. As I have said before, COD is not a revolutionary product and as far as I know has never claimed to be. It provides a standard formula with sufficient variation, which is commercially viable and demonstrably popular. Those gamers that constantly rail against these games are on a hiding to nothing. You might as well complain about pop music being mainstream and accessible.
Over the years I played numerous FPS franchises such as Doom, Quake and Battlefield. Recently I’ve strayed in to cooperative variants such as Overwatch and For Honor. They all have their respective merits and downsides. But they all have to be offset against my relative lack of skill with the FPS genre. Map familiarity, optimising your load out and effective tactics are required skills if you want to get the most from the games. Skills that I lack. As a result, many of these titles have never fully satisfied me and lived up to the frenetic experience that the marketing depicted. However, COD, particularly the Treyarch produced instalments, have not fallen into this category.
The barriers to success are lower due to the mechanics of the game. Weapons physics and map designs are less esoteric and there is also an opportunity for luck. Even the most myopic of players will be presented with a chance to get kill sooner or later, even if it is simply by a player spawning in front of you. What some see as dumbing down is the foundation of the games appeal. For those that want a more challenging experience there are harder game modes. But for those that don't want a strict learning curve or the intricacies of more sophisticated games, COD provides a quick fix. There is also the offline multiplayer option in some instalment for those who wish to play against bots.
I have spent time in various incarnations of Battlefield where the multiplayer experience has been very good. But that has often been dependent on the server I was playing on. I have also had times when endless running across the map only to be shot the moment I arrived at the action, became very trying. The way certain players monopolise some of the vehicles is also a pain at times. Simply put, being a poor player inhibits your enjoyment of the game. With CoD, this simply doesn't arise as often. You may at times chance across some tedious troll but this can be addressed with the judicious use of the mute button. Overall you can jump into the action and quickly start enjoying the game without having to think to hard or worry about tactics. Overwatch has a similar accessibility about it. If you desire a greater challenge you can always find it with the variety of options these games offer.
The FPS genre provides a variety of products, catering to a broad range of tastes. Each has its place in the market and arguing that one is better than another seems as senseless to me as saying apples are better than oranges. There are times when I will knuckle down and attempt to up my game when playing something like Red Orchestra 2 Heroes of Stalingrad. It often helps in a more complex environment to be part of an organised team. On other occasions, I am happy to take a more leisurely approach because sometimes, all I want to do is run around and shoot things. It is then that I recapture that enjoyment I had when playing Unreal Tournament, back in 1999. Because isn't having fun what gaming is supposed to be about?