I don’t like COD.
There, I said it, though I feel like admitting this will earn me instant ostracisation from fellow gamers. I will be starting a group entitled “All Resist CODs Existence”, though I’ll admit the acronym will need some work.
See, I understand that it looks pretty, plays nicely and sells bucket-loads, but for me it does nothing to advance the genre. Don’t get me wrong, there are certain iterations of the game that did really have a huge impact. The two that spring to mind are the original WW2 COD, and Modern Warfare. From there on in it’s basically been same formula, same ideas, same everything.
In a way I feel that COD has become the X-Factor of the gaming world. It’s hard to define what I mean by that, as it’s a very esoterical concept. Its “entertainment for the masses” along the same lines as Simon Cowell’s money spinner. The X-Factor is churned out year on year with the same basic concept, same ideas, same “feel” and same annoying patronising editing. COD in many ways shares those concepts – it’s essentially the same game year in year out. Alright, the setting might be different, the graphics spruced up but effectively you are moving from one mission to the next shooting dudes in a variety of ways. Now, I realise that there are an awful lot of games that do this, and some are better than others, but where COD really grates (for me personally) is the feeling that it’s constantly trying to shock you, and ends up falling flat on its patronising face, irritating Daily Mail readers in the process (which in turn actually drags the industry down into this “games create psychos” mentality).
I guarantee you with each iteration of COD that raises its head there will be a “ooh, this is shocking” scene, from the “No Russian” of MW2, to what looks like something similar in MW3 with the London Underground stuff we’ve seen, but underlying all that remains the same basic (dare I say, boring) game mechanics. I fully appreciate that people buy this in its droves so Activision and their numerous sub studios are definitely doing right by the accountants, however it saddens me a little to think the industry has come to this however inevitable that may be. Just like it saddens me the way ITV tend to make a big deal of all of the shockingly bad auditions before ending each show on a big sob story from a decent singer. Same formula, each and every time, yet people flood back for more of the same garbage.
Now, don’t get me wrong here, anything that draws in more gamers to the marketplace HAS to be a good thing but when all those gamers are 12 year old kids screaming at you and “yo momma” it doesn’t really help. Ironically this raises another point around kids playing these types of games. I honestly don’t believe this is down to retailers selling a 7 year old a copy of COD without caring (although I do concede this does happen), but the overwhelming majority of blame lies with parents. “It’s only a game and games are what kids do”. Numerous times I’ve been stood in a shop and watched little Johnny being bought the latest 18 rated shooter by his parents. I remember seeing something on TV once where a parent was asked if they would buy their 7 year old an 18 rated film and the answer was a shocked “no” from all participants, so why are games any different?
I really don’t want to start a civil war between COD lovers and COD haters (that’s coming in “COD: The COD wars – to a PS3/Xbox/Wii/DS/PSP/iPad/iPhone/NGP/3DS near you 12.12.12) however I don’t think I am alone in this. Who’s with me?