Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is here. Yippe. Another cash cow in the series to rinse you dry. That means another £40+ worth of money in exchange for another seen-it-all before game.
“How dare you!” I hear the COD fanboys scream. Let me explain.
It’s a Cash Cow of Huge Proportions
Black Ops 2 looks set to gross $1 billion and probably more. Good for you Activision. I bet they are rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of yet another Call of Duty game raking in the cash.
However, Black Ops 2 is a sequel of a spin-off of a game that was in its fourth instalment already.
In other words, this represents a cash cow of a series. It equates to developers lacking any form of creativity, instead choosing to rehash the same game every year to gain as much money as possible.
And funnily enough, we lap us this constant process.
Many of us have been buying practically the same game for five years since Modern Warfare came out, give or take a couple of guns and maybe the occasional change in setting. Each game becomes staler by the year, yet we still pay for the same drivel.
What’s even more nauseating is that two developers, Treyarch and Infinity Ward, swap duties every year to give you Call of Duty.
Yet the games are always the same. They know a winning formula. So they stick to it, intent on rinsing every last drop of money out of you, with as little effort and change as possible.
It lacks originality and meaningful updates
Black Ops 2 has introduced a `Pick Ten` system, combat training and a few changes to theatre mode and prestiging. Hardly ground breaking stuff. Some have sited the new story mode set in the future as something unique and different, with it’s split narrative and RTS elements. Maybe so, but see Rainbow Six 3 for proper real time strategy games.
And there’s a more fundamental problem; not many care about it’s campaign mode. Hardly anyone would buy Black Ops 2 even if it had the best campaign ever. So let’s take a look at its famed multi-player.
Is the multi-player actually enjoyable?
First person shooters are a perfect fit for online play, so this needs to be special to become a classic.
Except many play it for the wrong reasons. Not because they actually like it, but because it’s the in-thing. Everyone plays it, so it must be good. A positive feedback effect of sorts.
This highly repetitive process takes all year. Then the annual release is made and it’s back to the starting point. Rinse and repeat.
Along with this , Call of Duty’s reputation is built upon a massive online community. One that unfortunately made up of many kids with anger management issues whose only purpose is to scream down the microphone when things don’t go their way.
Why anyone would want to actually play in games where you get hurled abuse for not getting enough kills is mind-boggling.
When you dig deeper, this is the primary motivation of many COD players. Prestige. XP. Levelling up. I don’t know any other game where people are so obsessed with such trivial things. Except maybe MMORPG’s, but that’s because the whole genre is based around these things. Call of Duty is, the last time I checked, a FPS and certainly not a MMORPG.
Yet people will flock to the stores
There’s games outside the COD bubble
Despite my criticism, Black Ops 2 is obviously a decent game. It wouldn’t have sold the astronomical figures reported if it wasn’t. But it’s not really better than Medal of Honour: Warfighter, Battlefield 3 and Halo 4, all of which have equally good online multiplayer modes. It’s not supposedly 10 million sales better than Battlefield 3. It’s just the developers know how to keep you coming back for more, despite an unoriginal game.
First person shooters are already over populated with mediocrity. Call of Duty doesn’t need to churn out annual releases to add to it.
Maybe I’m being harsh on the series, but it’s quite sad when developers are scared of creating innovative titles because the public favours big money-spinning franchises. At this rate, eventually Call of Duty will lose its appeal. It’s just a matter of when.