It’s Monday, November 3, 2014 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is finally here. With it’s arrival comes a cavalcade of praise and criticism, love and hate, excitement and disinterest. But no matter what you think of it or how you feel about it, If you play video games, you know Call of Duty. Every year around this time we get a new CoD game to play, much to the chagrin of every gamer who decides to single out CoD for just cranking out low quality games every year and forgets about games like Assassin’s Creed, Madden, Battlefield or any assorted sports game from 2K or EA. They claim that CoD is the same game every year with nothing new and a persistent breeding ground for misogyny, bad behavior and DudeBros in multiplayer. So how can I like CoD? How can I look forward to it every year? Well, I’ll tell you.
1) It’s a Birthday Present (kind of):My Birthday is November 4th. Remember when you were younger and you could always count on that one person, be it an aunt or uncle, grandparent, whoever, who you know would send you a $20 in a card on your birthday? Remember letting your imagination go to what you were going to spend that on or save it towards getting? I remember saving up cash from my birthday to Christmas to buy the Matchbox Robotech Scott Bernard and transforming Cyclone figure that I was finally able to get at Service Merchandise one year due to my aunt’s and uncle’s generosity (as you can see, I still Have it.).
See, a new CoD game is like that $20 in the card for me. Yeah, sure, it comes out every year, but I really don’t have a problem knowing that every year on my birthday I’m going to have a new installment in one of my favorite game franchises to play. I’m totally okay with that.
2) I usually just play Multiplayer with friends: Contrary to popular belief, I don’t actually play much multiplayer. I really only play with Team DBAH on Friday Night DBAHcheries. Sure, I’ll play some multiplayer with randoms from time to time if I’m grinding XP or trying to unlock gear or weapons, but I mute everybody. This way I don’t have to listen to raging children/teenagers, MLG douchebags or Frat House DudeBros spitting venom or trash talk or hatespeak into the mic. I suck, that’s really all there is to it. I don’t have a leg to stand on as far as trash talking and I really don’t have a competitive drive in video games because they’re GAMES! They’re supposed to be played for fun, so why would I want to ruin someone else’s time? I know online gamers don’t really feel the same way I do, but I’ve never been one to care. Team DBAH isn’t a clan, it’s a Team. We play for fun, not for “keeps.”Last year when Ghosts came out, sure the campaign had a pretty horrible story, but playing Extinction or Gun Game with Team DBAH were some of the best times I’ve had in a Friday Night DBAHchery. It’s a really good time when you’re not worried about a high score.
3) The Live Action TV Commercials: There is no denying how awesome the TV spots are. Whether it’s RDJ flying a fighter jet, A bunch of pals on an adventure in Vegas, or Jonah Hill getting lessons to be less of a noob, They’re fun, funny and really capture the lighter side of getting together with your friends and having fun. The ads tend to veer away from the LEET lifestyle that people are used to when they hear the title Call of Duty and focus more on making the game accessible to everybody. This might piss off the hardcore gaming demographic, but then again, anything that pisses them off is fine by me.
4) It’s Fun: Here’s a sampling of what a lot of CoD haters will say every year: “It’s so fake!” “No bullet drop? It’s so unrealistic!” “Did Michael Bay write this? It’s nothing but firefights and explosions with no plot”“oh, here comes the Shock Value scene”blah, blah, blah. To some degree, they’re right. Yes, it’s totally unrealistic. Firefights in space? Not really plausible. Levels like “No Russian”and scenes where you get burnt alive were totally uncalled for and to quote Ashley Burch from Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin, “Because SHOCKING.” And the lack of bullet drop? What is this, a video game? Well, yeah..It’s a video game. See, all that ridiculousness aside, it’s a fun game to play! Yeah it tries to be something it’s not with overly complex storylines and double crosses and shocking scenes because everything has to be dark and gritty and “mature”but you know what sold the copy of CoD: Advanced Warfare to me? It wasn’t Kevin Spacey talking about Power. It wasn’t my favorite voice actor, Troy Baker, in the lead role. It wasn’t the “complex realistic” story involving a scary future with PMC’s fighting a shadow war for control of the world. It was stuff like the incredible graphics. It was seeing how far the dude could jump in that exoskeleton. It was watching that one dude completely jump over the fool behind him in the multiplayer trailer. IT LOOKS LIKE FUN! That’s what I play videogames for. I don’t play them for the realism. If I wanted realism in war, I’d join the military. I’m not looking for a life changing experience from the game. I want to have fun with my friends. As far as the whole Games as Art thing goes, take a look at the game and tell me that’s not art. No, it’s not a compelling point and click puzzle platformer about the slings and arrows of the human condition. It’s Call of Duty. It’s a game that I played last year and cared more about my video game brother’s dog than my actual video game brother. A game where I felt worse after my video game brother’s dog got wounded than when my video game father got killed. What does that say about me and the human condition? Nothing really. What does it say about Riley, the German Shepard? That he’s a freaking BOSS, that’s what.
So remember, a game does not always have to be the new standard to judge all future Games of the Year by. Sometimes all it has to be is fun to play, whether it’s by yourself or with friends. As I’ve said on many occasions: the second word in video games is GAMES. So have fun, don’t take things so seriously and Remember: Don’t Be A Hero!