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Why Do We Keep Buying The Same Call of Duty Game Over And Over?

Posted by on November 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm

I bought my first Call of Duty game two years ago. It was our store’s super-exciting Modern Warfare 2 midnight event that we’d planned for over a month. We had a huge tournament, caught the whole thing on camera, and hundreds of people left our store with copies of the latest and greatest in Activision’s shooter franchise. I was so swept in the whirlwind that I even plunked down the $60, minus employee discount, because I wanted in on the whole thing. I heard the multi-player was pretty “sick” and so I was up until the crack of dawn playing both through the single player campaign (which I almost beat) and the multi-player (which I was viciously ruined). Flash forward to just two days ago when Kelly hands me Modern Warfare 3 and as I go in for some social slaughter, I swear nothing’s changed at all.

Is It Really The Same?

The same menus. The same guns. The same perks. A lot of the same maps. I didn’t even have to pay for the game to feel like I was being ripped off. To answer the title, you could easily say that ‘it’s still fun’, but why in the world do we need to pay $60 for a new disc when the experience is the same? Now look at a game like Call of Duty: Black Ops and there’s a certifiable difference in the Vietnam-era setting and weaponry, but at its root, it’s still the same slick, fast-paced shoot’em up action that the series has been known for. Kelly equated it to the Madden of shooting in which the formula was achieved long ago and now Activision is just tightening it up.

To their credit, the single-player campaign is different and it was no doubt, minute to minute, the most expensive part of the game to develop. But let’s be fair, that thing’s over before it begins. You’re not buying a Call of Duty game for a half-dozen scripted hours, you’re buying it to cap dudes online over and over. The biggest addition this year is the Special Ops Survival mode (which we’ll get into deeper later on), which is a carry over from the Survival (read: “ZOMBEESSSZZZ!!!”) modes in Treyarch’s games (World At War, Black Ops). Survival here is a blast, but worth a full new game? Hrm, we’ll see.

It’s Not Like The Competition’s Doing Anything

But they’re trying. While waiting in line for Skyrim, I encountered more than a few people who swore off Modern Warfare 3 for Battlefield 3, which is EA/DICE’s latest foray into their larger-format shooter. They include vehicles, massive maps, and it does feel like a pretty different title. On the other hand, it’s also not nearly as polished as Activision’s games are and they’re fighting an uphill battle after last year’s Medal of Honor by Danger Close failed to capture hearts or minds. EA is also bringing us the first game from Respawn Entertainment, which was most of the talent behind Infinity Ward before their exodus last year (which required Activision enlist Sledgehammer Games to finish Modern Warfare 3). With three different shooters under its belt, you could say they’re trying to compensate for their lack of blockbuster titles, but like with Guitar Hero, they’re really just trying to copy their success. Of course, this also sets up EA better for when the value of Call of Duty bottoms out, which is inevitable.

You already know whether you want a new Call of Duty game, but there’s honestly nothing in Modern Warfare 3 that they couldn’t have sold to new gamers as DLC.

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