Deputy Editor Harry Turner explains how the latest NetherRealm fighter is not only one of the best games of its genre, but also one of the best games periodWritten by Harry Turner on 20th June 2017
Why Call of Duty Is Going “Back To Its Roots”
Redbrick Gaming Editor James Marvin explains why Call of Duty going “back to its roots” is the best move Activision has made since the original Modern Warfare
A few days ago Activision’s Chief Operating Officer, Thomas Tippl, as part of a conference call with investors announced that in 2017 the publisher will “take Call of Duty back to its roots and traditional combat will once again take centre stage”, with the latest entry in the series being developed by Sledgehammer Games, who previously assisted with development with Modern Warfare 3 and took lead development duties of Advanced Warfare.
The news no doubt comes, at least in part, in response to the under-performance of the latest entry to the series, Infinite Warfare, which when compared with the previous year’s Black Ops III and coupled with the fact that fans have been begging non-stop for a return to at least a present day setting, explains Activision’s being so forthcoming with this information, no doubt in an effort to please fans.
And quite frankly it’s about time.
It’s no secret that Call of Duty is a dying and fatigued franchise. Even though it still sells incredibly well to an extent, the critical performance of the series has slowly declined with each and every new entry. But why is this? What happened to Call of Duty in that time frame? I put it down to a gross over complication of what made Call of Duty so great back in the Modern Warfare and World at War days.
Recently in my review of Resident Evil 7, I said that stripping back the series in the latest entry and making it more simplified and focusing on what makes Resident Evil, well, Resident Evil, is what made that a revitalisation of a fatigued franchise. Call Of Duty should take a note of that effort. Now I haven’t properly played a CoD, since Black Ops 2, way back when (and when I say ‘properly’ I mean putting the days into that play time counter). One of the main reasons I started to slowly check out of the series was the fact that it got so bloody complicated, leading to my inevitable withdrawal as CoD lost what made it great to me: simple and quick fun. Back in the day with the original Modern Warfare (still my personal favourite), the perks were few in amount and simple in what they did. The amount of guns were enough to be enjoyable, but not overwhelming. The way classes and killstreaks worked didn’t mean you had to do a quick bit of math and too much thinking to decide what the hell you should be taking out with you into a round. The maps were simple yet had depth, which is one of the main reasons people remember ones like Overgrown and Crash but nothing of note has been mentioned since. Now of course since the original Modern Warfare the series has had good entries, the sequel Modern Warfare 2 and the original Black Ops were both absolute belters, because they followed a similar pattern with slight improvements and meaningful changes that just added onto what was already great.
It was around the time of Black Ops 2 that I just started to lose interest, both because of the amount of releases since CoD were annual and the fact that there was just too much going on. If I want to play a shooter I really have to think about, I’ll play Battlefield, when it’s time to just muck around and have mindless fun that’s what CoD is for and will always be at its best to me when it is just that. On top of that, the days of the future shooter are over. Titanfall is the only one that can pull that off nowadays. A simplification of the CoD’s mechanics, whilst also trying to make it feel up to date with today’s games and a pull back to the past (or at least present), is exactly what the franchise needs to really get back on its feet. Thank you for finally acknowledging this Activision, but let’s just hope that Sledgehammer Games actually pull it off.