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[Contagious Review] The Explanation of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Activision's Legacy

post #1 of 44
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Inside this discussion, I explore a side of Call of Duty that I feel is unnoticed and lost.

Grab a cup of coffee, prop your feet up, and enjoy.

I just got done playing the MW3 single player and I am very impressed. It's up there with some of the best FPS campaigns I've ever played. I am actually willing to say that it could be the best FPS single player I've ever played. I know I might get some flame for that, but I was blown away every second I played it. The gameplay was always intense and they managed to capture a more storytelling atmosphere than they did before, which is great as they had a good story tell. I've always liked the CoD campaigns. And the fact that they have such good campaigns has always baffled me. 90% of the customers that buy these games don't even think about the single player. I remember a friend of mine came over to my house to see CoD4 on PC and when he saw that I was playing the campaign, he just didn't understand. In any case, the story is great. Actually, the story is spectacular. There are people I've seen say how terrible the story is, and I always wondered why they thought that. Sure, not every theme appeals to people. And I've always just assumed it was generic CoD hatred, but why hate something that has nothing to hate? I hold in the highest regards the Metal Gear Solid series. The Uncharted series is definitely up there, however the depth of the MGS series is awe inspiring. And I see similar depth in the CoD series. I really do. All the ties between the characters as you do the impossible together. All the sacrifice you see these characters go through together.... I feel sorry for the people that shove CoD away. They don't know what they are missing. And maybe that's why gaming is taking the turn that it is: to satisfying the human attention span with fast-paced multiplayer. CoD, being the leader of fast-paced multiplayer, maybe there is hope. Do you really think Activision would lose any money by cutting the campaign budget and making CoD strictly multiplayer? Maybe there's hope. Activision is also pretty much appointed the arch-enemy of PC, but, and this is something that I thought I would never say, the game is really well optimized. The textures are great and the ambient occlusion actually looks really nice. And, somehow, the game runs crystal clear. On older CoD, if I got anything below 60fps, I had terrible mouse lag. Unplayable. On this game, with the graphics and ambient occlusion on full throttle, I stay in the 40s (I think it is capped at 45) and everything is as sharp and responsive as ever. Not to mention, the game is optimized well enough that my FPS pretty much stays constant. I don't know what they did. In most games, when in a situation with a lot going on (explosions, smoke, walls crumbling), your FPS will drop because you're processing more information. However, in this game, my FPS stays within about 3fps of the cap no matter what's going on. So, I can get 45fps pretty much lineally throughout the game. I never notice dips in FPS while playing. If they are there, they never affected the gameplay. So, even though Activision comes off as the devil to PC gamers, the game runs well. And looks great.

Multiplayer wise, it's different than BF3 for sure. I mean, they ARE different games. The reason CoD appeals to so many people is because of the fast-paced gameplay. You don't really have to think or plan, you just are put in a map with something happening at all time: constant stimulation. And I respect that. I love to play some CoD every once in a while. Maybe if I'm stressed out or something and I don't want to play a game like BF3 where I have to do a bit of planning and I have to find my way through all these huge maps. It's good, honest fun. And, as humans, we like instant gratification. Ergo, small maps and fast-paced gameplay. It has that RPG touch to it to keep people hooked and playing trying to unlock their favorite gun, a golden skin or a high prestige. Go to any MMORPG and the central motivation epeen. And with the CoD community being so large and well-known, motivations come from more than just the game. One thing that I liked about Black Ops was the cool new game modes that were in the wager matches. They are great competition and a nice change from just being given a gun and you go around shooting people in the face over and over. And with MW3 incorporating some of these, it makes it that much more enjoyable. Oh, and I REALLY liked the spec ops in MW2. And MW3 has them again. I have been an avid PC gamer for a long time. But, I don't have many friends that game on the PC. Just like most of you out there. And through all my PC support, some of my favorite game moments is playing co-op with friends on consoles. And turning on a second controller is a helluva lot easier than setting up a LAN party. MW3 incorporated a class feature that I quite like. They found a way to make classes, like recon or assault, tie in with your killstreaks. If you're an assault guy, you will earn killstreaks based on kills in a row. The killstreaks you have a option of choosing are all oriented toward offensive gameplay. There's also a support killstreak group. In stead of earning these killstreaks rewards from multiple kills in a row, you get them based on points. Like taking a base, or destroying a chopper, things like that. You get awards based on how much you benefit the team as a whole. And, likewise, the rewards or oriented towards benefiting the team. Like drones, and EMPS. There's also a third killstreak class. But, I have never played it and don't really know what's in it or how the earning of the killstreak points goes. I think it was actually a recon class.

At the end of the day, though, this is still Activision. This is still the company that milks every penny out of its customers. And I've always felt a confused hatred for companies that do this. Apple comes to mind. You see what they do and you snarl and you rage and you wonder why. But, you know why. More so, you understand why. People still buy it. People still buy every map pack just like people still buy the latest Mac hardware. And this is where your hatred gets confusing. Because you stop looking at it from your point of view and you put yourself in the shoes of the people that are buying all these map packs. Confusion. And because you DON'T understand why and how, you go back to hatred. I have no answer to give you either. Because I'm in the same confused state. But, I can show you the aspects behind the reasons. I'm going to start by saying the newest cliché, Activision is a business. Just like Apple is a business. And, at the end of the day (just like we are), they are trying to make money. If people will pay for these map packs, then why not? If people will pay double for your laptops, why not? We give Activision a lot of hell because they seem to be neglecting the PC. And I fully understand why. I was younger at the time, but I have friends in my clan that have been together since the first CoD. And they miss those days. We all do. And maybe that's the reason why. We had a part of gaming that wasn't map packs or match making or prestiges. We had an era of gaming that the modern console gamer never got to experience. They don't know what it was like. The best gaming experience they've had was CoD4. In our era, the center of gaming was friendship. Like I said before with my best memories being co-op with friends, the pre-matchmaking days gave that form of socializing that has been forgotten by big business and unknown to their best customers. As a member of a clan, I can see how different it is. I hopped into PC gaming during CoD4, so I, unfortunately, never got to live during the days of clans controlling CoD. But, I did get a taste. *A look into Contagion's past* Medal of Honor Heroes on PSP. Yes. At any given time, there wouldn't be more than 1,000 people online (on a good day). Everybody knew everybody and everybody knew the best clans and the best players. Because of the smaller community, frequent players were noticed. I enjoyed the online community for a while, played often, made friends, got better, and had fun. It wasn't just “You killed xxSUPERST4Rxx 100pts.” It was playing a game with friends. I got into the clan VMP and took the name Rathion. Which is a name that I still use today with all FPS games. And in the interest of not scaring you off by getting all mushy, friendshipy, I will stop there. Because I know those of you that miss the CoD2 days know what I'm talking about. Activision got its roots with the PC and has, since then, moved on to bigger and better things. And taken their roots with them and left us some torn up soil.

There is one simple reason why that won't change either. Activision has a monopoly over the gaming industry. Not one like an oil monopoly where you just make sure that everyone has to buy from you, but CoD is like the face of gaming. Games can go so deep into entertainment, but the 75% of gamers that pretty much just stick to Xbox FPS games set the curve for what developers need to try to attract. With an industry run by publishers that have to try and make money with Activision eating up revenue, chances are expensive. CoD doesn't have to change every year to meet the curve, CoD is the curve. And let's just say I'm an up and coming developer with a brilliant game idea. Even if the idea is superb, I still have to try and show these CoD people how much fun it can be, but that's probably not going to happen. And since I have no money, I have to go to a publisher to fund the game. And good ideas don't mean profit. Profit is directly related to appealing to the masses. I've told you how much I LOVE the Metal Gear Solid and the Uncharted series. Their engrossing story/gameplay is just perfect for all the entertainment value possible. There's nothing that comes close to them (well, MW campaigns do). And the people like me who have experienced these games pretty much agree with me. However, when you present these games to the 75% of gamers who just want to shoot ****, they don't understand. And publishers can't afford to put money into developing a game that only has a chance of appealing to those 25% that at least realize that gaming goes further than CoD. So, what do I do as a publisher? I make my game appeal to the masses by making a CoD curve to it. And there we go, another generic FPS game.

A great example is Crysis 2. The first Crysis was SPECTACULAR. It looked gorgeous, had great gameplay, and was made for one purpose: to show what the gaming industry can do. When Crysis 2 was announced, everyone thought it would be a new Crysis 1; a game that pushed all limits. A game that would require a million dollar PC to run. But, what happens? EA needs to make money off of it. There's a lot more money in consoles than in PC. Crysis 2 is CoD with nanaosuits. The multiplayer is fast paced warfare on small maps. You have killstreak bonuses and perks you can apply. And they even changed the single player style. Crysis 1 was an open world environment with lots of things to see and do. Crysis 2 is a linear SP with quick levels and cut-scenes and timed events. And why did Crytek make it like this? Probably because EA told them to. Well, probably because EA chose to make Crysis a console game. Which means scaling it back. You see, on the PS3, developers can put 50gb into a game. That's just so much space to grow and expand. With PC, well, I suppose you really don't have any limits. I mean, the SW beta is like 40gb. And the TERA beta was 60gb. However, the Xbox uses DVD9s, I do believe. Which is like 11gb of storage. So, a game like Crysis which, if made on the idea that the first one was based upon, should have had an unlimited space to work with. Instead, they are stuck with a space limit. Open worlds take up a lot of space. High polygon counts take a lot of space. High resolution textures take a lot of space. Uncompressed quality/multichannel audio takes a lot of space. On top of storage limits, consoles are running old technology. So, even if they decided to make this new game to grandest scale, they'd have to be able to scale it back. But, here's the problem. Making a game like Crysis requires serious engine development. They have to concentrate ALL their power and money on being able to create an engine to process details to the grandest scales. Which the consoles can't really do on a large scale. And the amount of time and money it would take make a PC engine that would run huge amount of detail, and then making a separate engine for the consoles is a lot of work. Instead, they build an engine that pretty much just had optimization presets for each console and PC. An engine that they could switch to "PC mode" and pretty much just raise the graphic level a bit. And even then, the game looked unflattering to its name. It looked good, don't get me wrong. It looked really good. But right before this game came out, a hyper realism mod came out for Crysis 1 and, let me tell you, that has some of the best looking details I've ever seen. And it puts Crysis 2 to shame. It puts all games to shame, but the point that some random guy made Crysis 1 look so much better than every other game on the same engine that Crytek used for the original game just blows my mind. And another bit of evidence that Crytek didn't really make a PC engine: there was no DX11. I mean... come on. Crysis 1 had DX9 modes that gave excellent (albeit fake) tessellation. And now that's an entire graphics language that is specifically oriented toward tessellation, and you don't think to use it? Instead you give flat textures with a lot of AA and call it graphic supremacy? Nope. And all because there's more money in consoles. And there's no way around that.

I actually think the PC gaming community will die. Not PCs as a whole, the community. Regarding how the developers make games, they take games to publishers who fund the development and progression. Any sort of independent developers don't have enough money laying around to launch a game. So, they take their game to a publisher with enough money. The only problem is, that publisher (EA, Activision, ETC), NEEDS to make money. They are a business, not a charity. So, even if this independent developer team wanted to make a PC game, the publisher may have had them stick it to either the PS3, the 360, or both. Depending on which path grants more money. You guys see it all the time here. Yes, there are companies that still at least try for the PC (DICE). But, there are companies like Activision that are making very little room in the market for other companies to make money. With such a tight space, most of the time it isn't in the publisher's best interest to take a risk for the PC community. Consoles are more convenient on both the developers and the players.

All of that aside, technology is growing pretty rapidly. Consoles will always be behind the power of PCs, that is no doubt. However, even over the past couple years, hardware has been advancing faster than graphics are improving. And, from what is obvious with most current games, console graphics are pretty much what PC users get nowadays. Sure, we get AA and Ambient Occlusion, but at what cost? The PS3 and 360 are able to run games at just a couple visual steps below us with old hardware. And I've seen games on console that look more than stunning (Uncharted, GT5). Why? Optimization. When developers make a game for a console, they can build an engine that works WITH the console's hardware. They can do this because every console is the same. PCs have hardware so much faster than consoles. But, it is impossible to optimize an engine for all the variations there are. Especially since new hardware is release constantly. With 7 year old tech, developers have gotten gorgeous games to run well. Imagine what a console with modern hardware could do. New technology has been finding better ways of doing things that used to be done solely on PCs. Most of us PC gamers don't use our PC exclusively for games. We go on websites, have lots of programs, music, etc. But, with this new reign of portable technology (tablets/smart phones) who's to say that eventually every function on the computer gets replaced by a new gadget. Consoles are already media centers. Replacing DVD players and pay-per-view. PCs functions can be categorized to either entertainment or functionality. The separation of these two categories has already begun. Consoles are covering the basics of the entertainment category of computers. Phones and tablets are covering the basics of the functionality side of computers. The foundation is in place. All that's left is to start building upwards.

Eventually, the technology and performance difference between consoles and PCs will narrow. And with this, the couple advantages to having a PC will narrow as well. And at a certain point, the benefit of having a custom built gaming PC may become very, very thin. Thin enough that people give up on balancing on it.

This is important, so don't give up reading yet! There's just a little more!
I have seen a huge growth in people just throwing hate toward the 75% of gamers that just play CoD. I understand the frustration as I'm sure you can tell from the wall of text I just typed. But, please, all you're doing is just raging an unchangeable admiration. There are patterns and trends that we get into without even realizing it or looking for it. Even with gaming, I mean.. I'm in college now and the amount of people who play CoD is astounding. The day after Uncharted 3 comes out, I beat it, then I get some nice volunteers to join me on an Uncharted weekend to play all 3. I told them it would just be like them watching a movie. I got a big TV, my Logy Z2300s, and hooked up a few more speakers for surround sound; it was great. Anyways, these guys had never even heard of Uncharted and were those type of "Xbox for life, maaaaneee" type of people. To make a long story short, they were blown away. Not only because Uncharted is just awesome, but because their false conception that gaming is just CoD was proven false. It was just fascinating to watch these guys. I mean, all the Uncharted games had blown me away, but they were experiencing a new genre of gaming they never knew existed. A sort of interactive story, as it were. But, even then, they just went back to playing CoD, because that's what they do. And there is nothing wrong with that. Just because you prefer your genre of game to be something more along the lines of like a Skyrim or a Mass Effect or a story-driven game, it's like a genre of music. People like their own style and that's that. I don't see the need to intervene. I mean, by a comparable media, music genres are like that. The most listened to genre (hiphip/rap) is the most generic and reused. And there's no doubting that. And the fan base doesn't care. Just like the fan base of fast-paced FPS genre don't care about methods being reused. I mentioned to a friend of mine how MW3 was similar to MW2 and he didn't care. “Well, good. I loved MW2.”

I hope, after reading all of that, you can see a perspective of Call of Duty and Activision that you may not have seen before. Or maybe a motivation to explore the gaming world a bit more.

If anything at all, I hope you enjoyed reading. smile.gif

Respectfully,
Contagion

Take it easy, guys.

PS: For those of you who are new, I was an active member here a good year and a half ago. I did a lot of reviews and I tagged them as [Contagious Review]. This is like my "formal" restart. smile.gif
Edited by Contagion - 11/23/11 at 7:19am
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post #2 of 44
I admire your wall of text, if only I had been so productive tonight with my paper redface.gif I really have one comment because my brain is fried, huddler better darn well have a view this post in double spaced instead of single space rolleyes.gif
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post #3 of 44
I only skimmed your text and the only part that I really caught was when you said the pc world will eventually die off. Sorry but not true. It doesn't matter if consoles become as powerful as PCs in the future. I am a true FPS gamer from playing competitive Counter-Strike for nearly a decade. I will always rather play FPS or in fact most games with a keyboard and mouse than with a controller. I am sure a lot of people feel the same.
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post #4 of 44
Totally agree with everything you said about MW3. If only MW3 was made with the care and concern like BF3 did. Well, actually, it would be easier if I just say, Imagine BF3 having a campaign as epic in scale and scope as MW3 with FB 2.0, while keeping its campaign. That would honestly blow my mind. Though some people prefer the BFBC2 style of campaign, I digress.

Have to disagree with PC gaming dying off though. It will honestly never die off. Why? because consoles wouldnt exist without PCs. Games aren't made on Xboxes/PS3s/Wiis, they are made on PCs. If a game can be played on a console, why not on a PC? PCs have been the single gaming platform to stay relevant for so long. Why? because it is the only console that can be upgraded and delivers the most performance. There are also more PCs than any other gaming console ever. With a market this big, it would be daft to neglect it. The reason why consoles are so popular are because they are a cheap way to gain access to the large large library of games. Having a "Quote: an 8 core i7 and some super fast graphics. And have something like this mass produced and sold to people for console price." is damn near impossible for at least 2 gens. By the time it comes out, PCs will already have 24 core i7s etc. Look at the WiiU, the newest console with rumored specs that are twice as bad as your sig rig. PCs will always be lightyears ahead of consoles in terms of gaming capabilities. The only thing holding PC gaming back is the way DirectX works. If it was as versatile as the way console gaming is programmed, we will have games that look twice as good as what we have, or even more. Thats the reason why games like Uncharted 3, Halo Reach looks so good and runs so well on 7 year old hardware.

Plus, there are still mods etc. And you can always get yourself a console anyway and its a win-win situation.
    
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post #5 of 44
Can someone PLEASE make a tl;dr version? smile.gif
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post #6 of 44
I completely agree with what you said about modern warfare 3. It has a fantastic campaign, much faster paced and the new killstreak system is quite good too. I find myself consistently getting the killstreak based on helping your team which i believe really encourages people to play for the objective.

In terms of PC gaming i believe it will never die off due to the upgradability of the PC. Furthermore PC gaming will be around as long as there are people who want to buy games on PC, simple.
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post #7 of 44
Thread Starter 
Alrighty, I'll type up another post regarding me saying that I think the PC community will die. Before I explain, the keyword is community. Not PCs as a whole, the community. In just regard to how the developers make games, they take games to publishers who fund the development and progression. A lot of any sort of indi developer probably doesn't have enough money laying around to launch a game. So, they take it to a publisher with enough money. The only problem is, that publisher (EA, Activision, ETC), is just trying to make money. So, even if the indi team wanted to make a PC game, the publisher may have had them stick it to either the PS3, the 360, or both. Depending on who pays more, pretty much. You guys see it all the time here. Yes, there are companies that still at least try for the PC (DICE). But, there are companies like Activision that are making very little room in the market for other companies to make money. With such a tight space, most of the time it isn't in the companies' best interest to take a risk for the PC community. Consoles are more convenient on both the developers on the players.

All of that aside, technology is growing pretty rapidly. Consoles will always be behind the power of PCs, that is no doubt. However, even over the past couple years, hardware has been advancing faster than graphics are improving. And, from what is obvious with most current games, console graphics are pretty much what PC users get nowadays. Sure, we get AA and Ambient Occlusion, but at what cost? The PS3 and 360 are able to run games just a couple steps below us with old hardware. Why? Optimization. When devs make a game for a console, they can program it's actually hardware specifically to carry out functions. They can do this because every console is the same. With computers, since there are so many variations of not only just new hardware, but different hardware. It's one thing to have to optimize for, say the GTX 500 series. As they are all build on the same architecture. However, you have people with older GTX 200s and Radeon 4XXXs and the devs simply can build an engine optimized around all of them. So instead of the engine telling hardware on a console what to do and how to do it, the engine tells the OS what it needs done and the drivers sort it out from there.

So what happens when they can get Sandy Bridge and Fermi into a console? And sell it for $500? Imagine what could happen there with optimization. And sure, if consoles are ever like this, PCs will be a few steps ahead. But, we'll still be in the same situation we are now.

Gaming aside, technology has been rooting away at the home PC for a while. Most of us PC gamers don't use our PC exclusively for games. We go on websites, have lots of programs, lalala, etc. But, with this new reign of portable technology (tablets/smart phones) whose to say that eventually every function on the computer gets replaced by a new gadget. Consoles are already media centers. Replacing DVD players and pay-per-view. The idea of a console that's run off an OS like windows isn't far fetched at all. Maybe not a Windows OS type of thing, but a console that does everything. It could have modding, dedicated servers and all that good stuff. And if they are all the same hardware, then optimization can still make them shine through.

Guys, you have to keep in mind that this is just ALL COMPLETE SPECULATION. It's just a thought process.

Even these speculations, if they were to come true, would be a long way off.
There's not way to know what the future brings for gaming. I just gave one angle on it.
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post #8 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by dezahp View Post

I only skimmed your text and the only part that I really caught was when you said the pc world will eventually die off. Sorry but not true. It doesn't matter if consoles become as powerful as PCs in the future. I am a true FPS gamer from playing competitive Counter-Strike for nearly a decade. I will always rather play FPS or in fact most games with a keyboard and mouse than with a controller. I am sure a lot of people feel the same.

I agree with Contagion that the PC gaming community will die off.

Regarding your post, dezahp, we ALL of us here would rather play FPS games on keyboard and mouse. But the fact of the matter is, the gaming industry makes little money on pleasing the PC community as opposed to the console community. The only reason being, as Contagion said, pirating.

Consoles have thus far saved the gaming industry. In the near future, I'd say it's a good possibility that developers will try and only sell their products to console gamers who can't simply go to thepiratebay and get it for free. By then, consoles will probably be a lot more powerful and able to run games just as well as PCs.

I can't say I want this to happen, but if gaming in general is going to survive, it's going to be through consoles. I just hope the future consoles have full keyboard and mouse support. biggrin.gif
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post #9 of 44
Well.. when consoles really take over, then piracy will shift to them.
Undetectable software hacks to consoles that enable players to play all the games.

I predict mobile platforms to come after consoles.
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post #10 of 44
Wow
I think MW3 is an average at best FPS game ,not even in the same league was earlier CODs like COD2 or MW1 . . . Tiny maps all seem to feel alike,no real story line,very much IMO the same game as MW2 just extended..Im bored already ..Just as I am bored with BF3 because MW2 and BF3 are the same game just laid out different but atleast BF3 has killer maps,always has
Singe player is short,VERY short and is way way behind the best Call of Duty game ,COD2..which is one of the best single players ever....
No rolling hills,no real facts within the game that can be compared to real life events,no history MW3 its just a universal battle of gadgets and slick graphics.
YAWN,,,,,Yep its fast paced,yep it has really neat graphics and my vid card fans all come to life but what ever wheres the battle for survival ?


PC gaming went to junk as soon as XBOX and PlayStation was invented.......Consoles removed the once aura of PC gaming because it made
gaming esp FPS games for the masses and now its all about DOLLARS ..Now when I go to buy a game at a retail store on PC I get funny looks
like im some old schooler......well maybe I am,I still play older games that came out 10+ years ago because at the end of the day it takes a great game
to keep me interested not 100FPS in HD.......So PC gaming may die but not at my house and with the attitude actually thinking MW3 is a great game
then we are all doomed
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Overclock.net › Forums › Video Games › PC Gaming › [Contagious Review] The Explanation of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Activision's Legacy