IS COD STILL WORTH PLAYING?

It’s become an annual thing now. Every November for the past few years, we get a new Call of Duty game. This time around Treyarch is the studio behind Call of Duty: Black Ops III. The beta for the PS4 is happening now until August 23rd then it shifts to the Xbox One until August 31st. Currently, I’m back with Playstation after being with Xbox since it first came out. Sadly, I wasn’t impressed with the XOne, the launch and subsequent backsliding they have been doing. Not having a good game library for your next gen system doesn’t help either. Sony’s library is slightly better but lacking too. Too many games have constantly been delayed since the launch of both the PS4 and Xbox One, and damn, if it hasn’t been extremely frustrating.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was how I got indoctrinated into the franchise. I wasn’t really into the WWII plotlines of earlier COD games. MW was a thrill ride and I spent countless days & night playing the game. It was fucking great. It only got better with COD:MW2 and fell off a little with MW3 but still a great ride. Then came the Infinity Ward/Activision break-up which opened the door for Treyarch and COD: World at War—back to WWII. I’ll admit that I had fun playing it, even the Nazi zombies which I thought (and still do) was sort of hokey. After that, Black Ops arrived and now we’re in Vietnam, brainwashing was an intriguing hook but just wasn’t enough for me to feel the same excitement as I did with the MW series. Subsequently, we had Black Ops II, Ghosts and Advanced Warfare from the new Infinity Ward and Treyarch/Sledgehammer Studios, respectively. I haven’t been impressed since MW3. Ghosts and Advanced Warfare looked great but they were really disappointing plays.

Now I’m not one of those raving, killing super, ninja sniper-type players who seemed to play 24 hours/7 days a week. I play when I can which is usually at night for maybe 2 to 3 hours. I got a career, two kids, a wife, an elderly mom who are all vying for my attention so I can’t spend a tremendous amount of game time trying to become a beast. So, I’m an ok player with my good days and my miserable days. In COD multiplayer, I usually get my ass handed to me but every so often, I give out the ass whoopings. When Activision announced the beta for Black Ops III, I wasn’t too interested in it. Enter my 15 year old son—“Dad, are you getting the beta?” he asks me. Aww, shit.

So I log onto the Playstation store to pay the deposit for the pre-order like I do at Gamestop except I learn the PS store doesn’t do that. I gotta pay full game price for the pre-order. Fuck! So I order and wait for the beta code to hit my email. I’m waiting and waiting but no email. What the hell? Search on the web for beta issues and find out that buying the pre-order from the PS store, the beta is automatically enabled. Good to know next time. A 12G download and 15/20 minutes later, I begin playing the beta. Immediately in my first match, I’m wholly slaughtered without even getting a shot off. WTF? Am I that damn rusty? Have I been playing MLB 15 The Show and Batman: Arkham Knight that much where I can play a FPS? Several matches later I’ve got my soldier legs back and start dishing out some killings.

In my view, the gameplay seems much faster, opponents shots kill quicker, similar exo-skelton jump thrusts from Advanced Warfare, Titanfall wall scaling, some cool water cover and some intriguing weaponry. But for me, it feels just like the last four games. Nothing really new to the table and still up against players who seemed to have leveled up instantaneously and it was only 10 or so hours from its release! I truly wish the matchmaking in COD was more equalizing as not all of us are virtual commandos. Now the question to ask myself is this worth buying, if I didn’t have to pay full price for the pre-order? Honestly, for me, the answer would be no. I miss the flavor and gameplay from the first three MW games and felt there were plenty of real-world conflicts that could have been used for future games—North Korea (like Homefront which was a great story idea just too short of a game), Africa/Middle Eastern militant strongholds and US domestic conflicts as some examples. Sunday is the cut-off for the PS4 beta and I’ll play it a few times but the real play will happen with my son who is on now as I’m writing this.

Hopefully the game will be somewhat interesting but I won’t be holding my breath.

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