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LONG BLOG

Call of Duty: Modern Reluctancy 2

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Alright, so Modern Warfare 2 -- or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 or whatever the hell you like to call it, offensive or not -- is coming out in eight days as I write this. I feel indifferent. But that's because I never really get hyped for games anymore, as I try to avoid the mega-hype that some games get because all that leads to is utter disappointment.

But over the course of this past few weeks, I've actually been thinking of canceling my preorder. It's for the $80 Hardened Edition -- I'm not buying the Prestige Edition and supporting fourzerotwo's bust fetish -- and I already have $10 put down from back in July when I preordered that game and Uncharted 2 at the same time.


My Call of Duty collection as of July. Just for fun, guess which of these Call of Duty games I haven't played.

Now, I am a Call of Duty veteran. I'm not one of the silly gamers that got into the series with COD4, or started with COD2 when that was the only worthwhile 360 game to play until Tom Clancy's GRAW came out. I started with the original PC game in 2004 or so. I've played the majority of the games of the series. And I hold both COD4 and World at War as fantastic titles in the series. But there's been a multitude of things happening at once that have made me regret plopping a $10 preorder on it. Let's go my reasons, shall we?

1. The PC version is being "consolized" as dedicated servers are nixed, matchmaking is the norm, and no custom content is allowed.

This is the main reason why I regretted my preorder. I own COD, United Offensive and COD2 on PC. The rest have been on other consoles due to what I had heard about the PC version of COD4 -- Client-side statistics and rankings (with the right editing you could be level 55 and have all the gold weapons without even playing the game) and making it seem like the PC version is third-fiddle to the 360/PS3 counterparts -- as well as console exclusive versions like COD3.

But as you noticed, my preorder is for the Hardened Edition. Which is only available to 360 and PS3 owners. Yes, my MW2 preorder is for the 360 version. So now you're probably asking "You're not buying the PC version anyway, so why should you care?" Because I am still a PC gamer, even if I don't play it as often anymore. The only games I play on PC with some frequently is Valve games, and that's because they're a PC developer. Occasionally I pull out older games I didn't check out the first time or reminiscing, but otherwise most my new game purchases are on consoles these days.

Matchmaking isn't a bad thing, Left 4 Dead has it, as well as a simplistic server browser where you can choose your game mode (Campaign/Versus/Survival) and the respective campaign/map you wish to play. Plus there's a quick match setting for those who just wanna jump in and play any game they wish. Games like Sony's Warhawk had quick match and server browsers, so server browsers can be done still, even on consoles. It's the other things that irked me. It's clear they're doing a closed network service to monetize map packs. Except here's one thing you forgot, Activision: PC gamers are not stupid. We've been getting map packs and bonus post-launch content for free for the longest time. We won't pay $10 for four maps, only the ignorant people will. Now, what I think about the high costs of DLC, that's a rant I'll save for another time.

2. The beginning level seems to be relatively unsettling as you kill unarmed civilians as you pose as a terrorist.

I'm gonna be spoiling the first level although judging how the internet works these days it's probably not even spoiler-worthy by now.

This is something I believe that does happen in real life, where operatives join with terrorist factions to get additional intel, but it's clear many gamers are not prepared for this. Thankfully Infinity Ward put in an option to skip that if you wish not to kill, although it's likely possible you can go through the whole stage without killing innocents.

The particular event has been covered since the earliest of trailers, even the announcement referenced this. This may upset many people as they feel this is "wrong" to pose as an enemy threat and kill civilians -- we've been down this road with GTA countless times -- and it's only gonna light fuel to the fire.

I guess I'll have to play it to believe it, but this might be in somewhat bad taste, even if it's to drive the plot forward.

And here's the last one:

3. Word has it that Infinity Ward is full of assholes and pretentious dicks.

So Wii owners are getting COD4 this year under the title "Modern Warfare: Reflex." But there's only been scant screenshots, and they paint it to look as bad as an early PS2 title from 2001. The following might be speculation and you're welcome to take some salt, but a GameSpot forum user gave his theory on why there's no new media for COD:MW Reflex. The summary: Infinity Ward considers COD its baby and feels aggravated when their work is outsourced to other developers beyond their control.

Supposedly they didn't want COD to be ported to the last-gen consoles, so they made Spark Unlimited make a new COD. Then they got peeved when Activision gave Treyarch the greenlight to make COD3 since COD4 wasn't ready yet. They also intervened and made sure World at War wasn't called "COD5." That, coupled with no media for COD:MW Reflex, does hold some water.

This becomes more apparent when Robert Bowling blasted Noah Heller about the accuracy of guns in COD:WAW compared to previous COD titles -- the famous "Super Senior Douche" moment -- as well as Bowling saying that "nothing from World at War" was coming to MW2 -- possibly implying that the "fixes" Treyarch did in WAW would not be added into MW2, or simply no "Afghan Zombies" mode -- makes me shake my head at Infinity Ward.

If this is the case, then it makes me hold IW in contempt. Keep in mind I loved COD, COD2 and COD4, if I found out that the inner office politics make them have that smug "I'm better than all of you" feeling, then I cannot support a developer in that sort of fashion.

For the record, I found COD3 and World at War to be good games. Certainly not as great as COD4, but not anywhere close to the "worst games in the series" that I see on countless message boards. Perhaps these people are just blinded by irrational fanboyism and feel that Infinity Ward is god while everybody else are peons. Thankfully I don't think that way.

Oh, and there's the "Activision being the new EA" sort of thing.

Conclusion

Perhaps my incessant three page rambling means nothing. I'll probably be at my GameStop on November 9th, waiting to play Modern Warfare 2 like millions of other gamers around the country, even the world. But these sort of things make me think that I should cancel my preorder, put that $10 back in my wallet, get MW2 at a later date (or even never) and just wait for Left 4 Dead 2; which comes out a week later, which I've already pre-loaded and have already played the demo and can't wait to play it on the 17th.

What do you guys think? Am I making any sense out of this or am I just being paranoid?
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About TonicBHone of us since 2:09 PM on 07.13.2009

I am a 28-year-old guy who plays video games on occasion. I'm a casual collector and own various games from the Atari 2600 to the current generation of game consoles. Nothing really on the "rare" side... unless you count owning about a dozen variations of Wheel of Fortune as "rare."

I write and review things on occasion. I occasionally write reviews of games, otherwise it's me ranting about gaming and the industry at large. Be forewarned: Expect loads of cynicism over gamers and some of the things they say. I hate fanboys and all the things they stand for. I also dislike arguments without facts to back them up. Otherwise I'm a nice guy unless you try to teabag me in a multiplayer game. Then I might not be so nice.

When not sporadically contributing opinions to Destructoid's community blogs, I write about gaming obscurities and oddities at You Found a Secret Area.

I also occasionally post stuff elsewhere. Usually off-topic stuff, but other things as well.
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