Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 sold some 4.7 million copies on its first day of release. That $310 million dollar first-day gross was just the beginning of a run that saw the game bring in over a billion dollars within two months. At midnight tonight, I am sure many retailers are hoping to see similar sales when Call of Duty: Black Ops becomes officially available. Me? I suspect I will be on Xbox Live, playing Halo: Reach, and working on my Colonel ranking and gold visor helmet purchase.
I don’t hate the Call of Duty franchise, but I won’t be spending time online with it. I played through Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4, and Modern Warfare 2. I may or may not get around to Black Ops. Why?
For whatever reason, I feel like the FPS perspective in the series is too fast, not tethered. It feels like a PC shooter without the mouse and keyboard. I remember demoing CoD2 at launch and getting dizzy at Best Buy. While I have suffered through the campaigns for the story and huge set pieces and terrific graphics and sounds, the effect does not lend itself well to marathon sessions online.
I also have issues with the games themselves. The campaigns are heavy-handed and try a little too hard to be a little too serious. From the airport scene’s “shocking” civilian killing option to protagonists’ deaths, the historical war quotations to slow-motion sequences accompanied by equally dramatic orchestral score, the attempts to create a cinematic blockbuster overwhelms the fun I seek when I game.
The multiplayer has kept me away with its perk system. While I appreciate rewarding game play frequency and skill with in-game benefits, it always struck me as odd that those least in need of advantage received such a notable bonus. Sure, jumping on board at launch is encouraged, but what does that do to everyone else? It scares them and me away. My CoD multiplayer memories consist of dying without seeing my killers, spawning only to die instantly, and wishing I had better weapons preferably at least something with a laser sight. Multiplayer has always been more frustrating than fun for me.
Those issues alone should suffice, but sadly, I must confess — there is one last detail. I am an unapologetic Microsoft fanboy. And yes, Black Ops is available on the 360 and will probably sell more copies for the console than on the PS3. To me, however, the Xbox is Halo and Master Chief. He is our Mario, our symbol. It means we have something they don’t. And that will keep us from going the way of the Dreamcast. It means buying an ill-fated HD-DVD player, a Vision camera, and probably, inevitably a Kinect. And it means two months from its release, Halo should not lose its spot atop the Xbox Live playlist.
Perhaps we are at the point where we can have a multi-console existence, but tonight, I will do my part to keep my console’s exclusive just that.
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