My Call of Duty conundrum

I told myself I wouldn't do this again

The Spectrum

Damnit, I bought Call of Duty again. I said I wouldn’t. I said the same thing last year, the year before that and the year before that.

Luckily, I bought was a used copy that I could return to GameStop within seven days, not a new copy I would trade in for half its initial value, or less, after I got bored in a few months.

Each year I say the same eight words: “I’m not going to get Call of Duty.” And every year, I go back on my word.

I’ve been saying that since Modern Warfare 2, a game that solidified the series’ stagnancy for me.

Stagnancy is a game franchise’s worst enemy. Like the death of a star that once burned so bright, annual series like Call of Duty have struggled to maintain their luster over the last few years. Often lacking innovation, the experiences blur together but still manage to attract millions of players around the world to their multiplayer battlefields.

2010’s Black Ops was the first game that made me break my promise.

I was one of those kids whose parents had to drive them to get Call of Duty and other M-rated games and I fondly remember continuously insisting I wasn’t going to get the game as my mother drove me around town, searching for a copy.

At the time it was one of the fastest selling games in history and the best selling game in the United States.

Over the next few years, it became my favorite Call of Duty, replacing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. I continued playing Black Ops until hackers broke it by becoming invisible and invincible amongst other things, amassing more than a dozen days played.

Modern Warfare 3 was a similar story except I drove myself to the store at midnight. I didn’t like it nearly as much, but I was really good at it and managed to reach 10th prestige – getting to the max rank 10 times – before winter break began.

After which I made the brilliant decision to reset my stats, staring over at rank one and still reached prestige an additional five times before trading the game in and, once again, deciding I was done with Call of Duty.

I did the same thing for Black Ops 2, a game I dreaded playing at first, but excelled at all the same and spent almost seven days playing. I reached master prestige in a short amount of time, got diamond assault rifles and SMGs, and then traded it in.

Ghosts was a different tale entirely.

Black Ops 2, while addictive and enjoyable for the most part, ruined me of my love-hate relationship for the series. It broke the love off that compound modifier, Target Finder and other bulls****, be damned.

Ghosts became the first Call of Duty game that I hadn’t purchased since Call of Duty 4. It was the first time in three years putting my foot down and saying I wasn’t going to get the game worked out.

Although burnt out on the series, I gave Ghosts a chance, without purchasing it. It let me down. There was no innovation or anything resembling the wow factor the series is notorious for with the exception of the brief underwater and space missions. The multiplayer didn’t do anything for me either – from the people I’ve talked to, I wasn’t alone

And then there was Advanced Warfare.

This year’s bundle of joy was a game I didn’t pay attention to from its announcement through to its release, but I wound up picking it up anyway.

It’s fresh and exciting, manipulating a static formula of the series’ crisp, responsive movement and throwing jet packs and futuristic exo-skeletons into the fray. I spent more time playing this years’ iteration than last years, but it still took less than a day for the game to lose its allure.

I’m just not as hooked on these games as I use to be. I’ll stick to playing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in relishing the good-old days on a game that revolutionized shooters forever.

But I’m still not buying next year’s Call of Duty.