Woe is the Gamer Who Enjoys Single Player

Now, I’m not much of fan of the whole first-shooter genre in general. They can be a tad disorienting at times and I find myself to get bored rather quickly. If I were to be perfectly honest, I’m not that good a player when it comes to first-person shooters anyway, so I tend to stir clear from them . That said, however, I do enjoy an occasional round of Call of Duty now and then. Games such as Battlefield and Borderlands and especially the Left-4-Dead series are just some of my favorites mostly because of the interesting story lines and scenarios that the games take place. Story is always important to me when it comes to games, and that is especially important when it comes to first-person shooters. It’s far too easy for the gameplay to be all about the action of shooting and sniping and kill ranking and having the story not even to be a considered factor.  I have friends who play Call of Duty and Battlefield who never play the single player campaigns. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it seems like a shame to  even try it out.

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I will admit that the story lines in Call of Duty and Battlefield can be a bit…unrealistic at best. That’s probably one of the main reason why most COD players don’t venture into the single player campaigns. But for me, I tend to see them as mini-Michael Bay movies. Sure, they can big and loud and jammed packed with enough napalm and military testosterone to make anybody’s head-spin. But there is still a level of enjoyment to them. I will give credit to the fact that the game creators have managed to capture the intensity of war, the sudden rush of adrenaline of battle and more importantly, the strong bond of brotherhood amongst soldiers. That is an element I enjoy the most about these games, and is why I like playing the single player campaign.

So imagine my disappointment when I discover that Call of Duty’s newest installment, Call of Duty: Ghosts, has a single player campaign that can be finished in just under 4 hours.

That…is a huge let down.

I have a lot of things to say about.

For starters, the story itself was perhaps was the weakest element of the whole game. It was your basic copy-paste of a terrorists plotting to take down the U.S. government with an ex-soldier who used to be one of ours leading the charge and blah blah blah. We’ve seen this scenario about a hundred times before in poorly written yet more entertaining 80’s cop films. The characters are about as bland as they come. A group of brothers trained by their father who was one of the best soldiers known are sent to take down their dad’s former teammate. The character you play never speaks, other than the occasional grunt or two. And yeah…that’s about all I can remember of the story. I can’t honestly telling you anymore about the general plot since I checked out mid-way into it. And that really sucks. Before with past Call of Duty games, I was heavily invested in the war effort as well with the team I was fight with.

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Call of Duty : Black Ops and Black Ops 2 are two of my favorites of the whole series. The stories for both were like something reminiscent of a very good spy movie, with all the conspiracy-twists and turns of the Kennedy era. The characters were people who could get to know. They had personality and depth, with the emotional scars one who see in a hardened soldier.

This was sadly not the case in Call of Duty : Ghosts. I had zero emotional attachment to anybody in this game. If a certain character died, it didn’t phase me. And that shouldn’t be the case when playing a game series whose sole feature is about the bravery and sacrifice of soldiers. Especially when your target audience who buy these games is, majority of the time, soldiers themselves.

I’m glossing over a lot of other features of the single player that annoyed me however. Features such slow reload time, tough enemies (even on the easiest setting) and boring levels. I didn’t get the same excitement and adrenaline rush I had with past games. Perhaps at the beginning where you’re running for your life as San Diego is being destroyed around you. But that didn’t last very long. Like I said, I was mostly bored by the time the game was over. Levels that were meant to be exciting, such as the gun battle in space, was just too goofy for me to enjoy.

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As I sit here typing this, it’s come to my attention that it shouldn’t surprise me that the single-player was so short and wasn’t fulfilling as I had hoped. The true meat of the Call of Duty series is, of course, it’s multiplayer. The majority of the people who buy the game, buy it for the sole purpose of playing the multiplayer and nothing else. Activision and Infinity Ward seemed to know this and have dedicated all their attention just to the multiplayer with tons of maps being released, special XP weekends, and even going as far as having product placement just about everywhere just for multiplayer.

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That’s a disappointment, in my opinion. As someone who doesn’t play multiplayer that often, you kind of feel like the odd man out.  It comes back to haunt you knowing that you spent close to $60 on a game you probably will never play again because the feature you like isn’t as great as you hoped.

Oh god…I’m having Mass Effect 3 flashbacks.

All I’m saying is that I understand that there’s a market of gamers out there who live for multiplayer. Multiplayer is everything for this group of people. Unless a game has multiplayer, it’s not even their radar. They play it for the bragging rights and to murder their friends just for the enjoyment of tea-bagging them and calling them every foul name in the book. All in the name of love and friendship and competition of course. I understand that that’s what fun for gamers who play games like Call of Duty and Battlefield. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

However this is a market of people out there who want more out of their COD‘s and Battlefield‘s than just multiplayer. There are those who want to experience the rush of being a solider and charging into battle in the name of God and Country and whatnot. It all comes back to that age-old argument of whether or not multiplayer is a profitable market and in the case, it seems like a no-brainer. But still, I rather not be in the minority who has to give up playing a series I’m just starting to like because not enough attention is being given to the one feature I enjoy the most.

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One comment on “Woe is the Gamer Who Enjoys Single Player

  1. It’s a sad thing to see when games are starting to lose their focus on story and everything is being used for the social aspect of it. I’m part of that minority(?) that play games because of the story, no the interaction with other gamers. Don’t get me wrong, i’ll indulge in the occasional multiplayer game now and again, but it’s not something I do actively. I’m not sure if it’s an old school thing. I grew up playing games that were single player, because well, the tech wasn’t up for it yet, I had split screen at best. I didn’t get into playing online until maybe 4 years ago, with a PS3 and we can say I was late to party. I’m 25 now and I’m just getting into the idea of playing MMOs for maybe 2 years now. But many of the people these consoles and games are being produced for are used to things like this, the companies are constantly trying to bring in new customers that are obviously younger. I don’t mind the use of this feature within games, but I sure as hell don’t want game developers to think they can stop making story based games all together. You mentioned Mass Effect 3 which, in my opinion, is a perfect example of trying to branch out to a newer crowd and leaving the rest of us with a half assed single player campaign. Whether the effort put into ME3’s Multiplayer detracted from the single player at the time of development is a factor or not is uncertain. They but in multiplayer into the last game, a feature that in truth was not something asked for nor what the essence of the game was really about. In the end the game’s single player campaign had various issues at launch and thereafter, ending aside, how a game whose soul lied in the basis of importing a save from a previous iteration could fail at face importation is beyond me. But anyway, I’m rambling, I agree with this article and I truly hope that developers strive to bring us better games with better single player campaigns, because we might be few, but the 1P players are still out there.

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