Call of Duty is a game that gives me mixed feelings whenever I hear it mentioned.
On the one hand, I always look back with nostalgia at the earlier versions of the games where I was literally jumping from map to map with friends, pulling all-nighters and investing many, many hours into the game.
At the time it was special to me. The World War II themed maps and weapons was something that I loved. Running through nice, big open maps with my Springfield or my Thompson and gunning down people only to get involved in an argument with a salty American, arguing with me about who actually won the war and how the British would have all died or be speaking German if it wasn’t for them.
Seem’s pretty petty and childish, but it was fun, it was the COD community. You wasn’t home unless you got into one of these arguments.
My love for the game started to fall around the same time they decided to bring the game to the modern era as it lost that nostalgia that it had from before, I still enjoyed the game and the Black Ops single player was good fun as was the online mode but it was Advanced Warfare where the COD series lost me.
The moment that I saw my brother playing the game and characters were jumping 50ft in the air and quick scoping people below was the moment I vowed to never give the COD developers any more of my money. It was the final nail in the COD coffin, I was done.
You could also argue that this coincided with me discovering Battlefield and falling in love with Battlefield 4.
The ability to drive vehicles and blow up buildings was fresh, it was new, it was exciting, it was what I would have wanted Call of Duty to become, but Battlefield suffered it’s own downfall when it released Hardline.
On paper, cops vs robbers should have been everyone’s childhood dream come into a gaming reality but it lacked everything that made Battlefield, Battlefield. It wasn’t enough to push me back to COD but it was a disappointment for me but, thanks to the longevity, I was happy running through Battlefield 4 until they released Battlefield One which really took my FPS gaming to a new level.
I loved Battlefield One for the same reasons i loved the original COD gaming. Using weapons from World War 1 and running round in nice, well designed maps, using nice weapons with graphics that were stunning for that time. I didn’t even think about COD even though most people that I game online with were COD players, I was OK being on my own in Battlefield because the game was beautiful.
People would try to convince me to go back.
“Don’t you remember how good Nuketown was?”
No, I don’t. I remember being one of the only people who didn’t like Nuketown. Having to play a map where I would be killed every 10 seconds by a sniper who was sitting at the back of the map wasn’t my idea of fun, I grew to detest it and then, every time the map finished, people would vote to play the same map again seemed like groundhog day for something who was stuck in something that was the most frustrating thing about gaming. Nuketown, in my opinion, sucked.
However, it all was about to change.
For my birthday, my family got me COD Black Ops 4. It was a return to previous maps that had been updated, there was no single player story mode to the game, it was all online with different online game modes and it was taking everyone back to what they “loved”.
Zombies, a game mode I actually enjoyed, returned to the game as did Nuketown. I can’t say I was excited to return but, as it was free, I decided to load it on my computer and join a team for some online gameplay.
I first got into the game and played standard team deathmatch, I usually play hardcore, but I wanted to get a feel for the game first before attempting hardcore.
I was happy with the mechanics of the game. The controls felt smooth, using the guns felt nice, the running and jumping around reminded me a bit of playing Dying Light with the parkour feel to it and it was nice and smooth. The weapons were a bit bland with a small selection of guns without having their proper names.
I first played the Jungle map and it reminded me of enjoying this particular map before, it’s big enough to be able to run around without getting shot every 6 seconds but at the same time, small enough so that you don’t see players for ages only to die and spend another 10 minutes running around looking for people. I done surprisingly well for my first go as well, getting 24 kills and only 6 deaths. I was proud of myself and instantly thought I was ready to straight into hardcore, but I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready at all.
I loaded up hardcore mode and was thrown into a game on Firing Range at Night.
I loved Firing Range from previous COD’s, for me I could never understand why there was so much love for Nuketown and Firing Range didn’t get the credit that it deserved. While I was voting to replay the map before, people were voting for random, why?
So there was me, on hardcore, on a map I remember and enjoyed. I was ready.
As the match kicked off everyone ran straight ahead and I decided to go around the back, maybe surprise my enemies, it would have been brilliant, while they were all fighting in the middle I would have managed to get my 5 kills and trigger my bonus by being sneaky but bang, I was dead. I lasted around 15 seconds.
It’s OK, I wasn’t focusing properly, I let my dreams get to big and instead I need to move slower and “bang” I was dead again.
This continued with the occasional rest bite where I managed to string 2 kills together before being killed again. The match finished and I finished bottom of the group having got 6 kills this time and I died 18 times. They voted to replay the map, which I was happy about, and this time I took it slower and I was cautious walking around corners, making sure to check every area but I didn’t fare much better this time.
Although I managed to get my deaths down, my kills stayed at 6 and I died 12 times. I finished bottom again. What surprised me was how people were walking around corners already aiming at me and then just pressing fire and killing me before I had a chance to look down the sight. Frustrating.
Determined to not spend my life being labelled as a COD noob, I quit the game and started watching some videos on YouTube for hints how to get better at the game and I learned a few tips that I’m surprised that I forgot to do, such as change the sensitivity.
This helped a lot, by altering my sensitivity to 7 I was able to focus quicker and gun people down, by remembering to reload after every gun fight, I removed the risk of running out of bullets when i’m about to kill someone, and approaching rooms at certain angles having the gun aimed a certain way meant I was ready to engage in battle from the moment i entered a room, rather than clumsily trying to look down the sight of the gun only to be gunned down before I was even able to get the sight to my eyeline.
I was ready this time, I was prepared. A quick venture into standard team deathmatch where I finished second in the group confirmed that it wasn’t that I was terrible at the game, it was the sensitivity (it’s always good to have something to blame) so I was back searching for a hardcore game mode and that’s where I saw it….Nuketown.
I wasn’t prepared for this. I wasn’t prepared at all. All my training and preparation had gone out of the window and I was trying to focus myself like a child trying to get ready for a first day at school without knowing anything about what to expect, was it the same? Had anything changed? What were the other players like? Were there still campers? Before I could answer these questions I was in the game, everyone running straight into the centre to duck down behind the trains ready to shoot those advancing through to the middle of the map, everyone except me.
Instead, I was there tip toeing around almost as if my character was the only one surrounded by broken glass. I looked like a noob, a deer caught in the headlights of an an oncoming HGV having heard terrifying stories of Nuketown. Did this cautious approach help me?
As I walked around the side of the building I had my head taken off by a sniper. A sniper that had stayed around by their start point and was just looking down the side of the building for a complete beginner like me to walk out like an idiot only to have his head taken off. I wasn’t even crouching. I may as well have been wearing a neon sign with a bright red arrow point towards my head with the words “AIM HERE” plastered above.
There was only one way I was going to survive this. Kill the sniper. Kill the camper. I didn’t care about the score, I didn’t care if I had 1 kill and 100 deaths as long as that 1 kill was against the camping sniper that had killed me.
I respawned and off I went, charging forward like a Kamikaze pilot knowing his fate but as long as I took out people as well, it didn’t matter. The only thing missing was my defiant scream of a man knowing he’s running into certain death on a map the same size as my parents back garden surrounded by 12 other players.
But my plan worked, I got to the middle of the map and saw two advanced too my left, bang bang, they were both dead. I can’t describe the satisfaction of seeing the double kill award pop up at the top of my screen. Then I decided to get inside the house. One person came out of the garage, bang, he was down, that’s 3 in a row. How long could this run go on for? Not very long because i was stabbed in the back as soon as I got inside the house, but I was determined not to let minor setbacks bring me down because I was currently sitting on 3 kills 2 deaths.
Long story short, I managed to kill the sniper I also managed to get above 10 kills for the first time in hardcore team deathmatch. Don’t get too carried away, by above 10 kills, I mean 11, but it sounds better wording it that way. 11 kills and 13 deaths. I was impressed with myself, as someone who had been out of the game for so long and returning into a fast-paced FPS where people dedicated hours of their day to becoming the best, I had managed to get 11 kills against them and they only managed to get 13 kills against me.
I was relieved it was over.
I lit up my cigarette like I’d just had the best night of passion of my life but nearly set the flat on fire when, as I was staring at my score, the game loaded into another map and round 2 of Nuketown.
So back to the original question, was I right to return to Call of Duty?
It’s a tough one. I’m not very good at Call of Duty, I’m happy to admit that. I’m more built towards games like Red Dead or the Division but the new Call of Duty seems to focus on the aspects that I do like about the game. It’s a fast paced shooter where you go in there to play a few games in a team and have a laugh. It no longer feels to me like the game I’m going to spend every minute of my gaming time on the game and I like this aspect.
It’s a place where I can get home from work and release some stress by shooting some noobs and hopefully giving them the same frustration they give me. I don’t take it as seriously now, it’s purely for enjoyment and I save my serious gaming for the Division. Red Dead or FIFA but that’s where COD perfectly sits in my life.
Also, Nuketown isn’t played as often now and there’s a good rotation of the maps, circling through them and having variation which makes the game more enjoyable and it mixes bigger maps and smaller ones to give you a different challenge in each game. Sometimes I do quite well, sometimes I do awful but either way, I’m actually enjoying my return.
What’s more, with the Livestream, you can follow my progress as I attempt to go from experienced noob to actually being able to break the 20 kills in a round. Simply head over to Twitch and search for MyGamesMedia and you’ll be able to join in, follow my progress and see if I’m ever able to get better, or if Call of Duty will always be a game that manages to get beyond me.