I’m a gamer, I have been for pretty much my entire life. People are always shocked to hear that I don’t like the Call Of Duty franchise, it’s one of the most popular video game franchises out there. “How can I call my self a gamer and not like COD? Is there something wrong with me?”

I realize that for the most part they are all pretty decent games, especially on paper, but the series really just isn’t my kind of shooter. Perhaps it’s just because I’ve played Halo for so long or maybe it’s just the simple fact that the COD franchise isn’t centered around my god and messiah, the Master Chief. In all seriousness I really do have my reasons, I recognize that a lot of people like the franchise and I understand why they do, COD just isn’t for me – Here’s why.

I grew up playing Halo, the Master Chief has been an essential part of my life for a very long time. Long story short COD just isn’t Halo. This really isn’t a well thought out reason but Halo’s multiplayer is the standard I hold all other first person shooters to. I’m not a Bungie  fan boy even though right now I may come off as one. I realize that the Halo franchise has it’s short comings but I still compare every single first person shooter I play to the Halo series whether I want to or not.

There are a few more actual practical reasons why I pretty much hate COD. I like team based games, I know Halo isn’t the most team orientated game out there but I find when I jump into a game of COD, doesn’t really matter what one, everyone is focused on their kill to death ratio. My friends that are big COD fans, they’re constantly comparing their K/D ratios bragging about who’s is better and who has the bigger spread. This seems to happen in every game type in COD, even the team based ones. I find that in Halo, at least in the team based games, there is slightly more teamwork, especially in the objective based game types. I’m not saying this is the case all the time but for the most part this is what I’ve experienced.

Another big issue I have with COD is the fact that players can join mid game and make the teams unbalanced. It seems like a strange design choice and defeats the entire purpose of matchmaking. Matchmaking in COD would work much better if players couldn’t join half way through a game, the same system seen in countless other Xbox Live titles should have been used in COD franchise. To me this is one of COD’s biggest flaws, it just makes absolutely no sense to me, I know it speeds up the matchmaking process but at what cost? When Black Ops was first announced there was a rumor circulating around the Internet that this was going to be changed, unfortunately it turned out that it wasn’t true.

Another main issue I have with COD is its break neck pace. Although it’s remained relatively the same with each release COD’s pacing is still slightly faster then the Halo series. I realize both emphasize frantic explosion filled first person gameplay but I’ve always found COD to play much faster than Halo. There are a lot of reasons why COD is a decent game, the load out system and perks are a great idea, they add a level of depth to the franchise that is rarely seen in shooting games, the issues I’ve explained above just ruin the entire experience for me.

I’ve played each COD game extensively, especially the games that came out after the series took off in popularity, Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2, and I always seem to have a good time for awhile but lose interest rather quickly. I realize Halo is far from perfect, Bungie’s last epic, Halo: Reach, is as close to perfection as I’ve seen from a game for a very long time but even it has some serious experience ruining issues – armor lock abusers must be destroyed. Still, right now I own both Reach and Black Ops, if I’m looking to frag some fools I’ll always go turn to Bungie’s game over any iteration of COD franchise.

When it comes down to it I think it’s because I’ve played Halo games for so long, I know the ins and outs of the series, I know what weapon combinations work and what ones don’t and I know most of the levels off by heart.

It’s a familiar experience – One that I’m pretty good at too.

Editorial Note: I haven’t really taken both game’s single player campaigns into account in this editorial, I’m really only comparing multiplayer. I would like to say that every COD has had a stellar single player campaign. Bungie even copied a number of the better features in Reach’s campaign and for the most part I’ve actually enjoyed COD’s single player more than Halo’s

  1. George Bonar says:

    I see what this person sees, CoD had it’s days, so did Halo but CoD is dying, Halo is too just not as fast, CoD games are repetitive, I know one guy on the XBOX who got hacked and could only play CoD games. Oh and BTW a lot of CoD only Players are assholes.

    • How do you get hacked and only be able to play COD games? I agree though, a lot of COD players as asses. So are a lot of Halo gamers though as well.

  2. Anthoney says:

    RIGHT ON, im not a CoD hater but the series has not changed in 4 years. Im in your situation. Iv grown up with halo and im very sad to see the franchise leave bungies hands. Plus iv seen many comments like this saying “you play halo, your a nerd”. I dont understand isnt CoD a video game to?

    • @Anthoney
      It’s nice to hear someone agree with me. I don’t hate the franchise I still have fun playing it, I just feel like more effort could be put into new CoD titles.

      @Alex
      That’s pretty much how I feel as well, I’ve played a lot of the older CoD titles.

  3. MindGamingMantis says:

    I think call of duty ruined what was once a great genre. Now every shooter is based on some form of war. It really saddens me to be honest. What really gets to me is that nowadays if you don’t play call of duty, you’re the outcast. I do think that in time call of duty will die down drastically. The reason for this being that the last four iterations of CoD have been the exact same game, repackaged in a different skin. Eventually, the young teens whom find this game appealing will realize that its the same repetitive experience. The problem is there not the one’s paying for it. When they do have to start paying for their games, they will realize its a waste of money. Its like buying a sports simulator every year. CoD has joined the ranks of Madden and Fifa.

  4. Bobdowl says:

    I like having the COD “Rambo-Factor” and when the game gets boring i switch to Bad Company 2 which is Team-Play to the Core.

  5. @ Khan:
    Its always nice to hear a new perspective on the matter :) .

    The CoD franchise has its downfalls, that’s for certain, but I can’t think of a perfect game out there. I’ve always liked the Halo franchise, at least the campaign but never truly loved the multiplayer experience.

    Games such as CoD or Battlefield always had me hooked with Multiplayer. Maybe I just prefer more ‘realistic’ shooters, or, perhaps I just get tired of people constantly jumping and spamming grenades.

  6. Khan says:

    Kinda boring article, just his toughts about COD and Halo. Like that hasn’t been done before.

    • @Khan
      It’s just a simple blog post, maybe not on the most original topic though. I wasn’t shooting for a life changing premise, I just wanted to figure out for my self why I’ve never been able to get into COD games.

      @kristi
      I’m not 14, but I spent a heck of a lot of time playing Halo during my years as a teenager. I’d definitely consider being a teen part of growing up, wouldn’t you?

      @Cokeman

      I’ve never thought of it that way, that really is a good argument for the inclusion of letting players join midngame. I still really don’t like it but thanks for binging that to my attention though.

  7. cristi says:

    “I grew up playing halo” what are you, 14?

    Nothing to see here, just a “Halo” is better than “COD” rant.

  8. Paul says:

    Personally I think both games suck ass,
    but Halo sucks more than COD,
    they are both boring.
    Always the same,
    Never change.
    PS3 RULES
    it’s great!

  9. Cokeman says:

    I am a bit of a fan of CoD. I should start off with that, but that being said, I’m by no means a fan boy. I do have to disagree on one of your points though.

    When I played Halo online, the one thing that upset me the most was not being able to join mid game. I found quite frequently that I would be playing a game and then all of a sudden my team would drop a player.. or two.. maybe 3 or four… This wasn’t a one time thing.

    I would often wonder why a tough match all of a sudden turned into my team rolling all over the other, and it was because it was now 6 on 2. I couldn’t even bring myself to fight. I’d just be doing doughnuts with a Puma while everyone camped the two guys who were left.

    It really bugged me. So far in Black ops I haven’t found too many instances where a new player will swing the game balance one way or the other.

    Just my two cents.

  10. Megamorf says:

    I have around 10 years of shooter experience and I’ve kept track of the shooter market during this time.

    Killzone 1,Killzone 2, Killzone 3, Killzone : Liberation, Timesplitters 2, Timesplitters Future Perfect, Half Life, Half Life 2, Red Faction 1, Red Faction 2, Red Faction Guerilla, Doom 3, UT99, UT2003, UT2004, UT3, Quake 3, Battlefield 2: Modern Combat, CoD4: Modern Warfare, Singularity, Mercenaries, GTA1, GTA2, GTA3, GTA: Vice City, GTA 4, Haze, Fracture, Resistance, Resistance 2, Bioshock, Borderlands, Fear 1, Fear 2, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Gears of War, Halo 3, Dead Space … are part of the shooter genre and crossed my mind when thinking about the shooters that I’ve played over the years.

    There’s been a broad shift in the industry, a demographic trend – as the number of households with broadband increase the aspect of communication increasingly becomes the center of attention in our connected world. While social networks boom, online gaming is also taking a leap forward.

    Online gaming has become more and more popular, no-one can deny that; and with this demand for interconnectedness we have one part of the issue I’m getting at. The other part, sometimes described as web 2.0, depicts the trend of asserting one’s identity on the internet. As you can guess that makes for a huge variety of opinions and demands. Individuality is the second part of the issue.

    With individual opinions on one hand and connectivity on the other hand, games like CoD and alike are gaining huge recognition.
    Many perks, customizable weapons all perfectly meet the demand of the masses. So what’s wrong with that you may ask?

    Back when CoD4:MW was released the shooter genre as I knew it suddenly changed. Omitting the game lobbies that were a standard at that time ( they basically created the communities that many oldschool players reminisce about nowadays) and coming with a broken invitation system, marked only the beginnning of the gaming industry’s retrogression. The game attracted casual gamers because they could easily drop in and out (getting thrown into a match with a number of unknown players).

    Players accepted the loss of custom matchmaking and proper game lobbies in exchange for a modern warfare shooter with perks and the speed of getting to play matches. The sales figures of CoD4:MW were incredible. Never before had a CoD game made such a profit.
    From then on, other developers saw the success of CoD and wanted to get a piece of the cash cake. Here is where it gets ugly. The easiest way for developers was to simply copy CoD elements and sell them as their own.

    With CoD: MW2 this trend got worse. Developers copy Call of Duty more, believing that this is what the masses want. Unfortunately, there are two problems with that. Firstly, games didn’t meet the expectations of players who then played CoD again. Secondly, players don’t even try different games because most of their friends also play CoD. The latter is a vicious circle and it’s exactly why so many people play CoD – because all of their friends play it too. Just by brand recognition a CoD title now sells so many copies that other developers/publishers dream of.
    The result of the two problems I mentioned in this paragraph is that developers sell less and less copies because players just get back to CoD.
    Communities of non-CoD games steadily shrink, because the majority of players want to play with their friends – who got, as you can probably guess, themselves a copy of CoD.
    One result of this CoD mania is that other gaming communities get smaller and smaller, another one is that developers are not taking risks by sticking with a CoD-like formula. That however leads to another problem. A saturation of the market with generic shooters.

    Now with Call of Duty: Black Ops this phenomenon will just get worse. Core gamers get the short end of the stick as casual gaming is booming.

    From my perspective, CoD has lead to a market full of generic shooters, the loss of proper gaming lobbies, the destruction of online communities and the ruin of development studios. And as long as there is a demand for “realistic” and “serious” shooters the market will go down the drain.

    To a degree, personal preferences also influence my thinking, but I think my post wasn’t completely unfounded. I’m more into fast-paced shooters (faster than CoD yes) -> Timesplitters/Unreal Tournament.

    I really miss the the good ol’ arcade shooters *reminisces*

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