Group-hating games as always been something I’ve been against. It isn’t in me to dogpile on popular titles and adopt the feelings of the masses once a level of success is reached for a game. It’s too easy to point out the trending flaws of a game. There isn’t a goal, taking the time to bash something publicly results in the bashed thing getting even more attention. Rather than having a unique and heartfelt criticism, they simply regurgitate the popular reasons for the dislike keeping the conversation shallow and stagnant. We should feel confident enough in our own feelings to be able to support our own reasoning. All of the sheep-like dislike is unnecessary.
Being someone who usually looked into games before passing judgments, I assumed that these snap judgments were very much beneath me. As it turns out, I was incorrect in this assumption. When it comes to “bro-shooters” I have found that I am exactly the type of person I criticize. In a recent discovery, it became clear how I prevent from appreciating games because of my trust of a group that doesn’t truly understand what they’re critiquing.
This revelation hit me recently as I was playing games with my brother that we had not in a while. In an attempt to play something that was enjoyable and split-screen (not an easy task) we came across a PS3 copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, a game deeply embedded into my collection of games. Never having been a huge player of the game during its initial period of buzz, my memories of the gameplay were rather weak. It took me actually playing a one-on-one match with him to finally realize why this game was what it was. This wasn’t a garbage, poorly constructed shooter. This game was and is a masterpiece.
A major gripe that I had had with the COD series and the large amount of other online-focused series, was their lack of ability to shine during a single-player experience. Coming from a simpler time that didn’t demand a certain type of television or internet connectivity to play games, it’s something I have found off-putting. MW3 doesn’t actually suffer from this issue. Without even bringing up the decently immersive single player campaign, the gameplay itself is fun and easy to play. The RPG elements of having to unlock things for your gun is enough to motivate continued investments of time. Not much about the way you play is constricted and the game requires actual skill to master. Above all of this, however, is the fact that the game is simply fun.
The visuals are attractive and hold up after seven years. It’s more than the great level-design of the core multiplayer maps that make things look nice. It’s the psychological aspects that really bring things home. Every time you progress, the game rewards you with a musical rift and colorful visual. They’re subtle and well-crafted enough to not annoy the Jesus out of you as they constantly pop on to the screen. You like knowing you got a killstreak, you like knowing you’ve progressed with your gun, you like knowing that you’ve leveled up. The rewards don’t fall short like so many other games, you feel like you’re getting something and this translates to playing offline with one other person as well.
It’s a fun shooter that changed the way people understood the genre by providing a level of fluidity that there had never been. Why should the game be represented by the type of people who play it? There are toxic people everywhere online, avoiding them is up to the player. In a production climate with games that genuinely are the worst garbage I have ever played, we really shouldn’t disrespect good titles by allowing their reputations to be sullied by trashy online culture.