It all started when Call of Duty (COD): Warzone dropped. I begrudgingly downloaded the game (seeing as it was free to play) to satiate my penchant desire for social interaction amidst this quarantine season. It was a slow start: I played on and off, two hours at a time, with my buddies. I took note of the gunplay and the interesting gameplay decisions they made for the Battle Royale (BR) mode. Then, one weekend, it was double exp and multiplayer trial weekend. I dipped my toes into standard multiplayer, which was part of the full COD game. From then on, I was sold.
$90 down the drain (not counting the copious amounts I have spent on microtransactions) and here I am a month later with 150 hours in-game time. I swore to myself that I would never play First-Person Shooters (FPS), given how bad I was at the older iterations of COD. I relegated myself to only Japanese Role-Playing Games (JRPG), where diegesis shined brightest in the video-game format. Yet here I am, addicted to this FPS game- and I can easily say that I am having the most fun I have ever had in the last year or so.
So why am I addicted? This is clearly not my expertise in gaming. I thought I hated the FPS genre. I criticized it for poor storytelling and lack of “intelligence”. Maybe I was using my status as a big-brain-reddit-pseudo-intellectual as an excuse for not enjoying games that the masses enjoy. Maybe this quarantine season has reduced my brain to two barely functioning brain-cells that can hardly rub together enough to make a current, thus allowing me to enjoy “low-IQ” gaming. Who really knows? Let’s say it’s actually the game’s design that makes me addicted, and not my deteriorating ego. What about it makes it so fun?
The first aspect is the gunplay. Gunplay, in my mind, is a summary of multiple components such as tactile, visual, and auditory feedback. The sound design of the gun lends credence to its raw destructive power; the visual recoil delivers the impactful expulsion of high-velocity projectiles; and the tactile feedback is the way the controller rumbles, or the way one pulls on the mouse to control bullet-spread. All these aspects are seemingly perfect in COD: Modern Warfare. Each gun feels, sounds, and looks so good to use, and with the plethora of guns available, there is no shortage of arms you feel you can try or master.
The second aspect is customization. The game allows you to customize your gun using their gunsmith feature. This allows you to add attachments that alter the way the gun works. Despite the existing metas regarding attachments, each attachment has its purpose, and the varieties are nigh endless. The game also provides operators for you to use, each one with its own skin and costumes. In this regard, you can customize your gameplay to suit your play-style the best.
The final aspect is The Grind. There are so many things to grind for in this game. This includes camos, weapon parts, battle-pass levels, challenges, etc. All of these in-game additions are achieved through in-game challenges. Microtransactions serve only as a cosmetic outlet. Additionally, the removal of loot-boxes allows players to genuinely know what their in for, which is a huge plus in terms of player retention. Seeing as my background is in JRPGs, I personally live for the grind, and this game offers a lot of it.
All in all, COD: Modern Warfare has been my main source of entertainment as of late. All of these in-game aspects really tie the game together into a cohesive experience. If you can ignore the flaws of the game (Skill-based matchmaking, bad net-code, glitches, game size– things to write about another day), or at least be mindful of them and simply like what it offers best, I can guarantee that this game can be enjoyed by anyone.
Side note: It turns out I’m actually pretty good at FPSs.