All About Alexk91
Video games are pretty awesome. Some are great, some are awful, but I don't regret playing any of them.
Whether you like the games or not, it goes without saying that the Call of Duty franchise, and more recently, the Battlefield franchise, are both looked upon with a certain disdain from a large portion of the gaming community. Viewed as a blight on the industry, these two titans of the AAA market are commonly criticized by gamers for the largely derivative and formulaic design, with both series being repeatedly accused of recycling old material and repackaging it under a different name. They've also been blamed for the oversaturation of shooters in the market today, with dozens of publishers and developers clambering to create the next big "hit". Are these games really that evil, that generic, and are they responsible for the state of shooters today? No. They are not, and it's high time we take the blame away from them, and start pointing our angry fingers at the people responsible.
Now, whether or not you like these games is entirely based on opinion. I myself agree that they are growing rather stale, but at the same time, millions of other gamers disagree, helping BF and CoD reach record sales each year, and that's perfectly ok. That kind of money is good for the industry, and I'm not going to ask Activision or EA to risk losing business for either series when they're making such ridiculous sums of cash each year. What I do mind, however, is not the generic look and feel of each new BF or CoD, what I mind, is when developers and publishers try to take a bite out of that success, and in their attempts, compromise an original idea for the sake of profit.
More and more we're seeing games shift focus from single-player to multi-player, or from RTS to FPS. We're seeing companies boast about the inclusion of multi-player as if it's anything special. Games like Tomb Raider, Bioshock 2, or The Darkness, three fantastic single-player games, including a throwaway multi-player component, just for the sake of having one. We're seeing single player (or campaign centric) games, such as Borderlands 2, Bioshock Infinite, and Assassin's Creed 3, include season passes, simply because it's something that CoD and BF have had huge success with.
The reason these things are an issue is not that these competing games have no right to copy or emulate what BF and CoD have done, it's that they shouldn't be trying to emulate them, they should be trying to do better, and to this day, not one of them has. Call of Duty offers a season pass that includes $60 worth of content released in intervals for one discount price. The amount of content delivered with each release is relatively the same, and each piece of content extends the life of the game. If the multi-player component of CoD is the reason you play the game, then it truly is a great deal.
Other games emulate the season pass model from CoD, but none try to surpass its convenience or value. Aliens: Colonial Marines, a bad game, with a bad multi-player experience, offered a season pass for a "theoretical" four part content package, but with reception as poor as it was, and little-to-no news whatsoever on planned future content, gamers were ripped off by this "deal" that didn't even need to exist. CoD and BF include season passes, because these games are titans. They are guaranteed to sell huge quantities at launch and as such, can be sure that come nine months down the road when that last piece of content ships, people (lots of people) will still be playing the game.
To make matters even worse, more and more devs are attempting to copy not just the business model of CoD and BF, they want to copy its game design as well. Metro: Last Light was said to have a multi-player component in development that would compete with the likes of CoD and BF. Why would I want a multi-player component in a sequel to Metro: 2033 (a single player only experience) to play like CoD or BF, when I could just play CoD or BF? Furthermore, why would I want it to rival BF CoD? If it merely rivals them, rather than being different or better, than what's the point of playing it? Colonial Marines, a game that had the potential to be a terrifying experience, instead pissed away all its potential to be a poor emulation of CoD or BF.
The reason I don't have an issue with CoD or BF being generic corridor shooters, where you walk down one hallway, shoot some dudes behind cover, and watch a set piece, is because they've mastered the art of being generic shooters. Their multi-player components are deep and rewarding (if that's your sort of thing) and their campaigns are mindless shooting galleries, and there's nothing wrong with that. Where a problem arises is when a developer tries to copy that formula, without doing anything to improve upon it. They copy the set-pieces, the corridor shootouts, the multi-player, etc... but that's all they do (Homefront, Duke N.F., A:CM) creating another generic game, without the staying power of either CoD or BF. They're catering to a niche that's already been filled, they're chasing after a consumer that already has something better, and they're pissing away money and time in the process.
Do I want CoD and BF to change, to try something new for once, to actually try and be more than just a cash cow? Of course, but I understand and accept that until the money stops rolling in that they wont. What I'm not going to do is blame them for the state of shooters in the industry to day when they had nothing to do with it. When a popular kid gets all the attention at school for their looks and dress, it isn't their fault when your feeble attempts to copy their style don't do anything but make you look foolish and hurt your reputation. Stop blaming them for being successful, and start blaming these other publishers and devs for trying to copy that success, instead of creating something new and original.
It's been a little over a year since EA introduced their online digital distribution service, Origin. In that time, it's garnered generally negative criticism from most gamers (at least the ones that talk about it) and I myself can be counted among those that hate the service. It's not that I don't see the potential for this service, I do, and it's not that I want to hate it, simply because it's an EA service. No, to put it frankly, I hate any service that requires you to sign up in order to use a product you've purchased, and makes the act of using your product inconvenient, and sadly, Origin is a big damn inconvenience. For example, last week I purchased the Mass Effect Trilogy, and after waiting hours for all three games to install (which is to be expected, I don't have the best internet connection) and their included DLC's, I began to play Mass Effect. It worked fine through Origin, and aside from a few minor issues (Origin failing to synch my cloud files once or twice) things went smoothly. I beat the game, and prepared myself to move on to Mass Effect 2. I purchase the remaining DLC, configured my game, set up my saves to import, ran the game, and.... nothing. Not a damn thing happened. No error message, no crash report, not a single thing to tell me what went wrong. So I ran the game again, and.... nothing. So I brought up my task manager, and it turns out, the game was trying to run, in fact, Origin was using over two gigabytes of memory to try and run it, but nothing was happening. So I closed Origin, and ran it again... and nothing happened. So naturally, I was beginning to get pretty annoyed. So I searched the EA website and their tech support page for any articles on how to fix this problem... and nothing was there. So I made my own post. My response, simply put, they told me they had no idea what was wrong... So I kept looking, and it turns out, I'm not the only one who had this issue. A couple of other gamers, who had taken the time to make posts, had been complaining about the same thing, but here's the kicker, the solution to the problem was not solved with the help of EA tech support, the gamers figured it out themselves after several days of frustration. That is why I can't stand this service. When you introduce a mandatory service for your users, and it causes problems that you aren't prepared to fix, or just simply choose not to fix, it becomes a crutch, and it hinders the enjoyment of any experiences we have with the games your service provides. This is obviously only one example, but I have had issues with Origin, dating all the way back to it's launch. I want the service to work, because I don't want to be inconvenienced by something that should make buying and playing my games easier. No system is foolproof, but Origin is still a mess. I don't know if EA has any plans to fix this soon, but I sure hope so.