Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Year Without War (Gaming)

I’m taking a break.

Since the arrival of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in 2007, I have been an active participant in the yearly cycle of military-themed first-person shooters. CoD: World at War, Battlefield: Bad Company, CoD: Modern Warfare 2, Battlefield 1943, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, CoD: Black Ops and even Medal of Honor--I bought and played them all. I also spent countless hours in the competitive multiplayer modes of those games, and I have some great memories of playing with friends over XBox Live until the wee hours of the morning.

Over the past few years, I have come to like the Battlefield series the most, as I am not very good at first-person shooters, and the Battlefield games reward you for playing supportive roles, as opposed to just killing enemies. So it stands to reason then, that I was really excited to play the multiplayer beta of Battlefield 3, which I downloaded and checked out as soon as it was available.

A funny thing happened while I was playing the Battlefield 3 beta a while back, though--I realized I don’t really give a crap about these games anymore. They’re all basically the same now. You run around a map, killing bad guys and capturing strategic points. You get experience points for doing so, which you use to unlock new skills and weapons. You do this over and over again--wash, rinse, repeat. The maps in each game pretty much fall into the desert area, snow-covered area, jungle area and urban area categories.  It’s all the same, and I just don’t care about it anymore.

So, I’m taking the year off.  No Modern Warfare 3 or Battlefield 3 for me. It won’t be easy, because every single one of my gaming friends has these games right now, and  every Friday and Saturday night they invite me to play.  But I will stay strong, and I will devote what precious little gaming time I have to games that I really enjoy. Dark Souls, Saints Row 3, Batman: Arkham City, Skyrim, Uncharted 3--all games that have either immersive worlds or interesting storylines (or both) that I can get lost in.

Am I forsaking shooters? No way. I can’t wait to download the original Crysis on Xbox Live or check out Id’s post-apocalyptic Rage. As I write this, I have Gears of War 3 sitting on my gaming shelf, and I will absolutely be playing through the campaign and enjoying the cooperative modes with friends. I’m just done with the cookie-cutter, competitive multiplayer, military shooters (CCCMMS) for now.

Who knows? A year off may rekindle my enthusiasm for the CCCMMS genre. Or, I may never come back again. Time will tell.