Tag Archives: Call of Duty

Moving Power of Music

So often, we get caught up in the story and mechanics of a game that we forget another member of the complete family: music. Sometimes, the right melody can seal a memorable experience. I truly believe that music is an important part of any good game as it can hit your senses in a whole new manner. Without it, you get a game that may not be the full meal you’re looking for.

Is it over yet?
Is it over yet?

Now, at this point, I’d normally talk about my go-to game for all things amazing, Metal Gear. Especially when it comes to talking about music. But I won’t. There are many other examples of music enhancing the gameplay experience. One series that stands out to me is the Modern Warfare titles of Call of Duty. Specifically, the certain times when you’re in a hopeless situation, surrounded by so many bad guys and running out of ammo. I remember there always being a solemn track playing in the background that made me feel like I wasn’t getting out of this one. Not sure if this happened to other gamers, but hearing that music in the situation just clicked a switch for me, making me actually not worry about dying so much and just getting it done. It was these times that made me appreciate the campaign much more.

In college, I worked toward getting my minor in dance. My last year in school, I participated in a student-choreographed concert, and I created a piece based off of music from Mass Effect 3. I think if you’ve played the game, you’ll remember the emotionally touching ending theme, after you make Shepard’s final choice. Yep, that’s the one I used. Without going into detail about how the piece worked, I was able to find inspiration out of the song, without even having the game in front of me. That’s a testament to how powerful music is, when you can hear it outside of the medium it’s from and have it still affect the heart.

That hard choice
That hard choice

Even when I was a kid, music held a special place for me, and one of those prime examples was from Final Fantasy VIII. My first real experience with the series, VIII introduced me to amazing fantasy scenes with a touching orchestra behind them. Even with the stop and go action of the classic RPG gameplay, I still felt like I was accomplishing something special. I think that that’s one reason why that title was my favorite; that one and Final Fantasy X, of course. Both enhance the story with their musical accompaniment.

I think that with these examples, I’ve brought up two good points about what music can do. First, it allows for stories to have deeper meaning. I’m sure everyone has examples of a good score in a story. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have been as scared of Outlast as I was if the music was super creepy, so thanks to developer Red Barrels for that. The other point I’ve made is that the music can actually drive performance in a game. Dubstep and rock have always been my friends during some of my best Battlefield matches. Just like athletes pre-game with their favorite tracks, many gamers pump up their adrenaline and focus with all kinds of music. It certainly has a motivating effect.

It sounds scarier than it looks.
It sounds scarier than it looks.

Before I end this, I have one more thought. So far we’ve discussed the effect of music. But, what happens in the absence of music during crucial moments? Does that make scene better? Normally, I would say no. But I do remember several times during The Last of Us when I was completely absorbed in the task at the time, and there was no music involved, or needed. Creeping around the infected and hearing their breathing and screeches was enough to show what the developers were wanting you to experience. I think that it’s really a case by case basis on that front.

So, the next time you play something, take a second to just listen. Does the music make sense? How does it hit you? I’m all for exploring the lesser seen aspects of any game, and music is one of those that affect the overall gameplay for me. It’s my hope that you’ll start listening more and figure out ways that the music helps or hinders your time with the characters.


Who’s The Better Son? A Battlefield/Call of Duty Commentary

ImageComparison is human nature. Something is always better than something else in someone’s eyes, and that someone usually has to try and prove it to someone else. Some concept, huh? That’s just how we act as a society. So when I thought about a comparison piece this week, my mind instantly went to two companies that have been battling it out in the gaming industry for a while now: EA and Activision. Their Battlefield and Call of Duty franchises have polarized gamers for a few years. Is one better than the other? Well, hopefully after reading this, you’ll decide for yourself.

A few things should be noted here in the beginning. First, I do favor Battlefield more than CoD. I’ll insert a few comments here and there to show why. Also, this article is based off my experiences playing the newest iterations: BF4 and CoD: Ghosts on the PS4. I have played more CoD titles in the past than Battlefield, but that will not affect my article on here. Finally, and most importantly, I’m not a great first person shooter player (later designated as FPS for all you non-gamers), so I can’t really speak much on the reasons why a single button for one game works better than on another in terms of competitive advantage. I’m just along for the ride.Image

SO, let’s start with the single player campaigns, the main course of what I look for in any game. After all, a good game has to be accessible to those not plugged in to the network. Both play smoothly and don’t last too long. Battlefield campaign missions are much fewer than Ghosts, but play much longer. I could finish a Ghosts mission in about 15-20 minutes tops, but with Battlefield, you have to invest a little more time in its completion. What surprised me a bit was that Battlefield took the medal for very over-the-top campaign moments, which is usually a CoD thing. To be honest, after I played through the BF campaign, I was a little underwhelmed with the story elements of Ghosts. I just felt like I was going through the motions to get to the ending. Don’t get me wrong, Ghosts was still a pretty decent game to play. I feel like it rested on its laurels a bit and spent more time on the multiplayer, which I’ll get into later. So, in the single player category, I think Battlefield did more for the players.

The multiplayer for both games is a totally different kind of discussion. It’s an apples and oranges sort of preference talk. Battlefield is not really tailored for individual play; you work as a squad and as a team in order to take full advantage of what it has to offer. And it offers incredibly large battles of up to 64 players. That’s 32 people against you and yours. A basic match can become a complex and tactical match that can last for at least half an hour, giving you more time to think between deaths unless you’re foolish. It would be better except for certain technical difficulties that break up the battles occasionally. It’s definitely more for the team player. On the other hand, Ghosts is more for the run and gun player. It’s easy to see why CoD is recognized in the Major League Gaming circuits. Its short and fast-paced matches definitely get the blood pumping. A good gamer can rack up about 40 kills in an average length game. Though there are fewer game map uses, it’s pretty simple in terms of what you need to do. To put the two MP experiences in terms of other kinds of technology, CoD is the iPhone of gaming while Battlefield is the Android.

ImageI describe it like that because these two games seem to draw out different kinds of players in my opinion. Yes, there are some that play both, like myself. However, the majority of FPS players usually spend their time playing one or the other. I don’t know if there is a certain demograph type that floats to one side, but I can maybe make a few inferences to who plays what kind of game. I think BF attracts those who want a little more realism out of their FPS. The visuals are almost breathtaking to me, the kind of effect that the film Avatar had on filmgoers. The guns have very realistic sounds to them as well. Finally, as mentioned before, the multiplayer almost requires teamwork and squad-based command tactics, giving the player more of a company feeling instead of a Rambo gunning scenario.

ImageWith Ghosts, people play to get the experience of gunning and participating in something that millions of others do around the world. You jump in, you learn the controls, and then you just keep practicing. In the business world, you could call this “low entry cost”, meaning it doesn’t take much to invest in this game. I think this is what appeals a certain type of gamer. The marketing for CoD is expansive in order to attract all sorts of new people. They get in and try it out, eventually getting decent at it with practice. I know, because I’m one of those. I’ve been known to spend a lot of time at night playing over and over. I can understand the appeal; I just find BF to be a breath of fresh air in the MP scene.

So there you go. My thoughts on the two heavy hitting FPS titles out at the moment. I do enjoy BF more, though I definitely pick up the controller for a few quick CoD matches too. With the PS4 supporting both titles, I’m still trying to decide which one I want to invest more time in. Part of it has to do with how much support I can get from friends to play BF in. I’m not really a team player, and I need reliable friends to play some BF. Otherwise, I’ll be passively yelling at myself for not doing well in that one CoD match. Feel free to come find me on either playing field. (PSN: MogwaiOfOwnage)