The Hardcore Disaster

1 Mar

Turning on a Black Moth Super Rainbow track I just jumped into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for the first time in months after non-stop play.  I went and took all the suppressors off my weapons, removed my cold blooded perks and my weapon sights and removed most of my classes with rifles.  No, I didn’t get burned out.  I made the mistake of getting interested in hardcore mode.

I’ll spare you the history but suffice it to say : I hate the guts out of hardcore mode.  It is an incorrect interpretation of a game, and a sad sign of the ironic continual retreat from arena shooters to what equate to insta-gib matches.  In a search for mil-sim realism the Call of Duty mod community has introduced and standardized a mode that promotes camping, twitch shooting and min-maxing.  At this point Modern Warfare’s hardcore mode makes the original Rainbow Six franchise look like Quake.

It took me this long to realize that I had lost touch with what Call of Duty was.  I was depressed that it had lost itself, and that this was no longer the game I wanted to play.  But I took the plunge back into normal mode, and I’m happy to say that the game is still there.

Players in Call of Duty operate as something that in no way resembles a soldier, especially since the Modern Warfare era began.  The CoD player is a predatory animal, a Jason Bourne on speed.  He sprints past his enemy, double takes and wheels around to snap at him with his ninja blade.  He runs down a corridor full of bullets and throws a grenade mid-leap, only to prone and open fire.  The CoD player is fueled by his own playlist, and he shoots from the hip.  The CoD player makes headshots happen with his iron sights.  The CoD player never stops running the arena like it was a Quake match.

Hardcore mode had me playing the game incorrectly, and I was angry because of it.  When a submachine gun can be a sniper rifle and an assault rifle at the same time, the game implodes.  Guns become chosen for their rate of fire, and scopes are used after firing has commenced, only pulled up for the accuracy bonus.  Players afraid for their lives take up positions in the maps with no elbow room.  In its attempt to make Call of Duty into Rainbow Six it makes it more ridiculous for the player behaviour it promotes.

Everyone I used to play with played hardcore.  They no longer play.  I suspect it is for similar reasons.  But for them, the frantic high speed absurdist arena play that is CoD normal is too freakish.  The behaviour required for good CoD play does not correspond with what the game looks like.  Seeing an SAS team run you over with dual glocks produces some cognitive dissonance.  It’s like seeing a clown play the violin.  It’s like seeing a garbage truck selling ice cream.  You expect a certain behaviour, but what is there is Quake on amphetamines.  With the right music and the right mindset, I can do it.  I still wish there was a real tactical shooter to play, but hardcore does not and will never scratch that itch.

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