The Real Reason People Love Call Of Duty

The Real Reason People Love Call Of Duty

You can thank/blame marketing and a Michael Bay-on-steroids storyline all you want, but there’s a reason people come back to Call of Duty games year after year, and it has nothing to do with zombies or sideburns.

It has to do with how the game feels.

There’s a quickness to Call of Duty games that you don’t see mentioned in many reviews, and don’t even see mentioned that often by fans, but it is, I think, the reason people who have played (or at least been exposed to) other shooters keep playing Activision’s flagship series.

It’s intangible, in a way, sensed only through the impression that your iron sights “snap”. That death to a bad guy comes the instant you squeeze the trigger.

You can put some of this down to the fact Call of Duty games run at 60 frames-per-second, and how that makes the game feel “sharper”, but that’s not the whole story.

Tech specialists Digital Foundry went a little deeper than this, and directly measured the response times between Modern Warfare 3 and the closest thing we’ve got to it this holiday season, Battlefield 3.

Their findings? That MW3 is over twice as fast as BF3 (50ms vs 116ms) when you’re measuring the amount of time it takes from the press of a button to an action taking place on screen. While this doesn’t make BF3 any less of a game–Digital Foundry point out that it’s in the same ballpark as many other big-name shooters–it does explain why Call of Duty games feel so responsive.

There is of course a downside to this, namely that because Infinity Ward (and Treyarch) emphasise this speed, and go to the trouble of rendering both a few frames of footage and a gameplay input so quickly, there’s little scope for graphical improvement this console generation.

DICE’s scaling back to 30 frames-per-second, meanwhile, meant that it could squeeze things in like fancy lighting for Battlefield 3 that Call of Duty’s ageing engine could only dream of.

So it’s horses for courses, basically!

You can read the full, very interesting breakdown below.

Modern Warfare 3 vs. Battlefield 3 [DigitalFoundry]


    • That’s a little reductive, but it is kind of accurate.

      It is a very satisfying game and is very, very smooth. Battlefield 3 is also great but where it has large-scale grandeur and impressive firefights, Modern Warfare 3 has very fast arena deathmatch.

      I’m completely spoiled for choice at the moment, and am switching between both games. They both have a lot to offer.

  • In this story, bleeding heart Like Plunkett goes to lengths to talk about why people love Call of Duty, all because a child in his Kid’s React article said it was not a very creative game.

      • I don’t think there’s as big a controversy or CoD backlash as Luke Plunkett seems to think there is. In fact, I’m not sure if there would be a fanboy war if enablers like him refrained from poking the hornet’s nest with articles like this and the… “You’re an obnoxious, pretentious idiot for not liking CoD.”

        • I’ve heard similar elsewhere… where was it… Oh yes! Apparently I’m an idiot because I don’t like Justin Beiber or Rebecca Black; that I’m jealous of their success or some such shit xD

          • There’s also Gizmodo’s famous “You’re worse than Hitler if you dont have a Facebook”

    • frame rate means you cant improve graphics.


      not hiring staff to improve a game, having shit game supervisors and not updating the engine means you cant update graphics.

      • This is what happens when you’re still running the Quake 2 engine. Get OVER it Activision. It’s really becoming outdated – to me, Halo Reach looks better than what COD has been pumping out. Does anyone know if MW3 is still running in sub-HD res?

  • as much we all love metacritic I’m not seeing much love from the user base… although that same user base of negative comments are still playing the game.

    Also just as an interesting note if you look up the last MW games only COD4 has a user rating well above the other two.

  • Really? Another article from Kotaku US defending CoD? Love CoD or hate CoD, I thought these people were supposed to remain objective.

    • “DICE’s scaling back to 30 frames-per-second, meanwhile, meant that it could squeeze things in like fancy lighting for Battlefield 3 that Call of Duty’s ageing engine could only dream of.”

      Seems pretty objective to me.

      • I must say MW3 looks better than B3 on the 360. We all know the reasons for that.

        But I wouldn’t the games are graphically showing their age. They probably hide a lot with the fast pace action like it is mentioned, but what I see anyway looks good enough for me and I’m quite picky with graphics.

  • Goddamn Luke, get some new material! Do the big boys and their mean words about the game REALLY upset you that much?

  • I liked MW2 because I got it during holidays, when I had nothing to do except grind multiplayer. I unlocked everything, and could easily jump into a game. Nowawadays, I’m not on holidays and there isn’t any replay value from MW3 that I can’t find in MW2.

    So, not buying it until there’s some edition with all DLC included or it drops steeply in price.

  • Fucking hell Luke, noone here cares about cod. Stop writing these shit articles. You obviously don’t derserve your job.

    • I LOVE cod and chips. Road Rash on 3DO is better than both games! And Micro Machines V3 is the best multiplayer game ever made, so put that in your bum bum

  • Playing with mates should be the only answer to this article and for any multiplayer game out there on the market. Anyone who says otherwise just isnt having the best experience with their product of choice.

  • Oh Luke, I’m sorry but no matter how much you defend MW3, the same criticisms rear their head. Also, talking about framerates / input lag on PC is a moot point, because that is where the majority of BF3 players will be.

  • Oh just stop already, we get it, you’re being paid to hype cod. Stop enabling activision to destroy another franchise with over saturation. They peaked at mw1 (which was awesome) and has been rehashed shit ever since. Here’s an idea, give them an incentive to push the envelope and do the franchise some justice for a change by not treating them like the special kid everyone they try to pads dlc off add a new title

  • The pace of COD is exactly, why I find it incredibly dull. There is literally no penalty for dying, you respawn straight away. Its like a meat grinder, good for cheap thrills, but it wears thin so quickly. I’ve already put 40 hours into BF3 online (PC) and I feel like ive hardly scratched the surface. I put 4 hours into Black Ops online and I felt like I was watching paint dry.

  • I’m sick of these horrible tasteless articles by Luke P, I will no longer visit Kotaku, I have had enough.

    I hope you lose your job you no talent hack.

  • I don’t see how that is a reason people love call of duty.

    Not to mention the fact that MW3 has significantly slowed a bunch of thing’s down like throwing nades. In order to put perk that restore some of the speed.

    the reason i still play any of the Call of Duty games after number 4, is simple they are mindless. There’s virtually no penalty for death so even if i’m drunk as a skunk, i’m still able to play and the fact that they game doesn’t really require alot of skill helps with that.

    And the MW3 maps apply this even more, maps where you should be able to scramble over object’s which in past games would have been climable’s, mean that enemy location’s are even more obvious than ever before

  • One of the reasons I like CoD so much is because of the way it feels, it’s such a smooth and responsive shooter. The laggy “weighted” feel of a game like Killzone 2 is really noticeable and completely removes any degree of immersion, the only other shooter I think felt the same was Resistance 3. Some say running at 60fps is unnecessary but I find anything less to be too “choppy” and really noticeable, again impeding immersion and really taking me away from the game.

    People need to stop hating on the series so much, if you don’t like it then don’t buy it. If you see an article on here, don’t post in it if you’re not going to contribute anything constructive. Have your opinions and sure, voice them, but do it tactfully.

    • Yes, because everybody knows that soldiers can move fast while carrying armour, pistols, rifles, rocket launchers, grenades, radios, etc. without losing any kind of momentum…

      • These aren’t real soldiers you know, it is a game. Should we be expecting your advocacy of a game that doesn’t let you respawn when you die?

          • HAHAHA! Hit the nail right on the head. Realism doesn’t = Immersion. On another note, I prefer CoD for it’s fast paced gameplay that doesn’t require much time nor social investment to get involved. I can pick up the controller and play a game or two, while still feeling like I’m being rewarded on the grand-scale.

      • Realism doesn’t equal immersion, for me at least. I can be completely immersed in a Ratchet and Clank game but detached from (I’ll use the same example I gave before) Killzone. If the controls don’t feel right then it really ruins it for me, after all the controller (be it mouse and keyboard or a gamepad) is what controls what you see on the screen and if they don’t match up then…

        And I don’t hate realism in games, merely think that there’s a time and a place for it.

      • They do….well above 200fps actually. Sit in front of a 60hz and a 120hz monitor with the Desktop cloned over both and see if your derpy eyes cant tell the difference.

        • Yeah, I think the latest studies show we can actually perceive at aprox 240fps or something!? Crazy stuff – I wonder what the maximum resolution our eyes can perceive? That’d be interesting, allthough I’d reckon it would differ from person to person to a certain degree.

  • I played Modern Warfare, and thought it was pretty good. I didn’t have any real desire to play any of the other games though.

  • I played COD4 first and I loved the campaign and the multi-player, both were great and you could tell a lot of effort went into both, but when I played MW2 and Black Ops, I felt both games missed the mark in some areas (more disappointed with Black Ops than MW2) although the only two things I didn’t like about MW2 was I thought the campaign was a tad short and the crazy amount of cheating and camping on the multi-player of MW2.

  • I don’t get the hate in the comments, it’s just the writer discussing the feel of the two games. People should enjoy the games they buy and not buy into this manufactured competition.

    • The hate in the comments is because it’s not a writer discussing the feel of games, it’s yet another outlet of Luke’s fanboyism and it’s getting tiresome.

      There’s also no manufactured competition here, for me and I know plenty of others here anyway. There are very valid reasons to dislike the CoD series, least of which the negative effect it’s having on the quality of games overall.

  • The speed is the main reason why I do NOT like the COD series. Feels like a shooter on acid, which is fine if you just want to jump in to a game for 20 minutes. Doesn’t seem like there’s much strategy involved at all.

    I went over to a mate’s place last week and he was playing MW3 on PS3. It genuinely looked like a PS2 game to me.

  • Another “fine piece” of Articlery from Kotaku US…force upon us at Kotaku AU.

    Way to mention which platform these “amazing speeds” were tested on.

    Obviously not the PC.

    The rendering speed has little to do with the quickness one feels whilst playing COD or BF. It’s all in the programming of the game itself.

    The animations in COD are faster than in BF purposefully. The entire franchise is about speed and intensity. The damage is quicker, there are so many ways to spread tons of damage across an entire map (perks).

    And perhaps the biggest factor lies in the environments itself. Battlefield takes place over…well….a battlefield. CoD’s maps are much smaller.

    Despite the spawning system placing players wherever the enemy is not when they come back into the game – you are usually only a few steps away from a confrontation. I battlefield, you could travel for a while without encountering an enemy directly, by comparison.

    So, sorry Luke…its not about “FPS”…its about actual detailed and considered design.

    Not surprised by you writing a shit article, nevertheless.

  • wow, every call of duty article is just flamed by butthurt battlefield 3 fans, this is just sad now. bf3 got destroyed in the sales, get over it, battlefailed.

  • Except for a few responses the majority of responses here are just useless whinge-fests.

    We get it, you have big ol’ “I hate Activision & CoD” chips on your shoulders, good for you. Here’s an idea though, if you don’t want to read about CoD then don’t open the bloody articles about it!

    No matter how much you bitch CoD is a big part of contemporary gaming, this is a site that reports gaming news. There WILL be CoD articles so soon after it’s release, just like any game that sells well and has a large fanbase.

    Try and accept that gaming may include titles and series that you don’t like and other people really, really do. Accept it and leave it be.

    There are many game titles and series I dislike, but I just ignore the articles about them. It’s really, really, really easy to do, it takes even less energy than bitching about each article.

    You all should try it sometime.

  • The responsivness, just makes its jump fest with no real tactics or skill, it’s like a game show with buzzers, with the fastest hand getting the chance to answer first. They may no knowledge of the answer (this case skill), but by heck, they get to it first by simple reaction, rather than actually knowing what the hell is going on.

    The weighted feel on KZ2 was perfect, sure it took a while to adjust, but it made you have to adjust to as you would if it were the real thing. It doesnt make sense to be equipped with armour and MG’s and still run as fast as the next guy, and turn around as quickly, there needs to be a compromise. It saddened me when they nerfed it, which i suspect a proportion of the hate would have come from CoD fans who want to be able to go around and shoot at everything without penalty.

  • So a mainstream game site, writes about the most mainstream game there is, and people still feel the need to complain about it. Don’t like? Don’t play, don’t read. Just don’t troll.

    I agree with the gist of the article. Most people would say they enjoy just how arcadey and immediate CoD games generally feel. I know that’s why I play. If I have 30mins to kill, I know I can smash out 2 games of MW3 online. I know I can’t pick-up-n-play-then-drop as readily on BF.

    The reason the few people seem to be complaining about CoD, is the exact same reason so many people love it. And the features that people present to “prove” BF3 is such a great alternative- larger ie “emptier” maps, less immediate engagement, vehicular trolling, nicer-but-choppier environments- are the same features leading so many to NOT play it. Oddly enough so many people elected to SKIP BF3 due to its releases’ deliberate proximity to CoD’s. If BF3 had come out 3 months earlier or later-like they did with Bad Company 2 last year- it would arguably have sold 50% more. I know I would have loved to get into it, but it was cut off by the sheer weight of traffic that EA willfully drove it into.

    Different games, competing for the same dollars. One winner.

    • “Most people would say they enjoy just how arcadey and immediate CoD games generally feel. I know that’s why I play. If I have 30mins to kill, I know I can smash out 2 games of MW3 online.”

      Spot on

  • Based on the last couple of weeks, can we all just agree that Luke Plunkett really, really likes Call of Duty and maybe now he could STFU about it?

  • Really hate the smoothness of the controls on the MW series. Feels like I’m a wrapped in latex sliding in a bit vat of lubricant.

  • I think the real reason people play COD MW is because it feels like an arcade style game, what with the fast pace and the emphasis on achieving high scores. I love that type of gameplay sometimes, but when I want to wind it down for a bit and try to focus on some team-based efforts, I always go with Battlefield

  • This just emphasises the actual reason people play CoD: immediate gratification. There is no other game outside of iPhone apps that rewards you as quickly, loudly, visually, and for as little, as CoD does. And anyone can get this graitification! True, you have to be good to consistantly top leaderboards, but to get an instant kill with all the numbers and sound effects and blood all’s you need to do is run around until you sneak up on someone. Get lucky and you get lots of kills! Then you get a kill streak award which gets you kills JUST BY CLICKING, HOLY SHIT!

    I’m currently in the Tribes: Ascend beta, and that’s all I really have to say on the topic of FPS’.

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