Thursday, May 3, 2012

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, or, Men shooting Robots in the near future.

The trailer for the next Call of Duty game came out today. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 had some high expectations to fulfill and I have to say that, sadly, I'm disappointed by what the trailer suggests.

First of all, the FUTURE. Personally, I really don't like playing games that are set in the future. I'm a Level 54 Redguard in Skyrim and the Dragon Age and Fable series' are my two favorites.  I like games that are set in the past with some futuristic fun things thrown in(like ray guns, and supercharged alien guns) though and once in awhile I enjoy a good First Person shooter game like COD. I dislike future-related games because they always make the future the same, and Black Ops 2 seems to have fallen into this trap: the whole "the technology we made to protect us is being used against us" storyline. I think it's boring. The plot in this latest installment is that the United States is locked in a Cold War with China over "rare earth elements" which are essential for making things like smartphones and computers(oh, and war robots and drones).  The year is 2025 and war is now fought by "unmanned vehicles", robots,and computers which of course leads us into the whole conundrum of "we didn't think of how these machines could be used against us when we were building them!" This is an annoying fact about futuristic games: it's not really futuristic. We have drones now. We wage war with computers right now.

A character in the trailer ominously describes that noone thought to ask "What happens when the enemy steals the key" to these vast unmanned armies. Boring!! Futuristic games never imagine the future as anything but computers, planes with downward facing engines, and wrist computers. I feel like it would be more successful to try to create a future that we haven't all seen a million times before. If you wanted to fight futurey robots  and be betrayed by technology then you would play Gears of War, right?

The next thing that I find annoying about this trailer: MEN!! Men, Men, Men. What the hell is up with all of the men? According to a lot of different articles about Black Ops 2 there will be more women in the game: half the human military will be women and the President of the United States is also a woman. Lucky us!

If you intend to include more women in this game it makes sense to indicate this in the world premiere trailer. Instead what we get is this: "the things they built to keep us safe were turned against us and that's when they figured it out: they'll always need men like us, those who are willing to do what others cannot." Ooooh, the sexist patriotism gives me shivers up and down my spine! I get that a lot of men play Call of Duty, but a lot of women play it too. Women who plays games give Treyarch their money too and they should expect some form of representation. Toss a lady in the trailer, one or two would be fine! Have a lady say a line. Have a lady hold a gun and shoot some shit up. Say "they'll always need PEOPLE" like us". It's not that hard. So half the human military will be female which means maybe half of the people you see being killed or kill yourself will be women, why not toss a female character in?

There have been very few playable female character in the entire Call of Duty franchise and by very few I mean two. Two who are playable in verrrrry limited capacities. Tanya Pavelovna is playable for two campaigns in Finest Hour but is an NPC for the rest of the game. Sarah Michelle Gellar is a character in a Zombies map in the first Black Ops. She appears along side George A. Romero, Danny Trejo, Michael Rooker, and Robert Englund in the most frustrating map of all time. Other than these two the rest of the women are just kind of around and all in all there are about nine women in Call of Duty. Two of those are children and one if Castro's Mistress, who the game guide refers to as a "prostitute" (Surprise, you kill her!). If you've already designed female soldiers to be background characters and NPCs just go ahead and toss one into a main role. It seems like "More Women" is being sold as a feature in Black Ops 2 so it would be cool if that were actually the case. It is the future after all.

I have to say that the only thing I'm excited about is whatever new Zombies stuff is in Black Ops 2. I don't like anything zombie related normally and I think zombie movies and zombie characters are overdone, so Black Ops is my one zombie indulgence. Based on the story line, I won't buy Black Ops 2 until I can find a cheap used copy and even then I'll probably only buy it to shoot zombies. I'm saving my money for whenever Dragon Age III is released.

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