Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2; or, Why Force Unleashed Kicked its Ass

So, I’ve played and enjoyed Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. But not as much as I would have liked. Sure, kind of neat to play a game that is part RED DAWN, part JAMES BOND, and part crazy modern combat (the insanity of urban combat ops was well done). And I liked how it loaded fast. 

But when I was done, I had no feeling of completion. No sense that the investment was more than the sum of individual game sessions of fun. 

Why?

The story. Or lack there of. My role in the global conflict was tiny, even if I got the death blow at the end. Normally, in a accurate wargame, that’s the way it goes. As in war, survival is the game. You are put a small cog in the machinery of war. But the best war fiction, and memoir, deals with the challenge of the individual against this majestic and destructive landscape. Their hopes and fears. CoDMW2? Well, you’re an ass kicking Ranger, doing his duty, and the stakes are high . . . but any of the characters you play have little to no depth beyond their skills with a shotgun or a grenade. And maybe that’s the point. 

When I played FORCE UNLEASHED, however, the character’s story was so grand, so great, so human, that it made the action even more relevant. Granted, it had the Star Wars mythos to inject the epic into everything, but as much as I enjoyed the creative game play, the monsters, the combat, it was Starkillers story that made that game matter to me. It may be the only game I’ve ever played where I always watched the movie clips between scenes. 

So, while CoD was fun in a a “MACHINE GUNS RAWR” way, the disposable nature of the characters you played left me with a shrug for the future. 

But it was still better than FORCE UNLEASHED II: FAIL OF THE JEDI

JSR

JRS

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About ridlerville

Jason S. Ridler is a historian, writer, and improv actor. He is the author of A TRIUMPH FOR SAKURA, BLOOD AND SAWDUST, the Spar Battersea thrillers and has published over sixty stories in such magazines and anthologies as The Big Click, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Out of the Gutter, and more. He also writes the column FXXK WRITING! for Flash Fiction Online. A former punk rock musician and cemetery groundskeeper, Mr. Ridler holds a Ph.D. in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada. He lives in Richmond, CA. Visit him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jason.ridler.56
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