Gamers are no strangers to the battlefield these days. We’ve all seen our computer generated war zones countless times, as we’ve hidden behind waist-high walls, and sniped strangers from afar. From noon till noon, players all over the planet indulge in more CoD than a fishmongers on a busy Friday… and just like a good cod, most players wind up battered! Many of these games are made for nothing more than multiplayer. The single player campaign is just a quick 7/8 hour romp these days, and that’s if you’re taking your time to enjoy the scenery, and breath in the fresh country gunpowder and debris. Yet, the single player is the section that’s packing the story; the part that’s supposed to be relaying the hardship which soldiers endure, the follies of war, and the effects it has on the people who populate these warring countries. This almost forgotten section is the only section of the game that really interests me.
Over the years, things have gotten very dark for this genre. It’s been trying with all it’s little war-torn heart to become something more than a point and shoot endeavour. It wanted to be epic, heartfelt, and moving. Unfortunately, it constantly manages to miss it‘s target, and instead, it simply slaps more faceless eejit into their favourite camo, and sends them on their way. The reason it seems be miles away from it’s target is because it constantly forgets about one particular element- the lives of innocent civilians. For some bizarre reason, civilians don’t seem to exist in the modern FPS war games. Either that or they are wearing so much camouflage that even the best players in the world can’t spot them. This may seem a bit trivial, but I believe it’s a fucking huge factor! On your way through pretty much any CoD game, you’d be forgiven if you thought that they were based in a parallel dimension that’s only populated by hardened soldiers and poverty-stricken militias. There are next to no civilians to be seen; it’s like they simply don’t exist. Any time that you actually seem them is few and far between. How can you feel like you’re fighting the good fight to protect the people if there are no people to be protected. If everyone I see is just another nameless grunt, popping up and waiting to be shot like the cardboard cut-out villains of Lethal Enforcers, then why on earth would I think I’m protecting helpless civilians?
That airport level is the only time that this war feels like war and, of fucking course, the level is shippable because players “may find it offensive”. Does this not defeat the whole fucking purpose of making a heavy level in the first place? This is about the only believable scene in the game. The only one that feels like it could actually happen, and that’s what makes it so goddamned hard hitting. Yet, playing it is completely optional because it may be deemed offensive. I’ve got fucking news for you- War is offensive! War brings widespread death, and you can bet your hairy left buttcheek that not every death is deserved. No, instead hundreds of innocent people get slaughtered for no other reason other than the fact that they are easy targets, and cannot fight back against heavily armed thugs. Because of this, war’s victims are more often innocent. Just look back a decade at 9/11. Two buildings filled with everyday people going about their everyday business. Yet, thousands were murdered that day, an I don’t reckon there was a nameless soldier amongst them. Another example is that photo of the girl during the Vietnam war. I remember being appalled when I opened my history book back in school and was greet with this horrific image of a young girl who was struck with napalm. The photo is in black and white, and shows the Vietnamese girl running for her life, crying, naked, and scorched; her body covered in heavy burns. I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and say that this girl was not a hardened military general. She was not a spy, infiltrating enemy lines to acquire blue prints to their new prototype tanks. No, she was simply a girl, somebody’s daughter, who was unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We could go further back in time, and speak about the concentration camps during World War II, but I’m sure everyone is more than aware of the horrors that took place within these tombs. At least everyone should the history here, since we’ve laid waste to more to more Nazis while gaming over the years than there ever was in real life.
The sickening truth of the situation is that war is built on the bodies of civilians. I’m not saying that I necessarily want to see these things in games. These are horrible parts of human nature, that show true evil, and none of them boast anything for anyone to be proud of. But if war games are to continue to try and play the heart strings of the gamer, if they truly want to be something much than a brain-dead exercise in aiming and pulling the trigger, then they must do something more than show war from a single prospective. We’ve seen this being done forever at this stage. Let’s see what if feels like to a regular joe who’s got to run for his life as a massive aggressor attempts to take over his land. Let’s feel fear, and emotion. I don’t mean let us watch as another nuke takes out yet another platoon of nameless soldiers with no character, and no fucking difference between them. These lifeless shites mean nothing once you’re in the game. They all act the same, handle the same, become abnormally quiet once you’re in control of them, and the only way you can tell which character you’re currently playing as is by reading a small piece of text in the corner of the screen at the start of each level. Something is needed to ground these games, to make them more human, and make the player want to care about who he’s playing as. Private Generic Gobshite, and Sergeant McForgettable Bastard are not good characters. The only character from the Call Of Duty, Battlefield, and Medal Of Honour games that is memorable in any way, shape, or form is Captain Price’s moustache… and that’s a fecking moustache!
Yes, life can indeed seem harsh through the eyes of a hero, as he battles for queen and country, but the eyes of an innocent man- someone’s father, somebody’s husband, somebody’s son- show the reflections of pain which he never deserved to feel.