Zero Punctuation: Call of Duty: Ghosts

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aegix drakan:
As a Canadian, I have this to say.

Why the hell have we not been cast as evil supervillains with a long range Freeze Ray superweapon yet?! It would be so much better than "random nearby continent in trouble hijacks US superweapons!".

Think about it! That would be a hilarious plot! It might actually get me to BUY one of these games, even though I loathe the modern military genre (outside of Spec Ops).

Captha: Forget this.

NO I WILL NOT FORGET THIS CAPTCHA! THIS IS A BRILLIANT AND AWESOME IDEA! >: o

Y'all are generally white and not from the opposite side of the Iron Curtain. Same reason any idea of a border fence pretty much focuses on the south.

Funny thing is I heard that Canada was tired of all of the Americans wanting to come and live up there...

jmarquiso:
Well they come from Voodoo mythology, so that already makes them a stand in for black people or at least fear of it from a colonialists perspective. However people forget that Golems were also once a thing (guess what, Jewish mysticism there) in Medieval paranoia and stories. It goes really far back. Really only modern versions introduced the idea of disease or pandemic, even though the Romero movies rarely gave an explanation, just drew the metaphors. Hope this helps.

I appreciate that you took the time to chime in ( and dig the inclusion of the golem, a too often overlooked trope ) but what I was looking for was specific story titles / authors. Like if someone wanted to know more about where Stoker got his ideas for Dracula from I might cite The Italian by Anne Radcliffe or Polidori's Vampyre instead of just regurgitating Vlad Tepes as an historical figure. FWIW, I know I'm going off on a weird tangent here, but sometimes casting nets in unlikely locations yields good results!

I think that audiobook ad may be showing that Ben has... well, gone 'round the bend.

...I'll get my coat.

alik44:
Well give COD Ghost credit, its made millions upon millions on first day, still don't know though how it did that, story was... something. in hind sight the was somehow more interesting, but he only lasted about...a hour or so. everything else it tried to listin to the rest, but all i heard was loud noise, and story that made so predictable yet so vague some point. as for the multiply...well it different from Black ops 2 but not much.

why can't cod games change, my god, the dog would have been better than this.

Because the core playerbase doesn't want the game to change. They don't even care about the story. What they want is a prettier-looking version of the same arenas for them to play in while yelling "BOOM HEADSHOT" into a microphone.

PunkRex:
Fucking South America, are you shitting me!? Christ, lets just drop any semblance of reality COD and have the freaking English do it, thats more plausible than FUCKING SOUTH AMERICA!!!

Personally, I'm looking suspiciously at Malaysia. Things have been quiet over there... TOO quiet. (Plus they have "mal" in their name. That's Latin for "evil"!)

Elijah Newton:

jmarquiso:
Well they come from Voodoo mythology, so that already makes them a stand in for black people or at least fear of it from a colonialists perspective. However people forget that Golems were also once a thing (guess what, Jewish mysticism there) in Medieval paranoia and stories. It goes really far back. Really only modern versions introduced the idea of disease or pandemic, even though the Romero movies rarely gave an explanation, just drew the metaphors. Hope this helps.

I appreciate that you took the time to chime in ( and dig the inclusion of the golem, a too often overlooked trope ) but what I was looking for was specific story titles / authors. Like if someone wanted to know more about where Stoker got his ideas for Dracula from I might cite The Italian by Anne Radcliffe or Polidori's Vampyre instead of just regurgitating Vlad Tepes as an historical figure. FWIW, I know I'm going off on a weird tangent here, but sometimes casting nets in unlikely locations yields good results!

Actually the Medieval Archives podcast did a whole episode on zombies and zombie type creatures in medieval folklore - http://www.medievalarchives.com/2012/10/30/map-medieval-zombies/ (including the aforementioned Golem myth, which actually evolved into Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, etc)

As for Caribbean and colonial mythology, one look at Baron Samedi, which has had a lot of stories and mythology written about him.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baron_Samedi

Zachary Amaranth:

I'm not saying you have to be a paranoid racist to like Call of Duty games (BLOPS 2 was quite fun, even), but I do think it's marketed to the 'brown people are scary' crowd. Or, I think that's the subtext to a lot of the jingoism we're getting these days.

In short, I think America is sympathetic to the Americans this game is marketed to, at least in sufficient numbers.

Don't people generally buy CoD for the multiplayer, though?

How is CoD marketed, anyway? It would be probably interesting to compare it's marketing in the different countries.

What we need is a Call of Duty-esque game with America as the villain and some other country's armed forces as the hero.

Lieju:

Zachary Amaranth:

I'm not saying you have to be a paranoid racist to like Call of Duty games (BLOPS 2 was quite fun, even), but I do think it's marketed to the 'brown people are scary' crowd. Or, I think that's the subtext to a lot of the jingoism we're getting these days.

In short, I think America is sympathetic to the Americans this game is marketed to, at least in sufficient numbers.

Don't people generally buy CoD for the multiplayer, though?

How is CoD marketed, anyway? It would be probably interesting to compare it's marketing in the different countries.

In the UK at least Ghosts was just marketed as 'Call of Duty, go buy it'. It's been that way since MW2. They don't really bring up the plot, characters, morales or even the gameplay. No, just have explosions, gunfire and James Bond sequences and then when everyone's all excited slap the "Call of Duty" title on it and you've guaranteed a sale. Well, also jam as many adverts into every place you can and slap a few Ghosts posters on billboards.

So, this is just a worse version of Dead to Rights: Retribution, which was in turn a worse version of Dead to Rights? At least the dog in that got to be murderous Batman.

When we are going to have a game where you fight against the multicultural forces of America?

Or a game were you finally get to play the story as the Nazis or Russians? This is why I liked Silent Storm but that ain't an FPS.

I remember running around St. Petersburg trying to defend a tank with a machine gun against an entire Panzer Brigade... That really put me off COD.

I wonder what it says when the last 60 seconds or so of disjointed observations about a murderous jam apocalypse make more sense than the plot of the triple-A title being reviewed.

That said, Ghosts is really not anything new. The devs claimed it would be, but even the dog thing was done in Dead to Rights Retribution before, and at least there the game shows that Shadow is just as violently inclined on his own as Jack Slate (talk about a match made in heaven there). It's a plot so flimsy and with implications so unfortunate that it's getting rather awkward and uncomfortable to be around, like being in public with an old bigoted aunt with no tact.

I would like to see more games where you play as animals though, and not just of the cartoon woodland or humanoid biped variety. Okay, sure, you're not going to get a lot of deep story out of it, but that just means you save on the writing and voice acting budget, and perhaps a game where you get to play as a wolf keeping your home forest from being bulldozed for a mall parking lot would actually be able to do something innovative.

Thanks Yahtzee, now I'm hungry. I think I will have toast with jaaaaaaaaaaaaam.

Captcha: Flo's really selling on that barcode scanner isn't she?

What writer in this day and age is still doing the "black guy dies first" thing? :/

I don't think I've laughed this much at a Zero Punctuation video in ages.

Red X:
What writer in this day and age is still doing the "black guy dies first" thing? :/

Anthony Burch, for one.

Sorry, I had to.

I really like him, too.

This reminds me of an article I read about CoD a while ago.

Basically it lost its steam after it stopped doing WWII. At least when making those games, they had the benefit of talking to retired veterans who saw war for the hell that it really was. And thus when the game was made it did feel like hell. Nowadays the only people they can talk to are people currently enlisted, and do you honestly think they're gonna get the full story? No.

They're gonna get a chest thumping 'MURICA FUCK YEAH!' bravado and that's gonna translate into their games as...well this. Instead of going through the hardships of a faceless grunt among half a dozen other faceless grunts, you now play the elite squad of FLINT IRONSTAG, RIP STEAKFACE, and BULK VANDERHUGE as they single-handedly destroy all the enemies of America, real or made up.

Ghosts is no different. America is in peril...only it sort of isn't as it still has all its tanks and drones and futuristic weaponry, and Flint and his brother Rip go 'round the world fighting people of less than white skin color.

You'd think for a game that had millions poured into it they'd have a story that is more developed than Homefront.

The only thing I do give them credit for is the Tungsten rods thing. That is proper sci-fi. Now if only they did something proper with it like fight aliens. Not those zerg knockoffs in multiplayer, I mean some actual aliens like XCOM or Halo.

Why don't they just cast the US as the villain? Have the player drop bombs on "suspected targets" and then do it again on the people who tried to help, just like in the real world!

MXRom:
This reminds me of an article I read about CoD a while ago.

Basically it lost its steam after it stopped doing WWII. At least when making those games, they had the benefit of talking to retired veterans who saw war for the hell that it really was. And thus when the game was made it did feel like hell. Nowadays the only people they can talk to are people currently enlisted, and do you honestly think they're gonna get the full story? No.

If I remember correctly, the last time somebody tried to tell the story of actual modern combat veterans, they called it Five days in Fallujah. Went over real well.

Grach:

Its kind of troubling, really, considering how badly this series has evolved. At least in BlOps2 everyone belonged to some species of dick. This plot sounds like it was written by the White Guy Defence Force.

I have to be honest here. By BLOPS2, I didn't even touch the story mode. I can't comment on it, and I don't even have first-hand experience with Ghosts, but it sounds like it really was.

Not G. Ivingname:

Speaking of Mexicans, what about all those nations (including some small colonies of major European powers) would all be completely happy with South America going through them to send troops to the USA?

Well, obviously. They hate us for our freedoms, don't you know?

wizzy555:

Originally no. Originally zombies were a superstition from African voodoo folklore.

....Which is why they were used as a "black people are scary" message in horror.

Thanks for agreeing? I guess?

Lieju:

Don't people generally buy CoD for the multiplayer, though?

Well, yes, but there's always a story mode (I wish their wasn't) and they always seem to use it to market the game. I don't remember Ghosts' marketing very well because it was drowned out by "YOU CAN PLAY AS A DOG," but previous CoD games have played up the 'Murrica, fuck yeah! stuff from the story as selling points.

Like, I know that most people buy CoD for the MP, but I wonder how many would still buy a 60 dollar game if there was none.

Looking at the Steam achievements, 70% of players have at least cracked open campaign. Now, the number of players who have completed it is a much lower number, about 25%, but I honestly think this indicates there's some appeal to the story either way. Those numbers are pretty good for a supposedly MP only/first game.

Now, it may be different onXBlah and PSN. I mean, I doubt it, but they are discrete populations with different tendencies. On the other hand, I only looked at Steam because Steam actually displays global achievement rates, so it's not bias towards one community so much as it is transparency.

I do sort of wonder how they market it globally, now that you mention it. Hopefully, as satire.

At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if they had Haiti do something evil in a future CoD game.

Lieju:

Zachary Amaranth:

I'm not saying you have to be a paranoid racist to like Call of Duty games (BLOPS 2 was quite fun, even), but I do think it's marketed to the 'brown people are scary' crowd. Or, I think that's the subtext to a lot of the jingoism we're getting these days.

In short, I think America is sympathetic to the Americans this game is marketed to, at least in sufficient numbers.

Don't people generally buy CoD for the multiplayer, though?

How is CoD marketed, anyway? It would be probably interesting to compare it's marketing in the different countries.

As far as I know, Call Of Duty just has famous actors dressed up as various normal people having big battles. They don't show any gameplay or anything. The tagline I think is 'there's a soldier in all of us.'

*laugh* this makes me feel better I have been dissed over the fact I play FPS games and this proves my thoughts on the genera being a stale puddle of shit

SILENTrampancy:
Well, who the hell buys CoD for singleplayer anymore?

Please, stand up and say your name, so that we may oggle at the oddity that is you.

So why do they keep putting in a substantial single player mode then?

So much for the hype about the dog. No duck chasing action? I am disappoint.

Oh well, its CoD. Its gonna be the most overrated, overbought game of the year. Looked up reviews on YouTube and the first result was IGN slobbing all over it for its family centered story. You'd think IGN would have lost its credibility after calling Metroid Other M an "Epic Story" or "Amy is like Ico with Zombies and its brilliant".

Nice ad on Jam's audiobook. It made me laugh. Looking forward to buying it. :)

Ok I know Yahtzee has a tendency to exaggerate, but if the plot of this is anything close to his synopsis than it's ridiculous enough to make one want to put one's head through a desk esp. if it's trying to do it straight faced.

You have to hand it to Infinity Ward. It takes a certain cocktail of ethnocentric arrogance and jingoistic ignorance to craft a narrative about being invaded by an entire continental bloc when historically YOU have been the ones invading them or sabotaging their democratic institutions.

The only way a future COD can possibly become any less self-aware would be if the US is 'invaded' by a coalition of Iraqis and Iroquois.

Hey, rocket's from space? Now where have I heard that from before...


Oh yeah! Of course, technically it's a gun, but I'm guessing it's still the better super weapon.

This was the weakest of the stories in this game. To be honest I now only buy COD for the multiplayer and I found myself wishing that the multiplayer would be sold as a separate download so you don't waste money on a retarded single player campaign you've lost complete faith in.

Kargathia:

If I remember correctly, the last time somebody tried to tell the story of actual modern combat veterans, they called it Five days in Fallujah. Went over real well.

Yeah but that was with normal grunts, the guys who see this kinda crap all the time.

It feels like Activision gets its info from commandos. The ones that aren't allowed to talk about what they did when shipped out. So they make up something that sounds all glorious on paper but is very skewed on what actually happened.

JaceArveduin:
Hey, rocket's from space? Now where have I heard that from before...

Except that this weapon 1) Does not fire rockets. It just fires big blocks of tungsten metal the size of telephone poles. Nothing else. Just a big chunk of superheated metal. That way you just hurl one at an enemy and it'll crash with the force of a meteor/atomic explosion with no worries of radiation. 2)This concept has been on the table with both the U.S and the Soviets since the 1950's. Look up Project Thor

Sigh...this is the first Call of Duty that I did not like. I didn't hate it, but there was nothing memorable about it all at. Worse, I simply did not care.

When Jackson died in Modern Warfare, I cared. When stuff went down in MW2, I really cared. Blacks Ops, when playing as Reznov? Oh man...and don't even get me started all all the deaths in Black Ops II. And MW3, five character deaths that I cared about. But in this one...I just shrugged me shoulders and went "Meh."
Yahtzee is right when he says this series is on a downhill slope and it's only getting worse. I'll pick up the next installment because I am slightly curious to see how the story plays out (and I do actually like Logan and Keegan, but that's it), but unless Ghosts II blows me away, I think I may finally be done with the Call of Duty series. At least for a while.

Arslan Aladeen:

Lieju:

Zachary Amaranth:

I'm not saying you have to be a paranoid racist to like Call of Duty games (BLOPS 2 was quite fun, even), but I do think it's marketed to the 'brown people are scary' crowd. Or, I think that's the subtext to a lot of the jingoism we're getting these days.

In short, I think America is sympathetic to the Americans this game is marketed to, at least in sufficient numbers.

Don't people generally buy CoD for the multiplayer, though?

How is CoD marketed, anyway? It would be probably interesting to compare it's marketing in the different countries.

As far as I know, Call Of Duty just has famous actors dressed up as various normal people having big battles. They don't show any gameplay or anything. The tagline I think is 'there's a soldier in all of us.'

Ah, now I remember seeing one of those. If I were a proper soldier myself, I'd be rather irritated by their idea of how my job works.

-"Yes, well, standard procedure is to run off alone in different directions and shoot the bad guys who are doing the same. When we kill six enemies or more, squad command allows us to use our gear."

JaceArveduin:
Hey, rocket's from space? Now where have I heard that from before...


Oh yeah! Of course, technically it's a gun, but I'm guessing it's still the better super weapon.

The Modern Warfare series have had considerably less fantastic music, on the other hand.

Nice Mogworld reference with the badger watching station.

Infinity ward couldn't write a good story if their lives depended on it now.

That said I learned of the existence of the Jam audiobook so that is a bonus.

Zachary Amaranth:

Jman1236:
Seriousally south america invades the US? I call BS!

You know how zombies were originally an analogue for black people? Well, maybe you don't, but early zombies, before they were a commentary on commercialism or republicans or whatever else the writer wants to call mindless, they were an analgoe for black people. There was this fear that black people were going to take us by storm in the US, and America would be ruined by having....Slightly higher melanin in the skin? I don't know.

I suspect this plays off the fear that 'Mexicans,' because pretty much anyone to the South of the US is called that it seems, are invading us and destroying America. I mean, you'd have to ignore the numbers, where the number of illegals is no longer increasing (and may actually be decreasing, depending on the source), but people seem happy to do it. If you believe Fox News, it's a miracle they haven't completely overrun the South and Southwest. And, because Fox wouldn't be Fox without race baiting, all those imaginary brown people seem to have some sinister plan to destroy America from within.

Brown people from our south attacking us with our own infrastructure sounds like someone played perfectly into that paranoid mess.

Basically, zombies became a thing in America based on the premise that black people are scary.

MMS would probably be a thing, period, but I'm sure cashing in on the notion that brown people are scary isn't hurting anyone's wallet.

...Uh, I think the whole "zombies were originally an analogue for black people" thing had to do with the fact that, well, the concept for a "zombie" CAME from black people, specifically with Haiti Voodoo. As for it becoming the shorthand for "brown-aphobia" for the USA, the whole "zombie" thing didn't really grab the American zeitgeist by the balls until "Night of the Living Dead", which most assuredly NOT playing off the "brown-aphobia" you're talking about.

Admittedly, "brown-aphobia" definitely is a part of American life, if nowhere near as extensively as before the Civil Rights Movement. It's the phobia that made "Birth of A Nation" the biggest cinematic blockbuster for generations, why there can't be any major black characters in fiction UNLESS the story is about making their "blackness" a story-overriding character trait (blaxploitation, their struggle for equality in the Civil War or Civil Rights Movement, etc.), and the reason more black criminals are given the death-penalty in spite of more white criminals being tried and convicted for death-penalty worthy crimes.

I still don't think that the COD having "brown" antagonists makes them racist, it's just that they think "brown" countries are suddenly more "exotic" to white audiences than North America and Western Europe - notice that every other "spunkgargleweewee" shooter has you fighting either Asians (specifically North Koreans, who have pretty much gotten the entire world to hate it's guts), or Eastern-Europeans (neo-Commie or Mafiya Russians obviously, but also Serbians, Armenians, Germans (seemingly indistinguishable from NON-Nazi Germans)). These are groups that aren't "brown" by any stretch of the imagination, but are still pretty damn foreign or alien to "First World" - and by extension, somehow able to pass as shooting gallery targets without needing to give any real "context" to the big, bloody brawl.

As for the whole "this is marketed to conservatives because they like guns and hate brown people", bear in mind right-wing paranoia isn't just limited to racism: just look at "Rainbow 6: Patriots", which riled up a shitstorm for having the decidedly white, yet also decidedly LIBERAL "Patriots" movement, basically as a paramilitary offshoot of Occupy Wall Street. That one was cutting a fine line between examining how badly militant fanaticism can corrupt an otherwise benign cause, and outright catering to the Neo-Conservative Doomsday Bunker players.

That said, I think the reason they made a unified South America stealing our doomsday laser technology the main bad guys this time around isn't COMPLETELY catering to the right-wing nutjob audience. I think they simply wanted to be more "creative" (i.e., they were completely out of semi-plausible ideas), and only figured ramping up the explosions would make a better game (instead of remembering COD 4's semi-serious look into how the War on Terror was shaping up at the time, or even the Black Ops miniseries halfhearted attempts to mix up the morality structure between America and it's enemies).

Of course, none of this shit really matters to "real" COD-players: they just hop on for the multiplayer experience of legalized deathmatches where they can blow the ever-loving shit out of their family, friends and strangers, all while indulging in all the zesty racist, sexist, and homophobic profanities denied discourse in real life!

*sigh*...Here we go again...

I don't know what to say. A lot of reviewers say it's bad, but I haven't played it yet so i'll reserve my final judgement until then.

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