The Quest Log: April 21, 2017

Hope you’re as ready for this weekend as I am gamers. This weeks’ going out with a bang–I’m talking free games galore–in the gaming news department, so check out our highlights below.

EA: So, Activision, you got something special up your sleeves for COD this year?

Activision: Do we ever. We’re gonna see your WW1 shooter and do one better. World. War. 2. That’s right: TWO.

EA: Haven’t you guys done a half-dozen of those already?

Activision: Pfft. Whatever.

— Okay, this conversation probably didn’t happen.

Call of Duty: WWII Officially Announced

All we’ve got so far is a teaser image and a title, but the next COD has officially been announced. Looks like the series is returning to its roots as a World War II shooter, which were all the rage when Call of Duty first hit store shelves. I’m sure that dev work started on the game well before Battlefield One launched last year. I’m also sure that I’m not the only one who feels like Activision is looking to jump on the retro war shooter fad.


Original StarCraft Goes Free-to-play

That remaster that we talked about a few weeks back is still on the way. In the meantime, Blizzard just rolled out a patch to the 19-year-old strategy game, which, actually makes a number of significant improvements to the game in order to make it more palatable on modern systems. In addition to all of those, the game and its expansion are now totally free to download and play. If you’ve always wondered what all the fuss was about, now’s the best time to find out.

Blizzard to Give Away 20-hero Bundles to Heroes of the Storm Players

Blizz has just been killing it lately, and HOTS is no exception. With version 2.0 due out on the 25th, they’ve been showing off new heroes, new maps, and an updated loot box system that’s reminiscent of Overwatch’s. To celebrate the release of the single most significant patch the game has ever received, they’re giving every player who logs into the game after the update goes live enough of the in-game currency to buy any one of four 20-hero bundles. HOTS is a good time even for players like me who may not actually enjoy typical MOBA-styled titles, so it’s worth checking out.

Saints Row 2 Is Free on Steam and GOG

Blizzard aren’t not the only ones giving away free stuff this week. GOG started giving away the second Sainnts Row title earlier this week to promote the arrival of Saints Row 4 and its DLC on the DRM-free digital retailer. Not to be outdone (and probably because I’m sure the game’s publisher doesn’t want to play favorites), Steam also has the game up for grabs on their site. It looks like you’ve got a limited window of opportunity to nab it, so do so quick.

Will You Play COD: Infinite Warfare?

     It’s been a long time since I truly enjoyed a Call of Duty title. To this day, Modern Warfare is still one of my favorite games of all time, and easily top 3 shooters. While I dip into the franchise every year at some point or another, I have come to accept what Call of Duty is and is not. Over the top cinematics and huge set pieces are synonymous with the name, but gone are the days that I find myself dying to get one more round on multiplayer before bed. While I don’t necessarily die for the chance to play the latest title every year the way I once did, I still appreciate the space that it fills for a large group of people. I know many that don’t consider themselves “gamers”, however, put a controller in their hand for a round of Zombie mode and they love it. Call of Duty is quickly becoming one of the most accessible franchises in existence next to Candy Crush  and Minecraft, but this is not a bad thing. While I understand the frustration people tend to express when they see the franchise removing itself from what made the brand unique a decade ago, I can’t wrap my head around the hate the game seems to get every year without fail.

     Now before you accuse me of expressing the same hatred, let me clarify: I love Call of Duty for what it is. To this day, I don’t know of any shooter that feels more natural controlling and precise when shooting than one of these games. Don’t get me wrong- I love Battlefield and Overwatch, but from the second you say “GO” in the campaign of any Call of Duty title, you have come to expect a certain level of polish that you can only demand from the folks at Activision. As for the multiplayer, between world tournaments and professional players flooding streaming sites, they have dominated this area for a while now (with the exception of League of Legends of course). They have proven when you have the framework for something great, just rinse, recycle, and repeat will still move units. Regardless of what the latest Metacritic user score says, this franchise sells millions of units every year, and refuses to slow down.

     Lately I have been approached the question on multiple occasions: Will you play COD: Infinite Warfare? While the cynic in me will want to respond “no, not this year”, the truth is that I know at one point or another I will find myself making the rounds. With Activision keeping the Modern Warfare Remaster hostage on packaged copies with Infinite Warfare I will have to give it a look (I know the odds of them releasing it separately down the line are painfully obvious, but who has got the time to wait for that? Seriously?). It’s going to be a very busy fall, between titles such as No Man’s Sky and Final Fantasy XV, I will have no shortage of places to spend my time. However, just as I correlate Christmas with a viewing of Home Alone, fall has also found the same comparison with the latest Call of Duty title. I think this is true for vast majority of players that say they won’t play Infinite Warfare, most of the time you don’t plan on playing it- until launch day you see the news filled with it, all your friends are playing it, and you can’t even buy a Dorrito’s bag without having it thrown in your face. You will play it.

     Whether we want to sit here and reminisce on the Call of Duty of old, or look at the direction they are taking now, the franchise has become a staple for gaming culture. For Activision it has become a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Change the formula, you’re criticized for messing with what made the franchise great. Keep to the same path, and people say that it’s just a re-skin and people are upset anyways. I challenge you to look at this in a different way. I understand that the timeless activity of COD hate has become a tradition in the gaming community, but is it really surprising anymore when the launch trailer hits for that years installment?

     What are your thoughts for this years iteration? If you aren’t going to play it, what would you like to see Activision do with the franchise that would bring you back into the fold? Let me know in the comments below.