In this edition of Metagame Monday, we discuss: Which is a better simulation of its subject, Gran Turismo or Call of Duty: Black Ops?
In a racing genre loaded with exaggerated durability and speed, the Gran Turismo series has stood out as a refined driving experience that focuses on accurately simulating the real experience of racing in functional automobiles. This stands out more than ever in an era when even other simulators such as the Forza Motorsport series have adapted concessions to user experience over reality such as the instant rewind button, while Gran Turismo holds fast to its core design of real cars with real physics. There are no power ups, artificial shortcuts or other gameplay design elements specifically used by many other games to appeal to the player outside the boundaries of its core environment, as the Gran Turismo series continues to use authenticity and realism as its calling cards in an increasingly crowded driving genre of gaming.
Call of Duty: Black Ops
First person shooter games can be a controversial topic, in that the games that purport to be realistic are almost never an actual representation of the realities and challenges of combat. For all of the stylized action and violence wrapped in increasingly sophisticated game engines and detail in the models and textures that render those worlds, Call of Duty has long since moved away from the relatively grounded roots of the earlier games in World War II and towards a heavily amplified combat experience that encourages score accumulation and outrageous action for public consumption in events such as YouTube competitions and eSports streams. Black Ops does a lot to excite gamers with its blend of action and frenetic pace, but none of that is designed to simulate a real combat experience.
Without much debate, the winner is Gran Turismo and its representation of vehicular racing. Call of Duty: Black Ops suffers in this argument not only from its many concessions to shooter gameplay design choices over simulating reality, but also because it has decided to market and promote its games in increasingly fantastical ways that highlight the stark contrasts between Black Ops and more grounded/realistic shooter games such as the Rainbow Six series.
That’s it for this week, which game do you think works as a better simulator of its subject?