The Call of Duty series is by far gaming’s biggest franchise. The games releases every year break records for number of titles sold, pre-orders etc, you name the record it will have broken or come close to have broken it. So the question is: how do you improve the ‘perfect’ game? Well truth be told it isn’t exactly perfect, but is a lot of fun…
This year’s edition focuses on the Modern series, with a war raging between the Russians and Americans in a story mode that continues on directly from where the last finished. As is the case with these games, the story mode is short, outrageous and totally ridiculous, but a lot of fun nontheless. The first mission has the player fighting through Wall Street, quite ironic given real-word developments, culminating in submarines, drones, even zero-gravity! It plays out like an action movie, and whilst the storyline itself is rather generic, and not that important the awesome set-pieces will gently guide the player away from that. Locations include England, France, Germany, the obligatory US and even India! To say this game is international would be an understatement.
That being said the graphics haven’t improved or gotten worse. They’re distinctly average. One feels that the next ‘Modern Warfare’ title will have to update it’s graphics engine, as the visuals are now looking slightly worse for wear. They aren’t bad, just not as exceptional as before, due to the likes of ‘Battlefield 3′ and ‘Uncharted 3’, showing this engine up. Veichles also are crammed into the mix as often as possible to ensure that levels don’t become a repetitive chore and everything seems varied. As the story goes, I think it’s very good, only second best to last years ‘Black Ops’, the cut-scenes are decent, the in-between level segments look polished, everything bar the short length is very good in the story mode.
Now the main reason anyone buys a ‘Call of Duty’ game is because of the multiplayer. Fortunately, this years take adds in just enough new features to keep players happy. Firstly, killstreaks have been scrapped, in their place are now ‘pointstreaks’. Points are earnt through kills, capturing the objective and for destroying enemy equipment-things like turrets, I have found. It’s a nice take on previous systems, as it encourages players to go capture flags or bases, rather than sitting in a corner waiting for the enemy to race past. The rewards are there for those who play the game properly to take advantage, which improves the nature of matches, meaning much tighter games scorewise.
New additions to game modes include Kill Confirmed and Team Defender. Kill Confirmed, is a take on Team Deathmatch, with a twist of having the pick up a dogtag from the enemies dead body in order to score points. It’s another tactic to tempt campers out of their corners, and it works as games are frantic free-for-alls, offering few moments where all hell isn’t breaking loose! Team Defender is a hybrid of Capture the Flag and TDM once again, a flag is there for the taking, the team that holds onto it the longest and kills the enemy more will win, due to a ‘x2’ bonus. It’s quite a good mode, but suffers from camping teams who are way too organised, it’s only really intresting when matches have teams of friends on both sides. Custom private matches look interesting too, I’ve seen some videos where ‘Black Ops’ modes Gun Game and One in the Chamber have been re-created, I’ve not played these myself, however. The gameplay itself remains familiar, yet refreshing at the same time. New pointstreak rewards, guns and maps all provide variety from the same old. Comparisons to ‘Modern Warfare 2′, will be inevitable due to the setting, but it is a slender mixture of both old and new, providing just enough fresh content for players old and new. The maps are small and claustrophobic, perfect then for some running and gunning. They vary from location to location, with most returning from the single player campaign, they live up to the high standard of maps set every year by a ‘Call of Duty’ game.
Spec Ops returns from ‘Modern Warfare 2′, and is big. There are several different missions available to tackle locally or online with a partner, these can range from defusing a bomb, to clearing a room full of enemies as quickly as possible. This retains the familiarity set from the last game, but exapnding it to more missions, which improves the overall package as a whole. Also included within Spec Ops is Surivial. Survival is akin to zombies, with people replacing the mindless horde that has been seen in the likes of ‘World at War’ and ‘Black Ops’. Taking place within the 16 multiplayer maps, it sees a player either going solo or with a mate, and tackling wave after wave of choppers, soldiers, dogs and even suicide bombers. It’s a tough challenge and has it’s own levelling system, ensuring that the player returns long after their first go at the mode.
So, all in all, the game is a fantastic package, offering new improvements in multiplayer, one of the strongest stories to date and a whole range of mini-missions for those who need them. The best first-person shooter of 2011.