Saturday, October 19, 2013

Call of Duty - Campaign Memories

Hey Everyone!

Unless you're living under a rock, you must have heard of the Call of Duty series, the FPS giant that has become the "FIFA" or "Madden" of FPSes...always leading in sales, and always updated every year. October 29th, 2013 will mark the 10th anniversary of CoD's first release, and its latest title "Ghosts" will be hitting shelves soon. Looking back, the series has indeed come a long way since its 3D accelerated WWII roots. I was crazy about the first CoD, and I fondly remember playing the single player demo repeatedly due to its engaging D-Day mission.

Just some thoughts on Ghosts: I am disappointed that the campaign is about some South American coalition invading the United States, using hacked satellites to wreck destruction throughout the world, a plotline that is too cheesy for me. The plot sounds awfully similar to Cobra's attempt to world domination in GI Joe: Retaliation, doesn't it? What I was expecting was a game that featured Ghost from the Modern Warfare storyline, even if his backstory was covered in a comic book. Of course, there's always a possibility that Ghost isn't dead...and it's pretty obvious that Ghost will somehow be involved.

I just completed CoD 2 and stated the single player campaign for BF3. Yes, my backlog of games is approaching ancient history. Strangely, playing both games in close proximity has given me a clues on the formula behind CoD's success as a single player game, which might partially explain CoD's enduring "Apple-like" appeal in the FPS genre.

Even if BF3 far surpasses CoD 2 in terms of graphics, the older game's campaign was a much more enjoyable experience for me. BF3 is a functional shooter, it plays just as it was made to and its destructible environment adds variety to the game. Of course BF3's campaign was thrown in as an "extra" to its multiplayer, but its comparison to CoD will be inevitable. (Also, there are other FPSes that are well-known for their campaigns, such as Halo, Resistance, and Killzone.)

However, the main difference between the campaigns of BF3 and CoD 2 lies in presentation and panache. BF3's story is a meandering mess of backflashes, you get dumped into the campaign without any context, and I couldn't care less about its protagonist. In CoD 2, the missions are presented in a sensible fashion, you get moments to take in the settings (like the long truck ride in North Africa), the briefing videos provide context, and your friendly AI help in making you feel part of a team. In short, CoD 2 made me feel like I was fighting alongside comrades, but BF3's campaign made me feel just playing on a computer.

Do note that I've only played Infinity Ward's entries in the CoD series, so I can't really state the same for the Sledgehammer ones. From what I've experienced, it appears that the developers have used a consistent formula in the making of their campaigns, which includes character development of its main characters, dramatic twists in the storyline, a slight nod to realism, moments that let the player soak in the locales, and providing proper context to each of its missions (videos, briefings, small talk etc). While CoD's storylines are not the pinnacle of literature, they consistently deliver a solid and exhilarating experience for players.

In light of the impending release of Ghosts, I'd like to share top memorable moments I've had while playing the various CoD campaigns. Do let me know what are yours!

Memorable CoD Moments (IW)

Call of Duty: Stalingrad

You begin the mission as a pitiful private in the USSR army, and all you're given to storm the formidable MG42 nests is just a clip of rifle rounds, and when I first played that I thought it was a bug! Also, if the Germans didn't get you and you faced the wrong direction...your friendly neighborhood Commisar will be ready to kill you for "defeatism."

Call of Duty 2: El Daba (End of the Beginning)

The "demo" mission for CoD2 started off with an incredible scene. You're sitting in a truck within a British convoy, taking in the sights of the Egyptian desert, a calm moment before jumping into the hell the Germans have prepared for you.

Modern Warfare: Shooting Zakhaev (One Shot, One Kill)

Cpt Price is perhaps the most popular character of the CoD series, and what can get better than playing as him? While the mission ended up as a failure, it made me feel like a total badass: infiltrating enemy lines, shooting Zakhaev's arm off, taking a Havoc down, and surviving long enough to escape.

Modern Warfare 2: Prisoner #627

I should have seen this moment coming, but I was surprised out of my pants when Cpt Price (previously assumed dead/MIA) punches you to the ground when you breach a wall. Normally, you'd expect to be in full control of the situation, taking cronies by surprise, but this time...not just someone beat you to the punch, and it's none other than Cpt Price!

Modern Warfare 3: Down the Rabbit Hole

I hate to leave friends behind, and this one did hit've played with Team Metal under Sandman throughout the campaign and you've got to leave them behind. While the theme of sacrifice may be cliched in a military settings, it takes on a different feeling when you identify with those you leave behind.

And most difficult mission? Mile High Club in CoD4, easily.

As CoD reaches its 10th birthday soon, it still remains one of the juggernauts of the FPS scene, rising from its single player campaign to blossoming as a multiplayer game. The series will always have its detractors, but it is undeniable that their single player campaigns consistently deliver awesome experiences.


  1. COD Nostalgia taking over me now..

  2. This is definitely a trip down memory lane for the COD franchise. However, I am pretty much sick of their storylines now.
    I actually do find BF3 more eye-catching despite its non-existence plot for their single player game.

  3. WWII CoD was the bomb. I do like various moments in the Modern Warfare Timeline. For me, The Death of Jackson in the nuclear explosion was really shocking. Prisoner 627 was also really good. Great post Josh!

  4. CoD is like American Patriotism Advertising all the way...AMERICA!!!!

  5. CoD 2 El Daba was an awesome sight during its time. Similar to RedChina, the Death of Jackson was a sad and strong feel for me too.