By Sam Coles:
Call of Duty generally gets a lot of flak but that is generally to do with its annual release, naïve people seem to think it is the same studio cranking them out every year when it is various studios. However they have always crafted well told war stories across different fronts and time periods, from the beaches of Normandy in World War 2 to the distant stars in Infinite Warfare. Say what you will they are always well told with great acting and action, so it pains me with the gameplay reveal of Black Ops 4 Treyarch are not producing a singleplayer campaign and this disappointing.
Now I want you to think why do we remember older Call of Duty games so fondly and still talk about them today as if they came out other week. Your thoughts would be the multiplayer right? Wrong! The reason why we talk about games in the series such as Call of Duty 4, World At War, Black Ops and Modern Warfare 2 it’s due to their stories, characters and memorable moments that still stick in our minds from 5-10 years ago. When I first owned my copy of Call of Duty 4 on Xbox 360 I didn’t have Xbox Live, so I got acquainted with the campaign where I finished it on Veteran difficulty (many swear words were heard during that time).
Call of Duty 4 really is the gold standard when it comes to campaigns; it starts off normal enough where you are training with fire arms, knives where you then do an obstacle course and then bam! You’re raiding a cargo ship in an SAS squad. It came out of nowhere almost, you go through a cargo ship looking for nukes and then the ship is destroyed by Mig fighters and you go through a daring escape and then opening credits roll through the eyes of a captured president. That’s what Call of Duty nailed with the campaigns they would generally start off fairly tamed and then, it would throw you into the fire.
It’s not only the scenarios it was also the characters that drew me into the series, with Captain Price, Soap, Reznov, Mason and of course my favourite Frank Woods. Captain Price is where it all began with me, I saw him grow from a stiff upper lip by the books SAS captain to a rogue who took know prisoners by doing anything it takes to save the world. The Modern Warfare trilogy is where I grew to love the characters and grew attached to them, so much so when they killed Soap in Modern Warfare 3 I shed a tear, because I saw him go from a rookie in the SAS to an inspiring leader.
When I moved onto Black Ops I was stunned that Treyarch had to gonads to depict the Vietnam War, as most war games don’t really go into it because the United States went in and treated the locals like a wet carpet. They were brutal with their depiction, with torture and mind control which worked extremely well within the Cold War setting. This was the period when the Call of Duty series did not hold back with its dark, mature and brutal subject matter, as this was before all sad lemons took over the internet.
Campaigns are not only good for great storytelling, but they can be used to get use to the gameplay and mechanics of the game. With Call of Duty, each game has a different feel in terms of their movement so it’s great to get used to it in an offline environment. In the past most Call of Duty games would use segments for the singleplayer in the multiplayer for maps, which is great as you can know the ins and outs before you tackle the competitive edge of online play. It’s also a great time to play around with all the weapons and get use to their recoil patters, although sometimes not all of the weapons in the singleplayer will turn up in the multiplayer for various reasons, but mainly for balance purpose for online play.
Call of Duty campaigns are very important, they are great tools for telling a dark and gritty war story while at the same time being fun. I developed attachments to the characters over the last decade and for Treyarch to forgo a campaign saddens me and I’m very disappointed, let’s hope this does not set a trend for other franchises.