Sunday, 30 July 2017

Driver 2 Review - An ambitious title for the limited hardware.

By Sam Coles:

A series that Ubisoft seem to be ignoring these days is the Driver series as the last game we got was all the way back in 2011 on the Xbox 360 and PS3. It’s a shame too because the games are fun car chase games emulating stunts you would see in films from the 1970’s such as Smoky and The Bandit. However they also presented good crime thriller stories with cliché but fun characters with over the top action and shoot outs in the cutscenes. Driver 2 was released 17 years ago on the PS1 and was an ambitious game for the limited hardware with a fully 3D open world with four cites to explore.

The story of Driver 2 sees John Tanner back in the driving seat as he goes undercover once again to track down Jericho and Solomon Cian who are suspects of a murder of a Brazilian man in downtown Chicago. The adventure takes Tanner on a global adventure across four different real life cities Chicago, Havana, Rio and Las Vegas, these maps are huge and there are lots of cars to steal and drive around. The story is really good it’s a good old fashioned crime thriller but the voice acting is a bit corny and over the top but this was the PS1 and cinematic story telling was in its infancy.

Gameplay is an open world driving game and unlike Grand Theft Auto at the time Driver 2 was a fully 3D game from the third person. This game was released just one year before Grand Theft Auto III, but this game laid down the frame work of a 3D open world, yes it looks dated by today’s standards but it was highly ambitious for the limited PS1 hardware. You drive around doing missions in the undercover mode and these missions can range from chases, time trial style modes to get to a destination or my least favourite tailing missions. You can get out of your car in this game unlike the first but it only serves to steal another car, so if you’re expecting to be able to beat seven shades of blue out of pedestrians or shoot people then go and play Driver 3.

The controls are really nice considering it’s a driving game on the PS1 the cars have a sense of weight and momentum. That’s what I’ve always liked about the driver games they’ve always added a sense of weight to your car when you throw it around corners or when you end up in a head on collision.

Presentation is not bad considering it’s a fully 3D game, yes you do get the standard pixel wobble that was present in all 3D games on the PlayStation, but this is an ambitious game recreating four real life major cities. The car models look decent with some impressive damage modelling for the time, with hubcaps flying off when you turn corners and chunks of paint as you crash into a wall.  

The only major issues I have with this game is firstly the pop in issues and I know what you’re going to say “It’s a 3D driving game on the PS1 what do you expect”? That’s not always the case there are examples of racing/driving games that don’t have this issue one of them being Wipeout, plus this game was released very late in the PS1’s life cycle so I expected a bit more graphically. The other major issues is the frame rate, the game has a lot of frame rate issues and this was a big problem in the original Driver. When there are a lot of cars on screen the game slows down to a crawl reaching to frame rates in the single digits and it becomes unplayable.

Overall Driver 2 is a decent early open world game on the original PlayStation, it’s easy to find and cheap these days so if you have a PS3 either download it or play it via physical disc as PS3’s can play PS1 games. 

Friday, 28 July 2017

Killzone 2 Review - Welcome to Helgan.

By Sam Coles:

Killzone is a franchise that has believe or not been around for over a decade with the last instalment being released on PlayStation 4 back in 2013 as a launch title. Fans have always unanimously said that Killzone 2 is the best in the series and have to agree despite some of the issues I have with this game. For an eight year old game that was released on the PS3 it still holds up very well with good and satisfying gunplay and visuals that still look really good. It truly shows what the PS3 is capable of. Should you pick it up today? Yes and I’m going to tell you why you should buy a PS3 for this game.

Killzone 2 takes place straight after the events of the first game and the ISA take the fight to the heart of Helgan where they are trying to push the forces of the Helgast back that are under the command of General Radec. You play as Seth who is under constant stress from the war efforts as his comrades are disobeying orders as some of his fellow soldiers have a habit of killing high value targets they need alive. The story is very engaging with good voice acting from all the cast and Radec has the most diabolical voice he is an excellent villain.

What I like about this game when it comes to the gameplay it doesn’t mess around as it throws you straight into the action, so there are no patronising tutorials where they teach you to aim down sights etc. No instead it throws into a loud and bloody warzone where people are constantly dying around you; the atmosphere is fantastic Guerrilla Games have nailed the sense of being in a warzone with the dirt kicking up from bullet impact to the explosions.

The gameplay is your standard first person shooter from the time but it does take a while to get use to as the controls are vastly different compared to other games on the market. You go through levels killing Helgast soldiers with different weapons which are your standard pistol, shotgun and assault rifle variety. The game has a cover system where you can crouch behind cover then pop out and shoot at enemies; this can be a nuisance sometimes as enemies can still hit you in cover as you tend to bend your knees slightly so it’s not the most effective crouching system.

I do like the feel of the controls in this game because it has weight to them, you really feel as if you’re dragging your feet through mud in some sections as you’re being shot at from every angle. The only thing I don’t like about the controls are the forced six axis motion control quick time events who came up with the notion of turning a valve by twisting the controller needs to pull the shrapnel out their nose.

The game looks amazing and that is saying a lot because this game came out all the way back in 2009, a lot of games from that period don’t usually age well however Killzone still has a lot of detail that I can happily look at today. The character models of the Helgast look fantastic with their glowing eyes in the distance that almost strikes fear into you as you see the coming dangers.

There is one major thing I hated about this game and that is the final encounter with Radec. The reason why I hate this encounter is that there is a huge difficulty spike, checkpoints are far and few and the fact that he has soldiers backing him up makes it very frustrating. It’s an unfortunate end to an otherwise great game.

Killzone 2 is an excellent shooter for the PlayStation 3 and is a must play if you haven’t played it pick it up it’s ridiculously cheap these days I picked up my copy for £1. 

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Army of Two The 40th Day Review - Grab a friend and shoot everything.

By Sam Coles:

Army of Two is an interesting series as a lot of people seem to enjoy it but a lot of game critics seem to pan them due their “dull” nature. Honestly I enjoy them they are a lot of fun as they don’t take themselves seriously except for the third game which sucked all life and fun out of the series. Army of Two The 40th Day came out in 2010 which was a good year for games as we got such classics like Red Dead Redemption, Black Ops and Battlefield Bad Company 2.

The protagonist of the series Rios and Salem find themselves in Shanghai where they are contracted to take down the leader of the 40th Day Initiative. They suit up ready for battle and it’s not long until mercenaries decide to level the city and it’s just the two of them (no pun intended) against a whole army. The story is a standard action story where they want to take down an evil mercenary corporation, but what I like in this narrative you’re presented with moral choice which can affect the story later which adds a bit of replay value.

Gameplay is a third person shooter which every game was during 2010 due to the success of Gears of War not to say that it is a bad thing as this game has some unique features that separates it from other shooters. The game really emphasises co-op and to be honest it is much more enjoyable when you play it with a friend because unfortunately they took notes from Resident Evil 5’s A.I programming as your partner acts as if he has inhaled nerve gas. Playing with a friend is key to get the best experience and plus who doesn’t like playing co-op with a friend.

What I like about this game is that it lets you approach a combat scenario any way you want to as you can use different vantage points to get the drop on your enemies. One of my favourite things to do is to fake surrender to your enemies and then go into slow motion and gun them down in spectacular fashion. You’ll also have the opportunity to save civilians but honestly this is one of those useless morality systems that do not affect the story except for how much money you receive.

Let’s discuss the currency you earn and what that unlocks, the big selling point in all the advertisements was the fact you could customise your guns and create your own camos and upload them to the website which you can no longer do anymore which is a shame. Customisation plays a big part in this game as you can unlock a vast array of weapons from assault rifles to rocket propelled grenades. What you can also do with each weapon is add new attachments to make it handle better or do more damage, what I like about this is that you can add attachments form other weapons to give it a different look which is a nice touch.

For a game that came out six years ago it looks pretty good in the graphical department the detail on the main character models of Rios and Salem look great with the details of their tattoos and arm muscles with veins popping out. Explosions look fantastic with great particle effects coupled with the bright muzzle flash every time you fire your weapon. However background characters and NPCs do look a bit bland and lacklustre but you’ll be too busy fighting to notice.

The problems I have with this game like I said earlier the A.I for your team when you’re playing solo is not great and just has a habit of not following orders. Another major issue I had with this game is that certain scripted events didn’t trigger on command so I had to start at the last checkpoint. For example I was in some sort of amusement park where I had to follow a train, and then there was one segment where I had to open a gate by pressing a button, I pressed the button and the door failed to open resulting in me reloading the last checkpoint.

Overall Army of Two The 40th Day is a fun co-op shooter with over the top action and garish yet fun customisation options for your weapons. Pick it up it is very cheap these days and grab a mate on Xbox Live/PSN or crack open a cold beer and play splitscreen.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Darkness II Review - Over top the fun.

By Sam Coles:

A series that has dropped off the radar is the fantastic Darkness series based on the comics of the same name; The Darkness is about an evil entity that manifests in people across history that have questionable morals. The concept was very unique as it combined a comic book story with an emotional and intense Mafioso story line as it took aspects from Goodfellas and the Sopranos with its story telling.

You play as Jackie Estacado who is now the head of a mafia family after events of the first game where his Uncle Paulie betrayed him and tried to assassinate him, but what he didn’t realise is that he had the power of The Darkness within him. A few years have passed and Jackie has managed to keep The Darkness at bay as he no longer wants to be controlled by it. It’s not until one evening when he is in a restaurant having dinner where he is attacked by a cult and he is mortally wounded and has to unleash The Darkness to heal himself. However when he unleashes The Darkness he starts to see illusions of his dead girlfriend Jenny who was murdered in the first game by Uncle Paulie.

What transpires is an interesting psychological thriller with great action and segments where you’re questioning what is real it’s fantastic. It also helps that it has fantastic voice work from Brian Bloom which if you’ve played Infinite Warfare you’ll know him as Nick Reyes.

The gameplay is a first person shooter with your standard elements of taking cover etc. but this game has a unique gameplay element where you quad wield. How this work is that you have control of two guns and two of The Darkness tentacles so you can fire your weapons at a distance and use the tentacles as a melee option when enemies get up close and personal. However you can use the tentacles to pull extremely brutal executions such as ripping someone’s guts out of their throat to even ripping their spinal cord out of their anus, yes that is a thing. You can also use them to pick up car doors to utilise as portable cover and metal poles to practise your javelin skills where you can pin enemies to walls this game is not for the faint of heart as it is extremely violent.  

The shooting is extremely satisfying with where you see enemy’s heads pop when you nail a head shot to them almost exploding into a red mist when you use the shotgun. The duel wielding aspect of the game is utilised well as it doesn’t shoot for realism and it makes you feel as if you’re in a John Woo film when you burst into a room and unload with duel Uzis.

Visually the game has held up well considering the game came out five years ago, that is because it uses a cell shaded look to look more in line with the comic book rather than the somewhat realistic tone of the original. A lot of people didn’t like this look because they said it was too colourful for the dark subject matter it’s almost the same issue people had with Diablo III where apparently it was too colourful. I for one like the presentation it really makes the violence stand out more with the over the top manner where blood flies every where.

The Darkness II is a fantastic game and it’s a shame that there is not a sequel to it maybe we’ll get a re-release on Xbox One and PS4? If you really want to play it it’s super cheap to pick up on Xbox 360 and PS3 I can’t recommend this game enough as it has great action and an engaging narrative.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Grand Theft Auto III - It defined open world games.

By Sam Coles:

It’s hard to believe that Grand Theft Auto III came out 16 years ago I was still in primary school at the time and was far too young to play it, not that stopped me but my parents would not be pleased if they spotted me playing it. The game defined for the next 10 plus years of how open world games are made and its influence can still be felt today, at the time we had nothing like it. It truly felt like a living and breathing city with pedestrians going about their business and high density traffic. Does still hold up today? No but it is still a lot of fun to play and it is an important game in history.

Grand Theft Auto III takes place in Liberty City and you play as Claude Speed who is being transported in a prison van after he was arrested as he took part in a heist gone wrong where he was double crossed and shot in the face. The story is rather minimal in this game compared to later instalments because the main character is a silent protagonist as he just serves as a vessel for the player, as it just basically a 3D interpretation of the original game. Not to say that there are no notable characters you have the loveable and friendly mafia don Salvatore, but most of them are represented in typical stereotypes as usual with a Rockstar production.

GTA III is an open world game and this was during a period where open world games were not that common and they were exciting when a new one was announced or released. In a typical Rockstar open world game you do missions for certain characters as you progress through the story. These missions can range from stealing cars and repainting them for money, assassinating targets, tailing missions (the worse type of missions) and racing. There is a lot to do in this game however it does feel a bit anaemic compared to later titles with activities feeling a tad repetitive.

This is a PS2 game and the visuals have aged terribly with motion blur which you can turn off in the options menu, coupled with muddy and blur textures. The cars look too clean with damage detail that is rather minimal with basic particle effects when cars explode, to be fair this game was an early PS2 title so I can give it the benefit of the doubt. If you really want to play this game I would suggest playing the PC or Original Xbox versions as the graphics are cleaner and more appealing to the eye.

The only problem I have with this game is that the controls are very stiff especially when it comes to the shooting as this was a few years before Gears of War came along and perfected the third person formula. You can’t take cover and aiming at enemies is an absolute chore as there is no manual aim system with the exception of three weapons the M16, Sniper Rifle and the RPG. It feels jarring going back to this game after playing Grand Theft Auto IV and V.

Is Grand Theft Auto III worth playing today? Yes of course but just bear in mind the controls can be a bit awkward and stiff and the car physic are a tad floaty too. However it is a land mark title that defined how open world games are shaped today and is great to look back on to remember its influence. 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind Review - Welcome back to Vvardenfell

By Sam Coles:

It’s been three years since the original release of The Elder Scrolls Online on PC it had a bit of a rocky start and then it was released on the Xbox One and PS4 which improved a lot things such as forgoing the monthly subscription model. A couple of years later and we get its first major expansion which lets us return to a fan favourite region in The Elder Scrolls universe and that place is Morrowind. This expansion is worthy of your time brimming with content as it adds 30 extra hours to your Elder Scrolls Online experience.

The Elder Scrolls Online Morrowind takes place 700 years before the Elder Scrolls III where the region of Vvardenfell is a thriving community where the gods are watching over the Dark Elves and Tribunal. You as an outsider have journeyed to the region to help out a God named Vivec who is in trouble as someone is draining his power with an ancient magical staff, so it’s up to you find the individual who is inflicting harm on Vivec. There is an unusually deep story for a massive multiplayer role playing game because usually they give you a basic set up and tell you get on with it, but this is The Elder Scrolls a world with deep and intriguing lore.

What does this expansion offer in terms of content well it offers you a new region to explore called Vvardenfell which is in the province of Morrowind and they have recreated it beautifully from The Elder Scrolls III, it’s nice to see in current generation graphics. You get access to new game modes, quests and a brand new class in the form of The Warden if you choose to roll a new character.

Let’s start with the new class The Warden what is skills and abilities does he have? First which is my favourite he can summon animal companions to fight by his side during battles and this can be very handy if you’re up against a group of enemies when you start to get overwhelmed.  He also has the ability to spawn a swam of flies and takedown his opponents in a biblical manner, so if you can’t tell he is mostly wildlife based when it comes to his attacks which makes sense for the Morrowind region as the wildlife outnumbers the civilised society.

The presentation is great they have recreated the region of Vvardenfell in current generation graphics with the dark and misty swamps with toadstools taking the place of grass to the ancient Elven cities made of sandstone. I did have pop in issues at launch but that was due to the busy nature of the servers with waves of people flooding in as well as having frame rate drops due to the same issues.

The Elder Scrolls Online Morrowind is a fantastic expansion offering a new and beautiful land to explore coupled with 30 hours of extra gameplay for you to sink your teeth into, if you’re a fan of the Elder Scrolls you’ll love the return of Morrowind.

Monday, 17 July 2017

F.3.A.R (Fear 3) Review - A competent shooter although not really a Fear game

By Sam Coles:

Back in the early to late 2000’s video game publishers decided that it was a good idea to incorporate numbers instead letters into game titles with their sequels with examples such as Driv3r. It’s not a deal breaker but it was slightly annoying and didn’t make grammatical sense, F3AR is one of those games and that is the first and only time I will write the title of the game like that. It’s sighted as a terrible game and honestly I don’t see why as it is a mostly enjoyable shooter, sure it throws everything that made the original Fear great out the window such as the intelligent squad based A.I. However it does tell a dark and interesting story about two of the major characters in the series and plus you can play it with a friend.

Fear 3 takes place a few years after the second game and the Point Man and Paxton Fettel go back to the fictional town of Farpoint where they are trying to find Alma and take down Beckett who has his mind taken over by Alma and he is going insane. The story is interesting as you get to see the origins of the Point man and Fettel when they are kids and how they were raised to be the ultimate killing machines it is represented in CCTV flash backs. What I don’t understand is why they made the Point Man a silent protagonist as all he does is stares angrily at characters as they spout exposition.  

Gameplay has mostly been left unchanged however there are some tweaks I’m not a fan of such as the fact the game now has a regenerating health system which makes the game far too easy compared to the first two games. Another aspect that they have added to the game is co-op where you can play with a friend as one of you play as the Point Man and the other as Fettel. Playing as Fettel is great as you can fly around the battlefield as you are ghost essentially and you can take control of enemies and destroy platoons of soldiers in a blink of an eye, you’re basically unstoppable.

The bullet time mechanic or reflex mode makes a comeback but it is a bit useless in this game as running and gunning is a bad idea as it is a sure way of getting yourself killed as you have to play it like a modern military shooter by hiding behind cover. The game also has a cover system similar to Killzone where you latch onto cover and you can peek out and shoot it can be a bit finicky as you have to press the B button to snap into cover and press it again to get out of cover instead of just using the analogue stick to move out of cover.

The A.I is no longer the smart tactical team like they use to be in the first game because in Fear 1 they acted as a squad and would assess the situation and talk to each other they even retreat when they feel they are outgunned. However in Fear 3 the come in waves which we have seen in shooters in the past decade and have the ability to hit you dead on every time.

The presentation is good it can be a bit hazy with some of the effects on screen especially when you’re about to die which can be a bit hard to see what is shooting at you. What I love is the level of violence in this game the feedback of when you shoot someone is great with them exploding into meaty giblets as you unload your shotgun in them. Enemies melt when you come into contact with them with limbs flying and skin tearing as hold down the trigger on your SMG.

Fear 3 isn’t a bad game but it’s not a good Fear game either because it threw out everything that was unique about the series and traded it for a generic shooter experience, a playable experience but a generic one none the less. I would say pick it up its silly cheap these days and you’ll have a blast if you can get a friend to play with you.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

F-Zero GX Review - One of the hardest racing games ever!

By Sam Coles:

One of the most neglected franchises in Nintendo’s library in recent years is the F-Zero series, it has been over ten years since we got an instalment with the last one being released on the GameCube in the form of F-Zero GX. This game was a fantastic follow up of F-Zero X on the N64 and ironically it was made by Nintendo’s old sparring partner Sega and they definitely know how to make high speed racing games if you look at their past works.

F-Zero GX has several different modes such as a story, the classic grand prix and a time trial mode, unfortunately they got rid of the death race mode from F-Zero X where you had to kill 29 racers in one sitting. The story is where you’ll get the most of the meaty challenge and I will say this clearly that this is ridiculously hard I am not joking story mode will kick you in the nether regions with its difficulty. I have never played a racing game that is this hard maybe Wipeout comes close but nothing like this game with the tight corners, intense speeds and obstacles that almost come out of nowhere. To this day I haven’t managed to complete the story with how hard it is.

Grand Prix mode is where you’ll be spending most of your time unlocking new vehicles, parts for custom vehicles and new cups by earning tickets when you win events. This is great as each difficulty caters to each type of gamer so if you want a chilled out session then select novice. However once you select intermediate or above this is when the game doesn’t pull any punches, the A.I becomes extremely aggressive and they will try and run you off the road I have died multiple times playing it on expert because other racers have ran me off the road, you have to be on your toes on expert.

As I said earlier you can customise vehicles from existing ones by adding new decals on them or you can start from scratch. I must admit it is really good that they gave us the option to do this but I only played around with it a hand full of times as I made some weird and ugly machines, but it’s nice they added that feature.

Controls are perfect what can I say they are super tight and responsive, what they did they took the frame work from the previous game and tweaked it to perfection I don’t think I had a single hitch with these controls they are that good.

The presentation still holds up considering the game is well over ten years old with excellent detail on all the F-Zero machines and the tracks look absolutely stunning from fan favourites such as Mute City and Big Blue to neon lit Casino Palace. This game also runs at a buttery smooth 60 frames per second I don’t think the framerate ever drops which is impressive with 30 racers on screen. The soundtrack is fantastic with a fusion of some metal and electronica it blends perfectly with high and intense speeds of each track and each musical piece is thematically appropriate for each course.   

F-Zero GX is a fantastic game and I don’t know why Nintendo hasn’t done anything with the series for over 10 years I think with the Switch out it’s a good time to bring the series back. This game is going up in price and I don’t know why as it is not rare, but the lowest I’ve seen it in retro stores is £30 so pick it up while you can. 

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Diablo III: Rise of the Necromancer Expansion Thoughts.

By Sam Coles:

It’s hard to believe that Diablo III came out five years ago originally on the PC and it’s doubly hard to believe how much of a successful transition it had on the consoles first the 7th generation and then the 8th generation with the Reaper of Souls Expansion. However since 2014 there hasn’t been any major expansions that were paid for Blizzard have been tweaking the game via free updates since I reviewed the game all the back in 2014 during the early days of my blog and it is a far cry of what it once was in a good way. After a few years Blizzard have released a new expansion titled Rise of the Necromancer which adds new challenges, a new class (obviously) and new areas. Is this worth the asking price of £15? Yes and no.

Rise of the Necromancer lets you take control of the titular class who has the ability to take control of the undead with various powers and these powers can be very powerful too powerful in some circumstances trivialising some situations. You can play through the campaign with the class which is what I did to get use to his powers and they are great for handling large crowds of enemies my favourite ability is the corpse explode ability which makes enemy bodies explode into meaty giblets with blood spraying everywhere.

What I like about this class is that you can almost cater to any playstyle so if you want to use long range attacks while you let your legion of skeleton warriors get up close and personal you can. If you want to go close quarters with your devastating scythe as you charge in with your summoned golem you can this class is fantastic to experiment with unlike my level 70 barbarian which I stuck with a familiar set of skills.

He is my biggest problem with the class he is overpowered  it is ridiculous how you can wipe out legions of enemies just by sneezing at them and when you combine the right rune with corpse explode crowds of enemies become trivial and ridiculously easy. The campaign and bosses become a cakewalk with the class and I was playing the game on hard, let’s hope he gets a bit of nerf to up the challenge.

What else does this new expansion bring to the table? Well it adds a couple of new areas in the adventure mode where you can collect bounties which reward you with XP coupled with new challenge rifts. You also gain access to a couple of things to change you cosmeticly such as being able to have demonic wings which I do not recommend wearing unless you want your character to be covering up most of your inventory screen and you also get a new in game pet.

Overall is the Rise of the Necromancer worth the £15 asking price? Well in my opinion no it’s not. I do like the new class but the content you get for £15 is slim as it doesn’t bring much to the table, however if you haven’t played Diablo III at all forego the Reaper of Souls edition and pick up the Eternal Collection which cost around £34.99 digital only. In that version you get the base game, Reaper of Souls and the new expansion. However I have enjoyed my time returning to the dark and bleak world that is Diablo III with this new and powerful class but I just feel they are asking for too high of a price for the expansion.  

Thursday, 6 July 2017

My favourite Call of Duty campaigns.

By Sam Coles:

The new Call of Duty has a lot of people talking at the moment and the first thing you think of when you look at series is the multiplayer. I however love the campaigns as they are generally over top, gory and sometimes emotional. I want to go over my favourite campaigns in the series spanning from the early games up to now. Let’s get into it!

Modern Warfare 2

Modern Warfare 2’s campaign was great as it followed the events of the first game where you play as four different characters Roach a soldier in the Task Force 141, Agent Allan in the CIA, Private Ramirez in the USMC and Soap MacTavish in the Task Force 141.

The story is about the world being pushed to the brink of a third world war due to one of Imran Zakhaev’s lieutenants Vladimir Makarov causing all sorts of havoc across the globe from goading Russia and the US to go war with each other to a terrorist attack in an airport. The story is over the top with segments where you’re racing snowmobiles down the side of a mountain to helicopters falling out of the sky when an EMP is set of, but it also has some dark moments with the aforementioned airport massacre. It’s both dark and gritty as well as over top and somewhat goofy with some of the set pieces.

Black Ops

Released one year after Modern Warfare 2 this was Treyarch’s attempt to make an original campaign rather than re-treading World War II like they did with their previous game and it proved to be an excellent Psychological thriller. 

Black Ops takes place in the 1960’s during the height of the cold war where it takes you to theatres of war that were very controversial such as the Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Vietnam War which aren’t explored often due to the ethical nature. You play as Alex Mason who is being questioned by shadowy figures in the CIA about a string of numbers that he keeps hearing in his head which results him telling stories of previous missions he had participated in. These missions start in the early 60’s then the final half in the late 60’s in Vietnam and the subject matter is treated with respect but does not shy away from torture and the gory reality of the war with limbs being blown off and POW’s playing Russian roulette.

World at War

When the World War II genre was starting to feel stale Treyarch made one last game before they disappeared altogether with World at War which is easily one of the best World War II shooters of the last decade.

World at War doesn’t shoot for the standard flogging of the dead horse that is the story from the British and Americans in the European fronts, it instead goes for the more intense moments from the eyes of the Soviets invading Berlin and the Americans in Japan. The game is really intense where it starts with a torture scene at the hands of the imperial army where you see your fellow soldier’s throat sliced open by a Japanese soldier it is very gruesome. Even the first mission as the Soviets is brutal as you’re lying in a pile of dead bodies as you see German soldiers executing stragglers. The game doesn’t shy away from graphic content as you can blow enemies limbs off with blood flying everywhere and it makes wonder how the game got away with a 15+ age rating in the UK maybe it’s due to the fact it’s set in World War II.

Advanced Warfare

The game that started the advanced movement and the first game solo developed from Sledgehammer games with a three year development cycle rather than two and really it shows with the amount polish that went into this game.

Advanced Warfare takes place in the distant future in the 2060’s where the US military have invented exoskeleton suits to give their soldiers extra speed, strength and mobility. You play as Private Mitchel who is in the Marines until one mission went wrong where he had the task to repel North Korean forces out of South Korea. Mitchel is gravely injured as his arm gets blown off after an explosion which also kills his best friend Will.

Mitchel is introduced to Will’s father Johnathon Irons who is the head of a private military company called Atlas. Mitchel is recruited into Atlas where he is given a cybernetic arm to help him fight for another day. However as you progress through the story you find out the true intentions from Irons as he wants complete control of the world and its conflicts. The story is incredibly predictable but the performances from the actors are superb which make a joy to play through especially the performance from Kevin Spacy.

Black Ops II

Black Ops II was one of the first games in the series to have a somewhat futuristic setting as half of the campaign was set in the year 2025 so they could be a bit more creative with the weaponry.

Black Ops II takes place about two decades after the original game as you first start off as Alex Mason in the 1980’s when he has to go into Africa to save his best friend and comrade Frank Woods who is been held captive by Raul Mendez. Alex finds him and has to get him out of there so he goes to use the enemies radio to radio in an extraction but Raul is using it and ends up sabotaging the radio where Alex is then compromised and he ends up shooting Raul in the eye crippling him.

Jump forward to the future and you find yourself playing as Alex’s son David who is searching for Raul Mendez as he has become a threat to national security because he has a plan to take control of the US and China’s drone fleet for a massive attack. The story is really good in this game as it is written by David S. Goyer who wrote the Dark Knight. The great thing about this campaign is that it has multiple paths and several different endings depending on your actions during your playthrough which adds a lot of replay value.

So there are my favourite Call of Duty campaigns did you see any you liked or did I miss some, let me know in the comments or tweet at me via @bristoliangamer or my personal Twitter @samcoles2.  

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