I have a long standing, love or hate, relationship with the Call of Duty franchise. On one hand, I think that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is one of the most important and influential games in history. Yet, every Call of Duty since has failed to capture anything similar. Yes they get bigger with each entry, but this is one of those cases where bigger does not translate to better.
Players take control of Logan Walker, aka generic, voiceless, action hero. Along with brother, David “Hesh” Walker, and father, Elias Walker, your character will attempt to stop a global terrorist organization and a rouge special agent. If this all sounds familiar, it’s probably because you have watched/played/read this scenario many times before.
The detractors of the series always make the claim, “if you’ve played one Call of Duty, you have played them all,” and for the most part, I am inclined to agree with them. The set pieces and characters have changed, yet everything still feels the same. Each mission consists of you moving from point A to point B, and killing all of the enemies between. Although levels range from the beautiful vistas of outer space and the ocean floor, it does little to help break up the monotony of doing the same thing over and over again.
The largest selling point, multiplayer, is as crisp as you could envision. I’ve played a little over eighteen hours online and I never once lost connection to a game or sat for longer than a few seconds while searching for a match. Surprisingly, while in game, I only experienced latency a handful of times. This is a large upgrade from previous games, where I would experience lag frequently.
The multiplayer experience, at its core, hasn’t altered much over the years; which may or may not be a bad thing depending on your attitude. It’s a good thing because the gameplay is as smooth as it has ever been, but a bad thing because it becomes boring within a few hours of playtime. Thankfully, they scaled back the ridiculousness of some of the perks and killstreaks; which makes the game more satisfying. Infinity Ward would be wise to bring the series back to its more barebones gameplay that gamers loved about the original Modern Warfare. This would make players depend on skill based combat, versus running around with a handful of perks that make players annoyingly overpowered.
Invasion, the spiritual successor to “zombie mode,” offers a fun and satisfying release from the standard multiplayer experience. Up to four players battle against waves of aliens, before attempting to escape that particular zone. Although I don’t think that Invasion will sell copies of the game on its own, it certainly feels like Infinity Ward placed a lot of time into fleshing out the experience.
Overall I can understand why the developers do not want to take a lot of risks with its multiplayer feature, but they have to do something about the single player experience. If nothing else, they could remove this component and focus solely on their bread and butter, the multiplayer.