Three Hours With: Call Of Duty: Ghosts Single Player

By John Walker on November 5th, 2013 at 9:00 pm.

Call Of Duty: Ghosts is available now. We weren’t given any review code before release, so I’ve just started playing its single-player campaign this afternoon. About two to three hours in, I’m ready to provide you with some impressions. Will this be the CoD to win us back over? To realise the potential of such a massive budget, and remember what made the original Call Of Duty 1 and 2 such incredibly special games? Will I grow a rollercoaster out of my face and gargle fireplaces? Find out below.

I really do enjoy first-person shooters. And as such, I go into every new game with a genuine hope it’ll be something special. There’s no reason, with the wealth of talent at Activision’s various teams working on Call Of Duty: Ghosts, why it shouldn’t be a stunning shooter that I want to champion from the hills. I allow myself to believe each time that perhaps it will. If that’s the case for Ghosts, it’s not within the first three hours.

But things began promisingly. It starts off with a couple of adult brothers, sat in the woods, being told a story by their father. A story about an elite fighting force, created in the most terrible conditions, super-human creatures forged from horror – the Ghosts. The sons pah and scoff at the idea, as the three jog back to their idyllic suburban home. It’s very un-Call Of Duty, very un-macho beginnings. There’s seemingly a small earthquake. Again, in a particularly ungrunting moment, the father makes reference to a clearly late mother’s fear of such tremors, gently mocking her. What is this even.

It turns out to be an awful lot more than an earthquake. Emerging from the woods reveals a neighbourhood in chaos, vast explosions, the road cracking up beneath them. Epic scale, in an unepic environment. Not tanks and helicopters, but terrified people and domestic vehicles fleeing in terror. It has my attention.

Cuts to “15 minutes earlier”. That’s an odd length of time. It’s an even odder location: low Earth orbit. You’re now playing an astronaut on board a small space station. Improbably, astronauts in different coloured spacesuits suddenly start shooting at people. Panic ensues, you catch a weapon, and start firing back. It’s preposterous in the extreme, but gleefully so.

It turns out that a giant space laser has been taken over by a terrorist group who had posed as space-partners, and is now firing at North America. And it’s targeting a lot of other major cities. In a bold suicide mission, you and your partner set out to prevent its firing again.

That’s all, well, bonkers. But good bonkers! It’s such a boldly different beginning, and suggests a game that’s trying to do something particularly different. So my optimism doesn’t look so silly now, right?

Wrong.

That was the first ten minutes. Everything in the following three hours has been nothing like it, and everything like the miserably familiar ungame drear-fest that has so successfully pulled its coup over what was once the most thrilling of gaming genres.

It’s ten years later, and the two brothers have gone through the complete transition into grunting armyman blank spaces. Whoever the bad spacemen were, the South American forces are now an invading army in the USA, and you’re a defending army, so shoot at them. The ones in the slightly different coloured uniform.

I’m not far enough in to know their true origins and motives. Just that they’re the ones to fire toward, because someone said so. And it’s business as usual, as you’re forced to follow behind the AI people who actually get to play the game.

“Stay low, follow my lead,” says my brother. “Target on the right, take him out,” he instructs. If I do it, he might tell me it was a “nice kill”. Ew. If I don’t, the game either gets cryogenically frozen, ready to emerge from its stasis at such a time as I do as I’m told, or somehow we all die. “Target in the open,” my brother points out. “Target neutralised,” he continues with barely a breath, having shot him before I could look around. Oh, okay. I’ll just stand back here carrying the sandwiches.

In fact, so frequent are these barked instructions that sometimes he says two of them at the same time! “Go here.” “Shoot that.” “Stand still.” “Do nothing.” “KGiollf tohratc gouvyer.”

Joining us on our adventures, famously, is a doggie. An Alsatian called Riley, who is impervious to bullets and barks at wolves. He can be instructed, with a tap of Q, to savagely attack enemies. He leaps for their throats and brutally mauls them to death. “Nice,” says your brother. Who I’m now convinced is a very disturbed man.

At the game’s most ridiculous, you’re given direct control of Riley, able to see through a camera on his head. Quite how your extraordinary puppetry of his body is working the game chooses to throw away in a nonsense line about, I don’t know, psychic dog powers. Here you get to run around, leaping at baddies and eating their neck meats, until the game tells you it’s time to stop again. It’s utterly silly.

With each iteration of this series, and those of its rivals, the degree of player agency is reduced. While the genre has been primarily about bottom-following for years now, the contemptuous attitude taken to players seems to grow more disdainful as time goes on. Where we’ve previously been told “YOU’RE LEAVING THE GAME AREA!!!” when we’ve dared to wonder what was over there, in Ghosts you’re just plain dead if you’re audacious enough to walk off its invisible line.

Of course it’s always argued the reason the CoD games sell fourteenty-billion copies is because of the multiplayer. The reality is that a huge proportion of customers are in it for the single-player. Even the developers don’t get this: last year Treyarch’s David Vonderhaar said, “As popular as Call of Duty is, there are a lot of people who don’t play multiplayer. And quite frankly, this bugs the shit out of us.” Even they don’t understand why people are buying it for the single-player, and I find it so hard to relate to what such people want from gaming.

Dragging you around by your nose, the game wedges its fingers so far up your nostrils that it pokes at your brain, trying to stop it from ever thinking. It’s so vapid, so uninvolving, so empty. Once you’re clear of that intriguing opening, you’re faced with a sequence of shooting at pop-up baddies followed by a sequence shooting from the back of a truck. It couldn’t be less inspired or more generic. It’s like it hates you, itself, everything. Someone somewhere said, “Yeah, just put them in the back of a truck shooting, because fucking hell, they’ll buy it anyway,” before putting his plastic coffee cup down on a desk, leaning his head against a wall, and sighing.

Oh look, I’m manning a turret while scripted events happen all around me. Oh look, a scripted event has broken the turret and now I’m running in the one acceptable direction in this vast beach area. Oh look, men are shouting at me, telling me what to do, in a medium where our freedom and ability to experience the unreachable are usually so valued. One of the men shouts, “We’re surrounded from all sides!” and I simultaneously think the obvious, “what other form of surrounded is there?”, at the same time as feeling the ennui of the person who had to write that line, and the system in which it was good enough, and the man who recorded it in the studio, and the person whose job it was to make that man shout that line at that moment.

It’s a woeful experience, empty bluster and noise, shouting into the wind of meaningless explosions and pointlessly detailed locations. Tomorrow in a full review I’ll discuss the technical issues, and the depth of failure the experience truly offers. And maybe how much it improves as it goes on? Maybe?

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253 Comments »

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  1. derbefrier says:

    sounds a lot like the 2 or so hours i spent struggling to try and enjoy Battlefield 4’s single player campaign.

    • Scissors says:

      You should try the first epsiode of the Arma 3 campaign. I am not being sarcastic, they (BIS) have made a campaign worth playing, I was so surprised that I forgot to enjoy it at first.

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        Gap Gen says:

        It is good, the last stretch of the last mission aside, which was mildly frustrating. Looking forward to the next parts.

      • TV-PressPass says:

        I’m always pleased when any videogame ever puts me in a peace-keeping role for a portion of the campaign. I play Arma for sandbox enjoyment, but even the campaign has been unusually compelling.

        Co-incidentally I stopped playing COD after the first Modern Warefare.

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          Gap Gen says:

          MILD SPOILER:

          In the actual game you’re more in a survival/guerrilla role. But yes, more realistic scenarios are nice.

      • derbefrier says:

        Ohhh yeah I forgot about that. Sounds like a good way to spend next Sunday. I will definately give it a go.

    • db1331 says:

      I bit the bullet and played the first level of the BF4 campaign just to unlock the Rex in Multiplayer, which will hold me over until I get the .44 magnum. It was so fucking boring. I almost couldn’t get through it. And that was only like 15 minutes.

      • Buffer117 says:

        COD always used to be focussed on a great single player game with an ok multiplayer which has now become a multiplayer I would never play for “Fun” an a single player I’m unlikely to either. I honestly don’t understand why Battlefield has a single player? I have never bought a Battlefield game to play single player and I have never bought COD to play multiplayer (I know I must be the only one). Thats why I haven’t bought a COD since MW2 and I wont be doing so, its also why I wont be pressing the single player start button on the BF4 menu when I buy it, post its beta phase.

        • Phendron says:

          I quite liked the single player in Bad Company, both 1st and 2nd. I’m not sure where the rest of the community stands there.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            I liked it number 2 that is). The tank bit was fun and the story enjoyably silly.

          • shaydeeadi says:

            I loved the first Bad Company. There were major objectives to accomplish and a playground of combined arms between you and them. You used whatever route you fancied, whatever vehicle or weapons you came across and rolled with it. I even played through it a few times which is rare for me.

            No idea why they regressed into a linear campaign for the sequel (even though it wasn’t horrible) and maintained that for BF3 and 4.

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            bills6693 says:

            Same, bad company 1 was very enjoyable. It was actually an open, free area. You had objectives but you had a wide open area with boats, tanks and other vehicles, or you could just walk it. There were all sorts of ways to get there. Do you go straight there over the bridge, or do you go the long way around, or take a boat up the river, or swim over? You could approach the objective from anywhere, and the destructible terrain made it even better.

            I think if the CoD singleplayer gave you that much freedom, it’d be awesome. Might even buy it on a sale!

          • sandineyes says:

            I thought that the BC2 single player wasn’t too bad actually, BUT something that really annoyed the shit out of me was the narration by the player character. Every line was a variation on the same attempt at dark humor about how things were awful, but that they were always awful. They were lines like:
            “So we were sent on a suicide mission by some guy who sent people like us on suicide missions every day. All in all, things were improving.”
            “So we were behind enemy lines, without supplies, and in the middle of a minefield. Typical day.”
            “So we were falling from 30,000ft, no parachute, covered in gasoline, on fire. Worst day since yesterday.”
            Also, the game is offensive to Texans.

          • Deadly Sinner says:

            The first sounds fun from what I’ve heard, but I can’t agree about the second. And it’s at least 75% due to the number of Carl Gustavs the enemy had. The other part was a lag between getting shot and the screen getting bloody. So I would always think I was healthier than I actually was.

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            particlese says:

            The only CoD or BF I’ve played was BC2, so I don’t have much grounds for comparison within the genre, but I felt similarly to how John feels about Ghosts (so far): It was an interesting start that quickly degenerated into “oh, right, I should be having fun here”. I do think the sound was generally really well done, but that only gets you so far. Same thing happened to me with the PS3’s Resistance: Interesting start, plus some sweet weaponry, largely gone to waste.

            I’d conclude that maybe I just suck at and generally hate those kinds of games, but I loved the heck out of Crysis 1 (plus Warhead). That’s a mostly-linear manshoot, right? It sure was the way I played it. Maybe it’s just that you’re not forcibly hand-held by orders at all times there. How do the earlier CoDs compare in that sense?

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        darkChozo says:

        For what it’s worth, from what I recall the first level of BF4 is way, way heavier on the scripted bits than the rest of the game. My guess is that it was at least partially designed as a showpiece for trailers and gameplay demos and such, thus the classic-rock-plays-while-horrible-war-thing-happens scene and the oh-look-a-helicopter-building-is-collapsing-on-me scene that look good but play horribly.

        That being said, BF4 single player easily has the worst plot and/or gameplay contextualization of any blam blam AAA shooter campaign that I’ve ever played.

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      liquidsoap89 says:

      I’m honestly kind of enjoying the BF4 single player… Sure it’s not very inspiring, but you can really tell that DICE at least looked at what people complained about. There’s no go here icon plastered in the middle of your screen, there’s no follow icon above some guys head constantly, the levels (some of them) are slightly open, you yourself get to open some doors and the shooting itself is still really good. I wouldn’t rank it among my favourites, but I don’t think it’s deserving of some of the hate it’s receiving (which I think is mostly due to people just automatically hating it because it’s single player in a Battlefield game).

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        9of9 says:

        I’m with you on this. It’s not great, no, but I’d go so far as to call it… pleasant. Aside from being gorgeously pretty, the more open maps feel more like Crysis than CoD to me (albeit Crysis 2).

        Most of all, I’m actually pretty disappointed I’m not seeing any articles discussing how bloody great the treatment of female characters in the script is. For a modern military shooter, it actually sets a pretty damned good baseline for how women should be written that surpasses a fair few blockbusters, let alone other modern military shooters. The fact that it passes the Bechdel test is noteworthy in itself.

        The plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in geopolitical sense, but they’ve clearly gone for emphasis on inter-character drama instead and I wouldn’t say they’ve done an especially terribly job of it. At least, not until the ridiculously, hilariously silly ending.

        • morbiD says:

          It might have looked pretty and had decent gunplay, but I found the whole experience rather jarring, simply due to the fact that your character is supposedly the squad leader and yet remains mute for the entire game, while on numerous occasions your comrades talk directly to you and even ask you questions but then continue their monologues without even waiting for a response from you.

          I also experienced repeated instances of being unable to get my NPC squad mates to progress with their scripting until I located errant AI enemies cowering behind boxes in the corners of of the maps, who I can only assume were suffering from shell shock or had succumbed to a sudden stroke. Once disposed of, my team happily continued on to the next closed door that required my considerable handle turning skills.

          The only reason I finished the campaign was to acquire the M249 and P90 for multiplayer.

  2. Servicemaster says:

    I think it’s time to put the controller down and maybe go for a walk. Get some air. Remind yourself of an existence beyond this. Beyond the poor souls trapped in such a scripted life, forever fighting a fight for no reason or will. Just to fight.

    I believe that if there is a hell, this game is where your soul is to be trapped.

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    bills6693 says:

    I’m not sure what happened to Call of Duty’s campaigns.

    I remember playing CoD 1, 2 & 4 (the three that I ever bought). I also played the campaigns on another person’s system for 5, 6, and 7. (the ww2 one, modern warfare 2 and black ops).

    Now, I have great memories from 1, 2 & 4. I remember epic scenes crossing the river in Stalingrad and fighting with no rifle and just 5 bullets. I remember being a gunner in a bomber over Germany. I remember blowing up a German dam, I remember landing in gliders, defending pegasus bridge, all sorts. Lots from CoD 4 too.

    All three of those games seemed really fun. I never played multiplayer, those games were there for single player for me.

    However when I think back realistically, even then the game was leading my by the nose. I went through scripted scene after scripted scene. Long turret sections, even in the first game. If you left the ‘combat area’ everywhere else was a minefield and you died.

    Scripted scenes and pyrotecnics – check
    AI partners leading the way – check
    Insta-death from leaving the combat area – check
    Generic super-soldier story – check

    The only real understanding of what was going on was mainly ‘its WW2, so you know the plot. Kill Nazis.’

    Honestly, I don’t think the campaigns have gotten that much worse – heck, the scenes and pyro is even more impressive now. I just think expectations have risen. If the campaign has gotten worse, I don’t think it is by that much, at least.

    TL:DR – The campaign has always been on-rails, scripted, turret sections and generic plot. We just expect more now, whereas 10 years ago the campaigns were high-quality for their time.

    • Lusketrollet says:

      I think bills6693 has the right idea.

    • Geebs says:

      Just the other day I was thinking to myself that I was sure I remembered the campaigns in CoD 1 and 2 having been pretty good. I reckon that the difference was that back then they used all the scripting and spectacle to bring home the way that you were stuck in the middle of huge, incomprehensible events that might arbitrarily kill you at no notice. The constant hail of bullets in some of the levels led to the odd situation that at a couple of points I tried to survive just by hiding in a corner and waiting for it all to blow over. CoD taught me that I am, in fact, a coward.

      • GameCat says:

        It will not blow until you reach the checkpoint, so playing the coward will not help. :d

      • John Walker says:

        I had precisely the same experience. I only survived one mission by hiding, and I felt *terrible*. I can’t imagine feeling anything at all during the recent games, which is such a shame.

        In fact, I wrote about that for Gamer years back. I might dig it out and post it.

        • Geebs says:

          The bit I should have emphasised was that I wasn’t hiding with the aim of completing the level – I was just hiding.

        • morbiusnl says:

          you should!

        • Skull says:

          I remember that piece! It came during a time of my life where all I had was the latest issue of PCG and *shudder* the outside. I read that mag front to back multiple times and that was by far my favorite article even though it was just a page long because it made me think gaming must have evolved so much to allow you to do that and I bought COD 1 on the back of it.

          I also remember it had a first look preview of Bioshock so it must have been years ago now. :)

        • frenz0rz says:

          Might that have been Pavlov’s House? If so, I recall doing exactly the same thing.

          Thinking back, that was a masterful level; picking off the snipers, assaulting the house, setting up defences and bunkering down as the world quickly went to hell around you. I recall holding the ground floor and firing rockets off at tanks before getting overwhelmed and retreating to the second floor. Then the third floor. Then as the enemies swarmed in from all sides and the walls shook from tank shells and mortar fire, I hid in the attic as my comrades fought on. A coward, I was!

          Also I’d love to read that article of yours John. I know I have it somewhere in my 10-year-pile of PCG mags, I’d no doubt spend days trying to find the right issue.

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            phuzz says:

            Interestingly clifski commented on that original story:

            the COD games do the best ever impression of real warfare. It can indeed be pretty unsettling at times. God knows what COD 6 will be like.

            Um, funny you should ask mate…

      • Baldanders says:

        I remember that back when CoD 1 first came out, the general critical opinion actually saw positively the departure the game operated from the traditional uberpowerful FPS hero by having the player be just one fairly fragile member of a squad of soldiers who were mostly able to hold their own against the enemy even if you’re just hiding in a corner.

        I guess that IW got the wrong message out of that and reacted by reducing player agency even further in each new game of the series, thinking it would make it all more “cinematic”, while also introducing other travesties like regenerating health.

        • Duke of Chutney says:

          I remember this. In the earlier Medal of Honor games you would run around wolfenstein style with an lmg tucked under the arm on full auto.

          In one of the early levels of COD1 the mortar shells could just take you out from bad luck if i remember. Also the guys running around with you weren’t just there to tell you what to do. They were principally there to die, and remind you that everyone is dying. MH had the you vs the whole of the axis model of war. CoD1 made it more real back then.

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        Bugamn says:

        I think that another difference is that you didn’t see the rails as much in the first CoD’s. I remember, for example, Stalingrad. I would die the moment I stepped out of the battle zone, but there were commissars shotting deserters, so it was justified, besides the heavy shotting in the beach.
        I never felt constrained as the descriptions of those games make me feel (haven’t played any CoD since World at War, and I must admit that I don’t remember it very well).

    • Ross Angus says:

      Dunno if I agree about COD2: I’m pretty sure some maps had more than one path (this is certainly true for World At War). It’s not STALKER, but I have a feeling that the AI is pretty good at changing position, to reflect the player’s position.

      Yes, NPCs get to open all the doors. But I get the sense in the earlier games that the NPCs follow you, rather than the other way round.

      On a side note: thanks for this, John. Excellent work as always!

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        bills6693 says:

        Oh yes, it was excellent and I enjoyed it greatly, and still have good memories. I’m just saying, it was still pretty on-rails.

        I don’t remember exactly what was what campaign, but isn’t this the campaign where you:
        Crawled through the pipeline in russia into a tank factory. On rails.
        Held up in a church with a machine gun and mowed down waves of Nazis
        Ran through trenches in the desert
        Defended a courtyard from nazi bombers sitting on an anti-air turret
        Sat in a landing boat watching people throw up and get shot as you crossed a river
        All sorts of other bits that were on-rails or turret sections. They were enjoyable and fun, but pretty scripted still. Maybe there has been a little more taken away from the players in recent years but honstly, I think the bigger thing is we just remember the old ones more fondly and better than they actually were.

        I think part of it may also be the ‘realism’ factor, that people fought these wars, this was sort of like what they lived through. A lot was also ‘borrowed’ from films like enemy at the gates, saving private ryan etc and that felt familiar. I think that was more relatable than slightly-future-war hypothetical situation that is totally unrealistic to actually happen. Makes it more fantasy and less realistic IMHO.

        • Guvornator says:

          But maybe that was the clue – ALL the best bits were half-inched from movies. Once they had to start making up their own plot lines the series really started to suffer, and now it’s become this self-plagiarizing, generic gunk.

    • John Walker says:

      I disagree. I’ve been back to play CODs 1 and 2, and yes, they’re linear, and they have scripted setpieces, but they remain thrilling and moving in ways that these more recent games don’t come close to.

      • FurryLippedSquid says:

        Exactly. Thoughtful stories that touched more than your adrenal gland. Such a shame.

      • Lusketrollet says:

        I disagree. I’ve been back to play CODs 1 and 2, and yes, they’re linear, and they have scripted setpieces, but they remain thrilling and moving in ways that these more recent games don’t come close to.

        What is it, in your opinion, that makes those games better, then?

        Is your problem with the modern CoDs as opposed to the earlier CoDs, that while they are both heavily scripted, the earlier ones had better story and/or presentation?

        • John Walker says:

          I think it’s a few things. Firstly, and I think this is really crucial, you felt like you were at the front. You were in a crowd of soldiers, and you were given orders, but you were able to take a lead, make decisions, and crucially, choose how you tackled a situation. That’s gone now – now you kill the man it says to kill, but not the next one, but then this one but with a knife not a gun… And you’re at the back, irrelevant, following the pack.

          Then the subject matter. CODs 1 and 2 dealt with WW2 with a reverence that is unmatched, the missions developed based on the anecdotes of veterans they interviewed, created with a desire to honour those people by telling at least some truth. I’m not being po-faced and saying “RAH RAH OUR BOYS!” at all, because I’m nothing like that, but simply that this element seemed to seep into the development, such that the games were honest. They portrayed a brutal, miserable, hopeless war, having you play as unheroic fodder, a disposable kid in a crowd of disposable kids, suffering in horror. I remember having to quit out of COD1 after every couple of missions to calm down, be less overwhelmed. They were moving, tragic games. Compared to this, COD:Ghosts is a hollow plastic toy.

          The games now are about spectacle, about telling your their ugly, lazy story, while blowing shit up. You’re just there to do as you’re told and watch when the building falls over. For me they just don’t compare.

          • Lusketrollet says:

            …you felt like you were at the front. You were in a crowd of soldiers, and you were given orders, but you were able to take a lead, make decisions, and crucially, choose how you tackled a situation.

            I don’t think I will ever understand why this seems to be so enormously important to certain people.

            I remember having to quit out of COD1 after every couple of missions to calm down, be less overwhelmed.

            Jesus Christ. Saying things like that only makes you come off as overly emotional and in no way helps you being taken seriously in discussions on this matter.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I think one of my favourite things on TV was band of brothers because they were determined to honour the memories of the people they spoke too – The stories the vets told would have never been dreamed up in a hollywood studio because they didn’t conform to script writing rules, yet what the stories lacked in the drama we can give to fiction made them all the more poignant because you know they are someone’s memories of that situation.

            Band of Brothers Spoilers:

            Think of Blithes story, he spend D Day asleep in a ditch, he was too scared to shoot at the Germans, he shot wildly into the air when he was scared the guy next to him would shoot him for being a coward. He took a single aimed shot at a retreating soldiers back and killed him, found his courage and was shot by a sniper when he volunteered to take point.

            Take that script to any producer in the world and you would be rejected, but this was the genuine recollections of his platoon, not the truth but their memories and that makes the story ever so special.

            @Lusketrollet – I’m sure it makes you feel so manly that you can headshot your way through a “war” without being affected by the … you know what, you’re not even worth the effort.

          • SillyWizard says:

            @Lusketrollet

            That’s extremely inappropriate and…frankly comes across as psychopathic, in the clinical sense of having diminished (or nonexistent) empathy.

            If I were you I’d be less concerned with John being affected by powerfully-presented fiction dealing with unspeakable subject matter, and more concerned with your lack of same.

          • John Walker says:

            @Lusketrollet – What a peculiar thing to say. Should I be equally chastised for saying I left the cinema after watching All Quiet On The Western Front feeling emotionally shattered and bleak? Surely what I’m saying is credit to the efficacy of the game’s storytelling.

            As for why it’s important to feel like you’re getting to play the game when you’re playing the game, and not meekly sweeping up behind the AI that gets to have the fun… I’m not sure that it needs elaboration!

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            Gap Gen says:

            I think the thing is that a lot of videogames based in WWII are heavily influenced by Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan (hell, some of the levels are identical in MoH:AA and CoD). This meant that they carried with their inspiration a sense of reverence for the people who put themselves into that situation. Since Modern Warfare, that sense no longer exists because the games’ influence has shifted to Michael Bay-style films and action thrillers. These films don’t have a grounding in reality so much as a grounding in paranoia and a media-echo-chambered sense of fear for national security. As I see it, the games have gone from copying (possibly blindly) the subtext of historical dramas about real people and events to copying (almost certainly blindly) a subtext of deep, primal fear of the other. It’s not surprising that they can’t replicate the sense of gravitas and respect for their subject matter, because they weren’t generating it on their own in the first place.

            This is, of course, not to denigrate Infinity Ward and its offspring as being bad game designers, and even if they didn’t have a Spielberg-level person in their team directing the games, they were still capable of bottling Spielberg’s work for a videogame, which isn’t easy.

          • Universal Quitter says:

            Given the choice between being an emotional “wuss,” like Walker, or being a musty, cantankerous pile of machismo and blithe judgment, like LuskerTROLLet, I think I’d choose wuss every time. If analytical intelligence is what separates us from the animals, then surely emotional depth is the dividing line between humans and fucking robots.

            Pretty important if you ask me…

            Besides, I don’t think the guy with the world class gaming journalism blog needs any tips on how to be taken seriously. I don’t know much about getting “review code,” but the fact that RPS is sometimes sent an advance copy speaks to how seriously they’re taken by many of the people that actually MAKE games.

          • fish99 says:

            Lusketrollet/

            Did you really just say you don’t understand why people want to make decisions in games? IMO that’s a sad thing to admit, that you just want a rollercoaster, a movie, not an interactive personal experience. Me, I want a big open map, an objective, and as many ways of achieving it as possible. I want to pick my own route, and use my own initiative, not just do exactly as I’m told. A game needs to engage my brain. The best shooters I’ve played gave you this, like Delta Force, Project IGI, Operation Flashpoint, Stalker, or even Just Cause 2.

          • malkav11 says:

            I would completely understand being upset by a game where the only play were “sweeping up behind the AI”, as you describe, but that’s not been my experience of any Call of Duty singleplayer campaign and I’ve played everything through Black Ops II (and Medal of Honor and Battlefield 3’s SP, for that matter, none of which operate as described.) If anything, I get irritated by the sheer number of times the games decide that your random generic tough guy soldier is the only one who can possibly [blow up that tank/take that position/rescue that man/breach that door/insert random, possibly insanely specialized task here].

            That said, they are, certainly, strongly linear theme park rides that thrive primarily on spectacle. Again, totally understand not being into that. But unlike some of their competition (the aforementioned Medal of Honor), they have so far understood how to deliver on that approach. I just wish they’d release the SP as a separate $15-30 download and actually discount them meaningfully over time. Asking me to drop $60 on a one-off thrill ride that lasts a few hours is a pretty enormously arrogant thing to do and since I never have and never will play the multiplayer, that is in no way a justification for that insane pricetag.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            @Lusketrollet
            “”…you felt like you were at the front. You were in a crowd of soldiers, and you were given orders, but you were able to take a lead, make decisions, and crucially, choose how you tackled a situation.”

            I don’t think I will ever understand why this seems to be so enormously important to certain people.”

            You mean you don’t understand why actually using your brain, analysing a situation and figuring out how to deal with it rather than just being told where to point and click is important? If you don’t understand why this is VERY important to a gaming experience I’d suggest you need to start playing some better games.

          • HadToLogin says:

            To tell truth, I hope Luske talks mostly about “being part of team”, because I also don’t get why people love playing that little mute guy who saves the world while everybody orders him around.
            In Quake’s or Dooms whole story was in one sentence – there’s some evil, kill it. And since Half Life this didn’t changed at all, game-devs just decided they will make that sentence to be hours long. And I for one doesn’t find that fun, because those minutes those generals/scientists/whoever talks instead of opening doors are minutes wasted – mostly because I still didn’t found FP SHOOTER with engaging story. But that probably because they happen “without player” – you either are forced to stand in one place looking at someones teeth, or jump around whole place thinking “why that scientist is still talking about his problems instead screaming ‘COULD YOU STOP JUMPING OVER MY HEAD!!!'” – and whole immersion goes to crapper.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @Had to log in – luckily there are tonnes of games with no story beyond “Kill bad stuff”. Forgive any negative connotations to my analogy here, but doom is like a roast dinner, it comforting, tasty and a meal everyone looks forward too. Dress it up as you want, you’ll never impress with it in the same way that you would if you served scallops in a cream rosemary sauce, wild rice with squid. One is on the menu at Le Gavroche, yet we all know Michel Roux Jr tucks into a plain old roast with as much gusto as anyone.

            My point is that some games are for the connoisseur. If you are finding your immersion broken because you have jumped on the head of the scientist, you have basically just put ketchup on your scallops. You ruined your own immersion by pratting around – please remember I asked you to forgive negative connotations, they are difficult to avoid – this is because you are not into the game, it’s not your kind of game. And that’s fine, no insult intended.

            If all games knew what they were and who they would be for, then there would be no issue, but we are talking about a game here that is the frozen prawn ring. It’s not ever going to be on the menu at Le Gavroche, it is ridiculed by connoisseurs the land over and is enjoyed by people who wouldn’t eat at MRJ’s restaurants. So why is it so desperate to pretend that it is high end eating? Why is COD pretending it has some emotional story, that you are going to cry over your dog when it is played and enjoyed by people who shun this.

            Everyone has their own taste and there are plenty of games to cater to each, but certain games do tend to pretend to cater for a higher brow of gamer when truthfully, they don’t. You can’t really complain when they are judged by the standards they pretend to have achieved. Don’t defrost a prawn ring and claim that you hired MRJ to cook this for you.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            The thing you have to remember is that a roast dinner would be preferred by most over the scallops and squid. It is only treated as better by a small amount of people who like to think they know better, that they have higher intelligence, higher appreciation than the “peons” around them. At the end of the day games the same as food is all about personal preference, however some people are suckered in by these so called experts that like to create a superior attitude towards things. Its this pretentiousness that needs to leave gaming at the moment.

            However to continue with your roast analogy, to me CoD is like a bad roast, I feel like I should be enjoying it, i’m just not. The meat is overcooked, the potatoes are burned and the vegetables are soggy. To cap the dining experience off I have some moron yelling in my ear the whole time telling me exactly which morsel to eat next.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Please don’t judge people based on your own small minded stereotypes, I think you’ll find that while there are a tiny minority of people who think they are more intelligent than others based on food (or music or game) choice, there are plenty of people who don’t act pretentiously and just enjoy a wider or different range of food (music or games) and appreciate the skill and the flavour produced by the creator (composer, studio).

            People who think that people who enjoy, for example, classical music are pretentious generally are commenting more on their own ignorance than the perceived intelligence of the classical music fan. It’s no secret that quite often people criticise that which they are scared they could not achieve themselves, or are scared of their peers reactions to.

            That aside, the thrust of your argument seems to be the same as mine, people like different stuff and that’s OK, also COD is not a shining example of a roast dinner FPS. I still maintain that it was trying to be a fancy dinner FPS with all that dog emotional stuff, but I won’t argue fact-less opinions!

          • dsch says:

            @Lusketrollet:

            “Jesus Christ. Saying things like that only makes you come off as overly emotional and in no way helps you being taken seriously in discussions on this matter.”

            You do realise that being overly emotional is approximately the entire reason John Walker exists, right? He has to demonstrate this regularly either positively by crying over 15-minute 8-bit adventures, or negatively by slamming this kind of thing which only brainless children/Americans/zombies can enjoy.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            I’m not stereotyping anyone, you did that by calling me small minded. It is pretty much accurate that there are a great deal of people who look down on popular things in a direct attempt to make themselves appear superior, more intelligent than the masses. It is an opinion you hear all the time on these types of message boards alone.
            “Only people of lower intelligence could enjoy this” “Most people aren’t intelligent enough to understand this game” and such other bullshit sentiments.
            It is an attitude that is infecting gaming at the moment and needs to stop, it is not just bullshit stereotyping on my part, this is an attitude I am seeing displayed by people over and over again in an attempt to justify their own demented ego and make themselves feel better than others and you know what, its absolutely pathetic.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Well I do apologise, let me explain that English is a forth language for me, I used the term “small minded” to state that your experience is not the sum total of humanities experience. We are all small minded by definition as we only have our singular mind to draw from when it comes to experience. No stereotyping was intended. I was simply pointing out that your anecdotal evidence is worthless, of the like below:

            “The thing you have to remember is that a roast dinner would be preferred by most over the scallops and squid. ”

            This is just you presenting your opinion as a fact, this is why I said small minded, I was saying that you can’t know that unless you have some data to support this assertion, but this has been your experience. I was saying that you can’t post things that people you know say and you feel in your heart to be true as fact.

            Anyway I deliberately chose a roast dinner because it is popular as is COD. GTA is bolognaise. Fifa is Pie and chips. Football manager is Sausage and mash.

        • FurryLippedSquid says:

          It’s hard to explain for me. Suffice to say 1 & 2 seemed far more Saving Private Ryan than Independence Day. I can pick out missions such as Stalingrad, Sainte-Mère-Église or Hill 400. The only one I can remember from a later game is the sniper mission in Pripyat, and that’s only because it was bombastic for the time, not because it struck a historical chord with me.

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          At this point I feel compelled to also point out the Brothers In Arms games, whose developers went to extraordinary lengths to recreate battles and areas from the Normandy Invasions, as well as being excellent from character and story perspectives. Its one of the few games where I honestly cared if one of my guys died. That it was also a brilliant tactical (if towards the arcadey end of ‘tactical’) shooter was icing on the cake. When I think of WWII games, Road to Hill 30 is what is top of my list for most memorable experience.

        • Premium User Badge

          jrodman says:

          I find the judgements that people make on reacting with “reason” vs “emotion” to scenarios to be rather curious. Sometimes we paint people as wrong for being upset by upsetting things “You’re being emotional.” When taking meyers briggs tests in the 90s, people would rarely be willing to admit that they tend more towards the thinking than feeling, thinking it’s somehow robotic or cold to lean in that direction.

          The obvious telltale here was asking for why someone might appreciate one thing more than another, followed by a castigation of the answer. Does Lusketrollet belong to the school of thought that strong emotional reaction is bad? Or just reactions that deviate from his/her own are wrong? Or is it simply a troll? I couldn’t say but Lusketrollet should look within and find a way to improve.

          • Radiant says:

            Jesus guys TROLL successful.

          • The Random One says:

            Well, as I said to the guy wot made The Stanley Parable, I’m very rational, but also very emotional.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Random One: It’s a false premise. Human thought doesn’t work without both. Modern cognition research is pretty conclusive.

        • Dagda says:

          I think there’s something simpler: The majority of the levels in COD1*, COD2 and Modern Warfare were wide corridors-combat spaces that had at least 3 distinct routes available for traversing forwards to the next checkpoint, with pros and cons whose significance was altered in intriguing ways by your particular choice of loadout.

          The very moment COD4 begins in proper- after the training course and ship+execution prologues, once you’ve bashed down the first door and had an introductory gunfight- you left standing before a basement armory containing seemingly 80-90% of the weapons in the game. They wanted you to experiment, so that you could find a loadout and set of tactics that worked with one another well enough to proceed.

          *: Editing post to say that on second thought, I can’t remember COD1 well enough to say if it qualifies.

      • Premium User Badge

        bills6693 says:

        I think it is the setting that makes them more emotional. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the campaigns very much. But I think a lot of it was being in the middle of WW2, a real war that real people fought. It also just seemed more desperate and dangerous, I think possibly because of dated weapons – no red-dot tomohawk-summoning nuclear powered assault rifle with grenade launcher & shotgun attachment, but instead down-to-earth, difficult to use bolt-action rifles.

        I think the setting was important and the new fantasy-war, unrealistic, super soldier setting has distanced the player from the story. Yes realistically WW2 didn’t go that way, no soldier went round killing so many men and doing these insane things, but it was in a real setting and it felt more desperate and real.

      • RobinOttens says:

        I think he’s right about CoD4 though. I’ve gone back to play Modern Warfare and found it nigh unbearable, despite having somewhat positive memories of that campaign.

    • Mman says:

      I’d say the general campaign stuff is mostly right (although the earlier Call of Duty games legitimately give you freedom to do things in the order you want at times). However, the context of them is important. Since COD 1 and 2 are based on historical events there’s less need for cohesion, and you don’t really question getting swapped between random characters and similar because there’s never a focus on overarching narrative in the first place. There’s also an inherent emotional connection in the “something like this might have actually happened” context the whole game has (even despite the obvious one-man army exaggerations).

      COD 4 doesn’t have that, but it’s plot is also much more coherent than the games that have ripped it off, and the character swaps and similar come at the right times to build on the story and context of things; one or two moments can be slightly confusing, but there’s never the “what the fuck is even happening?” moments that almost every clone has had (the Black Ops games were probably the best follow-ups at avoiding that, which is funny given how batshit insane their plots are). Given that putting you in the middle of some sort of epic war story is what these games want to do getting that context right is pretty important to making the experience appealing.

      • Lusketrollet says:

        I’d say the general campaign stuff is mostly right (although the earlier Call of Duty games legitimately give you freedom to do things in the order you want at times). However, the context of them is important. Since COD 1 and 2 are based on historical events there’s less need for cohesion, and you don’t really question getting swapped between random characters and similar because there’s never a focus on overarching narrative in the first place. There’s also an inherent emotional connection in the “something like this might have actually happened” context the whole game has (even despite the obvious one-man army exaggerations).

        COD 4 doesn’t have that, but it’s plot is also much more coherent than the games that have ripped it off, and the character swaps and similar come at the right times to build on the story and context of things; one or two moments can be slightly confusing, but there’s never the “what the fuck is even happening?” moments that almost every clone has had (the Black Ops games were probably the best follow-ups at avoiding that, which is funny given how batshit insane their plots are). Given that putting you in the middle of some sort of epic war story is what these games want to do getting that context right is pretty important to making the experience appealing.

        I see your point. Well said.

    • vhscampos says:

      You’re spot on. After John cited the first two games, I tried to remember how things were back in 2004/2005 in CoD.

      The way single-player campaigns work actually didn’t change at all. It’s on rails and loaded with set pieces as it always has been, at least in Call of Duty series. Nevertheless, I used to love those games. Because they were set in WW2.

      On the other hand, I can’t say the same for the multiplayer. CoD1’s MP was really much better than what it is now. Capture The Flag was so much fun…

    • MrUnimport says:

      This is absolutely right. I went back and replayed the first few missions of COD2 recently and the game’s flow is almost identical. Amusingly, a fair amount of the sound effects ARE identical, like that one of a grenade landing at your feet. COD2 can hardly be praised for its portrayal of soldiers’ experiences either considering it takes mostly from Hollywood and features a cast of mostly-blase soldiers blasting their way through Nazi Germany, when they’re not outright caricatures. The main difference between COD2 and COD Current is that in neo-COD you’re using tacticool everything in a world of generic-feeling assault rifles, you personally resolve the main plot of the game (is this an issue, really?), and you spend more and more time in the company of invulnerable spec ops dudes and less and less with grunts who get their heads blown off by enemies.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      A few things.
      Firstly I think that yes we probably do expect more now because this has been done before. When CoD came out it felt great to be a part of something way bigger than we were used to with FPS games which were generally you being the lone hero killing everything in sight.
      Secondly, for me the WW2 setting just feels so much better with this type of scripting, its something that actually happened, something some of our grandparents might have been a part of. I remember playing CoD 1 and 2 (Medal of Honor too) and the whole time thinking “this would have been fucking insane”. You just don’t get that feeling with some nondescript, generic near future setting.
      Thirdly those early CoD games were not on rails to the same extent that MW1 and since have been. In MW1 you regularly faced endless spawns of enemies until you hit some arbitrary checkpoint, I hated that style of gameplay (I tested it once, literally stood there for 15-20 minutes killing the same 4 enemy spawns over and over). The WW2 games had well thought out enemy placement, deadly MG placements to flank and grenade etc, it was much more intelligently scripted than any of the MW games. There was no “Kill this one sniper to progress, and just so you definitely know we’ve put a massive marker on his head” moments, everything felt much more natural.
      In CoD 1 and 2 I felt like I could actually affect the fight that was going on, I could make decisions, “Make Plays” so to speak, if you could sneak around and grenade a machine gun placement, you would then see your comrades able to move up from cover. In recent CoD games you are a complete puppet, you do things to progress the level only when you are told by the game you can do it. The scripting is much more rigid when most of us want them to be going the other way with it.

      Mr Unimport makes a good point also. I’ve always found WW2 kit far more interesting for a game. Modern War games have a glut of high tech weaponry, all doing pretty much the same thing, 4/8x scopes, relatively similar firing rate, relatively similar clip size, accuracy etc.
      WW2 kit was a definite choice of functionality. Single-shot bolt action rifles with decent long range accuracy but terrible firing rate, SMG’s with a high fire rate that can’t hit anything beyond 10 yards and Machine Guns that are heavy and slow, take an age to set up but are powerful once in position. The gun you are using really affects your playstyle and adds to the decisions you are required to make in game.

      • Low Life says:

        The range of weapons is surely what made the older CoDs more enjoyable for me. The games have never been particularly great shooters, you’re mostly just shooting dudes without any sort of feedback until their hidden health bar drops to zero and they fall down. But at least in the WW2 setting every weapon required a different approach, making the situations themselves much more varying. Running out of ammo for your favourite weapon often forced you into adapting your playstyle instead of picking up another weapon that works just the same but has five less bullets in its magazine.

        This is also why it’s much easier to make a passable scifi shooter, as the weapons can be differentiated much better and that alone makes the shooting more interesting.

        • MrUnimport says:

          I’ve actually always thought hit feedback and enemy animation is one of modern COD’s strong suits. Enemies stumble and sprint and, life force depleted, hit the ground in charmingly animated ways. At least it beats out HL2 as far as that goes.

  4. LionsPhil says:

    LOOKAT THAT LITTLE DOGGUMS HE’S RIDING IN A HUMMVEE LIKE HE’S PEOPLE

    Man, screw all these words, I gotta buy a game where a dog is my gunner.

    • Premium User Badge

      Llewyn says:

      To be fair, he – the fictional, pixellated dog – is more people than the creatures who sanction the development of the single player aspect of these games.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      His name is Wuffeh Wuff Mc Shootington and his favourite weapon is the Walker (dog) Jelly Gun

    • thekelvingreen says:

      You can play as the dog! Now all we need is for someone to hack it so you can play as the dog for the whole game.

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        Change all the gruff guy shoutouts to BONIO AT 2 O CLOCK or GOOD BOY or OH NO SQUEAKY TOY IS DOWN.

    • Shuck says:

      He’s driving it, isn’t he? If you only played the dog, I might actually consider buying it.

  5. GameCat says:

    “Three Hours With”.
    So, you finished it, right?

  6. Risingson says:

    So I enjoyed the single player of Modern Warfare 1 and 2 and haven’t played any of the following ones since then. Did I miss anything?

    • Premium User Badge

      Morlock says:

      Modern Warfare 3 is better than 2. It is even more over the top, but in a more coherent way. The campaign only gets weak in the final hour or so.

      CODBLOPS is tedious, and from the little I played from its successor, you are not missing anything by avoiding CODBLOPS altogether.

      • Risingson says:

        Thank you!

        • Bull0 says:

          I disagree, and have found the campaign modes from Blops and Blops 2 altogether more enjoyable than MW2/MW3. I’ve played them all in their entirety. The main thing is they’re pretty different. Ghosts seems to sit somewhere in the middle, based on what I’ve played so far.

      • nopol10 says:

        It has a great acronym though. BLOPBLOPBLOPBLOPBLOP

    • malkav11 says:

      If you enjoyed MW1 and 2 (especially because you also enjoyed 2, which is where many people seem to have gone off the franchise), then yes, you have. Both MW3 and the Black Ops franchise have some very cool setpieces to offer, and although I frankly haven’t followed an iota of the Modern Warfare franchise’s plot (it’s kind of disjointed and I can’t see as it’s mattered particularly since the first one), Black Ops’ plot was trippy and convoluted enough to be kind of mildly interesting. And Black Ops II did some stuff with branching missions and unlockable gear that might be cool? I dunno. I only played a few levels and haven’t been back but I want to change that at some point. I know a fair number of people were pissed off about the near future setting but that was easily the most exciting development in the franchise to date for me.

  7. Premium User Badge

    mpk says:

    There is nothing in this world that will ever convince me to buy any flavour of Battleduty game, but I do hope that the full review will be as vitriolic and bilious as those writings caused by previous iterations. Because at least that’s more entertaining than someone writing “Why, why, why the fuck WHY?” 1800 times and then posting a Youtube of themselves sighing mournfully.

    Actually, do the Youtube thing anyway.

    Bring the kitten.

  8. trjp says:

    Lots of people buy CoD (and GTA and FIFA) because – well – because lots of people buy those games, they’re acceptable and, indeed, not playing them could be seen as being ‘out of touch’.

    The sort of people who queue for CoD and then never go online with it are like the guy I worked with who played Crowded House CDs until they melted but wouldn’t have known if they were playing in his local pub because he only did it because ‘popular jaunty sounds which his friends talked about’.

    I don’t really mind that it’s single player sucks because I hate games which try to be more than one thing – either do good MP or good SP, don’t try to force both into the same thing, it almost never works…

    • John Walker says:

      GTA, whether it’s to your tastes or not, is an extraordinarily well-made and well-realised series. They are incredible single-player games, and I say that as someone who has only properly enjoyed GTA IV since GTA 2. I can see myriad reasons why people would want to play them and enjoy them. And the same goes for FIFA – even though I’ve less than no interest in foot-to-ball, the FIFA games are extremely well made. And those who know far better than me even excuse the annual iterations for what they add. I can’t see the comparison with the empty, contemptuous nature of COD.

      • trjp says:

        Oh I wasn’t suggesting those games shared any merit in ‘gaming’ terms, just that they’re the games that “everyone plays” – they’re the games people talk about – they’re the games the ‘hip kids’ have to play.

        I’m willing to bet 90% of the people queuing in our local ASDA last night had NO idea about the game, other than it was CoD.

        I know at least 2 people who queue for every CoD release – then play for about 10 hours, complete the SP and never return to it and I’m confused – I asked one of them once tho, and he said

        “I played online for 10 mins and got killed about 100 times so I’m never going back”

        “Ah – OK then – so you’re not buying the next one?”

        “Oh I’ll buy it because everyone I know will buy it…”

      • GamesInquirer says:

        I found GTA IV quite half baked with many badly realized mechanics myself, and an even worse PC port given the performance on even beastly PCs of its time. Even the shooting which is most of the gameplay outside driving was messy with a badly implemented cover system. It’s just not fun to control any part of the game. The missions being repetitive and boring and the sandbox world not allowing the crazy fun earlier, more aware of their brainless fun intentions, titles in the series didn’t help. I won’t even comment on the plot. I’ve heard GTAV is more like San Andreas so hopefully the PC port will be good.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Yeah I agree with his point. There is a lot of this, especially amongst kids, if you are the only one without GTA or CoD or FIFA and everyone is talking about how cool it is at school you are left out. Those kids will also be unable to form the opinion that the game is bad because they will be derided for their opinion, so they convince themselves they are playing the best thing ever.
        Trjp’s friend is the perfect example, he pays £60 every year for a 7 hour single player CoD game purely so he is able to talk about it, this is the effect popular games have on some people, you have to have it to be “cool”, especially amongst younger people.
        I did the same with gangster rap when I was a kid, everyone thought it was the coolest thing ever, so I started to buy it (and I did back then, do now and always have hated that shit).

        @John Walker,
        To be honest lots of CoD fans dive all over each release and start hyping what new the game brings, I fail to see how EA Sports yearly rehashes are any better, they really aren’t. Some people justify the money each year, that’s fair enough, but most new iterations add very little, maybe 1 or 2 features, no different to CoD.

  9. Alexander says:

    Call of duty, being the same shit. Completely unexpected.

    My question, related to something John says in the article: there are people that pay 60 fiat euro for the 4 hours of the scripted campaign?

    • Premium User Badge

      ffordesoon says:

      I did, for a while.

      The first Modern Warfare was an enjoyable linear manshoot that was constantly throwing new things at you and had serviceable pulp dialogue. There was a clear, entertaining airport-novel narrative there, and it pulled off some really cool tricks that only worked as well as they did because of the medium. It wasn’t Great Art or anything, but it was smartly designed and kept you engaged and entertained. You could tell Infinity Ward had a ton of fun working on it.

      It was a great start, and I was hoping they would evolve the formula just as drastically in the inevitable sequel. And they did, but in exactly the wrong direction.

      Modern Warfare 2’s campaign was the start of the trouble. The implicit subtitle could have been “Go Loud.” They made the boneheaded decision to develop a direct continuation of the first Modern Warfare, acting under the (mistaken, IMHO) assumption that people actually cared about the one-dimensional action-movie stereotypes that populated the previous title. The amount of silly little shit players were expected to remember from the first campaign was staggering.

      Worse than that, however, was the now-standard overreliance on setpieces and “watercooler moments.” Instead of pacing themselves and giving the Big Moments room to breathe, as they did in CoD4, they tried to stuff every single level with multiple Big Moments, suffocating any impact they might have had in the process. Where the first game had a plot, the second had a neverending string of moments piled on top of each other. It was still fun, but I never finished MW2’s campaign.

      The next one I played was Black Ops, which was a passably entertaining Cold War yarn. I did beat that one, but lost interest completely after that. I have a copy of Modern Warfare 3 I got for Christmas somewhere, but I’ve never touched it, and I didn’t buy Black Ops II. I don’t care about Ghosts, either.

      So yeah. Make of that what you will.

      • Radiant says:

        I agree with this whole heartedly. The pacing was abysmal past the first cod:mw.
        It was just EPIC SHOOTING into EPIC SHOOTING into EPIC SHOOTING and pretty soon epic became tedium. Which is quite the achievement to unlock.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        They also tried and failed to court controversy in the game with the pointless airport rampage scene. That said I personally think the Gulag level in MW2 was great and as good as anything in MW1, just most of the rest of it was utter dross, especially the stealth levels.

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        All of Duty 5: GO LOUD! would have made quite a good subtitle, and if they’d taken that and run with it (‘look how preposterous and over the top we can be!’) it might have been quite fun, instead it got a bit po-faced whilst still being loud, which missed the point for me.

        • Bull0 says:

          I think the po-faced, taking-itself-seriously thing is what I dislike about MW versus the more irreverent Blops, now you mention it. Couldn’t really put my finger on it before. Thanks!

  10. aergistal says:

    I just made 60€ / hour just by reading Rock Paper Shotgun and not buying CoD: Ghosts. That’s more than €10,000 / month work from home!

    • Premium User Badge

      bills6693 says:

      LOL!

      Wonder how many people just blocked you because they saw a money/hour and assumed you were a spambot

    • Premium User Badge

      tumbleworld says:

      Share with us your secrets! How much could I make if I decided to stay home and not buy the latest Adobe Creative Suite?

      • aergistal says:

        Well, considering they planned to go cloud + subscription only and also leaked 3 million credit card records (strongly encrypted – hopefully – with passwords that are clearly not 123456) I would say you have a great chance of amassing a large fortune in the short to medium term. However, in the long term, the money will go into psychological treatment for depression since the alternatives to Adobe CS are less than thrilling.

    • thekelvingreen says:

      Oh, very well played.

    • phelix says:

      Bravo! Have all my non-existent internet money!

    • anark10n says:

      This actually vindicates my unfortunate habit of reading these comments even when they’re bots, just in case I miss one just like this. Thank youS for this!

  11. db1331 says:

    Does anyone think it’s possible for one of these mainly MP modern shooters to ever have an interesting SP campaign again? I don’t know that it can be done. That’s why I don’t know why people even bother trying them. I played the first level of BF4’s campaign, but only to unlock a gun I wanted for MP. One of my fellow soldiers died, and I think I was supposed to care, but I don’t. I can’t even remember the names of a single character, the player character included. And I will never play another second of the campaign. 15 minutes was more than enough for me.

    • John Walker says:

      I think yes, definitely. The tens of millions of dollars that are spent on these campaigns could pay for the finest writers and directors to bring in novel and inspired ideas, and allow the obviously enormously talented teams at Activision to demonstrate their skills in an original project.

      • aergistal says:

        A good narrative and shooting endless waves of enemies in the face don’t mix very well. Game narratives are mediocre at best because they always have to be action oriented.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          To be fair, I’ve heard the same said about roleplaying game campaign narratives, then you witness a GM like this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTTSfN8wpsE&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PL-oTJHKXHicSxBj2DMq_zmJ0QALrhKzVg

          who keeps the players entertained without throwing wave after wave of enemies at them. Video gaming will get there and it’s getting there fast. We have never had such talent in the industry and so much more rising through the ranks. The GM in the video I linked worked on the secret world and is now working on a 40K game!

          • aergistal says:

            I hope the industry matures in the near future. For now they’re more into the pulp fiction area. And a FPS like CoD wouldn’t be the same thing without endless shooting, which is why I think you can’t really ask much. It would be a different product for a different market. And this is not just about games, the same difficulty lies also in film-making. See Ender’s Game, and the book is not the pinnacle of sci-fi. It’s a different medium, you can’t ask Lev Tolstoy or Hemingway to make the next 5-6 CoDs. Besides, those guys are dead and cold.

        • John Walker says:

          I’d suggest Tron 2.0 and Dark Forces as a couple of examples of how that’s not true.

          • aergistal says:

            Do you mean games based on mediocre sci-fi that caught up mainly because visual FX in a bygone era?

          • ViktorBerg says:

            Holy shit, did you just mention TRON 2.0? That insanely under-appreciated piece of marvel out of Monolith? It’s one of my favorite games (I think I’ve completed it at least 4 times), and one of the best movie games in history.

            Your street cred is going up, John.

          • Premium User Badge

            Nogo says:

            I dunno about you, aergistal, but I still remember the plot of Tron 2.0. Specifically how I wanted Jet to escape, so he could make his dad proud, by doing what was right.

            That’s a lot more than I can recall about many other games.

          • Ravenger says:

            Tron 2.0 is probably my all-time favourite FPS. Especially now the Killer-App mod makes it work properly in widescreen on modern PCs. It’s one of the only games I’ve played through three or four times. I tend to replay it every time I upgrade my PC. It still looks beautiful due to the non-realistic art style.

            It’s a shame Disney haven’t made it available on any digital distribution service. I’d repurchase it on Steam just for the convenience alone.

          • Premium User Badge

            melnificent says:

            Tron 2.0, the game the first game I double dipped on. Something about it spoke to me, the unique upgrade system, the setting, having an actual story, being the canon sequel to one of my favourite films.

            Ravenger, what’s this mod and where can I get it? I’d love to play on my new machine in proper widescreen. :D

          • Ravenger says:

            You can get the Tron 2.0 Killer App mod here:
            http://www.moddb.com/mods/killer-app

            It adds a load of extra stuff too, including (optional) cheat modes.

          • ViktorBerg says:

            I’ll probably replay it with cheats one day. I always hated that you only got the Prankster Bit at the VERY end, and could only upgrade it to Beta (there was only 1 optimization ware in the last level, and only one alpha download of the prankster bit). I want to play through much of the game with it.

      • SillyWizard says:

        The tens of millions of dollars that are spent on these campaigns could pay for the finest writers and directors

        My theory is that “the finest writers and directors” have too much self-respect to associate themselves with these projects, no matter the fee involved.

        The finest writers and directors generally avoid the film-industry equivalents of the big game publishers — or, if they opt to work for a major studio, they do so with creative-control caveats to avoid being focus-grouped-to-death.

        Film a much more established and respected medium for presenting compelling narratives. I frankly don’t really ever expect to see storytelling of the quality a Kurosawa or a Wells or an Aronofsky in video games.

        The medium and the narrative need to meld for serious “literature-as-game” to work. Finding a guy who can tell an amazing story and code it? Sure. Happens regularly already in the indie scene. Great stuff.

        Finding a guy who can tell an amazing story and manage a team of a couple hundred people coding/designing/whatevering a huge number of different bits into one massive cohesive multi-million dollar epic that the suits will approve?

        Never gonna happen.

        (Possibly an eccentric, independently wealthy Kubrik/Lynch-esque auteur with no publisher behind him could handle it, but I doubt it.)

        • SillyWizard says:

          And before I start getting the “you’re wrong the games industry already has great writers” let me just state that next to Kafka or Dostoevsky or even Bret Easton Ellis or David Foster Wallace…

          …your Dragon Ages and your Mass Effects and your WoW novels and your Gears of Whatever and your Final Fantasies and your Elder Scrolls are all finger-painting. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed some really bad video game stories out there. They’re still objectively bad.

          • aergistal says:

            To put the nail in the coffin: Planescape Torment’s philosophy is barely scratching the surface. Yes, it is a step forward because it sometimes broadens the meaning of “entertaining” beyond fun and amusing for once.

          • SillyWizard says:

            At the time it was made, was Planescape: Torment equivalent to a Modern Warface game? I’m not suggesting that games are the wrong place to tell compelling stories. (I think games give us opportunities for storytelling which everyone should be extremely excited about, especially if anyone starts taking advantage of them.)

            I’m suggesting that it’s not feasible to expect better storytelling from Modern Warfare and its ilk.

            Look at it this way: probably the best storytelling I really expect to see from a huge-budget film is The Avengers. However: The Avengers was a juvenile film which doesn’t really contribute anything beyond action and adventure less painfully mind-numbing fun than what you’re likely to get from anybody who isn’t Joss Whedon.

            Similarly, Spec Ops: The Line is supposed to have been a shooty game less painfully mind-numbing than the CoDs and the BFs.

            But in either case, if you want something to really touch you in your deepest recesses, you’re probably going to need to move on to something more like a Requiem for a Dream or a Lone Survivor.

            TL;DR Big budget action is not the genre where you should be looking for an engaging story.

          • MrUnimport says:

            I thought Thor was a lot better than Avengers from a plot and character standpoint.

          • SillyWizard says:

            And I thought Thor was awful. In fact, a lot of the joy I derived from Avengers was the fact that someone was able to take the travesties of Thor and Captain America and spin them into something watchable.

          • MrUnimport says:

            Mm. It’ll be pistols at dawn, then?

          • SillyWizard says:

            Ugh I’m really not a morning person. How about canapes in the early evening?

        • Horg says:

          ”My theory is that “the finest writers and directors” have too much self-respect to associate themselves with these projects, no matter the fee involved.”

          Pen names. Throw enough money at some writers with talent and they will work for you anonymously. Activision, and by extension Blizzard, have shown consistent reluctance to work with good writers for about a decade now. It’s probably viewed as an unnecessary expense as ”they will buy it anyway, so why bother”.

          • SillyWizard says:

            Who in their right mind would want to throw a large amount of money at a famous writer to get a story out of them, and then not use the writer’s fame as additional publicity?

            Especially since, no matter who the writer is, the story is going to be committee-edited into something unrecognizable and likely already pre-determined.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          “Finding a guy who can tell an amazing story and manage a team of a couple hundred people coding/designing/whatevering a huge number of different bits into one massive cohesive multi-million dollar epic that the suits will approve?

          Never gonna happen.”

          I think it will happen and not long after the industry realises that you need to approach games differently to other media. Too many people trying to write narrative as they would write a film script or a novel.

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          tumbleworld says:

          Utter nonsense.

          As a fully paid up member of the strange clan of people who make all their money by writing books, I can assure you that there are absolute heaps of great writers who’d love the chance to get their hands on an FPS campaign mode — and could make it into something truly incredible. Writing is an insanely ineffective path to making money, so that’s not why we do it. Yes, sure, some (tiny, tiny amount) of us make $HARRYPOTTER$ fortunes out of it, but we get started because we need to reach out, to communicate, to touch others in ways more meaningful than “Would you like fries with that?”

          There are undoubtedly some writers, heads lodged firmly up arses, who — having a feel for the sort of subject matter you’re discussing — would turn down the type of chance you’re talking about. But not many, I promise.

          The trouble is that to an amateur, writing looks easy. It’s just sentences, right? No problem. We all apeak those all the time. So all those lead designers and hands-on producers and interested executives and other total muppets are convinced that there’s no need to bring in any sponging hacks; it’s a simple job, so no need for an expert…

          … and out the other end, you get this sort of soulless shit. Because writing stories that mean something, in a realistic and engaging manner, with believable characters and strong tension, that’s seriously damned hard as it turns out.

          But hey, who gives a fuck, right? Save the $15k for a story bible and core dialogue, the kids will lap that diarrhoea right up out of the trough anyway, and the cash can go towards some extra texturing on those concrete corridor walls.

          • aergistal says:

            “Because writing stories that mean something, in a realistic and engaging manner, with believable characters and strong tension, that’s seriously damned hard as it turns out.”

            I don’t know if you got to work on a game story but I’m curious to find out the opinion of someone who actually writes for a living: do you find stories meant for interactive media harder to write considering the fact that you have to allow for some form of player “free will”? Without forcing the story onto him he might miss some important parts and I think you can’t control the pacing so well, do you? (eg: the bomb is exploding in 30 seconds and will kill everyone but I still have to check under that ledge for some random loot that I might miss after the bomb-disarming cut-scene starts).

            The alternative of having some sort of interactive fiction (“If you want the bad dragon to die go to page 24″ – which is how “choice in games” is generally implemented) also poses problems because you don’t have so much creative control over the whole thing, I think.

            Do you see some ways in which story-telling can be improved in games?

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Great post. Sadly this game didn’t spend any of the 15k saved on textures either, seems they sent it directly to their pockets.

          • SillyWizard says:

            Okay, so yes, I get it that there is no shortage of people happy to accept money to write a bunch of garbage for a pooter game. If you re-read my previous comment, you should be able to see that that’s not what I’m talking about.

            I’m talking about masters of the craft. Whether it’s the novel, the film, or the game, I’m talking about storytellers of the highest caliber. And I’m saying that I think that the medium of AAA video game cannot be home to a culturally important story, much the same way that a Michael Bay-budget movie cannot tell a culturally important movie.

            Worthwhile stories don’t come from committees. However, every aspect of any project which costs tens of millions of dollars to produce will be overseen by committees. You’re not going to find a project of this magnitude that gives a writer total autonomy to tell his story. And that’s why no worthwhile writer would ever commit to one of these projects, anonymity or no.

            There are loads of brilliant one-man or small-team storytellers releasing wonderful stories in video game format. If anyone qualified to “connect with people in “ways more meaningful than ‘Would you like fries with that?'” [which, by the way, is an extremely dickish thing to say], again, if such a person were to be given carte blanche to oversee the development of a $100m+ computer game, I’m sure it would turn out poorly. Either he would be out of his depth and muck things up, or a suit would tell him that he can’t do what he wanted to do and it would all fall apart.

            The worlds of “make profit” and “explore the human condition in a meaningful way” are simply anathema to one another. Just like your important films tend to be either independent or small-budget affairs in which studios have given proven directors/writers the backing to create something beautiful, the games industry gets its Braids and its Starseed Pilgrims and its (hopefully) Banner Sagas.

            When Transformers 5 is written by Charlie Kaufman, it’s still going to suck, but it’ll be infinitely more likely to be well-written than Transformers 5: The Video Game, also written by Charlie Kaufman.

          • SillyWizard says:

            @aergistal

            You’re touching on an important point, here: tight, strong narrative cannot equal freedom of choice in a video game. (This is totally unrelated to the topic at hand, which is storytelling in AAA games.)

            Now, games with emergent stories like Dwarf Fortress can inspire wonderful stories in the form of AARs, however, in a literary sense these stories are rubbish, much in the same way a Choose Your Own Adventure book is rubbish (despite being great fun).

            But if you’re talking about a role-playing game where you get to craft your character, then make lots of game-changing important decisions…that sounds like a great idea, sure, but it will never be good literature. This is kind of related to my claim that no worthwhile author would ever lend his talents to a video game:

            Good writers (with the help of good editors) write what they need to write in order to say what they need to say. There is a need for strict focus to convey information in an engaging, compelling way, without going off on tangents or injecting unnecessary bits. Games by their very nature will dilute any story they tell, unless the mechanics and the story evolve together to form a union of orgasmic gameplay/storytelling bliss. This is what Jonathan Blow was attempting with Braid. And I’m convinced that it’s something that can only be accomplished by one genius with total control over every aspect of the product, or possibly by a very small number of individuals who are following one person’s exact instructions.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          How does the game writer have to be the lead programmer and in charge of game creation? Movies rarely have the same writer, producer and director, this is no different.
          The push-pull of story in video games is that narrative often gets in the way of gameplay and vice-versa. Take a story like Breaking Bad, fantastic story, impossible to make a video game from it. Where is your gameplay coming in, adding 10 hours of Walt shooting dozens of drug dealers just makes the whole thing seem ridiculous doesn’t it?
          The only games able to focus 90%+ on story line are point and click games, some of them have fantastically well written stories and are over 10 even 20 years old. There’s just very little interest in that genre because people do not find the gameplay compelling and surprisingly when it comes to video GAMES, gameplay is the most important thing.

          All of the indie games you list tbh are not going to be held in the same arena as some of the great films. I played Braid, its “nice”, certainly not the be all and end all of creative gaming you make it out to be, I would argue the contrived platforming in that game did in fact dilute the story and art direction as it used gameplay constructs that felt about 20 years old.
          Giving control entirely to a writer will likely result in a poor game technically and that’s the problem, the technical expertise required to make a cutting edge AAA title require people who are maybe not at the creative end of the brain scale.
          Still all of the great writers you talk about, those stories, they are just one in a million considering the amount of books and films pumped out every year over the last century. The gaming industry is relatively new, I think it is realising slowly that a good story in a video game can become something amazing, it needs the right game though and by extension the right studio, a mostly multiplayer, military shooter is not the place for it and never will be.
          The other end of the scale are things like Gone Home and Dear Ester, games that do nothing but tell a story and are not considered games at all by a lot of people. Where do they fit in to your analysis? Technically a highly skilled writer could make a big budget Dear Ester type game with 100% focus on narrative, whether it would actually be considered a video game is up to interpretation though.

          • SillyWizard says:

            1) It’s not uncommon for movies to have the same writer and director at all. It’s perhaps not the standard, but it’s also not rare by a long shot. However: you won’t often find big budget movies with the same writer and director. A distinction I make more than once in this thread is that I’m talking specifically about the impossibility of a well-written big budget action game. Also on this point, I think that when you do have a writer/designer/lead programmer who are all the same guy who is capable of all of the things, you have a great opportunity for a wonderful gaming+storytelling experience to be made. Again, this is a setup which you will never see in a CoD-budget game.

            2. The push-pull of story in video games is that narrative often gets in the way of gameplay and vice-versa.

            Exactly! Narrative and gameplay are strange bedfellows. It takes a particular sort of genius to envision and then enact complementary layers of gameplay and narrative. When it sort of happens I get excited, because it makes me hope that we’re nearing some sort of Kathmandu of game design the likes of which we can barely imagine.

            3. I don’t recall suggesting that Braid is the be all and/or end all of creative gaming. However, it is an important game, and the goals it set out to accomplish are important goals. Personally I felt like the writing in the game hugely detracted from the experience, but the whole of the product was more than adequate to grant it a lot of leeway. And again: it was one man’s vision. One man who wrote and programmed the thing. And got help from what, one or two other people for music and art? I don’t know the details, but I do know Blow had complete creative control, which is why his vision was able to shine through so clearly, “old” gameplay elements or no.

            4. Giving control entirely to a writer will likely result in a poor game technically and that’s the problem, the technical expertise required to make a cutting edge AAA title require people who are maybe not at the creative end of the brain scale.

            I don’t really think giving control to a writer is the answer, and I don’t recall suggesting that writers play a more active role in big-budget game design. I’ve been arguing why they don’t and also why they shouldn’t. I totally agree that creative dreamer-types are not qualified to direct the efforts of 200 artists, designers and code jockeys to create a wide-appeal (or even narrow-appeal) video game.

            5. “…a mostly multiplayer, military shooter is not the place for [a good story] and never will be.

            Pretty much sums up exactly what I’ve been saying from the start.

            Thanks for playing!

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            So what exactly is your point of “I hope the industry matures”? Since you just seem to want to blow off my points to make yourself come across as intelligent, you make no distinction as to what you want to happen to achieve this “maturity”. You just state a bunch of things as not being possible (getting good quality writers involved etc).

            I personally believe that the video game industry does not really need to achieve a level of storytelling found in books and film, it is a different medium that achieves different things. I read books, watch movies and play games, they all provide different things for me.
            Looking at most of the Oscar bait films that are regarded as the best films of each year, most of them tend to be slow paced, humanistic pieces, anything with any sort of action or, god forbid, explosions are instantly seen as being on a lower intellectual level by a lot of people.
            As I stated before, this attitude to what constitutes a good story is completely counter-intuitive to what makes a good game from a technical standpoint. Yet I am constantly hearing about how “storytelling in games need to evolve” (there are posts on RPS from games writers stating this explicitly), there is only so far it can evolve considering the two extremes of peoples’ need to feel intellectually superior when consuming a storyline and peoples need to be entertained by playing a game. The fact of the matter is that all of those indie games you mention will not hold my nor 95+% of the people on RPS’ attention for as long as an average AAA title due to the rather large disparity in production values.

          • SillyWizard says:

            Uh…what? I don’t recall ever suggesting that my point was that “I hope the industry matures.” You may have me confused with somebody else.

            My point is that AAA game titles are not the place to look for an evolution in games’ narratives. And while your claim that 95% of the readers on this site can’t be bothered to play lower-budget titles as much as big budget titles, due to the production values (which is a demonstrably false claim, as can be shown by heading to this RPS Forum thread and seeing which games draw the most interactivity from community members — http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?10-Game-Clubs-And-General-Sociability-Ok )…

            …while the above claim is ridiculous in this context, it’s true that he vast majority of people can’t be bothered with smart, important art when they have the option of dumb, lowest-common-denominator art in front of them as well. Which, again supports my point that big budget games should be left to wallow in their mire of mindlessness, and important innovations should really only be expected from small, focused design teams.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            Firstly apologies I did have you confused with someone else.
            Secondly please re-read what I said, I did NOT say that 95% of people would not play indie games. I said that 95% of people will probably not get as much playtime out of them.
            You keep being the superior little flower if you want to though, your none mainstream “art” is not by definition better even if you believe it to be true. Not all mainstream games are CoD and I guarantee most gaming innovation has come from big studios doing something new, rather than some indie developer.

          • SillyWizard says:

            Secondly please re-read what I said, I did NOT say that 95% of people would not play indie games. I said that 95% of people will probably not get as much playtime out of them.

            So did I. If you reread what I said, you’ll see I used the same qualifier.

            I’m sorry that I’ve been coming across in an apparently self-aggrandizing manner. I haven’t been trying to argue that indie games are “better” than big-budget games. I’m simply stating that big-budget games aren’t where we’re going to see important narrative/gameplay marriages.

            And while I don’t consider innovation for the sake of innovation to be good, I would be extremely surprised to learn that big budget games have spurred more innovations than their indie counterparts. I doubt people are actively commenting on this thread so much anymore, but I may take this question to the forums.

      • GamesInquirer says:

        It’s not like they couldn’t do creative or at least good gameplay without an award winning storyline, the lack of good writers doesn’t excuse shit.

      • Premium User Badge

        darkChozo says:

        Wasn’t there an article semi-recently talking about how AAA game writing tends to be constrained by a design-first approach? Like, how writers have to write around the fact that the game designers want to include a water level, or a city level, or whatnot, and that impedes any attempt to have a decently coherent plot. And then the designers and engineers decide that they want to drop a level because it’s not testing well, or they want to shoehorn in some gameplay element or event, and that just throws the entire story off.

      • Dave L. says:

        Supposedly Stephen Gaghan wrote this one. Though I’m pretty sure it was a ‘John Milius wrote Homefront *winkwink*’ situation.

        Bringing the very best Hollywood talent to write or produce games generally doesn’t work out very well, because they’re mostly unfamiliar with how the game development process differs from the film creation process (see some of the stuff that’s come out recently about how George Lucas kept messing with Star Wars 1313’s development for a perfect example of that.)

        Unless you dramatically increase the development timelines (CoD is on a two year turnaround. They need to triple that at least), bringing in talent from outside the industry isn’t going to make much of a difference.

    • Geebs says:

      If only we could talk to the soldiers

    • Premium User Badge

      Morlock says:

      Spec Ops: The Line

      • db1331 says:

        Is not a mainly MP modern shooter, and is the reason why I included “Mainly MP” in my original post.

        • subedii says:

          Spec Ops is an interesting example in that the devs were specifically against putting in a multiplayer mode, because they felt the idea of standard multiplayer like that went COMPLETELY against the narrative and themes of the core singleplayer game (I can only say I agree). The multiplayer was basically hammered in at the Publisher’s insistence, one more tick box.

          • Ernesto25 says:

            What i hate about spec ops is the fact its in the modern shooter genre rather than the 3rd person shooter with similar setting to some fps that people have played.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      I think the problem with fictional settings is that you need something to replace the sense of awe that something like this happened – Call of Duty 1 and 2 did this well because you knew this happened for real in one form or another (even if one soldier didn’t gun down hundreds of people by himself at close range). It’s harder to care about the US being invaded by North Korea because it’s ridiculous, but also because it’s not referencing anything other than a sense of misplaced paranoia. There are some scenarios that could have worked, particularly in the Cold War (I’d love to see a World in Conflict FPS set in European capitals, or with you recapturing the Statue of Liberty from Spetznatz commandos).

      The problem with future wars is that the enemies that the US could legitimately fight are nominally friendly powers right now, even countries like China, Russia and increasingly Iran (and none of these countries could launch a ground invasion of the US). Plus, CoD has already had a US homeland invasion under its belt. Where from there, other than James Bond stuff like this? Generating plausible conflicts is hard, and creating gravitas without a sense of historical importance is harder still.

      Personally, I think the way to go is to go deeper. Pick one scenario with a few interesting environments and follow it in detail, rather than jumping between locations and time frames, or follow one person’s war to give a sense of continuity. I just read the memoirs of someone who fought in the Free French Forces, and there are a huge number of environments and incredible things that happened to one person, from holding out against all odds at Bir Hakeim to commando raids behind enemy lines in Germany. Korea is something that’s never really been tackled, and there must be some great stories to tell there, even if it ended in a stalemate.

      • aergistal says:

        +1 commando story “with FPS elements”

      • MrUnimport says:

        COD4’s US intervention in Unnamed Middle Eastern Republistan worked out just fine. Even though we’re all a bit sick of shooting brown folk in generic Over There settings, it’s the kind of limited police action that we’re more likely to see nowadays than Big Operatic Homeland Invasion, and I wouldn’t mind seeing something along the lines of an Asian border dispute that drags US forces into conflict with Chinese ones. But of course instead we have these James Bond trips to a variety of exotic one-level locales with only a shred of plot dictating the course of the adventure.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Also with the WW2 games we already knew the greater narrative, it only had to give us part of the story. With the MW games it tries to tell us everything, invasion of the US, nuke lands somewhere else, it introduces us to all of the villains. For a game so short it spreads itself too thin.

    • malkav11 says:

      Because the singleplayer, for all its flaws, is far more entertaining for the handful of hours it lasts than any amount of competitive multiplayer. (Of course, I consider almost all competitive multiplayer to have a fun value somewhere below that of immersing one’s face in raw sewage, so there you have it.)

      • airmikee99 says:

        Hey, hey, HEY!

        Why would you insult raw sewage like that? What did it ever do to you?

        • Premium User Badge

          Gap Gen says:

          It may be nutritious, but I wouldn’t describe it as “fun”.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Not liking competitive MP is fine, everyone is entitled to their choice, I have to ask though, why buy CoD? There are games that do single player so much better than this. Don’t be fooled by the advertising and all the people banging on about it.

        • malkav11 says:

          Because Call of Duty is the best at delivering this particular sort of singleplayer experience, and it is one that I enjoy if it’s handled correctly. Which has been the case for most Call of Duty games so far, and decidedly not the case for Medal of Honor or Homefront. I buy hundreds of other games, so it’s not like I’m neglecting other forms of shooter.

  12. Hazzard65 says:

    “Of course it’s always argued the reason the CoD games sell fourteenty-billion copies is because of the multiplayer. The reality is that a huge proportion of customers are in it for the single-player. Even the developers don’t get this: last year Treyarch’s David Vonderhaar said, “As popular as Call of Duty is, there are a lot of people who don’t play multiplayer. And quite frankly, this bugs the shit out of us.” Even they don’t understand why people are buying it for the single-player, and I find it so hard to relate to what such people want from gaming.” I know the reason! I met one of them on the bus once. He overheard me talking to a friend about COD and interjected with anecdotes from his experience and about how exciting and well written COD single player experiences are, all whilst flailing around like a buffoon – which he was, clearly, a simple one at that who could barely string together a sentence without dribbling down his own crisp crumb littered chin. This represents, I am sure, that massive portion of people that purchase COD for that oh so thrilling experience – idiots, morons and people that don’t otherwise know there might be something better out there (to cover those intelligent folks that still bother). The fact is, there are more on the bell curve that will enjoy this garbage, than not, so get used to seeing much more of it.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      There are an awful lot of people who own a console and simply purchase CoD and FIFA each year. Their previous video game experience being a PS1 when they were 10. They have nothing to compare it with other than 15 year old games because they don’t play other games, so they think its the best thing ever. Every year the adverts come on TV and they rush out and buy it, thinking the slight improvements and slight graphical updates are the natural progression of video games. They are suckered by the marketing because they are blinkered, narrow-sighted and aren’t bothered about ever expanding their knowledge of anything.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      So wait, it’s Treyarch’s plan to release shit and hope no-one plays it so they can give up on SP and work solely on MP? Cunning.

  13. Noise says:

    Call of Duty from about 4 onwards has been nothing but hardcore military propaganda

    • Premium User Badge

      bills6693 says:

      Basically.

      Although as someone in training and hoping to go in full-time to the military, I have to say, its a pretty shit presentation of the military and the people in the military.

      They even said to me in the recruiting office that this is real life, its not a videogame, you will make life & death decisions for the men under your command etc

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      If Call of Duty could explain to the US public why the US needs to maintain carrier fleet presences in South East Asia and the Middle East, now that’d be effective military propaganda. Of course, maintaining the balance of power is never sexy, and one of the signs that the US military is doing its job is that it’s not sending the marines in. So a game about projecting power without any actual combat… that sounds like something that I and about three other people would love.

      • Premium User Badge

        bills6693 says:

        Me too! So there’s got to be two more people out there to join us in our enjoyment of this game.

      • SillyWizard says:

        Ugh. If it were to have any resemblance to real life it would be about trying and failing to keep morale up, and dealing with fraternization, promiscuity, hazing, alcoholism, violent infractions, and more!

        Having served in the US Navy, I can tell you that there’s something pretty inherently depressing about not actually having a job. You float around for months at a time…your “job” is Force Projection, but if you’re doing it right, then that means that there’s really nothing going on. So you spend all your time “training” for an event that in all likelihood will never happen.

        (Especially knowing what I knew about the navies of potential enemies. Really hard to be motivated to take any of them seriously as a possible threat.)

        So yeah. Don’t count me in to your club of four weirdos.

        • Premium User Badge

          Gap Gen says:

          “Club of Four Weirdos” was a failed pitch for a WW2 FPS.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          “Ugh. If it were to have any resemblance to real life it would be about trying and failing to keep morale up, and dealing with fraternization, promiscuity, hazing, alcoholism, violent infractions, and more!”

          Sounds like how my town in the sims went to be honest!

      • MrUnimport says:

        Call of Duty: Grand Strategy Edition? Sounds pretty hot.

  14. PatrickSwayze says:

    As disappointing as the Call of Duties have become after the absurdly fun Modern Warfare, they’re infinitely more thrilling than games about wandering round an empty house rifling through some angst ridden teenagers belongings.

    • SillyWizard says:

      Ah ha ha ha ha ha I don’t have an opinion as to the validity of your statement; however, it was funny as balls.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      And in the game

    • PopeRatzo says:

      Yes but is it 4 times more fun than a game where you sit at a computer and are told to push a button?

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      I dunno, I liked STALKER, despite the constant scavenging.

    • alw says:

      I agree. Left-clicking on pixelly heads is the pinnacle of gameplay. If you can’t make a cranium explode, it’s not a real game.

  15. Horg says:

    ”One of the men shouts, “We’re surrounded from all sides!” and I simultaneously think the obvious, “what other form of surrounded is there?””

    In a series where the only viable direction is forwards, you can effectively be surrounded by a guy stood in front of you. The designers must have thought it important enough to issue a warning when they utilise other directions for enemy positioning.

  16. Ernesto25 says:

    MW2 was my stopping point just everything , never thought a COD story could annoy me as much as MW2 did.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Okami says:

    True fact: I went to Gametrailers today (yes, I know) and read the comments for their Stanley Parable Review. Now we all know that you should never read comments on Gametrailers or IGN or any other site except maybe Rockpapershotgun and RPGCodex.net (though for entirely different reasons).

    Anyway, GT gave The Stanley Parable 9.2 out of 10 Videogames and this caused a lot of anger among the posters of GT, because it’s not a real game, there’s no challenge to it, the choices don’t matter, all you ever do is press a button, and everything’s prescripted anyway.

    I guess the very same people all love this new incarnation of COD. Which is very funny, though I guess they wouldn’t understand why.

    (Of course everyone also called TSP pretentious and there was a short discussion on objectivity and review scores and why a reviewer could never be really objective thus he should only rate games very high that have high production values. Or something like that. At that point in the discussion I asked myself what the fuck I was doing and closed the Gametrailers tab. Come to think of it, I only opened GT in the first place to look if there was a new HAWP episode, because they can sometimes be really funny. Sometimes.)

    • Risingson says:

      Actually I wouldn’t give The Stanley Parable more than a 6,5/10: it is not a real game, it is not very deep nor intelligent, it is just a joke that works once (once you finish some of the endings). You are alienating me, sir.

  18. Arglebargle says:

    Call of Doody is going to sell well because they are doing a ton of advertising. Both Battlefield and CoD are spending heavy on NFL ad time in the USA, which is not cheap. A lot of the ‘Don’t miss out on the action!’ stuff. EA has already conditioned some of our console sub-brethern to buy things like Madden on a yearly basis, because ‘you don’t want to miss out on the popular stuff’. Guess they’ve found that to work.

    Just glad that I bought my early CoDs used, so they didn’t get my money directly. And I still was irritated by the games, even though those versions are now considered the ‘glory days’.

    • N'Al says:

      First rule when being condescending: learn how to spell. Otherwise, you just look stupid.

      It’s “brethren”.

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        Thanks for the spelling clear-up.

        Do you have any hints on what a sub-brethren is? That one still has me stumped. Is it like a younger brother? Or is this some kind of sexual fetish?

  19. jealouspirate says:

    It’s that time of year again, another Call of Duty release! It’s a time where millions of people pick up and enjoy a new game they love, and the rest of us get to smugly look condescendingly down our noses at it and satisfy ourselves with the notion that we’re better than anyone who enjoys CoD.

    I think the fans might actually have the right idea.

    • Horg says:

      What do you expect people to do? Millions and millions of people love to eat at McDonalds, but no one with any taste in food is going to praise their menu just because some people, against all odds, can bear to eat the ”food”. Other than that, the right of critique applies at all times. If you feel threatened by that in some way, seriously consider avoiding the internet until it is no longer news.

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        I think it’s just an awkwardly worded criticism of the response. That is, the focus on how terrible it is might be missing what some people enjoy about it. Or something like that.

        Personally I’ve never played a military manshoot.

      • jealouspirate says:

        I actually don’t like Call of Duty at all, and I’m not saying people don’t have the right to criticize it. There’s an awful lot that sucks about it.

        What I’m saying is that I don’t see the value in people getting so hot and bothered every year by how terrible Call of Duty is. That maybe people should just let bygones be bygones and go play some fun videogames instead of mocking other people’s hobbies. Because just sitting down to enjoy some fun games is the whole point.

        • Horg says:

          That would be fine if COD was an isolated game that had no impact on game design for the rest of the genre. Or if Infinity Ward weren’t the reigning champions of bad PC ports. Or if it didn’t have an anti consumer business model with it’s low production values and vastly over priced map packs. Or if its theme wasn’t so overtly pro macho war dudebro. There is a lot to criticise that doesn’t have anything to do with just having fun.

        • Premium User Badge

          jrodman says:

          I think you have to get a bit more nuanced.

          Part of the point of this site is commentary and critique of videogames, so if there’s a high profile trainwreck happening with regularity, commenting on and criticizing it is fair game, and on-topic.

          Of course if the criticism is the same every year, with the same points and the same tone, that could get a little pointless. I couldn’t say if that’s true or not or if it’s what you meant.

          Or maybe it’s more directed at the crowd than the speaker? The mob of angry codblops haters who are wasting time with pitchforks when they could be enjoying something else?

  20. ScruZer says:

    destructoid slapped this game and gave it a 5/10

  21. GamesInquirer says:

    Two more hours and you’d have finished it. I did finish the campaign, it was all done with the usual gameplay where you advance from cover to cover and take potshots at enemies that barely react.

    The game even felt low budget in many ways: the cut scenes after every level were perhaps trying to be artistic but just look unfinished, untextured and boring. The in game visuals have their moments but overall they’re extremely inconsistent with many low resolution textures and low complexity assets, even the star of the show, the dog, looks quite bad in many ways. Have we really not yet figured out fur shaders outside that new Nvidia PhysX thing in The Witcher 3? Finally, many character animations (again, even the dog’s when you see him traverse uneven sloped terrain) are bad and cut into the next actions abruptly, which is weird for such a scripted, tightly controlled game. Anyway, it’s quite disappointing considering it’s almost been a showpiece for the cross-generation of games that are playable on old consoles but also are supposed to take advantage of next generation consoles decently enough to wow people so I at least expected something to enjoy on a visual, technical level, Crysis style.

    On the plus side this brief ride did offer a variety of scenarios: an underwater level (where you mostly move forward, avoid a shark or two and shoot enemies as usual), a forest level allowing some use of stealth, a flooded level (with a couple of nice but scripted situations where you duck in the water to conceal yourself, I also liked the foamy transition effect from surface to inside the water hiding the mesh clipping that most games ignore), various vehicle based on rails sections, various gadgets to use mid-mission (sadly all scripted), a helicopter level with actual control (though the altitude is automatic so you basically just scan all around the area to spot things you can lock on to and destroy with missiles for a few minutes), a space level with up/down strafe control like a more arcade style Shattered Horizon (but the same old cover and take pot shots gameplay), a tank level that begins like the one in Battlefield 3 but actually is a bit more open (though the tank itself feels like a toy RC car) and maybe some more I’m forgetting. Edit: oh yeah, you also get to control the dog, eat a few people and hide in the grass. Lol.

    It’s a shame that variety didn’t come with better realized mechanics and more substance to it all.

    Activision should hire Monolith to make their next generation gunplay mechanics and AI behaviour that they will then exploit until the generation after that if nothing else. I’d certainly not mind that F.E.A.R. style gameplay quality even if they still didn’t try to provide anything more thought provoking.

  22. MrSean490 says:

    I’m gonna take a guess:

    something something “emotional connection”

    something something dog ded

  23. ChromeBallz says:

    This is why, after 2 years, i’m still playing games like Dark Souls and Skyrim. Both may have their (serious) flaws, but at least they give the player some credit and don’t try to force you down a path even a needle would have trouble fitting through.

  24. BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

    And my brother still gets onboard the hype train every year and buys this pitiful garbage, wasting £40. From what I’ve heard this is terrible and sticks to doing what the previous COD games have done for last 6 or 7 years (changing shit all). It’s times like this I just want to give him a slap

  25. sandineyes says:

    I pretty much decided not to pick this up after that trailer with that jingoist garbage line “a true patriot doesn’t just give his life for his country, he gives…his sons!”. That line is awful in just so many ways.

    But then I picked up MW3 to play multiplayer with my friend, and the single-player in that game convinced me very quickly that I should just never play any CoD game ever again.

  26. Didden says:

    Woof.

  27. Misnomer says:

    This just speaks to what I think the trouble with military FPS games are not anymore : War Movies.

    COD 1 and COD 2 were both shamelessly stolen from the WW2 movies of those years. Thin Red Line, Saving Private Ryan, and Enemy at the Gates were all taken from to make those. Band of Brothers even more so.

    COD 4 took from Behind Enemy Lines and some other realistic but almost Tom Clancy style of movie instead. After that, they just went full on James Bond while oddly the James Bond movies were trying to become more realistic (and thus lost a lot of their charm).

    The only games that have tried to accomplish the war film type thing since COD4 have been COD: World at War and the Medal of Honor games. Medal of Honor Tier 1 was actually a brilliant SP in the vein of the war movie with some technical problems here and there preventing it from being on that COD 1 or 2 level. MOH:Warfighter had massive technical issue and tried to sling too many war stories together to get a coherent one. The mission that included sniping in the context of the current Captain Phillips movie shows just how they were trying to gets lots of war movie material in there, but just couldn’t figure out how to tell it properly.

    BC2 hit a nice screwball war comedy level. Gallows humor. Think Operation Dumbo Drop. Some hard hitting moments, but usually just about all the crazy stuff going on inbetween a couple of guys in crappy situations. Three Kings would be the model movie for Bad Company 2. Catch 22 in some ways as well.

    BF3 actually had a decent SP. It told the simultaneous war stories and, while the war didn’t make sense and the nuclear stuff was a Clancy type of whatever, it really gave you the feeling of being just one of a couple cogs in the bigger conflict. It was more like COD4. People remember killing the rat from that game, I remember the scene of getting strafed by the Frogfoot. It was truly senseless violence and the guys around you reacted to the senselessness of it. I wish more game journalists would analyze that moment in BF3, but they seem obsessed with the rat thing.

    BF4 recently jumped the shark and became MW2. Crazy Clancy stuff with no real sense of any military doctrine or perception of scale. It was about as far from a war movie as you can get while still having the military in it.

    Sounds like Ghosts is more of this ilk.

    Sadly, the COD: World at War and MoH: Tier 1 get lampooned for being linear on sites like RPS when you can actually tell from pieces like this one that they are the direction people like John would rather see these series go. But, as they are poor sellers among the Michael Bay demographic and the RPS demographic gets its jollies from hating these titles…there is not much hope for the War Movie type FPS SP ever coming back.

    We need to stop criticizing true war movie games for being linear. Part of the poignancy of the classic war movie is getting to like the characters and watching as they slowly and randomly die. The horror of the randomness and the rapidity that life is snuffed out of them while the world moves on are important tropes. Open world cannot suite that type of story, it must march forward to inevitability and agency must be taken. Those who would think themselves supermen and capable of making everything right. So reducing agency and freedom in the world is necessary show the unfeeling and uncaring horror of war. Today it is just being used to show massively pretty explosions and set pieces.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Good points, however, a game can still be linear and do everything you describe while utilising engaging gameplay that gives the player options on a smaller scale, most importantly putting the player in control of each individual situation. With the current trend of games you are just a complete puppet, told exactly what to do and exactly where to go, it is merely a rollercoaster you can do nothing to influence.
      Linear is not worse than Open world, people need to start realising this, but linear single player experiences can be done well (think Half Life and its sequel, very linear games, but each new bit you came to you were thinking on your feet, dealing with it in a number of different ways, then the game led you down the one path to progress to the next area) or they can be done badly. When games take too much control away from the player it makes you care less about the story, the characters and the outcome because you feel you are merely guiding a character through a story rather than being part of it yourself. This is what is happening in the modern shooter single player experiences.
      Case in point to back up what I just said, horror films have very little effect on me, horror games however, if done well, can scare the shit out of me. The reason for this is that the player is responsible for what happens at any given time, if I run the wrong way I get killed etc, this gives you much more emotional investment in the situation than can happen in a film. However a game where you are told constantly “do this or you get eaten” would not have the same impact. Finding a place to hide in Amnesia can be really tense, if the game told you where to go and hide this would not be the case.
      The amount of freedom and agency is given to the player in a linear experience needs to be balanced well so as to make the players actions important but still progress the storyline along its arc, at the moment in CoD games and the like the player is not in control of very much at all and that is where they are going wrong.

  28. ZackRoyer says:

    A game about war for freedom that you have no freedom at all. How many “ironic” levels do we broke in COD Ghosts? I mean, you should be free to choose how to progress the game, not “step here” or “follow this guy”. If the only objective was “Get here alive” and you have to make a mid-war strategy on how get to that place, you can go through a church, but you have to blow the doors, then go up stairs and jump in another building to avoid a minefield, or you could be sadistic and send your mens to the minefield just to blow the mines and you go safe (but with no man to defend you), you could even lure a enemy platoon to head over the minefield by somehow dropping fake messages in their radio/messages system. Come on, we got technology to do that, look at SOCOM on Playstation 2, could be not complex as SOCOM but not so dumb as currend CODs.

  29. HeroJez says:

    It seems as though many people are judging the game on what it isn’t. It’s actually silly, confectionery gaming; where you walk along and bite the top off all the cupcakes (scripted scenes) and leave the rest for the birds (or bin if you hate nature!) I know it doesn’t sit well with the thinkers, and I understand why many sites have given in a 5-8 review, but it is what it is. And to a degree I think IW have their hands tied; they’re obviously pushed towards sales targets; and something that isn’t super-lean in terms of ‘doing important gameplay stuff’ is going to upset a lot of casual gamers. Every time you leave Joe Bloggs to explore an area on his own, and work out why X happened, you risk him missing CUTSCENE ONE – which is an epic moment in which he’s a badass and feels awesome – and losing interest in the game+/franchise. An organic story experience just won’t do. You have a limited budget for a game across 5-6 consoles and there’s no room for adventure. Just big bites of awesome followed up by 11 months of multi-player.

  30. Premium User Badge

    Herzog says:

    How about a Three hours with: Brutal Doom. This is some fun FPS gaming! latest update has been released a few days ago.

  31. Dave L. says:

    Hmm. They changed the opening so the dad is no longer teaching the player character and the brother to be serial killers? I guess that’s something…

  32. tasteful says:

    i like that you said that three guys with weiners talking about elite special ops in the woods was “un-macho”

    • Dozer says:

      Macho != masculine, dudebro ;-)

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        I think of macho as a certain idea of masculinity. So perhaps a subset, or masculine through a looking glass.

  33. San Pedro says:

    I really, really like FPS games. They have been my favorite since I started playing them (especially Quake 2). I don’t need a good story, or anything special to make me enjoy shooting things. However, I can’t stand a story that is very serious yet in reality is terrible. That really describes a lot of the COD games (I remember a lot of reviews talking about how “good” the story from BLOPS was, it was SHIT). I still could probably enjoy the games though, if it weren’t for the fact that the games just takes total control for you.

    Enter Slo-mo and press mouse 1. Hmm… okay, I haven’t had a problem killing all those other guys without slo-mo…

    Walk up to door and press F and go into slo-mo…..

    My favorite parts are when you can not do anything and you can still pass through the part of the game. Look, mom, no hands!

    So yeah, just let me play more, COD and Battlefield (god BF3 single player campaign was terrible).

  34. uh20 says:

    i dont even know why people buy COD for multiplayer, it just seems like a fight consisting largely of who sees the other first and who has the fastest latency in order to see that person first. from there multiplayer spins out of control because instead of simply completing actual objectives your are getting constantly bombarded by small-map spawn control and by players who actual spend time to study the map and do some infernal thing called “strafing the map”.
    but hey if you like the multiplayer, there is some reason, i just have not figured it out yet.

  35. Shadowcat says:

    In fact, so frequent are these barked instructions that sometimes he says two of them at the same time! “Go here.” “Shoot that.” “Stand still.” “Do nothing.” “KGiollf tohratc gouvyer.”

    Let’s go. Follow me quick, this way. Now stop, Sleep, Wake up there’s no time, comb your hair. Let us whistle, Stop the time for whistling has passed, let us continue, follow me. Come let us go through the lake. Leap on to my huge head, come follow me. Touch me..no, I don’t like that. Climb up this bank now. Wait here, Solve this puzzle whilst I’m gone, here’s pen and paper for you. Have you solved the puzzle? Four across was Emu, anyway there’s no time, come into this bush. Climb aboard these mules. They are lame, Shoot them and sell them for offal. Get a good price. That was a good price! It’s pretty much straight on for about 2 miles now.

    • Dozer says:

      Don’t move, don’t talk out of time
      Don’t think, don’t worry, everything’s just fine
      Just fine
      Don’t grab, don’t clutch, don’t hope for too much
      Don’t breathe, don’t achieve or grieve without leave

  36. whiteadi says:

    10x! I have less and less time 2 play so .. ;)

    I digged the cod1 and cod2 for the felling of immersion, really, mw2 also for the same reason

    I finished last night , err, this morning, the bf4 campaign, i wanted to, but indeed this also has so much scripting and one way …

    reading this I actually got a bit sad realizing I haven’t played a at least good fps in quite a while

    I enjoyed dishonored and one splinter cell but they’re a bit different than cod, moh…

    I enjoyed a lot of games in last years, like gta IV, saint row 3 (not 4!), skyrim (more or less), dishonored, walkind dead season 1 but I want some cool fps also

  37. Darkhorse says:

    This doesnt get a ghostwatch reference

  38. Love Albatross says:

    As much as I can’t stand CoD’s tedious and repetitive campaigns, I would be very interested if they did a sci-fi take on the game. That space sequence described above sounds fun, if they set a CoD in the future and gave you a bunch of outlandish toys to play with it would lend itself to some insanely over the top situations. Hell, if they wanted to actually try something new for a change you could start missions with drop pods or something that dump you in a wide open area to tackle non-linear objectives, MoH Airborne style.

  39. Bull0 says:

    I’ve also played for a few hours. I found a good amount of opportunities to flank, etc, but not to the combat-puzzle excess of, say, Halo. The sequence where you rappel down a building shooting folk is pretty cool, though. I think maybe it feels like you’re hoovering up the leftovers because you’re playing on too low a difficulty? What difficulty did you play on?

    Agree about it not living up to the inventiveness of the first 10 minutes or so. The whole 300-style last stand origin story for the Ghosts sounds like it would be a good level in its’ own right rather than a parable to tell before missiles start hitting. I could’ve gone for some more exploration of the zero-G earth orbit bit, too, that was over way too quickly.

    Bit of a shame we don’t even bother playing the whole campaign before condemning it now, though. I used to be critical of you guys cursorily writing off the multiplayer each time, but now we’re not even bothering with the whole singleplayer either which makes ignoring multiplayer seem almost fair. You could just not cover the game at all, you know. Nobody would blame you.

    • Love Albatross says:

      They said a full review was coming, but really if the game isn’t any good in the first three hours it’s not a huge stretch to assume the rest of it is crap too, especially given the typical length of a CoD campaign.

      • Bull0 says:

        For sure, I get the logic, it isn’t a stretch at all – in fact it’s pretty solid. I guess it’s more a “sign of the times” thing I’m moaning about.

        Re: length, it does sound like this one is a lot shorter than Blops 2. It also doesn’t seem to have the branching narrative thing (which, while original, for me didn’t really work, but they could’ve run with it and improved it if they’d been so inclined). These are big problems. Personally, I mostly just use cod to blow off steam in bot matches anyway, and this version has some neat features on that front that will keep me busy for a while, so I’m not hugely disappointed.

        • Bull0 says:

          Also, and SPOILERS

          SPOILERS

          they re-used this cutscene from MW2 in Cod:Ghosts. Watch this side-by-side comparison video.

          But yeah SPOILERS SPOILER WARNING

  40. TechnicalBen says:

    Did Bungie patent dynamic open battles or something? Come on! If the origional Xbox can do it, 6gb of ram 4 core’d i7 5ghz machines with titans in them can do it too…

  41. Premium User Badge

    frymaster says:

    “And quite frankly, this bugs the shit out of us”

    I’d like to play multiplayer COD, but COD4 was the last one where I could actually download and run a server. Coincidentally, that was the last COD game our community played regularly. The conclusion is obvious

  42. Tei says:

    I enjoyed the 3 first episodes of Battlefield 4. If you follow the ride rules, it can be fun. The inmersion breaks any time you try to do something different, and a invisible wall stops you, or worse a nonsensical fail condition (like… you can’t kill the enemy boss …yet)

  43. SuicideKing says:

    Something about CoD:BOO running native at 1080p @ 60 fps on the PS4, but upscaling 720p on the Xbone.
    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-11-04-xbox-one-resolutiongate-call-of-duty-ghosts-dev-infinity-ward-responds

  44. SuicideKing says:

    So, which member of the Hivemind is playing BATTLEF4CE?

  45. -Semp_777 says:

    Dear John Walker, you don’t have to play the rest of the game. You’ve probably already played it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5E82ZkHTiVU&feature=youtube_gdata

    • Spoon Of Doom says:

      Damn, I came back here to post this exact video, but you ninja’d me.
      Has anyone finished Ghosts already and can confirm this is true and not some modding or other black magic? If it’s true, it shows exactly how much they think of the game’s campaign and their customers. Not that we should be surprised, it’s just unusually open about it.

  46. Robbert says:

    And here I am playing Far Cry Blood Dragon and having a bloody good time. Why would anyone play CoD SP instead of an interesting shooter?

    • Bull0 says:

      In fairness, I played through Blood Dragon when it came out months ago. I really liked it. If it were new, I’d probably be playing that instead of Ghosts.

    • bleeters says:

      Largely because at no point did Far Cry Blood Dragon include the words “Call of Duty” on the box, I suspect.

  47. bleeters says:

    Whenever shooters of this sort come out, I think back to that part of Wreck It Ralph where Calhoun chews him out for interfering with the fps players experience.

    And then I cry bitter, angry tears.

  48. Kadayi says:

    “I really do enjoy first-person shooters.”

    Such as?