Call of Duty Games
Medal of Honour: Allied Assault
(Yes, I know that MoH:AA isn’t a Call of Duty game, but bear with me, it is related …)
2002 was a very good year for PC gamers who enjoyed the World War 2 setting. Not only would they enjoy the multiplayer fun of Battlefield 1942 towards the end of the year, but earlier in the year they were treated to one of the best single-player WW2 FPS games; Medal of Honour: Allied Assault. This also had a multiplayer component but the incredible single-player missions were what truly set the game apart. Inspired by films such as Saving Private Ryan, it offered a rollercoaster of difficult progression through Axis lines into Northern France.
Some of the Hussars played (and enjoyed) this game, a more typical FPS offering. Indeed some were part of clans that played the game.
After the release of Allied Assault, a number of the development team responsible split off and set up their own development company, called Infinity Ward. They then started work on a game that was to improve upon the Allied Assault experience and that game was called Call of Duty…
Call of Duty (and CoD: United Offensive)
Call of Duty was an evolution from the Allied Assault game. It offered an even more immersive experience with dramatic set pieces, better graphics and incredible sounds. Indeed not only was the ambient sound impressive and recreating the sound of a battlefield, but CoD also introduced visual and aural effects to mimic the impact that explosions had – the sound would fade out apart from a ringing sound and ten fade back in. The single player game involved British, American and Russian missions, again heavily influenced by various war films.
The Expansion (Call of Duty: United Offensive), was developed by a different team and added a lot of extra content, uncluding driveable vehicles, flamethrowers and new game modes. It was so popular that many hardcore fans continued to play it long after further Call of Duty titles appeared.
Call of Duty 2
Call of Duty 2 was another solid game, continuing in the style of the original and again developed by Infinity Ward. Many fans were disappointed that the improvements made with CoD: UO were not included in the new game (with the exception of a few scripted vehicle sections in the single player game) and as a result, continued playing CoD:UO.
Nevertheless it was a very good game and the North African setting was particularly well done. The Hussars played it for some time.
CALL OF DUTY 2 IMAGE GALLERY
Call of Duty 4
With CoD 3 being a console only game developed by new boys Treyarch, the PC community had to wait for the next game to be developed by IW.
When it came, it completely overhauled the CoD franchise because IW had decided to drop the WW2 setting in favour of the modern day. Indeed it was called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Similar to changes in the Battlefield series, persistent characters and ranking were added into the multiplayer mix, together with perks that could allow you to customise your loadout and abilities as you wished. As well as the popular move to modern combat (well, popular with some) the game had a fantastic storyline, it felt epic and very much like a blockbuster movie. It was also (for a shooter) quite gritty and dark, with several major characters dying during the story.
CoD 4 was incredibly popular and is still played occasionally by some of the Hussars.
CALL OF DUTY 4 IMAGE GALLERY
Call of Duty: World At War (CoD 5)
Fans of the series were both happy and cautious to hear that the next game in the franchise would yet again be based in World War 2, but would be developed by the studio responsible for the below average console game Call of Duty 3; Treyarch Studios. However, they promised a tough, gritty game built using the excellent CoD4 engine.
The game looked incredible, better than CoD4, but it also didn’t support older graphics cards very well, so caused some serious performance issues for players who had been able to play CoD4 properly. They certainly delivered on the gritty realism however – all except for a bizarre but fun “zombie co-op” mini-game that could be played and was completely separate from the normal game.
The sounds seemed somewhat weak, causing a lot of criticism for Treyarch, who also seemed slow to correct some of the issues identified with the beta version of the game. However, they did eventually correct the majority of the issues and released three excellent map packs (free for the PC players) that included some incredible maps. Each pack also came with another zombie level as well.
Despite CoD: WaW being a good game, the early problems with it caused many players to go back to CoD4 and wait for the next instalment in the franchise…. oh dear.
CALL OF DUTY: World At War IMAGE GALLERY
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (CoD 6)
Meanwhile, as Treyarch worked on World At War, Infinity Ward were working hard on a modern day sequel to Modern Warfare. Promising big improvements, the game was eagerly awaited by the PC community until a few weeks before release the bombshell was announced that the game would not support dedicated servers, custom maps or modding. It was clearly aimed solely at the console community and the PC gamers would have to deal with IW’s own console-like match-making (i.e. client hosting) service called IW.net. This completely contradicted earlier promised from IW and showed the contempt they held for the PC gamers.
As a result, many PC players boycotted the game, refusing to have anything to do with it. Including (most of) the Hussars. Sadly, many other PC players failed to hold firm and ended up buying it anyway. Console gamers lapped the game up and it sold in staggering amounts. The game contained even more outrageous set pieces and perks that rendered it completely unrealistic. The fact that IW subsequently collapsed over disputes between their managers and Activision was to provide little solace to PC gamers who correctly suspected that other developers would look at the sales of MW2 and realise that they too could completely lock down their game and destroy the modding community without adversely affecting sales.
Call of Duty: Black Ops (CoD 7)
As Infinity Ward continues to haemorrhage , Treyarch continued working on the next instalment of the franchise. This is to be based around the Vietnam period and into the Cold War, so semi-modern. Although based upon the MW2 engine, Treyarch offered more support for PC players, including dedicated servers (even if they were only available through trusted server providers). Black Ops was great fun to play and offered the quick FPS action that was suited to individual play rather than team-based play as defined by Battlefield.
Unfortunately, Activision’s deal with Microsoft meant that all DLC was available for Xbox players 1 month before PS3 players and 2 months before PC players, despite everyone being expected to pay the same amount for it. This and Treyarch’s unwillingness to deal with underlying problems with the game seemed to confirm the fact that anyone except Xbox players were treated as second-rate customers.
Modern Warfare 3 (CoD 8)
A newly rebuild Infinity Ward (following the departure of a large number of their team) provided the latest rehash of their Modern Warfare game. Although MW3 boasted diverse locations around the world (including Berlin, New York, London and Paris) the underlying game was pretty much a reskin of MW2 – with all the limitations and failings of that game. Most Hussars avoided it.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (CoD 9)
Due out late in 2012, this revision of the Black Ops game is set in the near future, a dramatic departure for the CoD franchise. It seems to add further enhancements and improvements to the CoD-style of gaming, but also seems to be moving further away from the gritty realism of its predecessor.