The other week I went back to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, thats right, el original, the alpha (well not really). I wasn’t even playing online. It took me right back to my call of duty (CoD if you didn’t get the title pun) roots, and played some classic splitscreen with a couple of friends in London. It amazed me how good it still was after 9 years, which shocked me; not only at how old it is, but at the fact I have bought EVERY call of duty since. This made me wonder what it is that keeps pulling me in and buying them, and I ended up reminiscing heavily about (and not even regretting) the sheer amount of time I have spent playing CoD over the years. So in memory of Call of Duty 4, the founder of my CoD addiction, and the game that finally unhooked me from runescape (now that was definitely wasted time!), here is my top 5 Call of Duty games.
Now this may not be accurate to how good they were as games necessarily, but I’ve judged them on how much fun I got out of them, but please do have a go in the comments section, its like an empty great hall waiting to be filled with echoing criticism and resounding hatred at my opinions and CoD prejudices. Also it goes without saying that, comparing the playability of these games now would be unfair, so I am ranking the games on how good they were when I actually played them! Oh and for those who don’t know the history of Call of Duty, heres a very basic list of releases, beginning with MY first CoD game:
2007 – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare by Infinity Ward.
2008 – Call of Duty: World at War by Treyarch.
2009 – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 by Infinity Ward.
2010 – Call of Duty: Black Ops by Treyarch.
2011 – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 by Infinity Ward.
2012 – Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 by Treyarch.
2013 – Call of Duty: Ghosts by Infinity Ward.
2014 – Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare by Sledgehammer Games.
2015 – Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 by Treyarch.
5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
This was actually my hardest entry to choose because I could have given it to Advanced Warfare because the campaign was awesome, but the multiplayer was just too speedy and unpredictable. A more likely candidate than that would have been Black Ops 3 which I am loving by the way, but the campaign is seriously drugged up, it needs to hit rehab if it’s going to grace my precious list of CoD legends.
Getting back on topic however, Modern Warfare 2 (MW2) was released November 2009, while I was at school. It was the only thing us nerds had in common with the cool kids because it was on everyones must have list. For real though, I remember joining a game against someone from my school, trouncing everyone in the lobby, and then backing out afterward with a victorious grin (to hear my mum ask me why I was still up this late on a school night…). I remember the feeling of opening the car door after a painfully long day at school (and after hearing all day about Liam’s midnight release gameplay) to find a shiny new game sitting on the dashboard infront of me. Of course those were the days you HAD to play the campaign first, and having played the previous Modern Warfare campaign about 20 times, I was more than curious to continue the storyline. As is the case with most CoD games the campaign was very good (released now I would say passable), I mean there were a couple of scenes which really shook up the franchise, and the press surrounding it, namely the airport terrorist level, but other than that it was standard CoD. The multiplayer was where it was officially at though, and the inclusion of Spec Ops which you could play on or offline co-operatively with a friend was awesome.
The multiplayer itself was incredibly advanced for its time, and very smooth where the previous installment (World at War) was more slow paced and gritty. The gun list was diverse with each feeling powerful in a different way and each suiting a different play style. Although my camping style of play suited the M16 and M4 at the time, I began to use the SMGs like the UMP-45 and MP5K to go on little rampages which more often than not ended in my death, but it mixed things up! Most people tended to use the intervention sniper rifle, which became a little infamous for being THE 360 no-scope gun of choice for all the “gimps” out there, and equipping a rafica (or 2) which could often beat an SMG or shotgun, those people sucked, I was someones one of them though.I can’t really account for the quality of the game modes because if I’m honest I only really played Domination and ignored the objective in favour of augmenting my kill/death (K/D) ratio. This was one I played a huge amount late into the night at sleepovers, and caused me to be a bit of a zombie, which links perfectly into the next entry!
4. Call of Duty: World at War
Just one year before MW2, there released a rare gem of a game to stores near you. Being the last CoD shooter, and in my opinion the last GOOD shooter to be set in WW2 makes me sad because I loved everything about this game. Although Treyarch ended an era with this game, they also started a HUGE new one in the small bonus mini game called Nazi Zombies. Nazi Zombies had a simple map with no perks and few weapons and yet it took the gaming community by storm, as well as whisking away hours of my spare time, especially when DLC was released. Suddenly the maps were huge, there were perks and buttons to press to turn the power on and the zombies PROPERLY sprinted at you, it was terrifying.
Although a lot of people prefer the MW2 multiplayer, I actually prefer the messy, brutal gunplay in this iteration. Each gun was lethal in its own way, with SMGs (with the notable exception of the MP-40) having high power but low range, and rifles being semi automatic or even bolt action but decimating at long range. This gave rise to massive maps and supported vehicular warfare, which was a nice change up at least from the previous game (CoD 4). The grittier feel of the game, along with the lighting and the settings made it a joy to play, even if the bouncing bettys and attack dogs needed their punishing effectiveness nerfed. The campaign had some shocking sequences too, with lots more blood and gore than we are used to in a CoD game. But I think it was needed to convey the brutality of the battles in the trenches. It would not be doing a fair service to the horrific memories if the game wasn’t thought provoking and unforgivably violent.
3. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
This was the last CoD game I put literal days into, and it was incredible. It was also the trend setter for future games in the franchise surpassing current and historical warfare and moving into the realms of future warfare. Where some of the gadgets are more realistic than others, this goes down as my favourite futuristic CoD game. I liked the diversity in time periods you could play in, with parts of history being told by one of the characters from the previous Black Ops game. The campaign kept me guessing all the way through despite it being a little confusing, but one of the most emotional missions ever had to be the sniper mission (once again) where you are sent to assassinate a terrorist leader and end up (SPOILERS) shooting your partner dead. An added bonus in the endgame credits topped it off for me though with the cameo of Avenged Sevenfold (my favourite band).
The multiplayer was fast and rewarded running and gunning as much as camping and sniping with a strong list of weapons. The best weapons had to be the ones that lent themselves to fast gunplay though, which hadn’t really been a thing until then; the assault rifles in previous games used to steal the bacon. The MP7 and MSMC SMGs were especially powerful, but the most satisfying weapon had to be the R870 MCS shotgun. Stick grip and a laser sight on that and it becomes the number one most annoying thing to anyone on the opposing team, it was beautiful. Seriously, people swear by the KSG because of its range, but the R870 can be wealded whilst constantly tucking into sleepover snacks, its a piece of cake…
The zombies mode was strong. I tended to stay away from the transit map because it was really hard but I played the smaller self contained sections on survival mode countless times at uni which never got boring. I also downloaded the map pack with the wild west map and the haunted house which I had a lot of fun with. Implementation of the already tried and tested combat training added another layer of fun for just pissing about with mates offline, even though for me the classic Black Ops combat training was slightly better.
2. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
I can actually feel the shock of some of you reading whilst writing this, like anticipatory shock. But this one didn’t quite win the gold medal, it got close though, and heres why.
CoD 4 was my first ever call of duty game. I first came across it when I played around a friends house in Ewell, on splitscreen this is, and enjoyed it immensely. Being my very first military shooter I didn’t think my parents would be happy with me buying it, but Dad miraculously gave in… Hey I turned out OK didn’t I?!
So as I already mentioned, I spent a LOT of time on the campaign when I purchased it, I didn’t have xbox live at this point but that didn’t matter because the missions were just so good. The sniper mission ‘All Ghillied Up’ in Chernobyl is my all time favourite mission in any CoD game, but the Cargo ship mission just after basic training (which is also fun by the way) was also revolutionary. CoD 4 introduced so many aspects of what we receive not only in CoD games, but in all first person shooters in terms of the quality cinematics and engaging storylines. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was stunned by the nuke scene/helicopter crash.
One day I went out and bought the expensive little wifi connectivity dongle thing for my 360 and went online for the first time and it hooked me completely. Despite the monumental lag I used to get I put a life threatening 40 days into the online alone in the space of 2 years (my WoW disk broke 😦 ). The guns were modern and the gameplay was smoother than any first person shooter of the time. Obviously some guns were leaps and bounds ahead of others (m16 and mp5) but I still tried them all out and played with them to get the cool camoflages. The map design was very good and catered to a number of different styles of play depending on what you prefer. Also so many of the game modes in this original are still in Black Ops 3, 9 years later, which shows just how much credit CoD 4 is due.
1. Call of Duty: Black Ops
Although CoD4 hits me with nostalgia, I still think its Black Ops I had the most fun with, and I was scarily good at it too. A couple of years back I logged into my old account and played a game. I got 30 kills 15 deaths, thats a 2.0 K/D, and it made my K/D go down… This was the pinnacle of the CoD series for me. The campaign was set during the cold war, so no futuristic nonsense, just hard historical fiction; brutal psychological experiments, conspiracies and a serene lack of robots, bliss… Once again Treyarch gave us a confusing thought provoking campaign with a twist worthy of an actual thriller novel. You had the token vodka gulping Russian, Viktor Reznov, with his stunt double Nikolai giving crazy one liners in the zombies mode.
Zombies in the original black ops actually surpassed the original WoW zombies for me. The maps were complex but fun and accessible for a range of abilities, or in my case playable at peak physical attention or during a collosal sugar low at 7am after trading our points in… The new weapons and perks in addition to the welcome complexity meant that quite honestly it was strong enough to be released as its own game, a perfect example of fan service.
What really made it for me though was the multiplayer. The gunplay was slightly slower than Black Ops 2, but everything felt very purposeful. Black Ops may have been less brutal than its predecessor (WoW) but there were clear influences in the feeling of the game, and drastic improvements. I find with some of the Modern Warfare games that you feel a little disconnected from the play, almost floaty, but with black ops every vibration was multiplied and the arcadish feel of running about and committing outrageous SMG rampages was kinda new and exciting. That being said, the assault rifles were the beasts in this game, and with the new pick 10 create a class system, there were so many options of class setup. Customisation of emblems was fun, while some people (Tom Wilding) took this far too seriously getting really artsy, I was more about moulding llamas with sentry guns, and slapping it on a pink background. Just to add a little extra sugar to the glowing review, the combat training was a LOT of fun, and implemented a bots mode where you could test out weapons or mess around finding glitches or whatever you kids were into. And the fact you could sign a second controller in as a guest and play zombies, combat training OR multiplayer with friends online as well? My mind still has too much air in it from being blown in 2012. So overall this is the CLEAR winner in my books!
I’ll continue to say this, but please feel free to post a comment if you agree or disagree or have an idea of what you want to read on this blog! But if no one has an objection; my next topic of conversation with be Battlefield Hardline.
Thanks for reading!