If someone claims that he’s a FPS fan but is oblivious to the Call of Duty franchise, then he’s clearly delusional as CoD 4’s sky rocketing sales were a sure proof of it as the game that brought the genre to a whole new level of immersion and intensity never seen before.
With the release of CoD5, unlike CoD4 where the fight was fought in the present, the time is spun back and the fight has been taken back to the all of cliché timeline of World War II.
The story of the game starts from the end of World War II, in which the Nazis are fighting a lost battle and the Japanese are making the last stand. Taking the lead from CoD4 where two stories were unfolded in parallel, the same formula has been used here. In the campaign mode, the player gets to play as Private Miller fighting in the Pacific against the Japanese and Private Petremko fighting against the Germans.
Unlike CoD4, the storytelling has returned to its roots, by featuring the same old black & video WW2 footages along with narration before the start of each chapter. Other than this, the game is also dotted with in-game cinematic sequences, but unlike CoD4, there are not that great in number nor are they that much impressive.
As far as the campaign stories go, well, one never really needs an excuse to kill anything that moves in a game, so whatever the story isn’t really an issue, but during the storytelling, not much light is shed upon the player’s comrades, therefore, the player never really develops any relationship with them and thereby has superficial attachment to the campaign.
But at the end of the day, it’s a good history lesson done in a fun way, giving us the reflection of how hellish WWII was.
The game is designed to be played both in campaign and in multiplayer modes. But unlike its prequels, it has taken a note from the other games from its genre and introduced a friend mode in the campaign mode, meaning that the player can play with upto three friends. Don’t worry, even if more human players are involved, the game adjusts itself in such a way that the game still manages to prove itself challengeable. Another good thing about this addition is that a score is kept for all the players even in the campaign mode, thereby adding to the competitiveness.
During the game, players will notice that try as they may, there isn’t much of a choice in choosing the path thanks to the invisible walls in the game. Even though there are some occasional destructible trenches which may reveal alternate pathways, but at the end of the day it’s pretty much the same.
As far as authenticity of the game is concerned, it’s something the developers have really worked hard upon. All weapons, feel, sound and act like the real deal, including rate of fire, reload time and bullet penetration. Additionally, having two storylines has been an added advantage as the player gets to use a wider range of weaponry. Unlike the first three CoD sequels, a new weapon, the flame thrower, has been added. Even though it’s a bit high powered, but it’s a truckload of fun to use.
CoD4 fans will have a hard time digesting the slim gadgetry options, which is to be expected as WWII era wasn’t nearly as advanced as the modern one. Nonetheless, basics such as suppressors, aperture sight, telescopic sight, rifle grenade, frag grenades, smoke grenades and air strike etc are available to the player.
After the campaign mode has been completed, there’s still much juice left in the title. One intriguing addition has been the ‘Nazi-Zombie’ minigame, a survival horror game in which the player has to survive an onslaught of zombies in a bombed out shelter. The player has the option of either going for CPU assist or human help of upto three friends.
Now coming to the actual multiplayer section, once the options are opened up, one can’t help but acknowledge that much has been copied from CoD4, not that it is a bad thing since CoD4 multiplayer modes were awesome. And just like its predecessor, the game keeps the player motivated through a perks and the awards system. Though, an addition has been made to it; a prestige option which allows the player to create more classes even after reaching the Level 65 cap and deathcards hidden throughout the levels which can be utilized to change the multiplayer experience.
In addition to the the list of playable multiplayer modes that CoD4 had to offer like S&D (Search & Destroy), TDM (Team Death Match), Sabotage etc; CoD5 witnesses the return of the evergreen ‘Capture the Flag’ mode. Other than kill streaks and air strikes in multiplayer, other intriguing additions include utilization of dogs to attack enemies and piloting of tanks as well.
The good thing about its gameplay is how real, war like, chaotic and unpredictable it seems to the player, with enemies popping up from just about anywhere. Due to the clear disadvantage of an analog controller in comparison with a mouse, the developers were generous enough to include ‘aim assist’ which makes it a tad easier to take out enemies.
As far as the difficultly levels are concerned, even at normal settings, the game will give the player a good bang for his buck as it’s very challenging to stay alive, especially with enemies throwing grenades from absolutely unrealistic distances.
Gameplay wise, a significant issue with this game has been the lack of Artificial Intelligence. Given the advances in this particular field, this is something truly unacceptable, especially when it’s witnessed that the CPU teammates can become completely oblivious to the enemies nearby or even that CPU enemies which once locked on to one specific target fail to register any additional threat to them, irrespective of proximity.
Another feature which has been expansively covered other games, especially Gears of War and demanded inclusion was some sort of a cover system as that is something a player will constantly think of while fighting a horde of enemies.
As excepted, the CoD engine has kept up to its repute once again. The only drawback has been the lack of significant improvement due to the advances achieved in the graphics industry since the release of CoD4, but like R6:LV2, the issue over here has been the small window of development time.
Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful looking game, infact in my opinion the best as far in relation to the era it has depicted so accurately. Having said that, the storyline demanded a lot of effort and time as the way the story unfolded, it’s pretty much cliché as watching war videos has become so much boring and this could easily have been countered by detailed in game cinematic, thereby adding vitality to the battered story.
The selection of Jack Bauer from TV series ‘24’ (Kiefer Sutherland) as a voice actor for this game was outstanding (which was even acknowledged by VGA organizers), and the music composition went well with the flow of the game. By going for the 5.1 mix, the developers have ensured that the player feels right in the middle of history’s greatest war.
There can be a lot of people out there who might want to stay away from this game because of the era it represents, an era repeated by the gaming industry so many times that it has started to lose its appeal and the impact it once had, has starting to wear thin. Additionally, comparisons to CoD4 are inevitable and by no doubt Modern Warfare takes the cake.
But this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t deserve to be played. First off, this game is the best game ever based on mankind’s greatest conflict, the campaign mode is quite enjoyable and the multiplayer has a number of gameplay options to offer, which again may not be that attractive for CoD4 fanboys due to the lack of modern age weaponry.
Having said that, the quality of the game demands to be played and appreciated as there aren’t many games of its genre upto its level of quality and realistic detail.