Wow, so Treyarch has done the impossible. Did anyone predict that they would seriously outdo Infinity Ward this time round, if ever? Always seeming to create the inferior games, they didn't have a very hefty reputation amongst COD fanboys now did they? Well being one of the non believers, I take my words back. I apologise for ever going on a rant everytime it was confirmed Treyarch was to do the next installment and thinking to myself: "Activision are still paying these guys?". Well done guys, and its about freaking time.
But it seems that every COD seems to be consistently average with only a slight notch of improvement or disimprovement. COD4 came along and took the online community by storm, and arguarbly changed the face of first person shooters forever. I mean seriously, look at all the clones that one game spawned. And from there, both companies must have got some sort of big headed syndrome and milked the series constantly for four damned sequels. It's alright adding some new destructive weapons, kick-ass perks, indefeasable killstreaks, but if you ain't changing the course of the gameplay even the slightest, it's that "been there, done that" scenario. This isn't a sports game where you can get away with that every single year of every single decade. If you're going to plan a sequel annually, you better deliver. Instead, as expected with every COD game, we get a few new features.
Firstly, if you've read my review of MW2, you knew how much the fast paced combat online pissed me off. This may sound contradictory, but for players like myself who liked to play using tactics, I was so open to guys who sprayed from 10 km away and it would hit me in the face (that's what she said). The weapons where so unbalanced it was unreal. I think the term we are looking for is that MW2 was very "noob friendly". Treyarch has improved in this sector, delivering a much more even weapon format where certain guns are used for certain situations. You can't expect kills if you don't play strategically anymore. However, whilst they highly improved on this feat, the sniping on the game has completely downgraded. Using the most powerful sniper will require a headshot or no kill, which is somewhat rare, and the fact that the majority of the areas in the maps are closed, it's pretty useless in even attempting to (whos ever idea it was to not have sniping as one shot one kill, go die please).
There is a new playercard system where you are provided with a limited amount of icons to create your own emblem. Seeing as though you can't designe the icons yourself, you can't expect to make Solid Snake pixel by pixel like you could in Forza Motorsport, but it works suprising really well. I've seen Eric Cartman, Ezio, Dark Side of the Moon, Vito Corleone, explicity detailed women body parts. If you put your mind to it, you can create anything from pop art culture to... well woman genatilia. It works really well, and seeing as though we are hardly going to see improved gameplay, they should update this like bring some sort of voting system for emblems, and save your emblems so you can switch between them at any time.
You now have to buy your guns after unlocking them, thanks to this pointless little feature called COD points. XP's all we need, surely. It sort of takes away the thrill when you use to unlock the guns you wanted on previous CODs, and you equip them straight off the bat. Now you have to buy them, it doesn't give that similar feeling. But thats probably just me. It's only a minor complaint anyhoo, but at least they have put some use to it, by adding the excellent contracts, which are like challenges, but you select which ones you want to do with a time limit to do it in. They become very addictive and definitley gives the multiplayer mode a little bit more value. There's also wager matches where you gamble your COD points into small amounts if you just want to play the exclusive games without risking losing money, or high amounts, if you're feeling lucky. The four match types on this mode are very original, and work superbly well.
Treyarch have unfortunately decided to kill off the addictive Special Ops, but no need to threat, because WAW's Zombies make a return and it's bigger and better than ever. It's the only thing I still go on when I decide to stick Blacks Ops in. Even with the same three maps, it never seems to get repetitive. There's not much else to say about Zombies, but it's probably the most original and the best thing to come out of Treyarch's Call of Duty games. Oh, and you also get Dead Ops Arcade which although you won't play half as much as Zombies, it's still a welcome addition to the pack.
Now the campaigns to COD I haven't liked since the second one, so I've never finished any next gen CODs (apart from MW2, which was meh). I have always tried to get through them, but they have always seemed a chore to me, and I just want to get back online. Black Ops unfortunately is the same, I made it to level 3 and I couldn't go on. So I'm afraid I can't really comment, or ever comment on future COD campaigns.
I'd like to think of this as a less consistent The Orange Box. It is easily the most complete COD package yet, and with so much replay value, no matter what you think of the overall game, there's got to be something here for you. Just don't go in expecting something much more expansive because it's essentially the same old, with a few tweaks along the way.