When you get your hands on a brand new video game from a well-known and loved brand series, there are always mixed feelings of anticipation and fear present. Is it going to be “Terminator 3” or “Die Hard 4” of the video games? A newcomer has almost nothing to live up to, but a sequel as grand as Call of Duty series is something to be truly interested in.
There was not much promising about Call of Duty video game going on sale in 2003. The First Person Shooter genre was dominated by multiplayer oriented titles and it seemed that the coming decade was going to be all about Unreal Tournament and Quake Arena like games. The arrival of a single player campaign game with the main focus on storytelling rather than “Kill-the-Most” motto seemed a bit farfetched.
Call of Duty was an immediate hit. It sold millions and revolutionized the way we view FPS games in general. Despite using a slightly different id Tech 3 game engine, Call of Duty was a major success and won a number of “Best Game” and “Game of the Year” awards. It would have been a great shame if Activision decided to drop the title, but fortunately for everyone a sequel followed two years later.
Powered by an in-house IW Engine the second coming of CoD cemented the storytelling FPS game approach. Overall gameplay remained the same with focus on single player campaigns. Once again different characters had to make their way through major historic battles of World War II. The new engine was the major contributor to the success of the title since it added extra feel to the dusty struggles of the Allies and the Axis.
Not much has changed for Call of Duty 3 as the main features and engine remained relatively the same, and despite sales numbers the game itself seemed brief and aged. Rather than apply Botox therapy, Activision decided to drop the WWII theme and instead released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Served as an entirely new game, although based on the same game engine, CoD: MW proved to be quite a pleasing experience and received a warm welcome from the gaming community which clearly would not have been lenient to a “yet another WWII” title.
Everything was modern and new: guns, planes, vehicles; everything but the things that made this series great. Plot and storytelling were on the same level as before and you really pushed hard until you got to an abrupt end with many questions remaining unanswered.
While some were expecting CoD: MW2 from Infinity Ward to hit the market next, it was actually Treyarch’s turn to provide. The Call of Duty: World at War made a detour to the World War II battle in the Pacific theater, where the protagonist was responsible for the abrupt dawn of the Empire of the Rising Sun. It may have been a true Call of Duty game, but this is where it seemed just that bit boring. Weak story combined with painfully familiar and scripted battles were a major disappointment and community’s reaction would have been grave if not for one addictive game mode – Zombie wave killing defend the fort.
Since the fans were longing for a Modern Warfare follow-up, Activation just gave that in 2009. Same ingredients, same recipe and even the same plot since it picked up where the first installation left it hanging. Immense success despite bringing absolutely nothing new to the table, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 posed the same question: where the series was going as it seemed like it had become something like your favorite TV show, with endless seasons yet to come. Disproving the critics and expectations, CoD: MW2 sold in millions and it seems that CoD: BO is going the same way straight to the Guinness Book of World Records.