Since the Halo Marathon got a little stuck (the Library is and will always be a terrible level that I do not want to finish) I've decided to move onto something I've been meaning to do for a few years now. I present to you, the Call of Duty Marathon.
What is the Call of Duty Marathon? The plan is to play every single Call of Duty game's single player campaign from start to end, stream some of the footage, give some commentary, fill out a progress report from time to time, and give a short little review. The final part of the marathon is to sum up my feeling of the entire series, my experiances, and how it's changed over the years.
Since the Call of Duty Series is now 9 years old and has many different entries spanning several different platforms, this will present a rare opportunity to see how the first person shooter has evolved in the past 10 years. Call of Duty presents a unique viewpoint as it's a series that was born and raised on the PC and eventually moved to the consoles. I will be looking at how that fundamentally changed the gameplay, features, focus audience, and functionality over time. This could give us a better look at exactly what has been happening to gaming in the past few years.
The games in the order that they will be played are:
- Call of Duty (PC)
- Call of Duty: United Offensive (PC)
- Call of Duty: Finest Hour (Xbox)
- Call of Duty: Big Red One (Xbox)
- Call of Duty 2 (PC)
- Call of Duty 3 (Xbox 360)
- Call of Duty 4 (PC)
- Call of Duty: World At War (PC/Xbox 360, platform not decided)
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PC)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops (PC)
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (PC/Xbox 360, platform not decided
You can follow the CoD Marathon at my Livestream Channel called Wasdie TV located at http://www.livestream.com/wasdieschannel. I'll put a link on the side of my blog as well.
So, let's begin.
Call of Duty is the first entry in the series launched in October of 2003. Following the trend of WWII First Person Shooters, Call of Duty looked to forge its own identity by featuring the largest scale and battles the industry had ever seen in a first person shooter. It did this and a lot more.
Created by the team that was responsible for the extremely popular and genre defining Medal of Honor Allied Assault, Infinity Ward continued with their unique blend of military shooting and cinematic action. The focus was on the shooting and set piece battles rather than hunting for secret rooms, keys, or solving puzzles. The occasional on-rails segment and tank mission broke up the linear levels with one extremely memorable on-rails sequence that had you gunning down Germans in a French car as it drove through the war torn countryside to the American line.
I've played through this campaign several times and it never seems to get old. The graphics may have aged but that's about it. There are a few things that are a departure from modern gameplay conventions. The most noticeable is the lack of regenerating health. Despite Halo Combat Evolved being launched two years before Call of Duty, Infinity Ward decided to stick with a health bar and health item pickups scattered throughout the level. On the normal difficulty, the one I usually play on, it's never really difficult to find health. When your health drops below 25%, the enemies drop more healthpacks and it's pretty common to trip over a larger healthpack after a big battle. This keeps the pace up without it turning into a semi-survival game like Half-Life does. On the harder difficulties health is far less common. On the Veteran difficulty this game is extremely challenging.
The other small difference is in the basic controls. Unlike the current Call of Duty games, this game features lean with the Q and E button and you must actually equip your grenades. These were very standard PC shooter controls for this type of game back in 2003 but have faded away over the years. Equipping grenades can be very cumbersome for new players. It's really easy to see why most games have moved to a dedicated grenade button.
Last night I played through the American campaign that's about 7 missions long. Since I've played this game so many times I can blow through the first few levels very quickly. My final playtime will not be an indication of how long it would take a new player playing at the normal difficulty to beat the game. So far it's really easy to see why this game series got so popular. Even 9 years and dozens of playthroughs later, the first missions are still extremely fun. Even with the levels being extremely linear, the pacing is superb and the level design is some of the best. In particular the first few American missions seem to have the best enemy placement. There are no respawning enemies and the level design makes you feel like you're having small scale skirmishes with two fireteams instead of you being a WWII version of John Rambo. It's a unique feeling that very few other shooters ever accomplish. To bad the next few missions turn into one man romps through the German lines.
Tonight I plan on playing more Call of Duty. I hope that this time the game does not crash when I attempt to stream to Livestream.com.