I am considering buying Call of Duty: World at War, there I said it. I have not bought a Call of Duty game since Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3. That’s 6 years of Call of Duty abstinence and it has barely felt like a day. That isn’t some proud statement about the passage of time, it’s more of an indictment of just how little the later series entries have tempted me. And to be honest, I mostly bought Modern Warfare 3 and Black Ops through chasing a feeling, the feeling that Modern Warfare, World at War and to some extent Modern Warfare 2.
It’s hard to define exactly why these 2/3 games stood out to me as a teenager. Maybe because at the time it was popular amongst well, just about everyone. Maybe because I have always had a soft spot for a shooter and enjoy “realistic” (note the “‘s I know, I know) settings. But outside of these maybe’s there are some definites. Each game felt like a self-contained battle where you and your friends would dive in with the ‘build’ you were constantly playing with all the time. Sometimes you’d go game to game wanting to be a stealthy sniper because you’d just watched Enemy at the Gates, sometimes you’d be Rambo because you’d just watched Predator. For a while me and a buddy pretended we were the pissin’ VietCong in World at War, I think we knew they weren’t Japanese, we just for some reason thought it’d make for a more immersive tactic.
Within that ‘build’ you’d be chasing micro-targets, new skins for your gun through headshots for examples. These set a real sense of achievement in the game outside of the classic win the round or through obtaining a good K/D, something I never really took that much satisfaction in. Lest we forget, the gameplay mechanics were simple: Get a loadout, run, shoot some, die, repeat. This was criticised by some, myself probably included, but not all shooters need to be as savvy as Rainbow Six: Siege sometimes you just want some dumb fun, with a gun.
Oh, and I almost forgot. The campaign, although short, supplied some excellent moments. Who didn’t want to be in the SAS after FNG? Who could forget All Ghillied Up trying to get the Ghillies in the Mist achievement? Storming Berlin as a commie? Or the controversial Airport massacre, did you shoot? I did… Then, Zombies, whilst only World at War contained it out of my favourites I spent way too much time on this…
So that brings me to the why, why am I considering reentering the sinking ship that seems to be the Call of Duty series? Well, in a word – simplicity.
The game seems streamlined. Whilst it has got rid of the ‘perk’ system I was fond of, the new class-based system undoubtedly is simpler. Just choose your class and dive in. Hopefully, this gets around some of the “min-maxing” that always came with the games I played. This was where players would always go with the most optimal set-up, and soon games quickly became everyone running around with MP5 or M16 (or whatever, with a red dot sight) with sleight of hand, stopping power and bandolier.
The next is the gameplay. I have only really watched multiplayer gameplay so I cannot speak too much about the singleplayer, but from what I have seen so far, it is simple, basic pick up your gun and squeeze the trigger. No more do you have to worry about running up a wall or jetpacks or whatever the fuck you’re doing in the more recent games. These were the fundamentals of those Call of Duty games I enjoyed so much, the simple fast paced run and gun. If I want to play a sci-fi shooter with jetpack mechanics I’d look elsewhere, if I want a shooter I can quickly pick up and have fun I’d look to Call of Duty. Simple.
The final point comes to Nazi zombies. I would talk about the story here but I wouldn’t say it’s the storyline that makes the Call of Duty stories memorable, mostly they are forgettable with a few standout moments and so, for this reason, this will only be clear on release. But zombies, Sledgehammer Games co-founder Michael Condrey has revealed that the mode will be similar in experience to Dead Space a game he has previously worked on. This sounds awesome, and if they can pull this off could strike an excellent blend of horror and action made all the better for trying to survive with your buddies. Whilst this seems streets away from the key theme I was going for in simplicity, well you’d be right it is miles away from simple, I’m just saying it could be cool.
So will I get it? It’s too soon to say, the games released Friday and I think I’ll wait for the gameplay videos from trusted sources to roll around before making a judgement call. So will I do? Will it still be fun after 6 years abstinence? Will I remember how to do it? Find out next time on I can’t believe it’s not blogger maybe, or when I make an edit to this post if I buy it. The second is probably what I’ll go with… If I do, I’ll try to let you know what I think at some point. Till next time.