Call of Duty is the World War II first-person shooter that was to spawn a myriad of sequels and launch the Call of Duty series into the record books on multiple occasion. Though the latest Call of Duty games concern themselves with high-tech combat with advanced weaponry and warfare with a technological spin, the original Call of Duty was all about combined arms and infantry-level combat set during the second World War. The three campaigns – American, British, and Soviet – give players multiple perspectives on the conflict, while the gameplay itself was praised for its innovation and addictive nature. This review of Call of Duty hopes to delve into many of the reasons this game won multiple “Game of the Year” awards for its legendary FPS action.
Very few gamers could say that Call of Duty’s gameplay is unique or one-of-a-kind. In fact, if you look at games like Medal of Honour, you can see just how similar things are in terms of setting, mood, and development of the missions. Where Call of Duty truly shines then, is in its combination of authenticity (helped along by the then-impressive graphics – we’re talking about 2003, remember), a three-pronged campaign (Soviet, British, and American), and missions that were at their worst action packed and at best just as immersive (if not more so) than any of its competitors. Oh, and let’s not forget the multiplayer modes, which after all, were the beginnings of what became one of the most-played online games in the world.
The gameplay mechanics themselves are very arcade-like, with missions taking place in an on-the-rails fashion (most paths and destinations predetermined) with a health system that allows replenishment from most injuries bar a shot to the head. Frequent save points offer a psychological safety net throughout, though the authenticity created by the level design, mission progression, and the combination of decent graphics/high-quality sounds remains present throughout.
Aside from the single and multiplayer modes, the other mother-lode of content comes in the form of weapons. These authentic tools of war range in origin from British to German through to American and Soviet armaments. Rifles, sniper rifles, sub-machine and machine guns, grenades, and various pistols/sidearms all make an appearance; the design of each weapon is also authentic and adds to the realistic feel of it all.
Call of Duty’s multiplayer displays several elements of what today has become one of the most recognisable multiplayer facets of an FPS game. Though scoping up when sniping is considerably more restrictive than quick-scoping in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, features such as the Kill Cam make not only for entertaining viewing after death but are also a great tool for balancing out the game. What is meant by this is that if you have a player camping out for long periods of time, this will be captured in the kill cam footage and the other players on the server can then vote to boot the offending player out of the game. Apparently, only most is fair in love and war after all.
A Grand Spectacle
One of the most stand-out features of the single-player campaign is definitely the sense of vastness it creates during the missions. In particular, the number of bodies it puts on the ground and indeed in your quarters as you fight alongside a huge number of characters, many of which dip in and out of the action very, very frequently. The effect of this is that Infinity Ward have in Call of Duty managed to create a sense of grand cooperation amongst the allies. Couple this with the Quake III-engine graphics and sounds so realistic and distinctive that you’ll eventually be able to tell every weapon by the sound of its reload or one single shot of a bullet, and you’ve got the true and deserving ancestor of what has become one of the most revered first-person shooters to have ever graced our PCs and consoles.