Tag Archives: Infinity Ward

Best of 2009 #3: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Brash? Oh yes. Subtle? Absolutely not. Like Michael Bay made a video game? Are you telling me he didn’t?

The launch and sheer dominance of the world’s friends lists of Modern Warfare 2 may have humbled 2007’s mental Halo 3 launch, and the run-up may have been mired in controversy after controversy as Infinity Ward showed signs of taking after its parent, but if I put that aside, what must surely be the gaming event of this generation delivered.

Even with such a malign influence standing over it, Infinity Ward took what we already knew Call of Duty to be capable of – massive, action-packed, scripted war scenarios – and blended it with a ridiculous action movie to make something that was amazing fun. It wasn’t nearly as clever as it thought it was, to be honest, and I still maintain that that scene could have been handled better, and there’s maybe an argument that after the generally realistic World War II setting makes it look even more ridiculous, but it’s fun, and ultimately that’s all that matters.

Multiplayer, too, although it seems to be marred by annoying glitch after annoying glitch, is phenomenally good and will be a staple of my 360’s drive for months to come. I’ve already played that mode more than most full games, and that’s discounting my one and a half (currently) playthroughs of the campaign and mere dabbling with Spec-Ops mode. For all the criticism of its price hike – and I’m sure someone will disagree with me here – it’s the game that, through amount of content and time that will be spent on it, came closest to justifying it.

Modern Warfare 2

I deliberately refrained from weighing in on the debate surround ‘that’ scene in Modern Warfare 2 until I’d actually played it – a shocking perspective, I know – and having just finished the game, I’m glad I did.

A lot of gamers will naturally jump to the defence of their hobby; how it’s an important step towards them becoming a respected and accepted narrative art form and blah blah blah. I actually disagree here. While Infinity Ward should have every right to put such scenes in its games and I applaud Tom Watson’s level-headed approach to treating adults like… well, adults, in playing it I felt that it was controversial for controvery’s sake. It could have been handled so much better – but I guess that wouldn’t have generated the column inches, which is the real crux.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

It’s totally unnecessary, and an extremely heavy-handed attempt to shock, and as far as being avant garde with this stuff goes, the revolution in the first Modern Warfare’s opening stages was far more effective, catching glimpses of dissidents being executed and such. There’s nothing clever or subtle about four men with machine guns opening up on people and shooting someone as he tries to drag his wounded friend to safety.

It feels tacky already, but coupled with the fact that the rest of the game feels like a Michael Bay film – the scene comes immediately after this ridiculous chase, for instance – it’s hard to see it as anything but exploitative. Sad, really, because it does stand out more than it should.

That aside, though, I loved the game. Putting aside the online mode, it’s a five-hour rollercoaster. Like the airport scene it’s not subtle, but this time I mean it in a good way, like The Rock and Con Air, which find themselves imitated repeatedly. I played through most of the game in a single sitting and it constantly kept me enthralled and keen to do it again at a higher difficulty.

Is that too short? As I’ve said before, I’d much rather have a top quality five hours of gameplay than the same content stretched out over ten, and it’s not like the campaign is all that Call of Duty games have to offer. I think that this game is good enough to warrant playing through more than once, and I’m still yet to touch the online/offline co-op Special Ops missions, which are apparently a highlight. So even if one scene is rather tasteless, and even if Activision is intensely disagreeable and it seems to be rubbing off on Infinity Ward, I can’t deny that this is a great game. I love this series, and this is right up there with the best of them, and will be a fixture of my Xbox 360’s disc drive for months.

When Worlds (at War) Collide

It wouldn’t be the first time that it’s been suggested that some people at Infinity Ward may not be too keen on other developers messing up working with their colossally successful Call of Duty franchise in the name of annual updates, Activision becoming the new EA and all that, but this is hilarious.

The Infinity Ward community manager, Robert Bowling, made a post on his blog criticising the tendency of one of the Activision producers on World at War for making unflattering comparisons between the new game and the IW games. Here are the choice quotes:

First of all, you didn’t work on “previous Call of Dutys”, so don’t talk as if you’re down with how / why things were designed the way they were. Second, you’re completely fucking wrong.


A rule of thumb I like to use is…. when promoting your game. Promote YOUR game. Don’t compare it to another game, or reference what OTHER games did in the past, pitch YOUR game. I mean, you have lots of cool things you could talk about… like Nazi Zombies….

Can you guys please stop interviewing this guy, talk to someone who actually works on the Dev Team at Treyarch and knows what the fuck they’re talking about. Not Senior Super Douche Noah Heller from Activision – who apparently has never played the game and doesn’t even work at the developer.

That is awesome.

You have to love the dig at the Nazi zombies – for those who don’t know, there is literally a mode where you must defend your position against waves of undead German soldiers (video) – because I couldn’t believe that when I saw it. In a game that’s already treading a fine line with its depiction, however accurate, of Japanese soldiers in WWII, I can’t help but feel like that mode was pushing a boundaries of taste just a bit.

This is hardly Wolfenstein with its BJ Blazkowicz and Mecha-Hitler; the Call of Duty series was originally about being a more realistic gaming depiction of World War II by having the player not be the lone, Rambo-like hero but be one of many. So much for that idea, then…

Call of Duty: World at War Beta Impressions

Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4. For some reason, Infinity Ward must have decided to be all postmodern and skip a number in its Call of Duty series. I like to pretend that it’s because COD4 was so awesome that it warranted two increments on the sequel scale, but we of course know that it’s because the third was farmed out by Activision to Treyarch in a pretty average attempt to match IW’s faultless FPS credentials.

Call of Duty: World at War

So it was with trepidation that I once again braved another Eurogamer 403 error beta giveaway to see whether it was third time lucky for Treyarch (the first time being Call of Duty: Big Red One), freed from the pressure of being Call of Duty 5.

So far, probably not. Continue reading Call of Duty: World at War Beta Impressions

Call of Duty 4 Variety Map Pack Impressions

It’s been a while since I cared enough about a game to actually pay for DLC. Even Halo 3 had me waiting for the first map pack to be free, and before that I think the last time was Crackdown’s excellent content pack, released way back in May. I may have drifted from COD4 in recent weeks (my current poor form testifies to this fact, although I still blame the new controller/new maps/Prestige mode/lunar alignment), but that couldn’t stop me dropping 400 points (that’s £3.40 in human money) on these babies.


In fact, the last game that I bought more than one content pack for was Call of Duty 2, which probably says something about how this series grabs me. Until this game came out, COD2 was still by far my most-played 360 multiplayer game.

I came to this download knowing nothing about the maps other than the names, so imagine my surprise when I found out that the pictured map, Chinatown, is a remake of Carentan, my favourite map from both Call of Duty and COD2. I’d been waxing lyrical about how I’d love that map and another classic from the first two games, St Mère Eglise (one for the next content pack, please), and here we are; Infinity Ward heard my pleas. Continue reading Call of Duty 4 Variety Map Pack Impressions

Best of 2007 #1: Call of Duty 4

Call of Duty 4

Call of Duty 2 has been a staple of my gaming time since the Xbox 360 came out, more than two years ago. Whatever happened to be the 360’s multiplayer game du jour, COD2 was what I kept going back to with the true believers on my friends list. Once they’d patched the early issues, I’ve always maintained that it was the best no-frills multiplayer FPS on the 360.

You wouldn’t have bet against Halo 3 being the one to finally take over that mantle. After all, COD3 stunk and the fact that I probably preferred multiplayer Return to Castle Wolfenstein on the original Xbox didn’t stop Halo 2 from being an immense time sink.

Maybe it’s karma, but this time the non-Halo game totally stole Halo’s thunder for me. Call of Duty 4 had good single player; it was short and perhaps not as fair on the harder difficulties as previous games (try later COD2 levels on veteran followed by ‘No Fighting in the War Room’ from COD4 – nightmare), but still satisfying, with some real standout moments. Alongside the pitched battles that are unmistakeably Call of Duty, stages like the sniper sequence first shown at E3 and the level set on the gunship show range to Infinity Ward’s talents that make me excited to see what they can do next, probably while someone else sodomises the franchise’s good name in 2008’s COD5.

Multiplayer is what won this for COD4 against all of the other top games this year, though. While it has balance problems that have been discussed at length elsewhere and is possibly the most unfriendly game for new players to enter the melee, I adore it. It has the tight gameplay that made COD2 so good and the ingenious levelling system which gives the impetus to keep playing. Whereas most online games have little more than a rank next to your name, if even that much, after literally days of play you’re unlocking new weapons and challenges here. I’m almost at the highest rank and I’ve only unlocked all of the accessories for two weapons, and haven’t unlocked (let alone completed) all of the challenges.

And I haven’t even mentioned that the whole thing runs at 60 frames per second. That achievement, plus the quality and quantity of content here, puts most games to shame. I have no hesitation in calling it my favourite game of 2007.