Call of Duty has been one of the most successful video game franchises to ever exist, even if its last few releases haven’t been up to par. Created in 2003, the original Call of Duty served as a precursor of the years of awesome gaming to come. The various World War II themes didn’t turn away fans at all as the series grew, and the popularity of the series was already sky-high when Infinity Ward took them the stratosphere with the release of Modern Warfare.
Obviously the sequels followed, along with Black Ops. The franchise became a household name right around 2012, when Black Ops II was released. Treyarch and Activision nearly created a perfect video game, something that has arguably never been done and never will be. This was followed up by Call of Duty: Ghosts, which was seen as both a flop and success with many people on both sides of each spectrum.
The pinnacle moment for the franchise was in 2014, when the Guinness World Record Book named Call of Duty as the best video game series of all-time. It beat out anything Nintendo has ever put out (including Mario), Grand Theft Auto, Pikachu, literally everything.
I’m not sure if this fogged up some executives’ heads or something of that sort, but things rapidly went down the drain. Whether this was due to people just getting bored of the same style of shooters or whether fans thought the graphics were deteriorating or whatever it was, the series’ reputation took a hit.
There were several games, namely Advanced Warfare and Infinite Warfare (and to some degree Black Ops III), that severely lacked originality and uniquity which honestly caused people to view Call of Duty as a dying series. Call of Duty: World War II was dropped this year and it was pretty successful, but still didn’t fully revive their reputation.
Fans have turned to different styles of gaming in the recent years, which is actually a very good thing. Companies have gone on to further other genres and develop them even more, which is awesome when put into perspective as a whole. As a Call of Duty buff (and many with mutual admiration for the series would agree), I wish the series would go back to its older roots.
With that being said, the news of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 seemed like a tease that my wish might come true. David Vonderhaar held the trailer release back on May 17th of this year but if you look back on it now, it has 345,000 likes compared to 221,000 dislikes. That clearly says something about what people are thinking.
There’s no official gameplay out yet, but its official trailer seems to be telling enough. It instructs fans to “Forget everything they know”, which basically turned out as a proclamation that the return of boots-on-the-ground gameplay would be the series’ savior. It seems like besides that aspect, the game will just be a remix of Black Ops III.
Black Ops 4 seems to have some pretty unique maps, weapons, and attachments. When put into perspective though, so does every Call of Duty. The gameplay will have grappling, which is a low-key way to ensure that there’s still some annoying jumping aspect. On the bright side you can’t shoot your weapon mid-grapple, which makes it alright.
As far as game modes go, everything will be the standard. That’s okay, but Activision needs to make sure that the hit detection and the general shooting motions are similar to those of their older games. It needs to be a no-nonsense game, with no random jumping and sniper hitmarkers that result in a controller going through one’s television screen.
One extremely unique aspect of BO4 is the capability to shoot weapons underwater. It is a futuristic shooter, which means new abilities like such should be included. On the contrary, every map is bright and open with no extreme weather or rain. One thing that made Modern Warfare so addicting was the inclusion of maps like Wet Work. Weather adds an impactful aspect that makes every gun battle unlike any other.
Another feature that really disappoints is the typical lack of an interactive environment. Buildings won’t crumble under fire, and trees won’t fall over when riddled by bullets. This wasn’t necessarily seen in older releases, but as time goes on and graphics get more advanced, this should definitely be included. It is also worth noting that BO4 won’t have a campaign, the first game from the series to ever lack one.
Overall, its motions and action look eerily similar to those we saw in Black Ops III. Watch the trailer for yourself and make your own conclusion about the game, but know that as of right now, it probably needs a fair amount of work if it wants to be great. It’s still going to be “good” for sure, but for Call of Duty, that would be par for the course.
Therein lies the biggest problem for the franchise. The expectations for them are so high, that anything less than a classic can be seen as a failure. There’s a lot that has to be done still, but there’s still time before its October release. The trailer, which is all we have to go off of, wasn’t a promise of greatness but rather an extension of its predecessor. Time will tell if it will be enough to win fans back.