Call of Duty Single Player, Infinity Ward vs. Treyarch

Posted by OldManLight (828 posts) -

At the risk of overthinking the game equivalent of a summer popcorn movie, I think i've discovered the reason i never seem to enjoy the single player of campaign levels in Treyarch Call of Duty games. I really enjoy the "quiet moments". Those tension building moments where you're sneaking from one point to another just before the entire level erupts into gunfire. I'm thinking back through the Call of Duty titles i've really enjoyed and it seems like Infinity Ward has always had a better knack for building this tension between firefights.

I know Treyarch has done a fine job with Blops 2 and their previous but i can't think of as many memorable tension building quiet moments in their games as I can Infinity Ward's games. First and probably most memorable for everyone is the mission "All Ghillied Up" in the original Modern Warfare. This mission was superb and will go down as one of my favorite FPS levels ever. The buildup of the sneaking through areas with guards just to get to the sniping position, then the shot, then the escape and the desparate firefight at the end for a chopper that seemed to take ages to come. If not for the long leadup to that escape sequence, this level would just be another generic background of a modern military shooter that i forgot about the next day. The fact that the designers saw fit to force you to sneak through patrol after patrol to even get to that point gives you a real sense of being outnumbered and outgunned when that moment does occur and makes the end even more tense. The game uses this technique several times through its campaign even leads off with a sort of quiet moment where you are infiltrating a tanker and quietly dispatching the crew.

This trend continued in MW2 and MW3, with the great level "Cliffhanger" and the the underwater infiltration missions where you're assaulting an Oil Rig or Russian Submarine in MW2 and MW3 respectively. But, this style of level seems to be few and far between in World at War, Black Ops, and Black Ops 2. While I can see the technique was attempted in some missions, like the sniping the german patrol in sync with bombs in WaW or the tunnel crawl in Vietnam and Baikonour approach with Woods in Blops, they never seem to get it right. I feel like when i play a Treyarch Call of Duty, all singleplayer missions are going to drop me immediately into the shooting almost like the designer wanted me to be disoriented the entire time and not spend any time looking around at the world they've placed me in.

I still haven't finished the Blops 2 campaign as of this writing. I've honestly been having much more fun with Multiplayer and was really turned off by the strikeforce missions and just in general how disjointed much of the campaign feels. I don't really underrstand why i'm in half the places i am. Even after I relisten to the mission briefings, it still seems hard to care. I had such high hopes for this game from the demo i saw at E3. I'm even having a hard time even feeling menaced by the villain, Raul Menendez, and i'm kinda annoyed by Michael Rooker's geriatric sounding voice being mapped to a dude who looks like he's in his thirties.

Maybe i'm being overly critical of something i should be just turning my brain off for and just squeezing LT and RT but, it bums me out to have something that's supposed to be "a thrill ride" make me want to get off the train.

#1 Posted by OldManLight (828 posts) -

At the risk of overthinking the game equivalent of a summer popcorn movie, I think i've discovered the reason i never seem to enjoy the single player of campaign levels in Treyarch Call of Duty games. I really enjoy the "quiet moments". Those tension building moments where you're sneaking from one point to another just before the entire level erupts into gunfire. I'm thinking back through the Call of Duty titles i've really enjoyed and it seems like Infinity Ward has always had a better knack for building this tension between firefights.

I know Treyarch has done a fine job with Blops 2 and their previous but i can't think of as many memorable tension building quiet moments in their games as I can Infinity Ward's games. First and probably most memorable for everyone is the mission "All Ghillied Up" in the original Modern Warfare. This mission was superb and will go down as one of my favorite FPS levels ever. The buildup of the sneaking through areas with guards just to get to the sniping position, then the shot, then the escape and the desparate firefight at the end for a chopper that seemed to take ages to come. If not for the long leadup to that escape sequence, this level would just be another generic background of a modern military shooter that i forgot about the next day. The fact that the designers saw fit to force you to sneak through patrol after patrol to even get to that point gives you a real sense of being outnumbered and outgunned when that moment does occur and makes the end even more tense. The game uses this technique several times through its campaign even leads off with a sort of quiet moment where you are infiltrating a tanker and quietly dispatching the crew.

This trend continued in MW2 and MW3, with the great level "Cliffhanger" and the the underwater infiltration missions where you're assaulting an Oil Rig or Russian Submarine in MW2 and MW3 respectively. But, this style of level seems to be few and far between in World at War, Black Ops, and Black Ops 2. While I can see the technique was attempted in some missions, like the sniping the german patrol in sync with bombs in WaW or the tunnel crawl in Vietnam and Baikonour approach with Woods in Blops, they never seem to get it right. I feel like when i play a Treyarch Call of Duty, all singleplayer missions are going to drop me immediately into the shooting almost like the designer wanted me to be disoriented the entire time and not spend any time looking around at the world they've placed me in.

I still haven't finished the Blops 2 campaign as of this writing. I've honestly been having much more fun with Multiplayer and was really turned off by the strikeforce missions and just in general how disjointed much of the campaign feels. I don't really underrstand why i'm in half the places i am. Even after I relisten to the mission briefings, it still seems hard to care. I had such high hopes for this game from the demo i saw at E3. I'm even having a hard time even feeling menaced by the villain, Raul Menendez, and i'm kinda annoyed by Michael Rooker's geriatric sounding voice being mapped to a dude who looks like he's in his thirties.

Maybe i'm being overly critical of something i should be just turning my brain off for and just squeezing LT and RT but, it bums me out to have something that's supposed to be "a thrill ride" make me want to get off the train.

#2 Posted by jillsandwich (762 posts) -

Yeah, Modern Warfare 1 and 2 have superb pacing. Both BLOPS games just sort of drop you in it, which kind of sucks. I doubt it will happen, but I hope the next Infinity Ward game puts them back on the map for COD campaigns.

#3 Edited by mordukai (7140 posts) -

The reason I liked CoD 4 was because IW took all the B-rated action movie shticks and ran with it. They did not try to take themselves too seriously as the whole plot, action, and pacing was just pure ridiculousness, the only thing missing from it were some John McClane one liners. After CoD 4 exploded and became the giant that it is now they started taking themselves seriously and were trying to keep this serious dark tune to the game that just makes the game unbearable. 
 
To me the modern CoD games represent why story in video games is still regarded as the "elephant in the room" so to speak. In short what I am trying to say is that if the makers of the CoD game want me to take the story lines they make seriously then they need to grow up. 

#4 Posted by xMEGADETHxSLY (446 posts) -

COD4 was a amazing single player. The COD after that have been chasing that high and amazing of a campaign. More explosions up the ass and set pieces up the ass. Also scripted moments UP THE ASS TOO

#5 Posted by believer258 (11682 posts) -

@mordukai said:

The reason I liked CoD 4 was because IW took all the B-rated action movie shticks and ran with it. They did not try to take themselves too seriously as the whole plot, action, and pacing was just pure ridiculousness, the only thing missing from it were some John McClane one liners. After CoD 4 exploded and became the giant that it is now they started taking themselves seriously and were trying to keep this serious dark tune to the game that just makes the game unbearable. To me the modern CoD games represent why story in video games is still regarded as the "elephant in the room" so to speak. In short what I am trying to say is that if the makers of the CoD game want me to take the story lines they make seriously then they need to grow up.

I find it kind of odd that the need to "grow up" when referring to so many video game stories means "realizing that your story is kind of silly and embracing, rather than avoiding, that fact".

Just an odd observation.

#6 Posted by mordukai (7140 posts) -

@believer258 said:

@mordukai said:

The reason I liked CoD 4 was because IW took all the B-rated action movie shticks and ran with it. They did not try to take themselves too seriously as the whole plot, action, and pacing was just pure ridiculousness, the only thing missing from it were some John McClane one liners. After CoD 4 exploded and became the giant that it is now they started taking themselves seriously and were trying to keep this serious dark tune to the game that just makes the game unbearable. To me the modern CoD games represent why story in video games is still regarded as the "elephant in the room" so to speak. In short what I am trying to say is that if the makers of the CoD game want me to take the story lines they make seriously then they need to grow up.

I find it kind of odd that the need to "grow up" when referring to so many video game stories means "realizing that your story is kind of silly and embracing, rather than avoiding, that fact".

Just an odd observation.

I meant it that IF the CoD games want me to take them seriously then they need to grow up. I have no problem with over the top ridiculous action as long as the makers realize that and embrace it. Sorry if I did not explained myself correctly.

#7 Posted by believer258 (11682 posts) -

@mordukai said:

@believer258 said:

@mordukai said:

The reason I liked CoD 4 was because IW took all the B-rated action movie shticks and ran with it. They did not try to take themselves too seriously as the whole plot, action, and pacing was just pure ridiculousness, the only thing missing from it were some John McClane one liners. After CoD 4 exploded and became the giant that it is now they started taking themselves seriously and were trying to keep this serious dark tune to the game that just makes the game unbearable. To me the modern CoD games represent why story in video games is still regarded as the "elephant in the room" so to speak. In short what I am trying to say is that if the makers of the CoD game want me to take the story lines they make seriously then they need to grow up.

I find it kind of odd that the need to "grow up" when referring to so many video game stories means "realizing that your story is kind of silly and embracing, rather than avoiding, that fact".

Just an odd observation.

I meant it that IF the CoD games want me to take them seriously then they need to grow up. I have no problem with over the top ridiculous action as long as the makers realize that and embrace it. Sorry if I did not explained myself correctly.

Oh! Sorry. I didn't read it correctly. My bad.

#8 Posted by TooWalrus (13139 posts) -

I really liked MW2's campaign. The story was crazy, but the section where the nuke goes off, and the EMP disables all electronics, even the red dot sights, was incredible. You were fighting on the White House steps as helicopters fell out of the sky around you. I loved that campaign, that spoilercast is still one of my favorite podcasts to date. I haven't played a CoD campaign since, so I'm going to say IW, even though MW3 apparently sucked in comparison.

#9 Posted by mordukai (7140 posts) -

@believer258: No sweat man. Happens to us all.

#10 Posted by zombie2011 (4969 posts) -

MW 2 had the best campaign imo, the stuff when you play as Roach/Soap and you're rolling with Ghost and Price was awesome. Then the whole invasion of the U.S was great too.

Fuck that game was great and ended on such a high note.

#11 Posted by Hippie_Genocide (540 posts) -

I don't if its so much of a "IW vs. Treyarch" thing as much as IW kind of shot their creative wad at CoD4. Its not their fault, it just shows that you don't need to remake the same thing every year, or every 2 years as the case may be. I've also really liked all of Treyarch's CoD games, and I actually still think WaW was their best, even though I like both Black Ops games too.

#12 Posted by 2kings (118 posts) -

@OP My God. You put into words the exact thing I am thinking this moment. I don't get all the praise Blops 2 seems to be getting. In my opinion it's the worst offering Treyarch has given since CoD 3. The story, to me, is incomprehensible. Also FUCK strike missions those were the worst.

#13 Posted by zombie2011 (4969 posts) -

@Hippie_Genocide said:

I don't if its so much of a "IW vs. Treyarch" thing as much as IW kind of shot their creative wad at CoD4.

I think people don't give MW2 enough credit, that game was amazing. It was also the time when the "hardcore gamers" got all butt hurt about the whole annual sequel thing so they started hating on COD, and MW2 just happened to be the newest one of those.

I played COD4 to death and the only moment in the single player that sticks out to me is the nuke going off and the last moment on the bridge. Meanwhile MW2 is just packed with amazing moments

  • The invasion of the U.S.
  • Price setting of the EMP and all the shit that happens after it.
  • Favela rooftop chase
  • No Russian
  • The Betrayal and the chase/ending of the game.
  • Busting Price out of the Gulag (my personal favorite)

The way the game ended was great, and it's a shame IW pretty dismantled after MW2, because i would have loved to see what they would have done with MW3 and the characters, they probably wouldn't have revived Soap just to have him die a few missions later.

#14 Edited by Wacomole (815 posts) -

@zombie2011 said:

I played COD4 to death and the only moment in the single player that sticks out to me is the nuke going off and the last moment on the bridge. Meanwhile MW2 is just packed with amazing moments

I don't know... the opening in the sinking ship, the TV station and (one of my favourite Modern Warfare sections ever) the AC130 were all pretty memorable for me.

That's not to say that MW2 was not a hugely enjoyable campaign, of course. In fact I've gone back and played through it again on numerous occasions over the years (but not the multiplayer since it became basically tainted)

EDIT: I have to add though, that I never played another Call of Duty after MW2... so there is that.

#15 Posted by MegaLombax (384 posts) -

I've only recently started playing BLOPS2, and I get where all the praise is coming from. But the way the campaign played out, it seemed to put the player in the middle of intense firefights too quick. Even when the game attempted at the quiet moments, it didn't feel effective to build up the tension.

In comparison, nothing up to date, can compare to the immersion in COD4. The only 2 games that I've played thus far to have experience similar levels of immersion was Medal of Honor (2010) and to a certain degree Killzone 2.

#16 Posted by Vonocourt (2123 posts) -

@TooWalrus said:

I really liked MW2's campaign. The story was crazy, but the section where the nuke goes off, and the EMP disables all electronics, even the red dot sights, was incredible.

The moment where you had to wait for the lightning strike to designate the guy as friend or foe is my favorite moment from a COD game. Too bad that some of the missions in that game are bad, like the mission where you have to run back and forth between the not-Taco bell and the not-burger king. It was an interesting break from the usual level structure, but I found more often than not that it was frustrating to play.

Black Ops, while it doesn't really ever reach the highest highs of the first two MW games, it's pretty consistently awesome. Rolling through a compound shooting out flames with a shotgun, or escaping from a Russian prison while your fellow comrades chant some crazy list of steps that play into the overarching story. It's bonkers. Been playing BLOPS 2 here and there and it's been alright, mostly loving old Woods being a cool muthafucka that doesn't give two shits...but is really old so he just kind of rambles on at points.

#17 Posted by Hippie_Genocide (540 posts) -

@zombie2011: All Ghillied Up didn't stand out to you? That whole sequence was just amazing to me. MW2 had its big setpieces, but it didn't seem to have the same impact as CoD4. My favorite though was when you go all stealth to that snowy base and you are using the radar scanner to locate hostiles. Eventually the shit hits the fan and you hightail it out of there on snowmobiles and a very James Bond-esque chase scene ensues.

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