By OldManLight 16 Comments
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.