I just finished the campaign on Hardened, and all I can say is that I was expecting much more. This is the first Treyarch CoD game that I have ever played, and let me tell you, it showed. With the exception of a few cool parts and the great graphics, the action and intensity that I found in CoD 2 and CoD 4 simply were not there.
First of all, there was absolutely no connection to the characters at all throughout the campaign. Besides a few (Roebuck, Reznov, Chernov, Laronsky) characters, it was really blah. Not only that, but all of the missions did not seem to connect...they were to scattered, and it does not really ever feel like you are making progress in the war, just simply being thrown into random scenarios. The only mission that was memorable at all to me was the final mission, when you are pushing against the final Nazi stronghold. The entire U.S. campaign especially felt scattered and thrown together last minute.
Second, simply the lack of details and care that Infinity Ward takes so much pride in doing. I mean, what really distinguishes Call of Duty from other FPS games to me is the constant scripted events and epic interactive cutscenes throughout the campaign, that give you a feeling of events that are out of your control, just like in reality...WaW didn't have these...at all. The only ones that you are ever exposed to are of your character on the ground and being rescued by the same people over and over again. Lame.
Third, the sound. The sound in this game is absolutely terrible. Everything is so quiet and fluffy, especially the guns. The combat made me feel like I was in the war, but the sound made me feel like I was in the middle of a cap gun fight. But perhaps the biggest problem with the game, more than anything, is the AI and combat. Unlike other CoD games where the enemy is moving, trying to get into a better position, move away from a grenade, or push forward, enemies in this game...well, just stand their. With the exception of the Japanese Banzai charges, the enemies don't do anything but shoot...period. It truly feels like you are in a shooting carol rather than a war.
That said, there are SOME positive things. I think that the dismemberment and more bloody violence is definitely an engaging plus, and the fact that the game put you into two largely un-explored periods of the war is pretty cool...just nothing groundbreaking. Overall, the game was average if no sub-par.