Treyarch Does Fun Better Than Infinity Ward
I know it’s a few years delayed but I recently finished Call of Duty: Black Ops thanks to a very courteous Marko and having finally done so, I’ve stumbled upon a very definite, very unavoidable truth with regards to my experience.
Treyarch have the right formula when it comes to the Call of Duty games.
Now before you all start with your anti-CoD hate, don’t for a second take this as me defending the so-called copy-pasta allegations that have been thrown in the way of the Call of Duty series. That’s a debate for another time.
What I have previously established is that the Call of Duty series has become something of a no-frills, rollercoaster series akin to a popcorn action flick featuring Jason Statham or Optimus Prime. It doesn’t mean to tell a compelling story, nor does it attempt to immerse you into a new world of discovery and intrigue. All it means to do is throw many explosions at you and have your adrenaline pumping harder than it ever has before, and then turn you into a masochist as you do it all over again on a higher difficulty.
For the purposes of this little featurette, we’re going to talk about just the singleplayer. I’ve already stated my admiration of Treyarch’s attempts at different but not entirely unique multiplayer experiences; such things as the Nazi Zombies mode in World at War and then the Wager matches and other multiplayer modes in Black Ops. But no, let’s talk straight singleplayer experiences.
I can now state that I’ve played every Call of Duty game since the very first one which was based on a then very aged Quake 3 engine but still managed to look glorious for what it was. The original game, its expansion and subsequent sequel all were great games that conveyed excellent story-telling from a historical era that was the craze of the early to mid 2000s; that of World War 2. Call of Duty 3 was Treyarch’s first outing and it was a horrendous tragedy that suffered mass glitches and just broken gameplay. Let’s chalk it down to a n00b attempt and a lesson well learned.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare broke ground because it dared to be different and managed to pull it off. It was a winning formula and sealed the Call of Duty series as a game of the new generation. Also that nuke scene. There were some other really epic moments as well but mostly we just remember the stealth section with Price, and that nuke scene. Holy nuclear warfare apocalypse, right?
Then every Modern Warfare title thereafter opted to get more and more serious, throwing in mass amounts of rollercoaster action without much in the way of humour or light-hearted moments. Sure there were slightly more reserved moments between all the mayhem but mostly those were just to preserve what brain cells we had left before the next assault on our senses. Or dead child, in the case of Modern Warfare 3.
Now Treyarch on the other hand opted to do things a little differently. Sure they were also serious but their execution never quite conveyed it. I remember World at War, crawling through trenches with a flamethrower and driving a tank while a rock soundtrack played in the background. Completely out of place for a game set in World War 2, but that was the point. Then I played a game of headshot with a sniper a block over. The game was over-the-top.
But isn’t that the point of the entire series after Modern Warfare?
In Black Ops, I drove a boat down a river blowing up anything that so much as dared to not sway with the wind in a natural motion, all while the fucking Rolling Stones played in the background. And which song was it? Sympathy For The Devil. There were random points in the game where all of a sudden I heard Creedence or some other band in the background, while shooting everything that moved towards me. Every five minutes there was a slow-motion sequence, some where slow motion wasn’t even required. There were points where I slid down a roof or mountain side in slow motion while shooting things, only for whatever I was sliding towards to blow up in slow motion before I got there. At one point I ran from a fucking avalanche. In slow motion.
Now compare this to Modern Warfare.
A lot of over-the-top sequences, sure. But was it fun? Let’s rather say; was it as fun?
I have to admit that having played the Modern Warfare titles and enjoyed all of them, I still think back to World at War and Black Ops and look at them in a fonder perspective than the Infinity Ward games. Fonder?
I don’t know quite what it is about Infinity Ward recently but they take their games too seriously when really what they actually need to do (said as pretentiously as is humanly possible) is take a step back and look at the intended direction of their series, and then ponder on the possibility of going straight up bonkers. Suitably. They already did a World War 3 arc, so why not go even more crazy?
Look at Treyarch’s next title, if it’s allowed to happen; Black Ops 2 takes place in a future where machinery has rebelled against humans and it is the man that must, ahem… Take Back Earth from the machine. Also something about Terminator and Sky Net. Did you notice what they are riding in that first trailer? That’s right; fucking horses, bro. In the future.
Treyarch know the point of the Call of Duty games and they go about doing it very, very right in their execution when developing CoD titles. World at War and Black Ops are not great games by any stretch of the imagination, but that’s not the point. They will never stand anywhere near BioShock, Red Dead Redemption or Dragon Age 2 (kidding) but again, that’s not the point. That was never the point. The point is entertainment value and no-frills, no-fuss excitement.
The point is having fun.
I had fun when I played Black Ops.
There was a moment while playing the game where I actually stopped and mentally acknowledged exactly that, by thinking: “Damn, this game is awesome. I’m actually having fun. Wow. Something about Mass Effect and Dragon Age.” Or something to that effect…
Treyarch does fun better than Infinity Ward.
For me, the underdog has surpassed the master.
It’s unfortunate then that when they produce such entertaining games, they are hated for it yet Infinity Ward can get away with ‘what they do’, each and every time. But I digress. Once again, topic for another day.
What are your thoughts on the Call of Duty games, besides your usual hate. Try and be civil here; all I’m asking is whether you prefer the Treyarch or the Infinity Ward games, and why.