So, as I mentioned a few days ago, I bought the latest Call of Duty game, or at least tried very hard to buy it in the face of a corporation determined to give it to me for free, and I’ve spent an hour or so a night playing through the single-player campaign, which is an appropriately over-the-top affair involving a deranged mastermind and his attempt to take over the world and your attempts to, well, stop him from taking over the world, starring Virtual Kevin Spacey, Not-Sean-Connery, Russian-Michelle-Rodriguez, Two Token Minorities Who Will Be Killed To Motivate You, and Mitchell.
You play as Mitchell.
I don’t normally remember the names of Call of Duty protagonists, but Not-Sean-Connery says your name SO DANG MUCH that it finally kind of sunk in. He talks a LOT, actually, always shouting out about enemies at one o’clock or telling you to plant a charge and so on. This is the sort of game that doesn’t need a strategy guide, because Not-Sean-Connery is always there to tell you what to do next.
Anyway, it was a pretty snappy action-movie story, with some elements ripped from today’s headlines and a super-weapon right out of a 1940s Heinlein novel, and a plot twist that is, well, telegraphed from about five minutes into the game but who cares. Virtual Kevin Spacey is pretty cool, him and Virtual Jeff Bridges from Tron Legacy should work together on something.
Leaving the story aside, the real reason that I wanted to play this was the cool future tech, and it delivered that. You get to ride around in Slightly Oversized Stompy Mechs, ride hoverbikes and jump over school buses in your exoskeleton, there are a couple of drone sequences, and there’s a hovertank sequence that may – just MAY – have finally replaced the tank sequence from Halo 3 as my Favorite Videogame Tank Sequence. Seriously, the designers just tapped right into their inner twelve-year old boy and delivered almost everything that my inner twelve-year-old boy ever wanted.
The game does have one bit of cool future tech that I wasn’t too fond of, though, because it felt like something of a shortcut on the part of the designers. You have these “Threat Grenades”, which, when thrown, helpfully put a red highlight on everything you would like to shoot and a blue highlight on people you shouldn’t shoot right now. Likewise, many of the weapons you pick up have “Target Enhancer” sights, which again thoughtfully turn all of the bad guys into red silhouettes. You can tell when you’ve shot a bad guy enough times because your sights are intelligent enough to realize the moment that he has shuffled off the mortal coil and the highlight goes away.
I played through on Normal, and I’m kind of curious whether the higher difficulty levels turn off this sort of assistance or whether they work in the more traditional method, where all of your opponents are crack shots and you are wearing personal body armor made from Kleenex(R) brand tissue-paper.
I understand there’s also online multi-player, which I should not try because I suspect that my inner twelve-year-old boy is no match for the ACTUAL twelve-year-old boys who I would likely be playing against. That said, I’d dearly like to see any of them try their hand at Sinistar. We’d see who was laughing then.