World War II
Imagine, for a second, that World War II had never happened. Tens of millions of lives would have been saved, countless resources left for future generations, eastern European countries would never have suffered the communist yoke… and we’d be totally bored out of our minds. The Nazis are the ultimate bad guys, people who normally object to violence sing a completely different tune when it comes to killing the butchers of Europe. And it wasn’t just some piddling little war that we fought, it was a titanic struggle on a scale not witnessed before or since. The slaughter of the First World War was tripled, a mere two decades later. In a way, it’s sickening to think that the horrors of yesteryear provide today’s amusement.
But what would we do without Nazis? We’d be stuck fighting mere terrorists, or worse, zombies, pirates and ninjas. There have been so many first-person shooters based on World War II released and so many more planned, that it’s a little difficult to get excited about Call of Duty, isn’t it?
Killing Nazis on all three sides
Call of Duty pits the player against, of course, Nazi forces. Unlike Medal of Honor, however, you rarely end up going it alone, and get to fight as an American, Brit and Russian soldier. You’ll fight in Operation Overlord, the Battle of the Bulge, Stalingrad and seize the Reichstag (the German Parliament building) to complete victory.
Most of the time, you’ll be accompanied by your fellow countrymen and comrades in your battles, rarely going it alone. Call of Duty ends the lone hero saga and begins what will surely be the next trend in gaming – consistent group engagements. There have been games that have done this in the past, like Operation Flashpoint and Viet Cong, but neither has had such a high profile here over on this side of the Atlantic.
Other innovations that OF and VC introduced also make their way into Call of Duty. Although a reticle is available and the player can shoot from the hip, the aim is atrocious (especially during movement). Rather, most shots at any distance are taken by aiming through the real gun sights on the barrel, so-called “iron sights”. It’s difficult to overestimate the profound effect this small change has on realism. You’re not looking through an artificial cursor at an artificial target, you’re looking down the barrel of a very realistic gun. That lends the target much more realism, especially when he drops to the ground in a realistic fashion, struggles to get up before being shot dead with a second blast.