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Distributors: Activision and Square Enix
Production Company: Sledgehammer Games
Directors: Glenn Schofield and Michael Condrey
Scriptwriters: John Maclnnes, Eric Hirshberg and Mark Boal
Main Cast: Troy Baker, Paul Telfer, Kevin Spacey, Gideon Emery and Khay Payton
Released: November 4 2014
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
Average Completion Time: 6+ Hours
I have been a COD (Call of Duty) fan for a number of years now, mainly since its reinvention on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Ultimately, the series has not lived up to those standards for a long time. We have been introduced to mediocre game after game, ranging from Ghosts (which might as well have been a game of darts because it was that boring) to Black Ops 2 (where I managed to skip certain missions, finish the game and still know what was going on). It’s fair to say that the latest instalments have not excited me, and therefore I was apprehensive regarding this latest outing. The idea of moving the story 45 years into the future didn’t really excite me, and to me it sounded more of the same game with lasers and bigger cities and flying cars. I am happy to report that this is not the case and I enjoyed the game more than I thought I would. Before I start properly, I would like to stress that this is not a review of the online gameplay, just the story.
The series was not going anywhere fast; they needed something to bring fans back to the story mode. The online is the real draw for most players when it comes to Call of Duty and rightly so; it is by far the greatest online FPS (First Person Shooter) out there. Because of this, the story has had to take a smaller role and that has disappointed me. This year, however, with a new developer comes a new story. Kevin Spacey has been employed to help sell the story mode this year, and without spoiling anything, his is a great character that has a number of twists and turns along the way in the six-hour story. Yes, the story is short, but it is packed with excitement. From fighting in the North Pole, which reminds me of a certain classic Star Wars game, to the stealth missions around a heavily guarded house, these are the most diverse level types we have had for a long time, and what we had been screaming out for since the last generation games.
You will play as Mitchell (Troy Baker), an American soldier who loses his friend and his arm at the beginning of the game. You then join up with your friend’s father Jonathon Irons (Kevin Spacey) and become part of the largest private war company on the planet. Let’s just say they are more powerful than most countries on the game. You will travel across many terrain with your team, mainly consisting of the same guy Gideon (Gideon Emery). You will travel to Seoul in South Korea, Nigeria, and a fantastic set piece in San Francisco and onto New Baghdad, which has been invented for the game.
The voice acting is brilliant at times. Sometimes, it sounds like every other shooting game, but when the game gets the sound right, it really puts you at the heart of the action. The cut-scene graphics look amazing but whilst I found them to be spectacular at times, they didn’t make me sit back and say "Wow!" like Grand Theft Auto V (2013/4) and The Last of Us (2013) did. The stand-out is Kevin Spacey; without him, it is just another boring COD with a "shoot this, go there" mentality, but with him there, it flips the game on its head and even the player at times. As always, the gun-handling and shooting is next to perfect, which you would expect from this franchise by now, and it does not let you down in that respect.
Overall, I believe this game has stopped the rot on a series that was sliding out of control. By no means has this saved the series or created anything new, but it has slowed the decline down. Until something is radically changed, the next installments will struggle with the lack of invention and new design to the ageing gameplay. In terms of this game alone, it is a solid entry, and one which they can feel proud about, although it is still chained by the same problems that its predecessors have had.
Overall Rating: 7/10 - Respectable