Note to N4G viewers: Those "fellow opinions" are the other two opinions on this game at Dedicated To Gamers.co.uk. I just wanted to let you know that along with the fact that this only covers single-player to accommodate the other two reviews.
What can I say about Call of Duty that hasn't already been said? It's one of the biggest pop culture icons in the world as even non-gamers can think of the amount of people that hop on daily to play with their friends or just complete strangers. That being said, November is the month that a new CoD game comes out yearly so it's time for a review of the single-player portion of one of the most desired game of the holidays. Now, the question remains as to whether it is close to the "perfect shooter" status (Edward needs to seriously re-evaluate this game) that my fellow opinions seem to think of it as or whether it's just another shitty game like Modern Warfare 2 before it.
Alright, you're expecting me to tell the the gist of the story to which I'll simply answer with a firm "no". I will say this: the story is damn good. Undoubtedly the best story in the franchise to date and it also has a certain level of continuity with Treyarch's previous entry in the franchise, World at War. Other than that, I'll say nothing. Oh, but if you really like numbers, you'll probably love this game for reasons that you'll figure out yourself. Still, I might as well state that despite the great quality of the story, it is very confusing until you hit the end in which it explains everything and you kinda appreciate every detail that went into such a great story. It isn't BioShock by any stretch of the imagination, but it's still damn good.
Anyway, the gameplay is always an important part so I'll start by saying it's Call of Duty. I know what you're thinking ("Nah, really?) but it IS different. Apart from the immediately apparent difference in the menu screen, there's the setting which takes place during the Cold War era and Vietnamese War era of American history. What with all the secrecy during this time, it made developing interesting scenarios very easy. In this case, you're shooting a whole bunch of M16A1s (the original model of the M16 with us currently at M16A4) and SPAS-12s and crossbows at a bunch of Russians and Viet Cong. The special part about that is that each mission throws some kind of cool set-piece at you that's utterly original and unexpected, my favorite being the avalanche after destroying a communication radar in Russia. While the campaign isn't very long, only about 5 or 6 hours on Normal difficulty, it packs enough thrills and fantastic story-telling to keep you glued to your seat the entire time.
The other parts of the single-player package is the two easter eggs: the classic text-based adventure game known as Zork and the Nazi-Zombies equivalent to Smash TV. For Zork, it's just fucking Zork. Dead Ops Arcade, the smash-TV remake is cool. Real cool. Essentially, you're this lone guy (or you can go co-op) who deals with an ever-increasing wave of zombies each level before choosing his path and determining the next part of the game. Like in Smash TV, money and weapons drop of the ground for which you can both boost your score and kick some more zombie ass. The impressive part of DOA, however, is the graphical prowess behind it. It seriously takes the base game's engine and puts it in top-down. But we'll get to the graphics later.
The last thing that's necessary to include is the Nazi Zombies/Commie Zombies mode. The former is available to you from the minute you start up the game and you play as a nameless grunt who likes to shout insults at zombies. The most amusing one I found was seemingly a reference to Dawn of the Dead. At one time when I died, my character screamed, "Choke on it, meatbags!", similar to the movie's, "Choke on 'em!!" as referring to the dude's guts. Other than that, it's the same game mode you played from 2008. The latter part, the Commie Zombies mode, is one of the best things ever but is only available to you when you complete the campaign. This mode has the same objective as Nazi Zombies, to go as long as possible killing zombies, but there's an interesting twist thrown in. You play as one of four characters. Those characters are John F. Kennedy (the voice actor deserves some serious props), Robert McNamara, Richard Nixon, or even the Crazy Cuban himself, Fidel Castro. Oh, and instead of a run-down mansion, you're defending the Pentagon. This is easily the most entertaining as you don't have to hear the insult "flesh-addict" constantly. Also, the Pentagon's an awesome place to defend from zombies. Just sayin'.
Now that we've covered all the game modes, let's talk about the game's biggest problem, the presentation. While, the game does fine in textures with the MW2 engine, the textures the MW2 engine created last year still weren't pretty so they sure aren't any better a year later. Also, the audio quality is fine but some of the weapons lack the certain punch while others have it just right. The voice acting is just as great as it's ever been and seeing your main character have a voice, personality, and major ties to the plot makes this entire department seem great. Also, Private Pretrenko from WaW now has a face and a voice, if only temporarily. Also, the music is KICK-ASS and is, without a doubt, the best soundtrack in this franchise. There's no second thoughts about it. You have your rockin' tunes, nice techno, and even a few songs from that era that make the soundtrack really cool. I want to buy it now.
The presentational problems occur with the glitches. I saw a couple bodies just sticking through a wall and the game has a tendency to have random instances where everything looks fine to where it will switch at that same place and look hideous before going back to normal again. Also, the AI is about as smart as both of the thumbs put together and totally neglect me sometimes, even when I'm standing in their faces. It makes the combat easy I suppose, but the fact that the AI can't see me when I'm several feet away and capping them in the knee is just inexcusable.
Other than that, the single-player component is easily the best in the entire franchise. Considering my standards were set really low for this title, just like for Halo Reach, I wasn't expecting much but ended up with a supreme single-player value that has yet to be matched in the franchise. Just for single-player, the game's a definite buy. It has plenty of thrills and even more gameplay modes to keep you busy for a long time and that's not even counting split-screen or multiplayer. Treyarch may be busy with patching multiplayer issues right now, but they did a damn fine job with the single-player that Infinity Ward decided to ditch (along with their dignity). This is the best game since CoD 4. No questions asked.