Thursday, August 22, 2013

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's 10 Best Campaign Levels

Call of Duty 4

Charlie Don't Surf was the introduction a lot of people got into being in a modern military.  The series' name, "Call of Duty" brings to mind (to me at least) that all men have an obligation to join the ranks and fight in the trenches for their country, which is what we saw with all of the WWII games.  Charlie Don't Surf is the modern version of what that call looks like (albeit a somewhat Hollywood-ized version).

If you've played the game then there's no explanation needed, but for anyone who hasn't this is the single best reason to play the Call of Duty 4 campaign.  The first time you go through play it slow and follow Macmillan's instructions.  It's intense.

Modern Warfare 2

If you haven't seen Generation Kill you should.  I'm pretty sure Infinity Ward used parts of that mini-series as inspiration for Team Player (as well as SSDD).  Great pacing, excellent movement from action to quiet and back to frantic fight-for-your-life action.

This is the level where we are introduced to Soap.  We played as him in CoD4, but here with Kevin McKidd's voice he instantly becomes a larger-than-life hero a la Captain Price (for me at least).  And on top of that we get ice climbing, chasm jumping X2, stealthy snowstorm sneaking and spray-and-pray on a snowmobile.  Two men take down an entire Russian air base.

A lot of CoD campaign missions have a quiet section, either a lull in the fighting or a stealth element to pace things better.  This one though does it completely differently.  It forces you to walk while your crew guns down civilians with some weird pulsing background music that creates a lot of tension while still being slow.  It's a unique section with an atmosphere that I haven't seen in a video game before (not that I've played that many games, but I have played a few shooters).

I spent two years in Minas Gerais and went into a couple of small favelas while I was there so this level brought back some memories.  From my experience they really captured the atmosphere, but beyond that the first time going through the level it seems like a massive maze of bricks and concrete while it's actually quite linear.  I was very impressed that they could do that and guide the player through it in a way that doesn't disrupt the illusion.  Plus it's an exciting level not knowing where you are going and having lots of enemies all around you all the time.

I want to take The Only Easy Day and The Gulag together because they take place one right after the other.  I'm not sure I can really describe why I like them so much, but I think it's related to what I said for Charlie Don't Surf, except applied to a special forces team like the Navy SEALs.  Of course that's on top of the fantastic gameplay.

Modern Warfare 3

Even though I didn't think Soap would die after MW2, the prologue of MW3 where Price is rushing him up to a doctor to get revived was pretty intense, so it was a satisfying relief to finally see that he was back in action here.  After shadowing Price in CoD4 and Soap in MW2 here you are following along with both of them which makes you feel unstoppable.

MW3's story is much more straightforward compared to CoD4 and even MW2.  Soap and Price are relentless in their pursuit of Makarov, so finally getting to the finish line, finally chasing him to the very end of the road is immensely gratifying.  Yet it's also bitter-sweet.  And the soundtrack really hits it home there.

Special Mention

The coup isn't really a campaign level in that you don't actually play, you just watch.  But it's one of the best sequences in any game ever.  This is one of the main reasons I hope we eventually get a CoD4 remake, to see The Coup again but with more detail, better lighting, better character animations, better facial expressions... I could go on but I won't.  It was incredible for 2007, but imagine if it were redone for next-gen consoles in a few years...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

CoD Ghosts - Juggernaut Maniac

So far everyone has said that the Juggernaut Maniac runs faster than normal so its possible it has build-in speed perks and possibly Extreme Conditioning, however that has not been confirmed.

At the 1:40 mark in this video the player unloads into a full-health Juggernaut Maniac with a suppressed Honeybadger.  The suppressor shouldn't affect the gun's damage because it's at point blank, but I can't say that for sure.

From what I could see there was one shot that missed and the juggernaut died with the very last bullet in the magazine.  The first 13-15 shots were in the head, then there were about 4 body shots, then some neck shots, the one missed shot, and back to the neck for the rest.

It seems reasonable to say that gun's damage is between 30 and 45 up close and a headshot multiplier 1.4 (standard for MW3 assault rifles), which would put the juggernaut's health between 1026 and 1575

Even if those numbers are slightly off I think it's safe to say that the Juggernaut Maniac has at least 900 and at most 1700 points of health.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Call of Duty Ghosts - Squads

Squads is like BO2's Custom Games (Black Ops' Combat Training) and MW3's Survival mode put together, and you rank up and prestige the same profile in both Squads and multiplayer.


Official Squads trailer:

So it looks like Squads will be the Special Ops replacement and likely will take up a significant portion of my time.  Here's what was in today's reveal:

You create 10 characters to use in multiplayer - these 10 slots replace the normal Create-a-Class slots.  The 10 character you create for multiplayer can be used in Squads mode to play against other players or against AI.  You will earn XP and rank up your multiplayer profile in Squads, and all the ranking up and prestiging you do in multiplayer will benefit your squad for use in the Squads mode.

The AI dropshot, side-strafe, corner camp, jump shot.  The weapons and equipment you give your squad affect how they behave.  Very advanced AI.

Squad Assault
You fight against the squad of another player (without that player participating).  The opponent chooses his squads loadouts and the map and game mode.  You can play solo or with friends.  If the opponent's squad does well he earns XP.

4 player co-op mode inspired by survival from MW3.  Includes all the weapons, perks and streaks from multiplayer.  Safeguard also has field orders, and a timed "loot round" where I assume you pick up care packages from the support drop.  Survive 20 rounds to win.
Safeguard Extended - survive 40 rounds to win.
Safeguard Infinite - survive 100 rounds to win.
List of waves in Safeguard.

Squad vs Squad
Compete against other players one-on-one with your squad as teammates.

Choose 5 of your squadmates to play against AI in every multiplayer game mode.  Basically this is Combat Training or Custom Games, except you can choose the loadouts and streak rewards of your entire team which adds a larger team element.

The most XP you can earn in a game of Squads is between 2000 and 2500.  The cap is 2000xp, but if you have 1950 and you get a double kill in Search and Rescue then it will still add the full xp amount (250 per kill plus a bonus 50 I believe) onto what you have giving you 2500 in this example.  You also get a care package for maxing out the Squads mode xp in that game, and no xp will show up for kills from that point on in the game.

Call of Duty Ghosts - Strike Packages

Support Strike Package

4 - SatCom

6 - Ammo Crate

8 - Ballistic Vests

9 - MAAWS (shoulder mounted free-fire launcher with laser guidance)

10 - Night Owl (trophy and portable radar combined into companion drone; follows you for 1 minute)

11 - Support Squadmate

12 - Ground Jammer

12 - Air Superiority

13 - Heli Sniper

14 - Oracle

14 - Juggernaut Recon

16 - Odin (Supply support)

Assault Strike Package

3 - SatCom

4 - IMS

5 - Riley

7 - Sentry Gun

7 - Trinity Rocket

9 - Battle Hind

9 - Vulture

8 - Gryphon

9 - Juggernaut Maniac

10 - Assault Juggernaut

12 - Helo Pilot

15 - Loki Satellite

Specialist Strike Package
Perk list

You get three perks for the build-up, and you need a streak of the point value of the perk + 1 to get each of those.  Then the specialist bonus consists of 8 points worth of perks.

An example:

You select Recon, Scavenger and Sleight of Hand for your three build-up perks.  You need to get a 2 point-streak to get Recon, a 5 point-streak to get Scavenger and an 8 point-streak to get Sleight of Hand.  Then at a point-streak of 10 you get the specialist bonus which is 8 points worth of perks.

Call of Duty Ghosts - Perks

1 - Ready Up
2 - Sleight of Hand
2 - Agility
2 - Marathon
3 - Stalker

1 - Strong Arm
1 - On the Go
2 - Reflex
2 - Steady Aim
3 - Quickdraw

1 - Takedown
2 - Blind Eye
2 - Dead Silence
3 - Incog
3 - Off the Grid

1 - Recon
2 - Scavenger
2 - SitRep
2 - Amplify
3 - Wiretap

1 - Resilience
2 - ICU
2 - Focus
2 - Tac Resist
2 - Blast Shield

1 - Extra tactical
2 - Extra lethal
2 - Fully Loaded
3 - Extra attachment
4 - Danger Close

1 - Gambler
2 - Hardline
2 - Ping
3 - Overkill
5 - Deadeye