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Visually impressive but in the shadow of Modern Warfare in almost every regard that matters
CoD5 was the big new release last year and I had seen all the message board debate about it for some time before that. I had played the beta version of the multiplayer ahead of release and something about it had prevented me getting excited. I let the release go by and, aside from noticing fewer people on CoD4 (and a lot of them being really good now), I didn't think much about it until someone lent me their copy for a few weeks. As with CoD4 the game operates on two levels the game itself and the multiplayer.
I played the game first, without trying it on co-op or anything and I must say that visually it is very impressive and tense. However, as a player, I found it almost too big and I recognise that this is personal taste speaking here, because some will love that. The comparative simplicity of the CoD4 battles made them more engaging, with CoD5, it all just felt too frantic and random more realistic of war I suppose but less fun to play. I much preferred the level structure where the focus is smaller, rather than you as part of an army. That said I did still enjoy the levels but I did find that there were only one or two that I would return to. The zombie mode is a nice idea that adds to the game but I didn't get into it and probably didn't give it a chance to grow on me.
I wanted to get into the online games "proper". It took me a minute to get used to the differences. The guns of course are different and feel a lot more basic and even as I levelled up, they didn't seem to "feel" right. On CoD4 the weapons feel meaty and they have a tangible presence it is hard to describe but the contrast is clear. In CoD5 they are less so and I didn't come to like them as much, and not just because of the WW2 setting. At the start I thought the maps were great as they generally are bigger and more complex, however this quickly flipped round as I got used to them. Some are almost too big and, in team games, I never really got that sense of intensity that I do on CoD4. I was surprised as well to find that, playing it many months after release, how full of annoying quirks the game was. Players would float into the sky, easily disappear under the map and other such examples. I know some glitches will always exist but these ones seemed common and really easy to access. The spawning was also an issue the smaller maps in particular seemed to constantly put you directly in front of other players, or too close together as a team. The use of tanks adds variety to the game and I suppose their pros/cons balance out. The perks are OK but the "air strike" function was a lot less effective than in CoD4 while conversely the dogs are just too effective and are only fun when they are yours (thanks to them I got a 23-streak, a 24-1 game and a 15-0 game, all on my first day of playing that shouldn't be right!).
In a nutshell though, I always seemed to be playing the game thinking that I could be using this time to play CoD4. And this is the problem CoD5 is not good enough, different enough, slick enough or engaging enough to even stand as an equal of Modern Warfare, and that applies across the board. It is a matter of taste to a point but I found the game more frustrating due to technical reasons, less intense as an on-line experience, less flowing and less fun and it is not down to me "losing", because I don't mind that so much.
So, like many others, I have returned to CoD4 and will remain there until Modern Warfare 2 comes out, which I hope can replicate the strengths and success of that game because for my time, CoD4 just doesn't cut it, no matter how visually impressive and grand it all is.
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