Infinity Ward vs. Treyarch: Round 1: WaW vs. COD 4

Black Ops 2 is growing nearer, and so I figured that now is the time for the boxing match between the biggest rivals of modern gaming. YOU get to choose the winner. At the end of the post, you can vote on a poll that determines the winner of Round 1. Once all rounds are completed, votes will be combined, and whichever developer has the most total votes on their games will win. My vote at the end of the post counts as one vote towards the competition, just as yours does. Infinity Ward vs. Treyarch. For those who are not familiar, here is the track record concerning their history in Call of Duty.

Treyarch has created Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, Call of Duty 3, World at War, Black Ops, and, coming on November 13th, Black Ops 2.

           

Infinity Ward has created: Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Modern Warfare 2, and, their most recent release, Modern Warfare 3.

                                   

The three categories that we will have these developers square off in is the campaign, the multiplayer, and the innovation.

I have to be completely honest. I have not played Call of Duty 2: Big Red One or Call of Duty 3. I haven’t even touched either of those games. But I can give an accurate analysis of all Treyarch games after COD 3. Let’s start with World at War. This is the first game to add grit to the Call of Duty franchise. The story feels very dark, very violent, and very dreary. As you fight through large set-pieces, there is plenty of blood and dismemberment. As you throw grenades and fight in the trenches, you see your comrade’s arms and legs blown off, as well as the enemies’.

The campaign was very dark, and the tragedy and grit of World War II was displayed well. The highlight of the World at War campaign was definitely its darkness. Shown through excessive gore, torture sequences, and peril, the darkness was definitely showcased adequately. But what about the multiplayer? World at War built upon Call of Duty 4’s multiplayer. It took the same perks and killstreaks and put an old twist on them to make them fit the World War II theme. It wouldn’t make sense for World at War to to use another system, however. Sticking with the very well received perk-killstreak system and subtly changing it was the logical thing to do. It allowed World at War to shed some light on Treyarch’s track record. Using the familiar system kept it in the COD race. From what I have been told, COD 3 wasn’t that impressive, so World at War required a structure that worked. So the multiplayer did get pulled off well.

World at War’s largest innovation is Zombies mode. Zombies is a survival mode where you have to survive against a zombie horde. The mode never ends, and gets more difficult as time goes on. This fresh, seemingly random idea, was received very well by nearly everyone in the Call of Duty community. I find myself coming back to Zombies occasionally. Even until this day, I still enjoy World at War zombies. There was a whole hidden universe found in Easter Eggs that have spawned conspiracy and origin stories throughout the internet. World at War Zombies created lore that Treyarch would soon use as leverage in their next title.

But let’s take a look at the Infinity Ward corner. I have played the first Call of Duty game. Call of Duty 1 is really difficult to judge. I played it years after it came out just to kill some time. I can’t accurately judge the graphics or the story. I would assume that it was decent for its time. I don’t recall ever playing Call of Duty 2. But it’s alright, because I am going to move onto what made Call of Duty as big as it is today: Modern Warfare. Call of Duty 4 was what kick-started the Call of Duty franchise, due to its large multiplayer debut.

Let’s begin with the campaign. The story takes place in modern times. This was the first Call of Duty to take a modern route. The campaign took advantage of the conflict in the Middle East and launched a fresh story idea. This campaign did drag, I will be honest. There were levels at a time where you are really not feeling a connection to the game. But there are some really stand out moments. The beginning boat sequence, the assassination attempt, and, of course, the level in Chernobyl.

What a mission. It had some real tension, suspense, and a very high risk feel. I want to say that it is one of the best missions in Call of Duty history. There were some cinematic scenes to the campaign, but it wasn’t the smoothest story mode from beginning to end. Having to fight to the next checkpoint sometimes became tedious and uninteresting.

But the multiplayer is where this game delivers the most content. This game’s multiplayer is what introduced the Class and Perk system. Now, Call of Duty players are used to perks and classes returning every year, but this was a new idea when this game came out. It turned out to be a huge success when killstreaks were added to the equation. In fact, the perks were so revolutionary in making Call of Duty the top shooter that I did a post a while back on the perks of COD 4. Check it out here. The post will open in a new tab. The multiplayer is extremely smooth, and there are some really great and iconic maps that came with Modern Warfare. When there are tons of ways to make a class, the game becomes much more fresh and much more durable in terms of lifespan.

This game has made two huge innovations to the Call of Duty franchise, one in campaign and one in multiplayer. Through campaign, it created characters with actual weight. They weren’t simply named soldiers. Instead, they created characters. Not playable animated figures: characters. Because of this, every Call of Duty game since COD 4 has featured a band of tight-knit characters. For Treyarch, Reznov and Dmitri are heavily tied to their games, and Soap and Captain Price have been attached to more than one Infinity Ward game. My point is, characters such as Soap and Price carry more weight because they are carried over into new game installments.

As for the multiplayer innovation, the perk system has to be mentioned. Perks and killstreaks are now stapled onto Call of Duty games, and we can’t get enough of them.

So I have looked over COD 4 and World at War. It is time to decide: Who wins Round 1? World at War or COD 4? Vote here:

For me, World at War had a better campaign. COD 4’s campaign had some really monumental moments, but World at War had the story flow better, and I was more invested in the characters. They made the World War II theme work. Campaign goes to WaW.

As for the multiplayer, COD 4 takes the cake. Its maps were better, the game flowed very well, and the sound design was better. I had a much better time fighting in COD 4 against other people rather than in World at War. Multiplayer goes to COD 4

And so the tiebreaker. What was a better innovation? Zombies or the perk system? This may seem like a bad decision, but Zombies, in my eyes, is a better innovation. Yes, the perk system is what defines Call of Duty. It keeps it fresh, and it works very well. But now, people are complaining about “the same COD every year.” I haven’t heard outrage that strong against Zombies, however. People cannot get enough of it. The perk system has become a staple of COD, yes, but Zombies seems to be an addition that rarely gets any hate. It is one of the most ambitious, well received projects that Call of Duty has taken on and pulled off. Because of those reasons, Treyarch takes the win. That’s one vote from me. I say that World at War wins round 1.

Soon, we will begin Round 2. What I will do is take the amount of votes for each game from all rounds and add them together. Whoever has the most votes towards one developer’s side gets the ultimate win. So get voting!

Thanks for reading, and look forward to some more COD posts coming very soon.

~Ddog

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