Video Games / Platform / PS3

Another Dead Island Game Announced – Is It One Too Many?

Another Dead Island Game Announced – Is It One Too Many?

Deep Silver’s faith in the Dead Island franchise continues to grow. Escape: Dead Island is a third-person ‘survival mystery’ that explores the origins of the zombie virus. Scheduled for release this autumn, Escape will land on PS3 and 360 for the retail price of £39.99. The PC version version will cost £34.99. ”ESCAPE Dead Island is a survival mystery that follows the story of Cliff Calo, who sets sail to document the unexplained events rumoured to have happened on Banoi. Arriving on the island of Narapela, part of the Banoi archipelago, he finds that not everything is as it seems. Haunted by Déjà vu, Cliff will have to make sense of it all throughout the entire game – again and again. This story-driven adventure lets players delve into the Dead Island universe and unravel the origins of the zombie outbreak. Escape is only the beginning… Delivering the key features of a Dead Island game – visceral melee combat set in a beautiful paradise setting – ESCAPE adds a completely new tone to the zombie universe. The visually unique styles accompanies the player on his struggle against insanity as he experiences the secrets of the Dead Island universe, fights off zombies with a vast and unique array of weapons and opens the path to the events that will happen in Dead Island 2. ”   While Escape does look interesting, there’s a slight sense of ‘not another Dead Island game’. Escape will be the 5th entry into a franchise that has never truly thrilled the masses. The first entry sold, and reviewed, fairly well, Riptide did not meet expectations in both regards. The Dead Island MOBA, Epidemic, is still a curious beast that doesn’t seem to be garnering that much attention. Dead Island 2 was some what of a surprise announcement. Given the short gaps between the first two games releases, it was expected that the franchise would be rested in terms of main entries. While the reaction to the Dead Island 2 trailer was positive, there’s still groans over yet another zombie game. The over saturation of Zombies in the media, especially video games, has left a lot of people jaded. With Dead Island, H1Z1 and Dying Light, the zombie sub genre is set to grow and grow. The over reliance on one franchise is a risky move for any company, only a few can afford to do such strategy (Konami). Deep Silver are putting a lot of faith in a franchise that, at best, is inconsistent. Fingers crossed quantity does prevail over quality....

Wolfenstein: The New Order Review (PS4/ Xbox One/ PC)

Wolfenstein: The New Order Review (PS4/ Xbox One/ PC)

There aren’t many first-person shooters that can raise a smile via gunning down waves of enemies, only to stop you in your tracks and make you question some pretty heavy topics. Dual wielding machine guns while unleashing hell one bullet at a time in one moment, mulling over racism and oppression the next. Wolfenstein: The New Order is far from what was expected. Franchise protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz is back, complete with a voice and high-definition chin, and once again he’s battling the Third Reich. The New Order opens with a brief mission set during, what should be, the end of World War 2, as B.J. and his team assault a Nazi compound. Right from the start, the tones and themes of New Order are laid out: robotic Nazi Dogs; Frankenstein-like super-soldiers; and giant mechanical units dominating the field. The opening mission acts as a tutorial as well as an introduction to the game’s antagonist, General Deathead, climaxing in a choice that impacts the rest of the game. The story then picks up some years later, in a world where the Nazis have gone on to global domination. The alternative timeline is the perfect place for traditional Wolfenstein enemy designs to make an appearance. There’s a number of times in which the enemy design is genuinely impressive due to their sheer twisted creativity. Their over-the-top nature feeds into the desired tone of the game. At least for the most part. The New Order doesn’t seem to want to take itself too seriously, but at times its nature comes into conflict with the more somber moments of the game. For example, a number of times a cutscene will focus on the horrors of war, while there’s also a short scene in which the topic of racism is touched upon. While these sections are well done and give the game a sense of soul , they come off a little out of place given how over-the-top the game is.     The action is relentless and outlandish, removing any sense of realism in favor for sheer balls-to-the-wall fun. There’s a sense of unbridled power when B.J. dual-wields assault rifles and creates a tidal wave of bullets and Nazi corpses. The core enjoyment of New Order is down to how well Machine Games has nailed the gameplay. There’s a strong sense of understanding and appreciation for classic first-person shooters. Running and gunning has never felt so good, each movement furled with a tight control scheme that lends well to the fast-paced action at hand. Wolfenstein: The New Order freshens up the gameplay by including a perk system that feeds into how the player plays the game. Perks will unlock once the player has met the criteria. For example, the stealth tree requires stealth kills and keeping a low profile to progress. The other trees mostly cover making things die at the hands of various weapons. It’s a simple system that gives the player short-term goals to improve their efficiency in the way they play, and it’s welcome and well rounded addition to the franchise.   Shockingly, there’s quite a lot of freedom when it comes to how a player can approach most situations. Each level often plays host to a number of paths for the player to take. Want to go in all guns blazing? There’s a path for that. Want to take it slow, steady, and adopt a stealthy approach? Heck, there’s often two paths for that. The choices aren’t simply there for show–the stealth is genuinely well done for a game that’s mostly about shooting literally everything in front of the player. In terms of production value, The New Order ranges from fantastic to questionable. Cutscenes are beautiful, with some characters coming to life thanks to fantastic detail and smooth animation. The visuals during gameplay tend to dip in and out of being decent to rough, however. Some textures can look slightly last-gen, especially on the weapons. It’s not that the game looks bad, it’s just that it struggles to truly make the impression that the game fully belongs on the new hardware from Sony and Microsoft. The game’s audio is adequate but has little to get excited or complain about.     The New Order does a lot well, but there are a number of issues littered around throughout that stop it from truly excelling. The 18 certificate given to the game seems like the result of some awkwardly forced-in scenes. Sex scenes and some random gore moments feel out of place and forced, even more so when they are sandwiched in between some heavy ethical topics. Also, the weapons on offer feel a little tame, which is disappointing given how creative the game is elsewhere. The main issues are mostly buried in the technical side of things. Enemy AI can go a bit off the wall and unresponsive to the actions around them. Enemies can find themselves trapped on scenery, as well the player. Boss battles are also thrown into The New Order, none of which feel engaging or even challenging, allowing some sections to feel a little underwhelming. Wolfenstein: The New Order is a solid experience. The action is solid, the experience is enjoyable, and by the end of the decent-length campaign, the player feels truly well traveled thanks to a fantastic range of environments. It’s a shame, then, that The New Order struggles to keep a balance between being over-the-top and serious. Fun, conflicted, sometimes even sad, The New Order is enjoyable but not essential, but is nevertheless a return to form for a somewhat forgotten franchise.      ...

Bound By Flame First Impressions

Bound By Flame First Impressions

Bound By Flame was never a game on my radar. It didn’t appeal to me and with the multitude of other games coming out this month; I can’t say I was chomping at the bits for this game to hit store shelves. This coupled with the iffy reviews it was getting made me a bit wary about putting out the cash for Spiders’ newest product. To put it simply though, Bound By Flame has left me pleasantly surprised in its opening hours. Going into this game I wasn’t expecting a AAA, big budget game. The title only costs 50 USD (40 for PS3, 360 and PC), so I wasn’t looking for a massive game. The first thing that greeted me after electing a new game was the character creation screen. A very simple formula, Bound By Flame gives the user the option of gender and about 6 face and hair options. I chose to go the female route as the face models seemed better. The game took me into a few cut scenes to set up the story and before I knew it, I was in combat. This where Bound By Flame has me hooked. You are given the choice of three fighting styles: heavy attacks (swards axes), quick attacks (daggers), or fire powers (spells). You can switch on the fly with a menu that slows the world around you down and depending on the enemy or situation; you can select the combat style that suits you. The combat system features your basic hack and slash moves, but incorporates an awesome parry and dodge system that gives this game a beautiful rhythm to it. Learning enemies’ patterns and working in your own attacks is what gives this game its charm and fun factor. I prefer the quick combat of the daggers as it allows you more movement in battle and I love the dodging feature. Another thing I like from the game is the art style. It may not be one hundred percent original, but it just works for this sort of game. Sometimes when I’m playing a game like this the art style won’t fit and it will pull me out of the experience. In Bound By Flame I believe the artists did a great job of making a believable world. My only complaint is a simple one; the dialogue can get a bit cheesy at times. This is one of the few areas that you can tell Spiders’ budget wasn’t huge. The voice actors, while adequate, sometimes cheese up their lines and over dramatized things. I’ve heard a few complain about the swearing, but honestly, it hasn’t put me off too much. Yes it does happen, but not enough to put you off. All in all, Bound By Flame is a solid game. I’m about three hours into it and I’m really enjoying my time. I hope that it will continue this upward trend as I’m just getting into the real story. The combat is fun, the game is challenging and those coupled with the price tag makes Bound By Flame a title that recommend someone looking for a fun RPG pick up....

The Last of Us: Left Behind Review (PS3)

The Last of Us: Left Behind Review (PS3)

The Last of Us has become a darling of modern videogames. Its story, its characters, and its maturity have garnered praise from nearly every corner of the globe. With the original release hitting all the high notes, it leaves any additional story content with some big boots to fill. And in that vein, enter Left Behind. The first DLC offering for The Last of Us gives Ellie, returning from the original game, more of a backstory and explores the more child-like elements to her which The Last of Us only ever touched upon. At its core, Left Behind is a dive into the relationship between Ellie and her best friend Riley, and their exploits back in Boston. There isn’t much of an actual story at hand; instead there is simply the character development and fleshing out of Ellie, allowing her to feel like an even more rounded and natural character than she was in The Last of Us.   Left Behind plays a surprising move by not featuring much combat compared to the core game. The majority of the focus is placed firmly on Ellie and Riley’s relationship as they try to maintain some sense of friendship and childhood in a broken world. Ellie and Riley’s interaction is shown via flashbacks as Ellie recalls the events while seeking aid for an injured Joel. Developing their relationship is achieved by dialogue that feels both organic and grounded as the two characters interact with each other like people rather than cogs in a videogame story. Naughty Dog have crafted a friendship that feels legitimate, while remaining relevant to the game’s universe. There are a number of moments sprinkled throughout Left Behind which create a sense of understanding and empathy between the player and both Ellie and Riley. It’s clear there has been a major effort in reinforcing that both characters have grown up in a destroyed world, robbed of a genuine childhood, yet they make the best of the situation through friendship. Left Behind carries a distinct undertone similar to films such as Stand By Me; this works perfectly within the context of the situation Ellie and Riley find themselves in.   Away from the story–or lack thereof–there are a few instances of combat. Ellie is given very limited supplies, forcing the player to think tactically to use the game’s mechanics to their advantage. The lack of bullets and supplies gives Left Behind a distinctly more survival horror tone compared to the core story. More often than not the player is forced to use nearby infected to attack bandits, creating an opportunity for Ellie to escape from danger. It’s an element that is utterly satisfying to utilize and forces the question of why it wasn’t included in the The last of Us more often. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with Left Behind, it does feel slightly lacking given the price. Two hours of gameplay for £11.99, with lengthy portions dedicated to talking and character interaction, feels a little steep. While the writing and voice acting is sublime, there isn’t a whole lot to actually play that will leave a lasting impression. The ending of the content requires the player to either look up the events of the spin-off comic (American Dreams), or purchase said comic, which contributes to Left Behind’s price point looking even less appealing. The Last of Us is a fantastic game, but Left Behind feels more like a deleted scene rather than genuine new content. The £11.99 price point is just too hard to ignore for what’s on offer, which is unfortunate. Those simply looking for more backstory on Ellie, and those who enjoy quality dialogue and voice acting, will be satisfied with Left Behind. The people wanting a more well-rounded addition to The Last of Us’ universe may feel slightly short-changed. It’s a shame that the negatives are mostly results of a rather greedy admission fee, as the experience itself is more than worth playing.    ...

Bound By Flame Overview Trailer & Screenshots Released

Bound By Flame Overview Trailer & Screenshots Released

If there’s one thing the Playstation 4 (and the Xbox one to be fair) are missing it’s more games. Thankfully the next few months will see the release of some big titles on both systems, but there’s also a interesting game by the name of Bound by Flame due for release this year.   Spiders studio are currently in the midst of crafting a ambitious fantasy RPG that places the player in control of a mercenary possessed by a demon in flames. This dark themed RPG features various playable classes, a crafting system and the ability to combine human and demon skills. The trailer below showcases some of the features on offer, as well as a look at the gameplay and environments present in the game. Bound By Flame is set for release in Q2 of 2014 on PC, Xbox 360, PS3 & PS4....

Outlast Review (PS4)

Outlast Review (PS4)

Outlast was one of 2013′s biggest success stories, hailed as one of the scariest games of recent times. Developer Red Barrels enjoyed success thanks to a combination of solid design, a decent concept, and strong word of mouth. 2014 has now seen Outlast hit the Playstation 4, only this time people are fully aware of the game’s reputation. But does this have an impact on the game’s success this time around? Outlast‘s plot is rather generic on paper. Freelance journalist Miles Upshur sets off to investigative Mount Massive Asylum after receiving an anonymous tip. Upon arrival, it quickly becomes apparent that there are dark forces at work, and Miles is stuck at the centre of them. The plot wont make much of a impact, especially on those who are experienced players of horror games or viewers of horror films, but it’s adequate enough to keep players interested. Throughout the 4-5 hour experience, players are exposed to numerous scenes which try to develop a genuine sense of disgust via disturbing imagery or acts. These scenes are what prop up the shallow plot, allowing the game to naturally flow.     With the story not impressing much, it becomes the job of the gameplay to truly create the experience, and thankfully it’s up to the task–at least for the most part. Taking inspiration from the found-footage horror film sub genre (particularity Grave Encounters), Outlast offers only one item to use throughout the game in the shape of Miles’ handheld camera. Given how dark the environments are, looking through the camera and its nightvision feature is often the only way to progress. The nightvision mode is a vital tool that also gives the game an eerily genuine look to it, increasing the tension tenfold. The camera requires batteries which run out quickly, however, but there are replacements to be found around the asylum, increasing the need to converse and search when necessary. The brief periods of sheer darkness between changing batteries pulsates with terror. The camera gimmick works fantastically well thanks to how life-like it appears, almost breaking the fourth wall and placing the player up front and centre in the game. This is where the real terror of Outlast is found. In partnership with the brooding-yet-brilliant audio, Outlast becomes a tour-de-force of tension and terror, or at least for the first few hours. Outlast tends to rely on jump scares to provide a large chunk of its horror, which becomes a somewhat predictable tactic around the mid-point of the game. There are also a number of sections that force the player to hide from enemies, and they work well and throw a genuine sense of panic into the game. The build up to the scares is done beautifully, but the execution is repeated too often in overly familiar methods.   Outlast does have a few smart tricks up its sleeve that redeems the over use of jump scares, fortunately. Miles will often begin to react to the events around him in a human and relatable manner. His breathing becomes heavier, he shudders in reaction to the tension; these are small touches that gives Outlast a genuine sense of life and realism. Red Barrels have managed to create a horror title that never makes it totally clear when the player is in danger. Not all the inmates of the asylum are threats. Some are just as scared and confused as Miles. This makes identifying genuine threats devilishly difficult. Any number of times an apparent harmless situation can turn deadly and the player will rarely see it coming. For all its neat tricks and ability to create a genuine unnerving atmosphere, Outlast still hosts some truly dated game mechanics. There are a number of times the player will be tasked with turning a valve or flicking a switch in order to turn a bigger valve or flick a bigger switch. It feels out-of-place and slightly lazy. These situations drag the player out of the game’s world and feel utterly artificial, undoing all the great work done to submerge the player in the game. Overall, Outlast is a solid, well-crafted horror experience that provides an enjoyable jaunt through some truly bleak themes and imagery. The overuse of jump scares doesn’t detract from the overall experience too much and instead keep the player firmly locked into the game, but the unnecessary valve/switch sections, however, do take away some of the admiration for Outlast. Outlast may not be the scariest game ever made, but it does a good job of providing a decent horror experience thanks to some genius work with creating tension. For the price, Outlast is worth the admission, and for horror fans of any entertainment medium, it’s unmissable.  ...

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z – Demo Impressions (Vita)

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z – Demo Impressions (Vita)

The latest Dragon Ball Z-based videogame is due to hit early next year. Battle of Z boasts everything you’d expect from a Dragon Ball Z game, with a few interesting additions to the core fighting experience to boot. For example, the game features a heavy focus on team work and the synergy between multiple characters, with skills and roles being assigned to various faces familiar to the Dragon Ball Z universe. It’s a mechanic that puts something of a fresh twist on what has become a slightly dry gameplay experience. Inside the game, each mission allows the player to choose which characters they want to take into battle. Mixing abilities and roles reduces the threat of any challenge presented. The demo does a decent job of showcasing how the different roles and skills in the game work together to create an effective mix. The likes of Krillin fill up the support role by feeding energy to other characters and reviving those who have fallen in combat. The rest of the game’s roles lean somewhat to the offensive side,  with some being purely damage-focused and others acting as ‘interrupters’ (essentially harassing enemies constantly). The character roles give the core combat a much needed sense of depth, even if it’s still slightly shallow. The combat is a mixture of spamming triangle in order to pull off simplistic combos until the enemy either flies away or admits defeat. Thankfully, the combat is broken up by one or two events that allow the other characters to chain attacks together that prompt combo chains. Also, there are various special moves that each character can perform, most of which come with a great sense of satisfaction. Special attacks are gained via a meter presented at the bottom left of the screen, which is filled by performing combos and receiving energy from support characters. After each battle has been completed. the opportunity to give energy to players around the world presents itself. Tapping the circle button allows the player to send as much energy as they wish in return for premium points. These points can be used to purchase various items that help boost stats or attack types. The points can also be used to buy cards which give the user certain perks. It’s not a hugely expansive element of the game (in the demo at least), but will no doubt play a larger role towards the later stages in the full game. Battle of Z‘s demo allows players to try a handful of story missions along with co-op and battle modes. The former is a little shallow in the demo and doesn’t do a whole lot to sell the feature, whereas the latter and story modes are much more enjoyable. The story missions act as a way to teach the player how to play and show off some of the core features and elements to the game. Battle Mode, on the other hand, is a straight-up brawl between multiple players that is simply crazy. The fast-paced nature of the combat results in some truly insane battles between players when online. The only real issue is that some connections die mid-game, but this could simply be an issue found only in the demo which will be rectified later on for the full release. In terms of production values, the demo is impressive. The visuals look fantastic on the Vita’s display, with the characters really popping off the screen. The bright colour pallet and crisp animations, accompanied by fantastic audio, allow the game to almost trick you into thinking you’re currently watching the TV show. Each character looks and sounds like you would expect. The battles even carry that distinct Dragon Ball Z feel and sound to them; it’s a truly impressive feat. On the whole, the demo for Battle of Z does a decent job of showing off what the game has to offer. The combat is simplistic but the fantastic controls allow each battle to feel both energetic and fun. The role system works well and gives each encounter a nice sense of variation. The most impressive element Battle of Z has at its disposal, however, lies in its production. As previously mentioned, this is the closest a game has come to looking and sounding like the show. The Vita’s features may not be used all that much but its power is on show with the gorgeous visuals Battle of Z showcases. The demo leaves the player wanting more–more battles, more spectacle, more game–and that’s exactly what a demo is supposed to achieve. The trailers claim that Battle of Z will allow players to experience what makes Dragon Ball Z awesome, and the demo does exactly that. Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z is due for release on January 24th 2014 on Xbox 360, PS3 and Playstation Vita. Demos for all three versions can be found on their respective online stores.    ...

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z Goku Edition Revealed, New Game Details Released

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z Goku Edition Revealed, New Game Details Released

Namco Bandai have today revealed some new information on Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, as well as showing off a fancy collectors edition.   The limited Goku Edition of Battle of Z will feature day 1 DLC bonus in the shape of Goku (Naruto Uzumaki Sage Mode) along with a 60 page art book. The muscle of the edition comes in the shape of a 25cm Goku figurine in all his super Sayian glory. Both the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the Goku Edition are currently priced at £79.99. The edition is also a GAME exclusive. Links for both version can be found below: Xbox 360 Version PS3 Version   Namco Bandai have also revealed some of the ”Giant Boss Battles” that will feature throughout Battle of Z. Great Ape Bardock, Great Ape Gohan, Great Ape Vegeta, Hirudegarn & Meta-Cooler Core will all make appearances. Namco Bandai have complimented the new details with a number of new screenshots and a slick new trailer....

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z Demo Is Now Available

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z Demo Is Now Available

Dragon Ball Z fans rejoice! The demo for the highly anticipated game “Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z” is now available for download on the PlayStation Network and the Xbox Live Marketplace. The demo includes a slue of features including: - Single Player Missions 4 Missions: from 01 to 04. 4 Characters: Goku, Kid Gohan, Krillin and Piccolo. - Multiplayer Modes Mission 04 – The Fearsome Saiyan! Co-op Mode, Battle Mode. Play with other demo users Another great feature that this demo will allow is the ability to transfer some data from the demo to your full game. This means that you don’t have to worry about replaying the missions you’ve already played through. I for one am a big fan of this idea! More specifically, this is what is transferable: The DP (Dragon Points) and PP (Premium Points) obtained Mission progress Characters All obtained cards All player log data   If you’d like, there are brand new videos posted on Namco Bandai Games Europe’s YouTube page. Here it is: I hope this demo and news get you excited for Battle of Z! Be sure to download the demo right now. Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z will be available on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PS Vita on January, 24, 2014.  ...

A History of Call of Duty: Achievement, Progress, & Decline

A History of Call of Duty: Achievement, Progress, & Decline

Call of Duty is one of the more curious franchises in today’s videogame landscape. The series itself was the product of a stagnated and dried out series of games that left a number of developers frustrated and bored. When Call of Duty first hit the masses, its set pieces and intense action were met with praise and admiration. Even then it took heavy influences from popular TV and films, much like it continues to do now, but back then it was more than welcomed. But when did people become tired of the CoD staples? Did people really have enough of a good thing? Or are people just being too critical? The first entry into the Call of Duty franchise was nothing short of brilliant. Its high production value and intense set pieces created some truly wonderful gaming experiences. There was nothing else on the market that matched Call of Duty‘s intensity and well-crafted singleplayer campaign. Infinity Ward raised the bar–and they expanded on it even further with the sublime expansion pack United Offensive. Vehicles, new redefined multiplayer, truly stunning set pieces, a fantastic singleplayer, a truly great expansion, which was also the last ever expansion that would come out for a Call of Duty title. With all that being said, however, there is still a problem: most of the modern Call of Duty fans never played the first game or the expansion due to it being a PC-only title.   Call of Duty‘s transitions to consoles was a bit of mixed bag with the likes of Finest Hour and Big Red One being rather average. The big step forward came in the shape of Call of Duty 2, a title that sold a number of people on the 360 when it launched alongside the system back in 2005. While it didn’t do anything new compared to the PC versions, it did deliver the first true Call of Duty experience on consoles. Its quality brought in a huge new audience to the franchise and signaled the beginning of Call of Duty‘s rise to power. Unfortunately, it was also the start of the yearly release rota. The new yearly Call of Duty format led to the franchise being outsourced for the first time (excluding spin-offs) with Treyarch creating Call of Duty 3. The game was met with a positive reaction thanks to its solid singleplayer and decent multiplayer offerings. One of the more refreshing elements of the game, though, was the returns of vehicles and the addition of playing as the Polish and Canadian military. Things like this made sure there was a noticeable difference in how the game felt, but it was hardly a bad thing. Treyarch proved they could create a more than decent Call of Duty title, but remained in Infinity Ward’s shadow at the time.   The biggest entry, and arguably the best, was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Departing from the World War 2 setting (which. by 2007, had become heavily overused), the game was set in the present day, along with the biggest enemy of said setting: terrorism. To put it simply, Call of Duty 4 redefined the FPS genre in ways that are still felt to this day. Its campaign was brilliant and even more cinematic than anything that came before it. Also, Modern Warfare‘s multiplayer became the jewel in Call of Duty‘s crown, setting the standard for all entries that would come after it. The class set-ups, the fast-paced nature of the gameplay, the perks, the kill streaks, all elements that have since become almost standard in the industry. Call of Duty 4 brought in the masses in a spectacular way and catapulted the franchise into becoming a pop culture icon. But it also proved to be the last big step forward the franchise, and also the last Call of Duty game to be loved by almost everyone. World at War‘s release in 2008 was when things started to get a bit dicey in terms of people becoming sick of the franchise and its success in general. While the game was decent, it felt too similar to what had already been experienced in past series entries. The competitive multiplayer felt more like a mod rather than a new game due to it sticking a bit too close to the core values of Modern Warfare‘s multiplayer; vehicles did return but felt considerably more forced; and kill streaks started to creep outside of the lines of acceptable balance. However, Treyarch managed to provide a fresh experience in the shape of Nazi zombies. A limited mode that was both small and well rounded in equal measure, it tasked players with holding up in a bunker against waves of zombies. The mode would become eventually Treyarch’s signature, and would be expanded on in great depth in their later works.     World of War may have had some critics, but for the most part, it entertained people and was seen as rather harmless. The next entry, Modern Warfare 2, however, hailed the start of Call of Duty becoming the poster boy for genericism. Released back in 2010, Modern Warfare 2 heralded the start of the detractors started to grow in numbers and make their voices heard–and it was deserved. Its singleplayer may have been solid but its straight-laced, by-the-book nature began to wear heavy on people. Go here, blow this up, kill these guys, repeat. Things became extremely limited and uninspired. Also, the set pieces were overused and took away from any sense of awe or spectacle. In fact, its set pieces became something of a joke–a joke that would continue to run and run. And outside of the campaign, the multiplayer didn’t fare much better. It may have been popular but its sporadic and unbalanced nature turned off a lot of former fans. The Kill streaks became ridiculous, with a number of them supporting camping and various other annoying play styles. It felt like the multiplayer was crafted for those with short attention spans and not much else. 2011 then saw the release of Treyarch’s Call of Duty Black Ops. The supremely set piece-heavy singleplayer did nothing to suggest the franchise was heading towards any progression any time soon. It may have been decently made on a technical level, but at its core it was merely just another Call of Duty experience we had already become overly familiar with. Though the story was at least trying to depart from the generic modernity of the franchise, with Treyarch going for a flashback-heavy story that allowed Treyarch to explore various areas of the Cold War, albeit with slight science fiction undertones. Multiplayer, on the other hand, was slightly more controlled compared to its predecessor but still suffered from too much emphasis on overpowered kill streaks. Black Ops‘ biggest positive, on the online side, was Zombies, a mode that continued to grow in depth and character as it went on, even beyond Black Ops. And on that note, Black Ops 2 released in 2013 but did little to progress the storyline. It, again, was flashback-heavy with sci-fi tones, and the mulitplayer was pretty much the same. Zombies also continued to get bigger and bigger, though whether that was as good a thing as it may sound is open for debate. The game was, at its core, overly similar to Black Ops, and thus not entirely worth focusing on in detail.   And in the game of Ping Pong known as Call of Duty, we move back to Infinity Ward. Released back in 2011, Modern Warfare 3 is is often perceived to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was the very essence of the typical Call of Duty experience: set pieces at every turn; levels that felt uninspired; little to no improvements; plenty of repawning enemies; and so much more. It was all there to hate. Modern Warfare 3 felt lazy, forced, and lacking any creativity whatsoever. In essence, it was just a full-price expansion pack. As for the multiplayer, it had a few tweaks which ultimately did nothing to really improve or change the established formula. The series has always had decent sales figures, especially so at the time, so perhaps the term ”if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” was applied to almost every part of Modern Warfare 3. The general opinion of videogame fans was changed by Modern Warfare 3; people were becoming entirely fed up of same old, same old. This brings us to the latest entry, Call of Duty: Ghosts. Its release last month was the first time a Call of Duty game was not met with such a hungry audience. The release was very low key compared to past entries. It was slightly hushed, with no appearances on any TV news shows (which happened with the release of MW2 and Black Ops); instead, there was a lot of internet advertising and short TV adverts. Ghosts just went by on its own, with the only real discussion of the game being found on CoD fan boards or people condemning the franchise across various forums. People just did not seem to care about Ghosts in the slightest. As for the game itself, it’s still packed with the same overused set pieces, plot twists, and environments. It’s nothing new or even all that interesting. The production values are still high, but what does that matter when it’s the exact same game people have been playing since 2010? Ghosts produced low sales figures that would be respectable for other franchises but not for the behemoth of Call of Duty, which suggests that perhaps the age of the series is nearing its end. Perhaps it’s fitting that a game called Ghosts is the beginning of the end for the franchise. The future of Call of Duty will heavily depend on how the games use the PS4/Xbox One/PC systems going forward. Can the next entries really afford to be exactly the same as past titles? Will the franchise ever experience another leap in progress like it did with Call of Duty 4? The next few years could be interesting for both Call of Duty fans and its detractors....