TL,DR 3.5/5 stars. Excellent campaign tied down by traditional COD campaign mechanics, stylish zombies mode, terrible new player unfriendly multi-player.
After losing multiple drafts I guess I should take this sign from the universe that no one cares about my unprofessional opinion as a mediocre self proclaimed casual-hardcore gamer. Games are a passion of mine, but money doesn't grow on trees. Well, my brother who I convinced into getting TF|2 hasn’t bought a COD since MW2. Also, MW3 was my last COD I played through the campaign. BO2 was the last multi-player and only a few rounds or zombies. So, with that out of the way I’ll bore the few random strangers who bother reading this, and let's dig in.
Campaign 4/5 Stars
COD mainly brings back single player memories for me. The original, COD 2, MW, and MW2 will always be some of my favorites. I never got into the Black Ops series, didn't care for them. Lost most interest in COD after MW3. I played it for the end of the story and was underwhelmed. The once shocking deaths of MW2 (I actually played that one first, RIP Ghost) were rather predictable and less emotional. So when everyone was downvoting the reveal trailer on Youtube, I was intrigued for the first time in years. I'm a sucker for sci-fi. When the free trial dropped, this is the feature that hooked me enough for a purchase. Infinity Ward created a great interplanetary sci-fi war. The Retribution had an interesting crew with many likable members. The mission select was a nice touch. Boarding side missions had some nice variety to keep them fresh, some offering some fun stealth moments such as assassination of top brass near Miranda. The background settings were often well done. Dogfighting above Neptune, an asteroid facility near the sun with deadly days that lasted moments, and icy Europa all offered memorable scenes and moments. Specialist mode adds a new difficulty level with nonregerative health, management of weapons, and a helmet system where your own may be shot off leaving you vulnerable to headshots.
For all liked about the campaign, it has it's share of shortfalls and stumbled. First is the now mandatory kill off companions and protagonist moments, many which felt rushed. It was unfortunate that the game felt like it was forcing me at times to like a character right before their deaths. I get it's on the rails storyline wise, but a touch of Mass Effect’s crew conversations would have gone a long way. Especially considering that the game offers plenty of slower moments between the firefights and explosions. No, I’m not asking for the wheel and everything, just give me the option to have the conversation instead of forcing it. After listening to a few audio logs, watching a news report, checking your most wanted board, there isn’t much to do beyond start next mission. A shame considering how other minor details are put in to make the empty ship lived in. It’s too empty between missions. Also the villains were a let down. COD never really has had great villains (at least the ones I completed). It was easy in past titles to have black and white villains. Admiral K.o.t.c.h at the beginning offers an extreme, but militarily functional view that the mission is more important than the men. After that great opening level, he becomes forgettable monologue happy villain. The Settlement Defense Force are just commies in space that hate freedom for reasons unknown. A shame considering the rest of the well crafted world that so little effort was given to the villains. Plus a few story issues
Also the plot falls apart at the end. Summed up, SDF launches a surprise invasion on Geneva that fails when their suicide operative fails to destroy the AA guns protecting Earth. Said operative has a transponder that on death would signal an all clear to the SDF fleet. However, they start the invasion despite no all clear and said operative takes too long hacking the system and blowing up controls and himself. After the only other remaining ship gets destroyed Reyes concocts the brilliant plan to destroy the transponder and trick the SDF into thinking that the guns are down and luring them into a trap. What commander in their right mind would follow a late all clear signal from a suicide operative they knew was captured during the first failed attempt. Brilliant plan Reyes, no wonder the SDF was ready and you had to pull a Pyrrhic victory out of your **** at the cost of the ship and the vast majority of your crew.
I tried to give it a shot and not jump on the hate bandwagon, but there is a lot to dislike. First, multi mode weapons don’t have the modes at start. After using my ERAD smg/shotgun in the campaign it’s frustrating to grind for that feature. Elite weapons from packs are the worst. I got two snipers I won’t unlock for a while. In the meantime I shoot first just for someone to turn around and kill me because they have the more powerful version. Deaths are way too quick, I have no time to react in most situations. Maps only have limited areas to use the movement system, and most are really small. It isn’t beginner friendly at all. Maybe it’s my lack of COD multi-player, but I never felt this disadvantaged starting out before in any COD multi-player. The terminal remake also makes me hate most of the new maps.
The good, I like the cut scenes that make it feel like you're on a team on mercenaries. Breaks the monotony of lobbies, plus gives you some bonus objectives that feel do-able to my skill level. Maybe I’ll enjoy it if I stick with it, it just doesn’t give me much desire to. Verdict may change later, but I doubt it.
Zombies 4/5 Stars
Spent the least time here, The cartoon cut scenes are stylish along with the rest of the mode. Can't figure out how to play as someone else besides Poindexter. The bright colors contrast to my memories of Terminal(?) in BO2 bussing around a dark dreary map. Also the space land element caters to making IW’s weapons fit more. The arcade on death gives you a chance to earn your way back into the game after death. Breaks the monotony of spectating. Plus the card boost addition offers gameplay changes on the fly with temporary boosts. I like it so far. Need to find friends to have more fun with it.