The Call of Duty video game franchise has a long and storied history. The first game in the series was released in 2003, and it immediately set the standard for first-person shooters. Featuring realistic graphics and intense gameplay, Call of Duty quickly became one of the most popular video games of all time.
Since then, the franchise has only grown in popularity, with new games released on a regular basis. Each new release brings something unique to the table, whether it’s innovative gameplay mechanics or an intriguing storyline. With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (2022) on the shelves, the continuation of 2019’s Modern Warfare remake, let’s look back at some of our favorite old-school Call of Duty games.
Call of Duty: World at War
When 'Call of Duty: World at War was released in 2008, it was a departure from the other games in the franchise in a number of ways. For starters, it was set in World War II, whereas the previous games had all been set in modern times. Additionally, it featured a cooperative campaign mode in which two players could team up and play through the story together.
But perhaps the most significant difference was that 'World at War' introduced a new character: Private C. Miller, who would go on to become one of the most popular characters in the 'Call of Duty franchise. Here's a look at why 'World at War was such a different game from its predecessors—and why Private Miller quickly became a fan-favorite.
The first 'Call of Duty game was set during World War II, but subsequent games in the franchise had all been set in modern times—that is, until 'World at War.' The decision to return to the franchise's roots was a risky one, but it paid off. Players were taken back to some of the most iconic battles of World War II, including the D-Day landings at Normandy and the Battle of Okinawa.
What's more, 'World at War' featured a number of new gameplay mechanics that made it feel fresh and different from other WWII games. For example, players could now use flamethrowers to burn enemies out of buildings and bunkers—a feature that added a new layer of strategy to the game. Additionally, vehicles played a much bigger role than they had in previous games. Players could commandeer tanks, jeeps, and even boats as they battled their way across Europe and the Pacific.
All of these factors combined to make 'World at War' one of the most acclaimed games in the franchise—and one of the best WWII games ever made.
In previous 'Call of Duty games, players took on the role of an anonymous soldier fighting for their country. But with 'World at War,' things were different. For the first time in the franchise's history, players took control of an actual character: Private C. Miller.
Miller was an instant hit with fans thanks to his gruff personality and his no-nonsense attitude. He quickly became one of the most popular characters in not just the 'Call of Duty franchise but also in video gaming as a whole. In many ways, Private Miller was responsible for making 'World at War' feel so different from other games in the series—and fans are still clamoring for his return all these years later.
Call of Duty: Black Ops
It’s hard to believe the first Call of Duty: Black Ops game is considered “old-school” now. However, it’s been over 10 years since one of the most successful games in history was released. In that time, the game has gone on to sell over 26 million copies and become one of the most beloved games in the franchise. But what made Black Ops so special? Let's take a look back at some of the reasons why this game was such a success.
The original Call of Duty games were set during World War II, but by 2010, gamers were ready for something new. Enter Black Ops, which took the series in a completely different direction by setting the game during the Vietnam War and Cold War era. This change of setting was a breath of fresh air for fans of the series, resulting in one of the most critically acclaimed games in the franchise.
Not only did Black Ops feature an excellent campaign mode, but it also had an incredible story that was full of twists and turns. The story was so well-written that it felt more like a Hollywood blockbuster than a video game and kept players hooked from beginning to end. In addition to an excellent story, Black Ops also featured some of the best voice acting in any video game at that time. All of these factors combined to make Black Ops' campaign mode one of the best in any Call of Duty game.
Black Ops' multiplayer mode took everything that was great about the previous Call of Duty games and turned it up to 11. In addition to new modes and maps, Black Ops introduced some iconic features that are still used in online shooters today, such as killstreaks and perks. The multiplayer mode was so popular that it became its own standalone game, with subsequent releases in the franchise following suit.
Call of Duty 2: Big Red One
In 2005, the original Xbox 360 launched with a handful of games. One of those games was Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, a World War II shooter from developer Treyarch. Despite being one of the launch titles for the system, the game was met with mixed reviews and quickly faded into obscurity. However, in recent years, there's been a growing appreciation for what Call of Duty 2: Big Red One did right—and why it's arguably one of the best entries in the entire franchise.
There are a few factors that contribute to why Call of Duty 2: Big Red One is such a great game. First and foremost is the campaign. Unlike most other WWII shooters that focus on the European theater, Call of Duty 2: Big Red One tells the story of America's 1st Infantry Division as they fight their way through North Africa and Europe. This change of scenery not only helps to set the game apart from its competition but also allows for some truly unique set-pieces, such as the Battle of Kasserine Pass or the assault on Omaha Beach on D-Day.
In addition to an excellent campaign, Call of Duty 2: Big Red One also features a robust multiplayer mode that includes a variety of modes and maps. While the multiplayer might not be as robust as some of the later entries in the franchise (such as Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare), it's still a lot of fun and provides hours of entertainment.
Finally, one can't talk about Call of Duty 2: Big Red One without mentioning its visuals. The game looks absolutely stunning for a console launch title for an old-school Call of Duty game. Treyarch did a fantastic job making sure that every environment looked believable and realistic—something that was no small feat back in 2005.
You can't go wrong with 2005's Call of Duty 2: Big Red One if you're looking for a great entry point into the Call of Duty franchise. While it might be overshadowed by some of its more popular siblings, such as Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare or Call of Duty: WWII, this underrated gem is well worth your time—especially if you're a fan of World War II shooters.
The Call of Duty games that focused more on the story and less on multiplayer were the ones that people loved the most. While it is important for the game to focus on both aspects, giving players an excellent story to follow along with next-gen graphics will make the current Call of Duty titles as beloved as their old-school counterparts.
Do you want to find old-school Call of Duty games and other retro titles? Visit Retro Gaming of Denver. Retro Gaming of Denver not only has older Call of Duty games no longer on the shelf, such as Call of Duty Ghosts and Modern Warfare 3 but other gems you can find by visiting the website for retro and new generation games.