Call of Duty Classic: Official Review
by Gauss

Basic Information:
Developer: Infinity Ward
Publisher: Activision
North American Release Date: December 2, 2009
European Release Date: December 2, 2009
Trophies: Yes

This is a downloadable version of the first Call of Duty game, Infinity Ward's entrance onto the grand stage of gaming. It follows three campaigns: American, British, and Soviet throughout the couse of World War 2. There is no over-arching narrative, however each of the missions are connected in their own way as you will go from the start of the war all the way to the fall of the Reichstad.

While many people may enjoy Call of Duty: Classic as a harken back to old school shooters, before everything was about cover and regenerating health, back when you used to have to backtrack for ammo and health, in terms of many elements we gamers consider this game really shows its age. Under the gameplay umbrella this game is very dated. Where it is really hurting is in the controls department and the AI, and in this regard its pretty obvious whatever team handled the port didn't pay close attention to either element.

The controls feel stiff, the scheme is very un-natural, and really needs a whole re-work from top-to-bottom, something that at this stage in console gaming you would take for granted. Especially considering how popular shooters are and whose name is on this game (Infinity Ward) this was honestly the last thing I expected to complain about. The problem is this game, from a controls standpoint, just does not play like a shooter should play. Particularly considering this game never got a console release in 2003, I would have expected they take something more akin to Modern Warfare 2.

In regards to the AI, I will chaulk this one up to a direct port. Something further cemented giving the overall lack of thought to the controls scheme. The AI in this game plays like the AI did in the game in 2003. While it is difficult to compare because the AI plays identical to the original game, my issue is its not 2003 anymore and very simple tweaks are all that is needed to make the AI significantly better. There is way too much AI standing up without taking cover or not taking cover period, getting in the line of fire, making absolutely no attempt to flush you out of your position, etc, etc. Heck sometimes AI won't even react to grenades, you'll toss one at them and they just keep shooting at the wall you are hidden behind.

The only real challenge this game offers is on the hardest difficulty, and that is really only because there are no health-packs in the whole game. At the end of the day, the gameplay to this game is not bad. Its just functional, something that shouldn't be for a Call of Duty game. A series which, in the past, has been the benchmark of FPS gameplay is bland in this iteration with no updates from their 2003 debut and a control setup that wasn't thought out.

One thing that you'd expect from every Call of Duty title is here in spades, that is the tight, event driven story structure that has true blockbuster action. At this point almost everybody should know what Call of Duty is all about, but to the uninformed you play as 3 people on the Allied side of WW2. An American, a British, and a Russian soldier as they go through various battles fighting the Nazis in Europe. The mission variety is fantastic and the action sequences, even 7 years later, will still have you engaged in what is happening as you go all the way from the infancy of the US invasion all the way to hoisting the Hammer and Sickle atop the Reichstag.

This is where Infinity Ward will really show you why they are so talented, and serves as a great reminder to those who have forgotten why the Call of Duty games are so popular. The whole SP campaign is structured like Rambo written by Tom Clancy starring Arnold Schwartzenegger set in World War 2. Its a non-stop mix of action, suspense, explosions, and enough bullets to bankrupt a small country. It was particularly refreshing too considering how bad Modern Warfare 2's story was to be sucked into something as simple as a retelling of World War 2.

This is one aspect of the game that comes highly recommended from me.

There really is not a whole lot to say about Multiplayer. While its refreshing to play a few games and remember what it was like before you had persistent characters and get excited about MP before it was full of perks and douche-bags. Its also a reminder of why MP is better today than it was then in Call of Duty. Nothing about this games MP is unique, inspired, or worthwhile in all reality and to be completely honest it made me want to play Counterstrike, TFC, or AvP2 again, atleast there the MP has some intrigue and some depth. Thats usually my rule of thumb for an aspect of a game being poor, if it makes me want to play a different game.

The other major problem is its only 8 players, something which is painstakingly noticeable in certain modes on some of the larger maps. With that few players, it just doesn't feel like there is alot of action going on throughout the game. That being said the online runs incredibly smooth, I'd go as far as to say it screams, although again I would expect this considering the ports lack of any true update to the presentation.

Another thing that is usually never a problem with an IW title, the overall presentation here is dated in every way. While an HD upgrade would have been welcome, especially considering the title's price tag of 15 bucks, the fact that it is not in HD is not my primary complaint. Its the fact that this port, from a technical standpoint, is very half-assed. NOTHING has been updated at all... There is not even something as simple as a brightness setting, which is a big problem in certain areas of the game because of how dark it is. Nothing about the presentation has any spice. The menus and loading screens are high-school computer graphics calibur and no modern graphical techniques have been taken advantage of to make the picture more appealing in anyway.

Whats more is some elements of the port don't have the same snuff as the PC version, specifically the audio. To those that remember this game in 2003, one of the big draws was the audio. It kicked ass. I don't know specifically what they did with this port, but the audio feels impotent. Its almost as if they ported a lower quality version of the audio than even the PC version. It kind of makes me scratch my head a bit, particularly with something as crucial as audio, I would have thought they would have gone back to the original source (even before it went on the PC) and took it from there... The whole auditory experience is just nothing compared to games today, the weapons don't sound or feel powerful, the voice-actors don't have alot of impact, sound effects don't carry a sense of their weight... If I shoot a tank with a rocket launcher and it explodes, give me something that feels like an explosion.

While this is not a travesty from a technical standpoint, again like the gameplay it is merely functional and dated. Something that is disappointing considering its branded IW. While an HD upgrade isn't required, the technical aspects of this port just were not executed with any thought or care.

The trophies for Call of Duty Classic are, in general, easy. There are several very easy golds and the vast majority of this game is chaulk full of the "Trophy for completing mission X" type stuff. This is no easy Plat though, the veteran difficulty in this game is not for the weak-hearted.

Gameplay: 7/10
- To put it plainly, the gameplay is exactly what it was in 2003 but with a so-so control scheme. While its still playable, its lackluster compared to even average shooters now.

Singleplayer: 8/10
- If there is one thing to play this game for... its the SP campaign. Still the benchmark of the Call of Duty series, this game is really a 'Tour de Force' on all fronts in terms of story.

Multiplayer: 4/10
- You should not get this game for its multiplayer. Setting aside the fact not alot of people play it, its not very deep. If you want old school shooter MP, go back to Counterstrike.

Technical: 6/10
- The overall presentation of this game is dated. While I am not saying its HD-update or bust, the fact that this game is as dark as it is without a brightness setting, the fact that the audio comes off as muzzled, and the fact that there is no pop to anything in the game is disappointing.

Overall: 7/10 Good
- Call of Duty: Classic is not a bad game, its just not up-to-par with the rest of the Call of Duty series. In this iteration the game clearly shows its age with a very poor Multiplayer outing, lackluster gameplay, and a dated presentation. The only thing carrying this game is the single-player campaign, which is still (to this day) very fun to play. There are better titles on the PSN for 15 bucks, but this title would not be a waste of money.