Captain Price ordering Ghost in an alleyway in Modern Warfare 3
Image via Activision

CoD campaigns aren’t what they used to be and new players are missing out

Back in the day Call of Duty was known for jaw-dropping set pieces that redefined the destruction of war. Today that's not quite the same; Call of Duty has pivoted towards ultra-realistic and that has caused these grandiose campaigns to be left behind and new players to miss out on that experience.

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Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 (2011) has one of the most iconic scenes in the franchise that isn't tied to a beloved character's death or shocking betrayal. The destruction and fall of the Eiffel Tower in France truly showed the stakes of the story and offered a sense of scale to the narrative. New players that are growing up with MW2019, Vanguard, and MW2 (2022) aren't able to experience these campaigns where the story is constantly reminding you that the world is at stake—not by telling you, but by showing you as the capital of United States of America is invaded.

Russian and USA forces battle in New York in MW3 2011
Image via Activision

The OG CoDs are not the only entries to continue this trend, since up to the point of Infinite Warfare the campaigns were still throwing out giant set pieces to wow the player base. Whether you loved or hated the IW campaign (I for one loved it), it still had enough oomph to put the world into perspective as a player. Seeing the Olympus Mons appear out of nowhere and realizing just how out-gunned you were was an incredible moment in the game's story.

The Black Ops series, in contrast to Warfare games, were more akin to spy movies with tons of intrigue and plot twists to throw you off guard. They still had their grand scale, but focused more on their characters and plot. Warfare games were once action movies where you break a door and gun down enemies then witness the destruction of a well-known landmark.

Underwater stealth in Modern Warfare 2019
Image via Activision

Today we are seeing a rise in a different style of narrative—one that hinges on a more realistic experience with a push toward stealth and tactical combat. This is an incredibly cool approach and not unlike moving from Michael Bay-esque explosions to the precision of surgeon's scalpel.

The issue with an ultra-realistic approach is that the suspension of disbelief is easier to break. There's a moment in the MW3 (2023) campaign where Captain Price inhales a large amount of noxious gas, but is fit as a fiddle after a short helicopter ride. That same gas decimates an entire military base in a later story mission, ruining the suspension. If Call of Duty wants to keep a gritty and realistic narrative then it has to realize that it has very little wiggle room. No one squinted at the destruction of the Eiffel Tower or the battle in New York since the franchise has been doing crazy set pieces for years, but the moment a character survives a fatal helicopter crash off-screen, our suspension of disbelief is gone.

Treyarch is next in line to give us a new Black Ops which may mean a continuation of the subtle SAS infiltrations that the current games are fond of. Only time will tell if the upcoming game will return players to witnessing epic-scale battles.

Those are my thoughts on the growing issue with Call of Duty campaigns. If you're looking for more Call of Duty content then check out Warzone is sweatier than ever, and dads are annoyed, DMZ was the best thing Call of Duty did since Warzone and Activision killed it, and more on Pro Game Guides.


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Author
Tyler Towers
Tyler is a skilled Freelance Writer for ProGameGuides, specializing in the most popular FPS games like Call of Duty, Apex Legends, and Valorant. He is also keenly interested in MOBAs and JRPGs, no matter how obscure they may be. With his Game Design degree from Sheffield Hallam University, Tyler has the expertise and knowledge to provide in-depth gaming industry coverage. When he is not knee-deep in ELO hell, he devotes his time to taking care of his beloved ragdoll cat, Ace.

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CoD campaigns aren’t what they used to be and new players are missing out

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