Behold the Bonus Material! I wrote a complete military history of Call of Duty for the cool folk over at Den of Geek, and when they pushed their plate away after only the main series entries, full of fantastic faux-fighting fun, that meant more material for you!
THE ABSOLUTE WORST: Black Ops: Declassified
Military history is littered with new inventions which just didn’t work and the corpses of those who tried to use them. Black Op: Declassified was released on the PS Vita, and worked about as well releasing the pin from a grenade. Inside a tank. That’s been filled with napalm for no adequately explained reason, but would still be more potentially useful than this disaster of a game.
You could finish the single-player campaign faster than you could field-strip and reassemble a rifle, and you’d be better off throwing the dismantled parts at an enemy than trying to use the touch controls on this unstable multiplayer network. And the AI enemies were so stupid that would work, because they wouldn’t know which part of the gun was actually the bullets and would assume they were dead. Either that, or they’d just got stuck against one of the walls again.
Strike Team was the iOS and Android entry in the series, and just like the little portable screens it was released on it turned out to be surprisingly useful. A drone’s-eye view lets you tap and swipe commands to your elite military unit, like a tactical tinder, and if they’d developed the whole game around that it would be higher on the list. Unfortunately it also insisted it was a “real” Call of Duty game with a first-person shooter mode controlled by touchscreen-thumbsticks. Which work about as well as touchscreen-dentistry, and are even more painful. Like any computer-expert geek trying to prove they could fight combat by jumping into real combat, it was crippled and just slowed everything else down.
Finest Hour happened when Activision asked “What if we try releasing Call of Duty on consoles?”, and it’s still the closest anyone has come to programming a money volcano. This wasn’t a simple port of the original but an entirely new title, back when developers made an effort to convert titles instead of throwing the code at a new compiler and making their coders work overtime until it fit. Finest Hour featured an interleaving multi-fronted story with more understanding of the World War than most of the people who fought in it. It wasn’t so much a new release as a revelation.