I enjoyed Cod 4, i really did, the sp was the best of the series so far, and the mp entertained me...for a while. The problem i have is that Cod 1 & 2 (im talking PC versions obviously here) had mp which dominated my online life to the point that i hardly played anything else.
In fact, Cod 1 was the first online game i ever played, even though ive been a gamer since the early 80's. When it was released most people (in the UK) were still on 56k modems and i rememeber fondly the times i had on the Jolt 56k only servers shooting wildly at thin air, whilst having funwith the best community a games ever had imo. We laughed, joked and played silly buggers for months, enjoying each others pain when the servers were full via the forums, or just fannying about trying to find map glitches.
It was a great time for all, and many Cod players i know today are from that happy time, still see a few every now and then on xfire. 56k=LAG and E3 were the jokey 56k "clans" we set up, E3 becoming aserious clan, once everyone moved into BB. Course BB happened to everyone eventually and we all started taking it a little more seriously, enjoying ourselves with clans and competitions.
With Cod 2 this continued, but a little soul was lost along the way - between 1&2 United Offensive had been released, and to a certain extent fragmented the community, perhaps its just me but Cod 2 lacked a little in the community that Cod 1 had, but still proved itself an exceptional game in mp, even with its dodgy hitboxes.
Cod 4 was released, and it proved to be an exceptional sp game, with a great story and great atmosphere. The mp was fun too, but for me it was the nail in the coffin for Cod so far. The community seemed to grow, taking in players from CS:S and the BF games, and it seems the humour on the servers was replaced by a barrage of insults, or silence. It also managed to kill off a 6 year old clan i played with - International Frag Force. Quite well known among the Cod and Cod 2 UK community, [IFF] had played thru Soldier of Fortune, thru BF and early Cods to Cod 4, and slowly but surely, people lost interest in the game, the airstrikes and helicopters and completely different tactics involved in the game were difficult for the members to get used to and adapt to. This was no longer a WW2 setting, it was hi-tech, and (for us) lo-fun. It also didnt help that IW decided to rid the game of CTF, our main gametype.
So the news that Cod 5 (at least) will be returning to WW2 makes a lot of us happy. We LIKE bolt action rifles, and inaccurate smgs, and the noise Germans make when barking out orders, hearing the Japanese doing it in Cod 5 will be a lot of fun too, presumably with their screaming "HAI!" or something, a lot. We also like the "This Isnt Iraq" setting - theres only so much fun you can have in the desert...
But thats it with WW2 games, critics say - they have been done to death, D-Day episode 20 and all that. Well this is the crux of it, it hasnt even been touched on yet. Ye, D-Day Landings have been done to death, the Berlin attack has also been done numerous times (though never, imo, very well - even by IW). But this isnt Iraq / [Insert Generic Arab Nation Here] - this is the whole world we are talking about - thats the setting, the whole world. The fact we have seen it all before just means that games developers have a serious lack of imagination, who plump for dumping out the same big battles over and over and over again.
Theres an infinite number of things you can do with a WW2 FPS game - your only limited if you decide to reenact the big battles. If Hollywood over the years can make hundreds of diverse WW2 movies, then its the same as with games - it just needs a little more imagination than the likes of IW have shown, or Treyarch are capable of.
Think of Bad Company - theres no reason why that game couldnt have been set in WW2 (as its story takes elements off Kellys Heroes (a WW2 film) anyway).
A little imagination goes a long way to telling a good story, a WW2 game doesnt HAVE to be based solely on the 7 or 8 big major battles, what about the hundreds of covert or "less major" battles which took place? Or a different view on a familiar battle? Like a game set entirely in Stalingrad ala Enemy At The Gates?
What about a Far Cry 2 esque game where you are a lone soldier, cut off from your units and have a 50km sandbox playground deep within enemy territory to try and sabotage the enemy, doinfg enough damage that the Allies aree able to slowly move in and you take part in a big battle at the end?
The setting is open to any story you want to tell, even if its a fictional one surrounding real events.
People enjoy WW2 games (imo) because of the raw weaponry (bolt action rifles etc) and the fact we have a realistic pure "evil" enemy easily identifiable (while the soldiers werent necessarily evil, the cause they were fighting for certainly was). The setting is only one element, but in a 6 year war set in, well, the whole world, theres an infinite number of real, and fictional stories to be told without having to resort to D-Day landings each time.
I have little hope for Cod 5 (based purely off my bias against Treyarch who have shown they lack imagination in setting and gameplay on numerous occasions) but i hope IW takes Cod 6 back to where it belongs - WW2. I hope the community also returns back to how i fondly remember it, although that may be asking a little too much.