My brother recently left for basic training in the U.S. Army, fulfilling what has been a lifelong goal of his. While it has been an emotional time for our family, we could not be prouder of him for chasing his dreams and serving his country. In honor of my brother’s recent decision, and with a new generation of gaming consoles about to be released this Winter, I thought now would be a good time to reflect on the top 5 best war game campaigns that were released on PS4.
While games can never truly capture all of the intricacies, realities, and horrors of war, there are many that have been able to mimic all these aspects of battle in a way that was harrowing and created a deep emotional impact with players. There are several different criteria that could have been used to determine this list, but since this is an opinion article, ultimately, these are the campaigns that struck me the most.
Inevitably, there are plenty of other great games that didn’t make the list. For example, if I had not limited this article to PS4, the first two Black Ops games would have surely made the list. Also, I chose to focus on campaigns because that is what I play the most—as a result, games more focused on multiplayer did not make it. Additionally, I felt it would be unfair to include games I have not played myself as I am not able to accurately describe something I have not played. Therefore, these five campaigns simply serve as the greatest five war campaigns that I (and my brother) have had the joy of playing. These are my top 5 campaigns of war games on PS4.
5. Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013)
Okay, so the first two games on my list were originally released on PS3 and were later released for PS4. However, as I searched for games that seemed to have the best campaigns that were moving and enjoyable, I personally couldn’t leave them off my list.
At the time, Ghosts just seemed so different from some of the other war games I had played at the time. I absolutely loved it. The game introduced the first non-human playable character in the series with Riley, a German Shepherd that could be controlled to spot and attack enemies. There were new intriguing and fun missions in outer space that I didn’t expect. The introductory mission “Ghost Stories” was one of the most encapsulating campaign intros I had ever played up until that point. The missions overall were simply unexpected and enjoyable.
While the series took place in the near future, it was a wholesome game that I thought was really innovative and neat for its time. The missions, the diverse settings, and the memorable characters all made for a riveting playthrough for me, so much so that I played it two or three times.
4. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (2014)
Another game set in the future, this time a more distant future, I appreciated this game for its intriguing missions and characters. It was one of the first games I had played (that I remember) whose characters modeled the voice actors for them. It was a neat concept that helped draw me in and focus on the story all the more.
I also liked the addition of the exoskeleton (which fit in well with the futuristic theme) and the ability for players to upgrade these suits and weapons after each mission. These points are awarded based on the player’s performance which I thought added another nice touch pushing players to perform well and complete all the objectives they possibly can.
This game was enjoyable in many ways, but I liked the themes the story dealt with. It was one of those games that really made me think of the never-ending expansion of technology and yet another implication our rapid advancements could potentially have on society and the world as a whole. The poignant themes, additional campaign aspects, and great acting made this game a plus for me.
3. Battlefield 1 (2016)
I loved the idea of exploring the first “War to end all wars” as this was a conflict that had long been overlooked in gaming, with most developers historically choosing to explore World War II over its predecessor. This from the get-go provided intrigue and a vast amount of material to me. My only complaint for this one would be that it was far too short as I feel that I was able to finish the whole campaign in just a night or two.
That being said, I honestly thought the diverse stories allowed for an exciting experience which showcased the stories of various nationalities well. I felt I learned more about the war than ever before and was enthralled in learning more of these soldier’s stories for the short time I was able to play as them.
The introductory mission was also impactful as it really showed the vast destruction of the war and the bloody nature of battle, since whenever you die, their name, birth, and death are put on the screen before playing as someone else. Whatever character I was playing with, I found the way that the missions just “flowed into” one another to be fairly unique. Overall, this was just filled with intriguing stories that were thoroughly enjoyable throughout.
2. Call of Duty: WWII (2017)
Never before has a World War II campaign looked so beautiful. Battling across Europe, this campaign has gorgeous landscapes and stunning graphics. Furthermore, the story overall has detail, tragedy, and heart. The game truly seemed to return to its roots with some of its decisions.
While the makers are a little heavy-handed with clichés and established tropes throughout, I still found I was able to overlook these and immerse myself in the story. While some characters appear to be linear rather than rounded (such as Sgt. Pierson), others are wholesome and give the story more depth, such as Zussman.
Overall, the missions were enjoyable. Whether it was a simple reconnaissance mission without any guns or it was the typical tense shootout or dogfight, the campaign provided an ample replication of the Second World War and the way it was fought. The characters, scenery, missions, and gameplay all combined to create what was the most exciting WWII videogame I’ve ever played.
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
This reboot of the Modern Warfare series set in an alternate timeline just blew me out of the water. The game really hypes up it’s “modern” descriptor in a raw, controversial, and emotional way. The campaign missions offer a variety of different tasks, each reflecting differing aspects of modern combat from the use of drones to nighttime raids and sniper missions.
The game truly lives up to its name as it heavily borrows from real-life events, sometimes in excruciating ways. Having to deal with an active shooter/terror threat in Picadilly Circle was gut-wrenching and is an accurate representation of the trauma that too many people across the globe have experienced. Other true-to-life alterations include a mission eerily similar to the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden as well as one taking place along the infamous “Highway of Death,” (though it did draw criticism for its distorted use of this terminology).
While other games have tried to highlight diverse characters in their stories, this is by far the most authentic implementation of that as it doesn’t do so in order to hype the game up or for the sake of being politically-correct. By showing the military, as well as the perspective of a female freedom fighter who has long witnessed the terrors of the two side’s mutual enemy, players are left with a more rounded picture of modern combat.
Again, this campaign simply blew me away and I would encourage anyone who hasn’t yet played to give it a go. Some parts are difficult to bear, but I think overall the campaign provides a wholesome, brutally accurate depiction of modern combat during the “War on Terror.”
What did you think of the games on this list? What are some of your favorite campaigns from war games that weren’t listed? Feel free to comment on this article or start a thread on our forum.