It's that time of year again: as certain as the sun will rise tomorrow, the latest Call of Duty is here, and you know what? It's pretty damn great.
The franchise has been growing increasingly ridiculous in recent years with various forays into sci-fi, and so Sledgehammer Games giving their new title a World War II setting is a crystal clear attempt to win some of the series' old fans back. Impressively, it seems like they've largely pulled it off.
Currently touting some of the series' best reviews in years, the latest Call of Duty is nothing if not a pleasant surprise, a refreshing return to form that favours superbly-executed basics over needless complication.
It won't be for everyone and it certainly has issues, but overall it feels like a much sturdier, assured game than the last few efforts. Hopefully it might signal a general era of rejuvenation for the series, but with its cycle of three development teams each working on their own CoD game, it's hard to say.
At least for the next 12 months, fans have a real franchise gem on their hands...