Call of Duty and good sound design go together like peanut butter and chocolate, zombies and an axe, or even Soap MacTavish and Captain Price. Each entry in the series raises the bar of what can be achieved by audio, and every game offers some new sound that sends a shiver down our spine. There has been a lot of memorable audio in the series, but here are some of the most iconic sounds in Call of Duty.
If there is one thing Call of Duty has always done well, it’s bolt-action rifles. Even in the more advanced and sci-fi centric entries, any bolt-action weapon always manages to capture the feel of firing one of these rifles. The sound of the handle sliding through the barrel and the satisfying clunk-kachunk of another round being loaded makes us feel dizzy. What’s even better is when you can land killing hits in quick succession, all while your character handles the bolt like a champ.
M1 Garand reloading
Speaking of old-school weapons, we cannot forget about the mighty M1 Garand. This World War 2-era weapon made its way into the Call of Duty franchise at the very beginning, way back in 2003, and since then it’s been a fan-favorite for several reasons. Players have always loved its power, decent accuracy, and its firing speed, but most of all we’ve all loved the sound of an empty clip being ejected. After firing off all eight rounds, the pa-ting of the clip being spat out is just too good.
They’re good. They’re bad. They are there for you when you need them or disappear like roaches when the light goes on. Whether you hate them or you love them, the sounds your teammates make during a match are definitely one of the most iconic sounds you’ll hear in Call of Duty. Nothing beats hearing a kid screaming as you show him who’s boss and nothing compares to hearing your friend laughing maniacally as they go on a 25-person killstreak.
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Blackout has got to be the greatest addition to Call of Duty since Zombies was first introduced in Call of Duty: World at War. Blackout is likely going to become a staple in every Call of Duty release from here until the end of time, and it deserves it. The team over at Treyarch have nailed the battle royale formula with the weaponry, map size, and even the circle of encroaching death.
Known as the Collapse, this oppressive force is always bearing down on you, and the sound Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 makes when it begins moving perfectly reflects the level of urgency it demands. It can be easy to lose track of time looting and getting into a gunfight, but the sci-fi and techy warble of an imminent collapse can break us out of even the deepest loot-grabbing reverie.
Hit marker pings
Call of Duty wouldn’t be the game it is today if it wasn’t for its tight shooting, and the shooting wouldn’t feel as good as it does if it weren’t for the immediate feedback of the hit markers. Seeing a little mark beside the reticle as shots connect with the target is gratifying, but the sound the hit marker makes is even better.
Outside the cacophony of combat, the ping-ping-ping of a hit marker registering rapid-fire headshots makes us want to get better at aiming and following a target. Don’t even get us started on landing a sweet headshot with a sniper and the ping of the hit marker confirming our accuracy.
The sounds in Call of Duty are all truly remarkable, whether it’s the sound of activating your favorite killstreak reward, the satisfying pa-ting of an M1 Garand reloading, or something as wholesome as chatting with your friends in a lobby. Now that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is here, we can’t wait to soak up the sights and sounds of multiplayer, Zombies, and Blackout!