Another Call of Duty that doesn’t really change anyone’s mind about Call of Duty. Whatever’s there that I thought might actually be making a leap was seemingly just good marketing. In that sense, I suppose, it’s been pretty successful. [OpenCritic note: Jeremy Peel and Sherif Saad separately reviewed the campaign (4/5) and multiplayer (3/5). The scores have been averaged.]
Chucklefish's strategy tribute does nothing worse than Advance Wars, and little better - instead, it's exactly what it needs to be to spiritually succeed. It's small, in both character models and design ambition, but it's probably going to be massive. Despicable.
Although the series naturally lends itself to scale, it has often been observed that Total War is at its worst when bloat sets in. So perhaps it should have been no surprise that Arena finds victory in focus, accentuating just a handful of tactical elements so that they become the totality of the game. Then again, that is exactly what makes Arena so much fun: surprise.