"In war, truth is the first casualty" -Aeschylus
COD4: Modern Warfare
Release Date: November 6, 2007
Developer: Infinity Ward
ESRB Rating: Mature
Reviewed by: Brian Wray
When it was announced that the much beloved WWII first person fighting series, would be moving into a new era of modern warfare, many questioned the folly of such an idea. After all, the Call of Duty series was a proven seller, so why mess with a winning formula (we all remember the debacle of New Coke). But Infinity Ward had a vision and Activision allowed them to fulfill that vision, and what is vision it was.
There was much fear that moving this series into modern warfare would result in this game taking on a Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter flavor, and leave its Call of Duty heritage behind, but I am pleased to tell you that this game is very much a Call of Duty game. Replace the Germans with Islamic militants and you have Call of Duty 4. That is not to say that this is the only change that took place, for every aspect of the game has been polished to a perfect brilliant shine.
Infinity Ward started working on Call of Duty 4 as soon as they finished Call of Duty 2 (that is why Treyarch took over development of Call of Duty 3) and they have not spent their time playing Halo 3 that I can assure you. T he first thing you will notice no doubt is the upgrade in the graphics. The game features some of the best graphics ever to grace any home console. Besides new detailed models, the game also features weather effects and enhanced lighting.
(Click for larger image)
But the Call of Duty series has never been about graphics, it was always about intense gameplay, and never has a game been this intense. Call of Duty 4 features an improved enemy AI that will welcome you with some epic battles that will test your skills even at the easier levels and drive you mad at the harder ones.
The single player experience will have you complete various missions. The missions are quite diverse and challenging enough to keep even the most well seasoned soldier fighting for his/her dear life. All these missions are combines by and intriguing storyline. The story is nothing you have not seen or hear before, but it is still involving just the same as the pacing of the story telling is just right. Also for a positive change, all the achievements for this game can be obtained in the single player mode. I have nothing against multiplayer achievements, but not everyone has online connectivity.
Once you have completed the single player aspect, which will take about 6-8 hours unless you are playing on veteran difficulty, the game continues to offer plenty of replay value in multiplayer mode. Call of Duty 4 utilizes a new class system that comes with pre-defined perks and weapons, not unlike many other recent games, but the area this game differs from the others of its style, is that each positive action (kills, heal, completing objectives etc..) rewards you with experience points. These points determine your game progression. As your character progresses, you will have access to improved skills and weapons. It is important again to indicate that you do not have to win in a battle to gain experience towards your character progress. The multiplayer games are also well varied, with many game and map types.
Call of Duty 4 also features a great matchmaking system, that will allow you to quickly team up with friends and battle it out, or if friends are not on hand, there are plenty of online gamers playing this game. Be warned thou that online matches can get quite hectic quickly part of the cause of this is that if a player get multiple kills in a row, he/she unlocks the ability to call in help in the form of air strikes, recons, and the deadly attack helicopter. Another thing that Call of Duty veterans may not realize is that for the first time, bullets can penetrate some materials. I learnt this the hard way as hiding behind walls is no longer a safe venture.
(Click for larger image)
The game is not perfect. Some may find this nothing more than nitpicking but here are the things I did not like about the game. I find that while the enemy AI has improved, your fellow soldiers are still dumber than dirt. They will constantly get in your way. They will routinely run out in the open blocking your shots. Good thing they are limitless in number. But I can understand their bravura as they have a bullet deflecting cloak. How else can you explain it when they sit in the middle of the field, enemy bullet hitting everything in site but their target. I have seen my teammates sit out there, being bombarded by enemy fire for more than 10 minutes, I poke my head out for a quick look and get sniped instantly. Also the enemy must have recruited their followers at MLB training camp as I have never before seen so many people able to toss a grenade so far and with such precision. I could be hiding in a building with an opening barely enough to see out off, and some enemy tosses a grenade through the opening, from a block away.
The other problem I have is related to multiplayer mode and snipers. They are extremely overpowered in this game. In real life, sniping is an extremely difficult task that requires great skill. Snipers always work in a team of two people, one to calculate the distance, wind speed and even curvature of the planet, and the other to take all those measurements and make the shot before the target moved, rendering all the calculations moot. In this game, sniping is easier than knifing a person. But again, these are minor details that should not stop you from enjoying one of the best games of the year and one of the best on the Xbox 360 console or any other console so far. The single player game will captivate you, but the multiplayer will keep you coming back for more. I recommend this game to everyone. Do not miss this experience.