Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare ReviewCharlie Paige
Starting out in 2003, Call of Duty virtually owned the WWII genre. Starting out with the original Call of Duty, the series quickly expanded to eight titles as well as a few expansions for the PC. All that in four years and now, finally, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Another Call of Duty may seem to be overdone to a lot of people, maybe even to Infinity Ward. However.. despite the Call of Duty series not having been around that long, the series has been critically acclaimed. After playing Call of Duty 4 for a little while now, I can say that not only is it better in every way than any other Call of Duty game, but compared to other action games like this (even Halo 3), this is the best single player experience, period.
It may seem like a big, exaggerated experience, but in reality it is not. Starting out in single player, controls don't seem radically different; there is nothing fancy and nothing hard to remember. As you go on, you experience what is actually a great story line with huge, un-expected twists. You become a member of the elite British SAS, an American recon operative as well as in a flashback mission, playing as a young LT Price. I won't spoil any of the story, except to say that it involves being in Russia and "ultra nationalists". The different missions are quite varied: trying to capture someone alive, rescuing a "friend", putting C4 on vehicles that can and will shred you to pieces quickly, as well as many others. Some missions are timed, some are secret with only a few people to help you out, or sometimes tens of people assist you. The variation in the different locations, objectives and places is really what makes the single player of Call of Duty 4 such an intense and rich experience.
Gameplay is what sets this game above nearly all others. The sheer intensity, combining story mission and gameplay with strong Artificial Intelligence (AI), also makes for frustrating times. Sometimes it seems like your "help" isn't much help at all. One time you can see guys being taken out one after another without getting many kills, and other times you will be trying to pick off someone when you get hit by the side and quickly realize you're "help" is already dead. The AI, for the most part, is good. Enemies just aren't dumb, they will hide, and the smarter ones (such as those dropped by helicopter) will make you really strategize. This will force you to play smart or you will die, quickly. One of the biggest problems with the gameplay, one of the few, however, is cover. You may see yourself getting hit behind cover and quickly going to prone, yet an enemy safely hides behind cover with a neat cover system. A no cover system may be okay, but the AI having it and you not, isn't okay. However, that's really where the negatives stop. The story line is only about five to eight hours long, but as incredible an experience as it is (along with other modes), it really isn't a big deal.
Another element of the amazing experience of Call of Duty 4 is the outstanding graphics. This is truly the first "next-gen" Call of Duty game. Player models just look fantastic as well as textures and incredible effects, especially the way Infinity Ward perfected the RPG to make it truly look like real life. There are practically no negatives about graphics. Everything just looks top notch and rivals as one of the best looking games on the Xbox 360. Shadows look great as well, and the most impressive aspect of the graphics is the nightvision. What's so great about the graphics is the basic effects that other games do differently than in real life; Infinity Ward went after modeling it to real life, enriching the experience.
Call of Duty 4 has great music and very well done voice acting. The sound of vehicles and weapons are also superb. Mode wise, Call of Duty 4 exceeds expectations. There is a cheat mode you unlock after beating the game (stick around after the credits!). For every five Intel pieces you find you unlock a cheat; finding all 30 nets you all the cheats. Arcade Mode is something new to the Call of Duty series. Essentially you get points from destroying a card to shooting an enemy, getting a head shot and more, just something fun. But Multiplayer is the main attraction for a lot of people, and it's one of the best, if not the best, Xbox Live game to come out.
Killing enemies gets you XP. Play more and more and you get more and more XP and level up. After level 4, you unlock "Multiplayer Challenges". Such challenges include getting 25 kills with a certain weapon; achieving that will net you more XP. The best part of this leveling, aside from being very addicting, is that it is fun for everyone. With most games I have been getting a little less than a 1:1 Kill:Death ratio, yet got to Level 5 ranking with just maybe an hour of play. Very few Multiplayer games have had something that is great to all. Leveling up also has big advantages: unlocking weapons, modes of plays, even prestige and perks. Perks let you get that little "extra", from a UAV Jammer making you invisible on radar to your bullets penetrating more cover than before. Multiplayer is very fun, for all skill levels and has an addicting aspect, making you want to get that new weapon or new mode, like no Xbox Live game has been able to do that much before.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is not only a truly "next-gen" game and experience, but really gets everything right. It nails down an intense experience, the most intense game I've ever played. It nails down the Multiplayer with it being very fun and yet having so many unlockables and somehow, making it a lot of fun for the most skilled and the least skilled. And it nails it with those "extras" - from a truly accurate RPG smoke and night vision, to the Arcade mode. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is the total package. It has a few issues that really are only noticeable because of the near perfection of the game. Bravo to Infinity Ward, for exceeding hype and providing one of the best Xbox 360 games to date. Buy this game, period.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.