|Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare|
|Platforms||Windows, Xbox 360, PS3, Mac OSX|
|Score||9 Gameplay: 10
Fun Factor: 9
|Buy from Amazon|
I've recently had the opportunity to borrow a friend's Xbox 360 and five select games. I played the first hour of all five of those for my first hour review site, and ended up playing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare last. I did not stop playing until 3 am last night when I finished it. I simply could not put the game down.
I missed out on Call of Duty 1, 2, and 3, so it was kind of a wonder that I was even interested in playing this game in the first place. I gave it a chance however, and I loved it. The previous installments of Call of Duty have all taken place during World War II, which I think has been done to death. Infinity Ward instead made the correct decision to set Call of Duty 4 in our own turbulent, modern day Middle East. This makes for an ultra high-action, technology driven war experience. And this is very fun. I'm not sure how else to describe this game without creeping in on what I want to say later, so let's just get right down to it.
Call of Duty 4's gameplay is highly varied with tons of gadgets, weapons, and unique combat situations. Let me just name off a few nouns that may help describe just how much this game covers: guns, grenades, nukes, blood, dogs, destructible cars, FGM-148 Javelin portable anti-tank guided missile, helicopters, AC-130 Spectre Gunship, ultranationalists, Chernobyl, executions, sniper teams, piggyback rescues, tanks, Russian Loyalists, hostages, and many more. I can look at the list of levels in the game and remember each one individually for tactics employed or weapons used. Many of them feature skirmishes in the middle of a city either at day or night, or battling terrorists on farm land on varying levels of terrain and cover. My most memorable missions are the off-beat ones that actually don't play like the rest. One is a two man sniper team where you have to sneak into a heavily guarded facility, make one crucial sniper shot, and then get the heck out of there. The other puts you in a gunship firing on bad guys from above, it's hard to describe so I would just watch a minute of this video to get a clear idea of what this awesome level is like. Anyways, Call of Duty 4's gameplay easily makes this the best first person shooter I have ever played.
Fun Factor: 9
Because the gameplay is so good, this game is also really fun. The reason it doesn't get a 10 is because it can get repetitive. Some of the sequences are so long that if you die near the end of one, you have to repeat the last five to ten minutes, in danger of dying the whole time again. Death can come from many things too, and on normal difficulty getting killed simply by being gunned down doesn't happen as much as you'd expect. I was usually killed by grenades (which you can actually throw back at the enemy if you time it right), exploding cars, attack dogs, or many other things. So basically repeating things over and over is not that much fun, but my enjoyment for the game didn't suffer too much seeing as I played it in one sitting.
Graphics and Sound: 10
This game is the perfect blend between graphics and sound design. I'd actually like to talk about the sound of Call of Duty 4 first because I think it is more important in this game than just about anything else. First off, the voice acting is brilliant. I wouldn't be surprised if Infinity Ward just picked up real soldiers and had them record lines because everything sounds believable. Not only that, but the game doesn't mess around with one-liners like Gears of War, everything you hear is important to your situation. If someone yells for a grenade, you have to watch out because there actually is one coming in. If someone tells you that there's tangos (bad guys) at 9 o'clock, you shift your gaze to the left and there they are. If someone shouts that there are bad guys in the open on the second floor of the three story building, well, they'll be dead from your rifle in a moment. The sound effects are also amazing, you can hear grenades bouncing near you or shots whizzing by your ears. Explosions are plenty in Call of Duty 4 and they rattle your bass. The music is surprisingly good too, with some of the tracks by Harry Gregson-Williams (Metal Gear Solid among many other action movies).
Graphics wise, maybe I'm a sucker for never owning a high definition next-gen system, but Call of Duty 4 looks gorgeous on the Xbox 360 with my HDTV. The characters are well detailed, the environments and art design is top notch, everything just looks great and super realistic. This isn't the "modern games suck because they look too realistic" kind of situation either, you really feel like you're fighting a war.
The story is the weakest part of Call of Duty 4, and even that is not that bad for a war shooter. The story switches between two soldiers: Sergeant Soap MacTavish of the SAS and Sergeant Paul Jackson of the USMC. You control them for their respective missions and then what's left of their squads comes together for a joint operation at the end. The story could essentially be a Hollywood blockbuster. We have a nuclear bomb going off in the middle of a city, intercontinental missiles carrying multiple nuclear payloads heading for the United States east coast, an extended flashback sequence featuring a pair of snipers, and a wide range of characters that never play into any kind of racial or geographic stereotypes (okay, maybe it would never be green lighted in Hollywood then). There's also a host of bad guys and a select few really, really bad guys. The bad part is that the action jumps around a lot and quickly between levels, it's really hard to keep track of where you are in the world and sometimes you don't even know what you're doing there. In between (most) levels is a cool globe hopping sequence where the game shows you where your next mission will be, but there are so many special effects going on and other data it's hard to pay attention! There's also one level that, though it's really awesome to play, doesn't seem to fit into the story at all.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is the single most intense game I have ever played. I found my heart beating fast and me sitting straight up in my comfy chair the entire time. I even had to take an extended break once because I was getting a headache from the amount of mental effort I was putting into the experience! If that doesn't say something about the game, I don't know what else I can say. Call of Duty 4 is awesome. If you even remotely like playing first person shooters, do yourself a favor and check out the single player experience of Modern Warfare (I say single player because I haven't even touched the online portion of the game, no Xbox Live account). It'll be a very enjoyable 6-8 hours of your life and you will not regret it.