If the Call of Duty series has been one thing, it most certainly has been action packed, with each installment offering something new in the World War 2 FPS genre, whilst every Call of Duty game has been great, even some settings get dull. World War 2 is such a saturated market for FPS's that most of the games just blur into one, this is why is it so good to see Infinity Ward march into "new" territory.
Call of Duty 4 is all about the thrills of modern day warfare, ranging from missions over Europe, to the hottest climes in Iraq and Iran. The mission settings are split between two separate characters, one Sgt. Paul Jackson of the US military and the other "Soap" Mctavish who is with the British SAS.
It is great to see how the mission objectives vary and what each side is doing to fight against the forces of Iraq and the ever present evil. Missions are set from getting from point A to point B, and often involve heavy fighting, sneaking, sniping and all sorts of general war based fun.
However, be warned, the campaign will not last you long. It is surprising how short the campaign was, it isn't ridiculously short, it is just so good that you wished there was more.
It is nice to see some variation also, with flashback missions setting up the context for the entire story, these include Captain Price and MacMillian and what they did that may of helped spark off events in the present day, lets just say "One Shot, One Kill" is a true test of your ability on Veteran difficulty, but it is also a lot of fun, speaking of Veteran, it is a great way to increase the amount of time on campaign simply because you will be pulling your hair out.
Some missions can go from simplistic to an erratically hard difficulty just because you are outnumbered by opposing forces, and whilst this extends the challenge of the Single Player Campaign, it will sometimes leave you turning off the Xbox and just giving up for a while. However, it is all through perseverance that you will succeed. Stick with it and whilst the campaign is short, it is very sweet and often so much fun you will fail to see this shortcoming.
Graphically, it is a testament to what most shooters should do, featuring richly detailed environments, highly detailed soldiers, intricate weapons and even some destructible environments, this opens the opportunity to shoot through "thin materials" like plywood or sheet metal and expose enemies where it would have been impossible to before.
Graphically Call of Duty 4 is a rich experience, the locales are constantly changing, and you feel that through the deep, green forests of Azerbaijan or the ghostly palette of Iraq's sandy streets.
Interiors are also rendered nicely, leading to dark, rich shadows and colours that emulate the grim feeling of war. It is hard to believe that Infinity Ward are using less polygons per soldier in CoD4 than of those in CoD2, yet have vastly superior looking character models and animation. It is a very impressive job what Infinity Ward have done graphically and so far, i have no qualms with the graphics in CoD4.
Sounds are meaty, and the weapon sounds are particularly impressive, full of chunky explosions and good effects like the sounds of bullets whizzing past your head, there is also a good range of banter between soldiers, and you very rarely hear them say the same thing. Unless of course it is objective based saying, for example "open those shield doors" if you stand around and do nothing they will repeat said lines.
Next up, the rather brilliant multiplayer, like Halo 3 the sheer amount to do in multiplayer leads it to being one of the best online shooters I have come across. The modes range from Team Deathmatch to 1 on 1's and everything in between, there is also a level/ranking device that gives incentive to continue playing, this is due to the fact that the higher level you go, the more weapons you get and the better the weapons get. This fantastic idea is also bolstered by a fantastic challenges system. This simply gives you goals to reach over time, or in a single game, this helps level you up and access new features for weapons, including laser sights and silencers. There is also a fantastic "Perk" system which allows you to customise your characters attributes, such as adding extra health, making them run for longer, or giving them more grenades. This can really benefit your playing style as you can adjust the Perks to fit around the way you play.
Even without the ranking system, the multiplayer is great to play, this is down to well designed and thought out maps, which lend hand in creating maps that are suitable for all types of player, whether a sniper, run n' gunner or shotgunner, all the maps have elements incorparated for any player, this makes it fun to variate playing styles and play for some rounds as a sniper, others using assault rifles and some using rockets and grenades. Simply put, CoD4 makes FPS online fun, it is great to dip into some 16 player action over Xbox Live, it is a shame that this same experience cannot be replicated over 4 player local multiplayer, as the fun lies in so many people on a map, each utilising various weaponry, different tactics and well implemented Perks.
With the extra map pack fleshing out the already brilliant maps, it is no wonder that CoD4 is so varied, intense and above all fun.
CoD4 takes a tired genre and twists it into something fresh. Modern Warfare has many great parts to it, including its story, multiplayer, excellent ranking system and perk system and brilliant incentives to continue playing the multiplayer, and above all, bringing fun back to the FPS genre.
CoD4 may not revolutionise the FPS genre, like GoldenEye did so many years ago, however it goes to prove that a fresh setting, great multiplayer and expansive amount of options really do make for one of the best FPS's the 360 has ever seen. It is fair to say that if you love war based shooters, you'll love CoD4.
+Perks System is a great idea
+Ranking System will keep you hooked
+Story is great fun to play through
-The Story mode is brief
-Veteran Difficulty will drive you insane