The Fourth Look at Warfare
Infinity Ward finally worked out that it's time to move away from the World War II setting, with Call of Duty 1 and 2, and move onto something a little different, with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. By replacing Germany with the Middle East, and moving Russians over to the opposition, with the obvious introduction of modern weaponry and such, Call of Duty 4 doesn't drive too far from it's predecessors, and for all the right reasons. But this game is much more than a change from the past. It's a fantastic multi-player shooter with a short but sweet single-player component, topped off with some of the best visuals you will likely ever see in an Xbox 360 game.
If you've played previous Call of Duty games, you'll recognise many of their attributes in Call of Duty 4. Thankfully, this definately isn't a bad thing. The gameplay stays consistent with the other games in the series, which will once again find you ducking in and out of cover, while popping out to aim down your sights, and take down an enemy in a matter of seconds. You'll also find yourself getting to know your fellow comrades, many of which have their own distinct personalities, of whom you'll grow to admire. In fact, I don't think you'll find any dislikable characters in Call of Duty 4 except for, you guessed it, the bad guys.
As i've mentioned quite a few times already, Call of Duty 4's single-player story is short. As short as it may be, it harbors one of the best storys in a first person shooter that i've ever experienced. I say experience, because that's exactly what it is. An experience. You control two characters, being Sergeant John "Soap" MacTavish of the 22nd British SAS Regiment, and Sergeant Paul Jackson of the United States Marine Corps 1st Force Recon. In the first act of the game, you'll be switching between the two characters, but without spoiling much of the game, you'll find that by the second act, one of the characters dies, and that by no means makes it a lesser story to play through. The bad guys I mentioned before, are definately bad. One good thing is that the story actually makes you want to kill them. Imran Zakhaev, and Khaled Al Asad, are working together to do what bad guys do best. Threaten people, then kill people, and you have to stop them. The story is quite simple, and contains what you'd expect from a modern military shooter, and has, what I think, is a fantastic ending, except for the fact that, well, it ends. Also, the difficulties send the game to insultingly easy, to horrifically hard.
The presentation of Call of Duty 4 is stellar, and as I said before, you won't find a better looking game for the Xbox 360 on the market. The environments, though looking a little dull in places, are great looking. They only add to the immersion that you get involved with when playing. Each soldier that you come across has a different face and voice, except for the guys you'll be killing. But if you're a good enough shot, that won't matter anyway. One of the real highlights in Call of Duty 4's presentation is the sound. Bullets whizzing past your head, and the sound of them cracking through the air and into someones skull really do heighten the combat, along with explosions and screaming Russians are amazing, both alone and together. The animations in the game top it off, too, with reloading being animated to perfection, making you really feel like you're sliding a magazine into an M16A4. Voice acting perfects the sense of immersion, with your comrades calling out 'Grenade!' and such, and your closer comrades giving you orders. This makes each and every character in the game feel like an actual person.
Sharp controls make this game easy to play, and fun to play. The ease of holding your left trigger to aim, and the click of your bumbers to throw grenades make the combat swift. I never once found myself complaining about the responsiveness of the controls when playing through the game, except for the occasional hiccup with holding down the right bumper to pick and throw live grenades.
Multiplayer gives you a good collection of maps, from tight indoor regions, to wide open sniper-havens. The varied game modes won't make the game boring, especially since you'll most likely stick to playing Team Deathmatch anyway. What really shines in Call of Duty 4's multiplayer is the rank and 'Create A Class' system. As you rank up by winning games, killing opponents, and completing Challenges, you'll unlock new weapons, perks, game modes and challenges. Challenges give you experience for completing them, and they vary in their simplicity. An example would be to go from 'Call in 5 Air Strikes' to 'Kill an enemy, steal their weapon, then kill them with their own weapon'. Also, each weapon has it's own challenges. 25, 75, and 150 kills with grant you new attachments, being Red Dot Sights, Silencers, and ACOG Scopes, along with 25,75, and 150 headshots give you different camouflage overlays to put on your weapon. Perks are what makes your class different to the rest. You can choose a perk from each of three categories. Some perks will make you invisible to enemy radar, give you increased bullet damage, and giving you an RPG to blow your enemies apart, or take down helicopters. Yes, helicopters. If you get 7 kills without dying, you will be granted the ability to call in a helicopter to take down your enemies, and all of it's kills will be in your name. If we back track a little, 3 kills in a row grants you a UAV, so you can temporarily see the enemies locations on radar, and 5 kills in a row will give you an airstrike, which brings up a larger map and a crosshair to choose where you want to deploy the air strike. All of this put together makes Call of Duty 4's multiplayer component an absolute joy to play.
Finally, Call of Duty 4 is simply a great sequel, and although it doesn't carry on with any storylines like most sequels do, it certainly carries on with Call of Duty's tradition of being damn right awesome.
There is only one aspect of this game that is disappointing, and as if I haven't mentioned it enough already, here it is again. The single player is just too damn short. Luckily, you have a kick ass multi-player component to move on to.
It seems that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is more than capable of at least one Game of the Year award, and if this next sentance helps you in your decision to buy this game, then so be it.
It is a whole lot better than Halo 3. Of course, that is a matter of opinion, but I don't see how you could disagree.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is magnificent, and well worth your time and money.