Throwing Darts at Infinity Ward.

So I've been playing through a bunch of games recently, having the time to do so, and I decided to give Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare a go on the PC, since I picked up the Call of Duty Collection on Steam during their amazing June sales (and finally beaten CoD1 and UO, by the way). Now I'm already on record as preferring Treyarch's games (as well as UO by Grey Matter), but going through CoD4 has really refreshed my memory on why I put Infinity Ward below Treyarch in terms of personal preference. Now I get that the Infinity Ward/ Respawn Entertainment fanboys are probably going to give me a bunch of shit for this, seeing as everyone in the gaming media and community is quick to kiss the asses of Jason West and Vince Zampella with the sort of fervor normally reserved for Rockstar Games, but hey, it's a free website, so go ahead and fling shit around like monkeys at the Metro Zoo. Anyway, let's start.

First off, the infinitely respawning enemies. Now I get that there has to be challenge in a game, but this is seriously the worst way to do it. While there was some respawning going on in Call of Duty 2, IW really ramped up the nonsense for 4. It's nearly impossible to actually reduce the number of enemies since they respawn nearly instantly. As such, the game will at points turn into a slow, pitiful crawl where luck plays more of a role than skill. This becomes bleedingly obvious in “Shock and Awe” and the two Azerbaijan village levels, but is pervasive throughout most of the game. It's a horrible, cheap way to design a game, and both CoD4 and MW2 are guilty of this in spades.

Then there's the level design, which are lacking, to say the least. Virtually all the cover in the game can be accessed by some enemy or another in a ridiculously easy manner. Now this wouldn't be so bad normally, if not for the whole infinitely spawning enemies thing I discussed earlier. Here's an example: In “Shock and Awe,” when the player meets up with the squad that needs rescuing, there's this building right across from the one s/he's in. Now the common sense thing to do is to kill the people on the roof, at the windows and in the doorway before jumping down and hiding behind a large shipping container near your position. This will, however, have to be repeated multiple times due to the respawning enemies, which are also spawning to the left of that building, and coming for you. So you have to deal with enemies on both sides and hope you get a couple of lucky grenade tosses to get you through this particular section. This happens several times throughout the game, and it wouldn't be so bad were it not for the...

Grenade spam. Holy shit, there are so many God damned grenades to deal with. Now I get that enemies are going to throw grenades to flush you out – that's what that's what they're for, after all. However, when you have upwards of three grenades at any one time being thrown in your general direction, more often than not, escaping one grenade leads to another. And it's all the time. I suspect that they're not thrown from enemies, but rather, they rain from the sky, cascading you in a shower of exploding pineapples. And it's all the fucking time. Sorry, but when the entire contents of a grenade production facility are being thrown at me constantly, the suspension of belief goes straight out the window, and the game becomes unbearably unbalanced.

Lastly, I have to mention one level in particularly, namely “One Shot, One Kill,” or rather, one part of that level. I'm sorry, but the Ferris wheel is the biggest pile of ass in the whole game. Let me paint a picture – There's this giant Ferris wheel in front of some misplaced cars and bumper karts (now where the cars came from, who knows? This is supposed to be an amusement park, not a parking lot). Anyway, after setting your buddy on the ground behind the Ferris wheel and setting up some claymores, it's time to wait for your ride to get there. Only thing is, your ride is more than 7 kilometers away, and here comes more enemies than a game of Space Invaders. It starts off well enough: Shooting the first few enemies sets a pack of wild dogs on them, and then they fall into some of your claymore mines. Then the real fun begins. Enemies come in from all directions, sometimes two or three at a time. If they're not coming in from near the swimming pool that you passed by earlier, they're getting dropped in by helicopter. At this point, the few undetonated claymores left matter not. You are nearly constantly besieged by an entire army. Only luck determines if you can make it long enough for the chopper to get to you, but more often than not, you'll be getting up close and personal with the game's myriad of quotes about war.

Needless to say, I'm not a huge fan. It's not a terrible game, but one that can lead to so many hair pulling moments. Contrast that with UO, Big Red One, CoD3 and World at War, where each death brought with it a lesson, and it was actually possible to clear enemy positions (unless it was one of those “hold out” missions, but even then, your support characters were actually useful, unlike in CoD4). A game should always challenge, sure, but it should never frustrate, and never should it leave the player simply thinking they were just lucky. How no one ever calls IW out on this nonsense is baffling, but then again, we live in an age where celebrity developers can make all sorts of shoddy tripe and get near limitless praise.

Anyway, if you've read this far, thank you. I truly needed to vent. Now if you'll excuse me, it's back to the Ferris wheel.

20 Comments
21 Comments
Posted by YukoAsho

So I've been playing through a bunch of games recently, having the time to do so, and I decided to give Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare a go on the PC, since I picked up the Call of Duty Collection on Steam during their amazing June sales (and finally beaten CoD1 and UO, by the way). Now I'm already on record as preferring Treyarch's games (as well as UO by Grey Matter), but going through CoD4 has really refreshed my memory on why I put Infinity Ward below Treyarch in terms of personal preference. Now I get that the Infinity Ward/ Respawn Entertainment fanboys are probably going to give me a bunch of shit for this, seeing as everyone in the gaming media and community is quick to kiss the asses of Jason West and Vince Zampella with the sort of fervor normally reserved for Rockstar Games, but hey, it's a free website, so go ahead and fling shit around like monkeys at the Metro Zoo. Anyway, let's start.

First off, the infinitely respawning enemies. Now I get that there has to be challenge in a game, but this is seriously the worst way to do it. While there was some respawning going on in Call of Duty 2, IW really ramped up the nonsense for 4. It's nearly impossible to actually reduce the number of enemies since they respawn nearly instantly. As such, the game will at points turn into a slow, pitiful crawl where luck plays more of a role than skill. This becomes bleedingly obvious in “Shock and Awe” and the two Azerbaijan village levels, but is pervasive throughout most of the game. It's a horrible, cheap way to design a game, and both CoD4 and MW2 are guilty of this in spades.

Then there's the level design, which are lacking, to say the least. Virtually all the cover in the game can be accessed by some enemy or another in a ridiculously easy manner. Now this wouldn't be so bad normally, if not for the whole infinitely spawning enemies thing I discussed earlier. Here's an example: In “Shock and Awe,” when the player meets up with the squad that needs rescuing, there's this building right across from the one s/he's in. Now the common sense thing to do is to kill the people on the roof, at the windows and in the doorway before jumping down and hiding behind a large shipping container near your position. This will, however, have to be repeated multiple times due to the respawning enemies, which are also spawning to the left of that building, and coming for you. So you have to deal with enemies on both sides and hope you get a couple of lucky grenade tosses to get you through this particular section. This happens several times throughout the game, and it wouldn't be so bad were it not for the...

Grenade spam. Holy shit, there are so many God damned grenades to deal with. Now I get that enemies are going to throw grenades to flush you out – that's what that's what they're for, after all. However, when you have upwards of three grenades at any one time being thrown in your general direction, more often than not, escaping one grenade leads to another. And it's all the time. I suspect that they're not thrown from enemies, but rather, they rain from the sky, cascading you in a shower of exploding pineapples. And it's all the fucking time. Sorry, but when the entire contents of a grenade production facility are being thrown at me constantly, the suspension of belief goes straight out the window, and the game becomes unbearably unbalanced.

Lastly, I have to mention one level in particularly, namely “One Shot, One Kill,” or rather, one part of that level. I'm sorry, but the Ferris wheel is the biggest pile of ass in the whole game. Let me paint a picture – There's this giant Ferris wheel in front of some misplaced cars and bumper karts (now where the cars came from, who knows? This is supposed to be an amusement park, not a parking lot). Anyway, after setting your buddy on the ground behind the Ferris wheel and setting up some claymores, it's time to wait for your ride to get there. Only thing is, your ride is more than 7 kilometers away, and here comes more enemies than a game of Space Invaders. It starts off well enough: Shooting the first few enemies sets a pack of wild dogs on them, and then they fall into some of your claymore mines. Then the real fun begins. Enemies come in from all directions, sometimes two or three at a time. If they're not coming in from near the swimming pool that you passed by earlier, they're getting dropped in by helicopter. At this point, the few undetonated claymores left matter not. You are nearly constantly besieged by an entire army. Only luck determines if you can make it long enough for the chopper to get to you, but more often than not, you'll be getting up close and personal with the game's myriad of quotes about war.

Needless to say, I'm not a huge fan. It's not a terrible game, but one that can lead to so many hair pulling moments. Contrast that with UO, Big Red One, CoD3 and World at War, where each death brought with it a lesson, and it was actually possible to clear enemy positions (unless it was one of those “hold out” missions, but even then, your support characters were actually useful, unlike in CoD4). A game should always challenge, sure, but it should never frustrate, and never should it leave the player simply thinking they were just lucky. How no one ever calls IW out on this nonsense is baffling, but then again, we live in an age where celebrity developers can make all sorts of shoddy tripe and get near limitless praise.

Anyway, if you've read this far, thank you. I truly needed to vent. Now if you'll excuse me, it's back to the Ferris wheel.

Edited by Bionicicide

Sounds like you played CoD4:MW and CoD:MW2 on Veteran. CoD:WaW was the worst victim to grenade spam. And FYI, CoD:MW2 didn't have infinite respawning enemies.
 
Tip for the Chinook extract mission, hide behind the bumper cars building.

Posted by GeneralTurkle

I agree with you wholeheartedly. But the thing with the amusement park is, in my opinion, don't they need parking lots?

Posted by TMThomsen

There were only few respawning enemies in MW2, which actually made veteran a bliss.

Posted by natetodamax

I don't think I'll ever beat COD4 on Veteran. I only have a few missions left but I can't do them. It's weird, because I beat Mile High Club on Veteran with relative ease but I can't do One Shot One Kill or No Fighting In The War Room. 
 
MW2 was much easier on Veteran except for a few missions like Contingency. God.

Posted by TMThomsen
@natetodamax: I only had a problem at the spot where you had to run for the sub.
Posted by natetodamax
@TMThomsen said:
" @natetodamax: I only had a problem at the spot where you had to run for the sub. "
Yep, that's what I had trouble on. Took me a few days to do that one part, and by that I mean trying it for an hour or so each day before giving up. You have to know enemy spawns and hope that the game gives you a checkpoint, because it's random.
Posted by jim_dandy

Fuck infinitely spawning enemies. I tried to beat MW1 on Veteran and gave up on the last two levels (nuke base?) because of that cheap bullshit.

Posted by YukoAsho
@Bionicicide:  Actually, I was playing on Hardened.  I know better than to stick my head in the alligator's mouth that is CoD on Veteran.  That tip did help a ton, though, even if it was a bitch trying to get back to McMillan to pick his ass up.
Posted by Brendan

I barely beat "One shot, One Kill" on hardened.  For me, most shooter games are fun yet difficult on this type of difficulty level.  I still managed to have fun with COD4 on hardened because it didn't feel like what was happening was unrealistic.  Modes like "Insanity" or "Veteran"?  No thanks, I have a life to live.
Posted by ako17
THE FERRIS WHEEL place is actually based on a real place in Pripyat in Chernobyl, if you haven't still known about that fact, the name of the place was actually shown when the level started, i know that because i actually played the game with a good attention to the details of the game itself, unlike you who i guess was playing while thinking "this game is so going to get bad reviews from me because i totally suck at playing this game"  
 
and what do you expect while fighting in war ? it would feel as if there was an unlimited number of enemies trying to blow off your head..
 
i believe the respawning in COD4 was just right, it makes you feel the chaos just like if your in the middle of the battlefield, also, it was something they put so you wouldn't stay in one place throughout the entire game like a pussy camper in multiplayer.....
Edited by Cegoraph

The problem with the COD games in general, is that they're TOO scripted. Scripted to the point where progressing through the game feels like channel surfing, than entering a real breathing chaotic battlefield. The lack of any real artificial intelligence diminishes the challenge factor, meaning there's virtually no effort into tactics or skill. You either hide into cover to wait for your health to regenerate, and pray that the "A.I." doesn't randomly chuck a grenade into your position. 
 
Compared this to say, Halo. Where the game is smoothly scripted and there were dynamic A.I., to the point where I could challenge the A.I. based on cunning skill and tactics. Especially on the higher difficulties, where the games becomes more challenging, but not cheap like in the Call of Duty series. Same goes for Crysis, but that game is naturally a sandbox shooter. I prefer shooters where the actual challenge comes from the A.I., and not from the amount of enemies on screen at once. It what makes me admire first-person shooter like F.E.A.R., Far Cry (apart from the Trigens), Halo, and Crysis more than Call of Duty or scripted military shooters in general.

Edited by SethPhotopoulos
@Cegoraph said:

" The problem with the COD games in general, is that they're TOO scripted. Scripted to the point where progressing through the game feels like channel surfing, than entering a real breathing chaotic battlefield. The lack of any real artificial intelligence diminishes the challenge factor, meaning there's virtually no effort into tactics or skill. You either hide into cover to wait for your health to regenerate, and pray that the "A.I." doesn't randomly chuck a grenade into your position.  Compared this to say, Halo. Where the game is smoothly scripted and there were dynamic A.I., to the point where I could challenge the A.I. based on cunning skill and tactics. Especially on the higher difficulties, where the games becomes more challenging, but not cheap like in the Call of Duty series. Same goes for Crysis, but that game is naturally a sandbox shooter. "

I played Reach on hard and MW2 on normal and the difficulty wasn't that different. 
 
I didn't notice a big difference in AI.
Posted by Cegoraph
@SethPhotopoulos said:
" @Cegoraph said:

" The problem with the COD games in general, is that they're TOO scripted. Scripted to the point where progressing through the game feels like channel surfing, than entering a real breathing chaotic battlefield. The lack of any real artificial intelligence diminishes the challenge factor, meaning there's virtually no effort into tactics or skill. You either hide into cover to wait for your health to regenerate, and pray that the "A.I." doesn't randomly chuck a grenade into your position.  Compared this to say, Halo. Where the game is smoothly scripted and there were dynamic A.I., to the point where I could challenge the A.I. based on cunning skill and tactics. Especially on the higher difficulties, where the games becomes more challenging, but not cheap like in the Call of Duty series. Same goes for Crysis, but that game is naturally a sandbox shooter. "

I played Reach on hard and MW2 on normal and the difficulty wasn't that different.  I didn't notice a big difference in AI. "
I'm not sure if you actually played both games, because the difference in the A.I. in both games are appearent. The Elites move run sideways to avoid fire and quickly take cover for protection. In Modern Warfare 2, the enemies either stop in a open spot to shoot you or arbitrarily run for cover while I have my gun pointed at them. Not to mention Elites move from one cover to another, while the enemies in Modern Warfare 2 simply stay in one position.
Edited by SethPhotopoulos
@Cegoraph said:

" @SethPhotopoulos said:

" @Cegoraph said:

" The problem with the COD games in general, is that they're TOO scripted. Scripted to the point where progressing through the game feels like channel surfing, than entering a real breathing chaotic battlefield. The lack of any real artificial intelligence diminishes the challenge factor, meaning there's virtually no effort into tactics or skill. You either hide into cover to wait for your health to regenerate, and pray that the "A.I." doesn't randomly chuck a grenade into your position.  Compared this to say, Halo. Where the game is smoothly scripted and there were dynamic A.I., to the point where I could challenge the A.I. based on cunning skill and tactics. Especially on the higher difficulties, where the games becomes more challenging, but not cheap like in the Call of Duty series. Same goes for Crysis, but that game is naturally a sandbox shooter. "

I played Reach on hard and MW2 on normal and the difficulty wasn't that different.  I didn't notice a big difference in AI. "
I'm not sure if you actually played both games, because the difference in the A.I. in both games are appearent. The Elites move run sideways to avoid fire and quickly take cover for protection. In Modern Warfare 2, the enemies either stop in a open spot to shoot you or arbitrarily run for cover while I have my gun pointed at them. Not to mention Elites move from one cover to another, while the enemies in Modern Warfare 2 simply stay in one position. "
When enemy types and species are completely different it's hard to tell a difference when in Halo you pump 5 guns worth of ammo into someone and MW2's 1 bullet one kill. 
 
2 completely different games with unnecessary hate from a loud minority.
Edited by mylifeforAiur
@SethPhotopoulos: I completely agree. MW and Halo are two completely different styles of shooter, comparing them (outside of the clear staples of the first-person genre) is completely silly^^
Online
Posted by SethPhotopoulos
@mylifeforAiur said:
" @SethPhotopoulos: I completely agree (except with the silent part. In my experience, Halo or CoD fanboys are always keen to make their hate apparent). MW and Halo are two completely different styles of shooter, comparing them (outside of the clear staples of the first-person genre) is completely silly^^ "
I meant loud minority.  You reminded me.  And you are right.
Posted by Cegoraph
@SethPhotopoulos said:
" @Cegoraph said:

" @SethPhotopoulos said:

" @Cegoraph said:

" The problem with the COD games in general, is that they're TOO scripted. Scripted to the point where progressing through the game feels like channel surfing, than entering a real breathing chaotic battlefield. The lack of any real artificial intelligence diminishes the challenge factor, meaning there's virtually no effort into tactics or skill. You either hide into cover to wait for your health to regenerate, and pray that the "A.I." doesn't randomly chuck a grenade into your position.  Compared this to say, Halo. Where the game is smoothly scripted and there were dynamic A.I., to the point where I could challenge the A.I. based on cunning skill and tactics. Especially on the higher difficulties, where the games becomes more challenging, but not cheap like in the Call of Duty series. Same goes for Crysis, but that game is naturally a sandbox shooter. "

I played Reach on hard and MW2 on normal and the difficulty wasn't that different.  I didn't notice a big difference in AI. "
I'm not sure if you actually played both games, because the difference in the A.I. in both games are appearent. The Elites move run sideways to avoid fire and quickly take cover for protection. In Modern Warfare 2, the enemies either stop in a open spot to shoot you or arbitrarily run for cover while I have my gun pointed at them. Not to mention Elites move from one cover to another, while the enemies in Modern Warfare 2 simply stay in one position. "
When enemy types and species are completely different it's hard to tell a difference when in Halo you pump 5 guns worth of ammo into someone and MW2's 1 bullet one kill.  2 completely different games with unnecessary hate from a silent majority. "
I don't hate the Call of Duty series. I may dislike Modern Warfare 2, but there's not a single game in the series that I despise. I actually really liked the first Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 3, Call of Duty 4, and Call of Duty: World at War. As scripted they may be, no game series have successfully capture the true frenetic pace of a real war like Infinity War does. As each game conducts memorable moments that the players can enjoy on their first play-through, and comeback again later on to re-enjoy that moment.
 
While you combat different enemy types in each games, Call of Duty always stands out as an example of scripted "Artificial Intelligence". Where they repeat the exact same combat patterns, who no real use of tactics. Compared to let's say, the Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter series and Crysis's Korean soldiers. They actually dynamically react in battle situations, without constantly repeating the same combat actions. They have their quirks, but it's expected from a game that actually uses non-pre-scripted A.I. like the Call of Duty series.  
 
I actually wouldn't mind Call of Duty offering scripted A.I., if they have taken out re-spawning enemies that constantly and mindlessly charge at you most of the time.
Posted by YukoAsho
@ako17 said:
" THE FERRIS WHEEL place is actually based on a real place in Pripyat in Chernobyl, if you haven't still known about that fact, the name of the place was actually shown when the level started, i know that because i actually played the game with a good attention to the details of the game itself, unlike you who i guess was playing while thinking "this game is so going to get bad reviews from me because i totally suck at playing this game"   and what do you expect while fighting in war ? it would feel as if there was an unlimited number of enemies trying to blow off your head.. i believe the respawning in COD4 was just right, it makes you feel the chaos just like if your in the middle of the battlefield, also, it was something they put so you wouldn't stay in one place throughout the entire game like a pussy camper in multiplayer..... "
First off, I knew full well what the Ferris Wheel was.  You'll notice I have most of the wiki points in the Pripyat entry here on GB.  With this in mind, I would appreciate it if you didn't come at me from the assumption that I was some ignorant tool.  Speaking of tools, the comment of feeling like you were in a war is somewhat laughable.  Sorry, but a level with a near-useless AI partner with people coming at you in giant groups, being dropped off by helicopter and constantly surrounding you and ONLY you felt like a cheap way to increase difficulty artificially.  Thankfully that was lessened in MW2, but both games were just BS and cheap nearly all the time.  As for staying in one place, doesn't MacMillan suggest that you "find a good hiding spot"?  The suggestion is that there'd be one for you to snipe effectively in, but there is no such spot on the map.  I'm sorry, that level was horrible, at least to me.  And really, why do fanboys always have to resort to insulting someone's skill in response to a criticism.  It's almost as if they know it's a legit criticism and have to resort to attacking the messenger.
Posted by listentomysuggestions

I have a sick idea for a map called junkyard. But idk how to actually send it to one of the computer programmers @ call of duty. I play cod all the time and I promise you, this map would be the best, i know as a call of duty player what each map needs, and this one has it. someone please help me out. If you know how, send me a message at diggadigga99@aol.com. 
Posted by DharmaBum

@YukoAsho said:

And really, why do fanboys always have to resort to insulting someone's skill in response to a criticism. It's almost as if they know it's a legit criticism and have to resort to attacking the messenger.

It's a last ditch effort in which their brains short circuit upon reading an opinion that doesn't align with their own. He probably made an account here just to respond to your blog.