Review by TheRedneck14
"They Raised the Bar Even Higher...."
Call of Duty 4 is the latest war game from the award winning developers at Infinity Ward, and they have set the bar for realism, authenticity, and the sheer brutality of war than they already have with their previous Call of Duty games. And they have raised the bar to almost insurmountable heights for the other developers who choose to make games based on any kind of War. So, lets light this candle...
The story has never been a real issue for Call of Duty games; you were basically recreating certain missions from the Allied Forces campaign against Nazi Germany. But other than a memo/log-entry before the level starts, and some cut scenes there was never a real story.
But Call of Duty 4 has finally provided an in depth story, which was good enough for a movie. Everything starts off with you playing as Sergeant "Soap" MacTavish, an operative of the British S.A.S. infiltrating a cargo carrier to look for a "package" when the ship is sunk be enemy Jets and you have to escape. You play as "Soap" for the majority of the game, and most of his missions are in Russia. You also play Sergeant Paul Jackson of the Marine 1st Force Recon for part of the game, and you play as him for the part of the game that takes place in the Middle East.
The main plot of this game is to stop the leader of the Russian Ultra-nationalists Imran Zakhaev and his ally Khaled Al-Asad who is a leader of some of the revolutionary forces in the Middle East from launching Nuclear Warheads at the United States as revenge for the "fall from glory" after the Cold War which obliterated what was then the Soviet Union.
What I said above is basically all you need to know, and I'll let you figure the rest out on your own. But unlike the other games there was an intense story in Call of Duty 4, which was very well written, and parallels what is going on in the world today.
As always in the Call of Duty series, Call of Duty 4 provides an immersive cinematic experience, and an epic campaign.
As I said in the brief plot outline, you are mainly playing as a SGT. in the Marines, or the S.A.S., but there are some exceptions. In one level you play as the gunner on an AC-130 Gunship, and you get to play as Captain Price [Lieutenant. Price in the S.A.S. campaign] in two levels set 15 years ago in Chernobyl.
The Weapons have been changed now that we are in a more modern setting, and like the previous games you are using real weapons that are currently being used today, such as the AK-47, M4A1 Carbine, M16, Uzi, and the P90. There are also C4 explosives, RPG's, Homing Rocket Launchers, and many more weapons, but other than some cosmetic things like some guns having Grenade Launchers and Laser Scopes, it still feels exactly as good and realistic as the previous games' weapons did. You are also capable of firing through some materials now such as wood, and thin metal to make the game seem even more realistic. The engine is capable of judging certain things about the material and the weapon that was used to damage whoever was behind it.
The AI is also exceptional, your allies can cover your ass but you still should not rely on them, and the people you are fighting effectively use cover and make you think when you fight them. When you are moving through a level you really need to think about where you need to go, and what path will provide the most cover.
And finally, the Campaign itself is excellent. The epic storyline, and the brutal combat make the levels exciting to do, as well as the different levels, such as firing out of the AC-130 Gunship, or sneaking through Chernobyl in a Ghillie suit on an assassination mission. The levels are also more dramatic than the past games where you were constantly pelted by bullets, they spend a little more time telling the story now and it makes the campaign feel really cinematic. The only problem is that it is way too short. On my first run-through I played on Recruit so I could just go through the levels and be better prepared for my Veteran run, and it took me 4 or 5 hours [of almost non-stop playing] to do the all levels. I know most FPS games are short but come on...
The challenge for this game is pretty much the standard for Call of Duty games, there are 4 modes, and the challenge is somewhere between easy and frustratingly hard depending on which you choose. I would probably recommend playing on Hardened mode over Veteran, because Hardened is tough, but Veteran is downright sadistic. I did not spend too much time on the campaign while I rented this game but I did manage to beat 3 levels on Veteran, and "Charlie Don't Surf" [the first "real" level] is brutal on that mode... thank god you get a lot of Achievement Points for the Veteran levels. Also, try to kill the dogs in some levels before they leap on you and give you a tracheotomy, especially on the higher difficulties because it can be tough to time the Melee attack you need to kill them.
If you play on the tougher levels, sure it is REALLY difficult, but it can be done. All I can really say is that the easy mode is more cinematic, but when you play on Veteran it is as close as you can get to experiencing a real war. Just try hard and do it. It will also really give you an appreciation for what the brave men and women are doing overseas because they do have battles like this.
There is also one other thing you can do if you want to up the challenge, look for the 30 Intel Laptops scattered throughout some of the levels, you will get 2 Achievements if you find all of them, and some cheat codes when you reach a certain number of Laptops.
As I have said many times, the 360 Controller is well made for FPS games, you move fluidly and everything is done very well. The only thing I did not really like was that with the standard controls I had to press down the left stick to use my Knife, because I am used to crouching with that. I would recommend that everyone here use the "Tactical" controls.
I have to commend Infinity Ward for their ability to create some of the most realistic looking war torn environments in any video game.
The most gorgeous part of this game is just how realistic the levels looked, I was playing on a Standard Definition TV and I still thought that it looked amazing, and since Video Games look a lot better on HD-TV's I can only imagine that it looks a lot better than it did when I played. There are also incredible weather effects, such as the rain you see in the level "Crew Expendable" The Missile Silos, the dark Russian Fields, the fog covered Chernobyl, the virtually obliterated Middle Eastern cities, and the rest of the environments looked amazing, and I really have to commend the Developers for that.
But the characters are no slouch in this department either, their uniforms look incredibly realistic, their animation is very well done, and they just look really lifelike.
Simply put, Call of Duty 4 looks amazing, simple as that, you really have to see it for yourself.
One of the most important things in a War game is if it sounds good, graphical issues can be overlooked sometimes, but if it does not sound right it won't be as good of a game. Luckily they nailed the sound in this game, and it would be nowhere as good if the sound were not at the high quality that we were given.
There are plenty of voice-overs that you will hear, and none of them sound really bad, like always there are good actors doing the dialog for the characters and it sounds good enough to be in a movie like "Platoon", "Saving Private Ryan" or "Full Metal Jacket". There are also plenty of realistic sound effects. The guns, the explosions, and basically all of the sound effects sound very realistic and believable.
But the real impressive thing is the epic score that like every other game in the series, Call of Duty 4 has. Some of the things in this game would be nowhere near as good, like the final battle in "Return of the Jedi" [or any of the really good scenes in "Star Wars"]; it just would not be the same without the great music. The only bad thing was the rap at the end of the game, but that seemed like it was intentionally bad when I listened to it.
In short, it is the same thing as I said above, you need to hear the game yourself to understand why the sound is so good.
As with almost any other war game, Atmosphere is of utmost importance. Luckily Infinity Ward has shown a dedication to making the Call of Duty series as realistic and believable [for a video game] as possible. You can just insert some of the things I said in the above sections into here as well for the reason I gave this category a 10; great story, great graphics, great AI, and great sound. As I said in the intro, the bar has been raised yet again for realism in this Genre.
This is one of the reasons that Call of Duty 4 has become more successful than I ever expected it to do, the Multiplayer surpasses that of Halo 3, and they pushed the expectations for future Multiplayer kill-fests even higher than Halo did a short time ago.
The main aspect that I like about the multiplayer is has customizable it is, as you level up you gain more weapons, you also can do challenges by doing specific things to get more experience so you can level up again, and you can unlock add-ons for your weapons, and camouflage for your weapons. The things you unlock are things like Grips to make you more accurate with some weapons, Laser sights, Silencers, and long range Scopes, and the Camo ranges from urban colors, to the Golden Gun. You also unlock "Perks", and you can only use 3 of them from 3 different categories at one time, such as Martyrdom [drops a live Grenade when you die], Juggernaut [more health], Stopping Power [more power], Double Tap [higher rate of fire], and many more things that help you. You can also come up with some really cheap combos [Martyrdom and Sonic Boom] to make people mad.
There are also several different modes, as I said I spent most of my time on Death Match which is basically what it says: kill everything that is trying to kill you. There are also some variations like Hardcore [I think it just makes you more powerful], and Old School which is more like Goldeneye where you have to find the weapons and Perks instead of starting off with exactly what you set your character up with.
The Matchmaking system is also even better than Halo's, because in Halo you got a random gametype according to the Playlist you chose, but in Call of Duty 4 you can choose the gametype you want, and you will get put in with some random match. Unfortunately there can be some very poor team balancing in some games, much like in Halo 3 sometimes you get on the Team that just obliterates the other team, and sometimes you are the one getting pwned. I just hoped I wound up on an evenly matched fight, because it is more fun when you have to think.
I also think that Call of Duty requires more strategy than Halo does online, whereas in Halo you have a Shield, and can fight in the open, in Call of Duty you need to use Cover a lot and if you stay out in the open you will get killed by a Sniper really fast, or an enemy Air strike/Chopper could hit you.
But like with most Multiplayer games, the biggest problem is the immature little kids, bigots, and other slime bags that you have to listen to if your Mic is plugged in. So mute the annoyances, and try to play with your buddies as much as possible.
In short, Call of Duty has a massively customizable Multiplayer that is one of the best currently on the Xbox 360, and it really makes you think. I just hope you have good reflexes or you are getting the crap kicked out of you by the veterans of this game.
There is a great multiplayer, but there is no Co-Op in the Campaign, which is a disappointment. But I am certain that people will be playing this game online until the next big game comes out and they all flood over to that.
AMAZING atmosphere, excellent Graphics and Sound, high quality multiplayer, epic campaign
Short campaign, Veteran difficulty is sadistically hard, not enough USMC missions.
Should you get it:
Yes you should, and if you're one of those people who only plays this one and has never tried the older Call of Duty games, just get them now, you won't regret it.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is an excellent game, and it has possibly perfected the war genre. These games that Infinity Ward has created will be the standard by which all other games of its kind will be judged, I am certain of it.
Also, this game should give everyone a lot of respect for all of the brave men and women fighting in the War on Terror, risking their lives to protect our freedoms. You must remember, what they do is a lot like what Sgt. "Soap" was doing in this game, and whenever you meet a veteran just think of what they had to do and give them a handshake to thank them for what they did. They damn well deserve it.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/10/08, Updated 06/08/09
Game Release: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (US, 11/05/07)
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