Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

RogueSlayer | 27 November 2007 | Comments off

Article by Spectre8
Cancel your weekend, Duty Calls!

One of the biggest multi-platform releases this year has finally hit our hard drives. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, is a present day First Person Shooter (FPS) featuring an engrossing single-player story, as well as a compelling multiplayer experience.

The preceding games in the Call of Duty series are essentially locked in and around the World War II theatre, showing various sides of some of the major battles in devastated Europe. The original release was followed up with the great expansion pack United Offensive. After an Xbox spin off release, Call of Duty 2 hit the shelves with a resounding success. Following this, were two other console specific games, the major release being COD3, for Playstation2 and Xbox. Now we come to the eighth installment of the series, and with it, comes the first foray out of the WWII era.

You’ll find yourself in present-day hotspots, on a wide range of missions, all driving you to the climax of the story. Zakhaev is a Russian Ultra-Nationalist hell-bent on reforming the once mighty USSR, and will let none stand in his way. The story is told from two main points of view, that of a British SAS Sergeant and a USMC Force Recon Sergeant, sent to stop the forced takeover. Both show different sides of the conflict, and have very different feels. There is a flashback mission giving you some further history to Zakhaev’s past, and an attempted assassination, told through a torturous sniper mission. The story is actually quite brutal at times, showing some very distressing and emotional scenes. I’ve got to admit, in the closing scene, I think my allergies may have just flared up a little…

It looks for all the world like a DX10 tech demo.If a picture tells a thousand words, this game is a mighty tome indeed. Visually, it’s simply stunning. It pushes DirectX 9 to its limit. Motion blur, depth of field, dynamic lighting and all the other usual bells and whistles are there en masse.  It looks for all the world like a DX10 tech demo. One of the standout features are the character animations. Incredibly lifelike, mapped perfectly to military movements. Watching a team prepare for a door breach is amazing. With both AI and the player being able to leap over walls or railings, it adds another element that too many shooters miss. Weapon selection isn’t shy either, ranging from sub-machine guns, sniper rifles, through to heavy weapons, and even going as far as the Javelin Anti-Tank missile. Kaboom! There’s no shortage of firepower.

The AI works very well, and these characters use all available cover. One of the truly awesome elements of this game is bullet penetration. You really need to think about the cover you’re using, as the calibre of the weapon, and the density and thickness of the cover is calculated appropriately. See someone ducking behind a low wall? Grab the big guns and hammer it. It makes for really interesting combat. These weapons and the bullet dynamics carry over to online play too.

COD4 doesn’t focus mainly on either single- or multiplayer. It seems to be balanced perfectly. As compelling as the single-player campaign is, it’s hard to tear yourself away from the online carnage. It’s fast, it’s furious, it’s exciting and it’s fun.

you have a very customisable kit selectionMuch time and effort has gone into online play. There are several different gameplay types, ranging from free-for-all (total carnage) to Headquarters (tactical). There is also the Search and Destroy mission that is very similar to the Counter-Strike bomb missions. It has a feel somewhere between Counter-Strike and Battlefield 2. Although infantry only, the player has the ability to call in air strikes, and attack helicopters. These rewards are given for kill streaks. There are many other rewards that come into play. These are mostly reflected in the implementation of Perks: gain enough experience points (through kills, or successful missions) and unlock certain abilities. These range from the ability to change magazines faster to higher health levels. There are many to choose from, and up to three can be used at once. Mix this with a wide range of weapons and accessories (no, not handbags) and you have a very customisable kit selection.

Map variety is also quite good, though tending towards the small side. The majority of maps are generally unfriendly to snipers, encouraging close quarter combat, rather than ranged. This makes the game feel too fast at times. Throw in bullet penetration, and hiding behind walls isn’t even a safe bet. To be honest, it feels too arcade-like for this gamer. While the net code feels very stable, there are still those times when you’ll get the jump on someone, only to have them spin and nail you with a head shot.

A very nice feature for the COD series is the death cam. Not only is it amusing to watch yourself perish, but it helps to alleviate some of the how the hell did he see me? moments. Sometimes it’s the only thing from stopping you calling hacks!!

and most of all, it's a hell of a lot of fun!Overall, the online experience is brilliant. It’s tight, it’s engrossing (where did those hours go??) and most of all, it’s a hell of a lot of fun! The ranking system will keep people interested for a long time, and adds a lot to the game. It has the potential to take the focus off the fun element, and turn it into something like the level grind of MMO’s, as you’ll frequently have your posterior handed to you on a platter by the more advanced players with better abilities, and better weapons.

The single-player campaign is simply superb. The constantly varying mission types, strong and compelling story, combined with beautifully implemented cut scenes make this the best single player FPS I’ve ever played. Combine that with the first online shooter to take my interest in well over a year, and you’ve got a serious contestant for Game Of the Year.

I rate this game a 5 out of 5: gaming perfection.

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