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Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Review

May 20, 2008

The Call of Duty franchise has been a big part of First Person Shooters since the original was released. The first 3 in the series were centered around World War II but the new 4th installment takes place in a fictional modern conflict.

Story

The story of Call of Duty 4 centers around the United States Marine Corp and the British S.A.S (Special Air Service). There are two wars going on, a rebel uprising in the middle east and a ultra nationalist uprising in Russia, causing a civil war. The characters you play as Sergeant “Soap” MacTavish(S.A.S) and Sergeant Paul Jackson(U.S.M.C). The player plays as Soap most of the time with the two player stories occurring at the same time. The story isn’t particular engaging. Similarly to the stigma that Resistance: Fall of Man faced with its main character, Paul and Soap never talk, witch takes away personality from the characters.

This may be used to create a sense of “you are Paul and Soap” but for me it didn’t really work. I preferred how Call of Duty 2 was made(You played as real people in real missions). Outside the characters the story isn’t very engaging. I’m not going to dock them too much because this was the first game that they had to make a story(The previous Call of Dutys were made from real accounts during WWII), but they could have done a better job.
Gameplay.
The gameplay of the Call of Duty franchise hasn’t changed much over the years, but being a premiere FPS, its not a bad thing. Once again the game uses real weapons and they replicate them as best as possible. The health system also returns. There is no health bar, rather when you hit the screen will get redder and redder until you die. This makes it possible to take cover for awhile and replenish your health. The melee attack has been replaced with a knife located on your arm. This melee attack acts as a 1 hit kill. The difficulty of the game depends on the difficulty you chose(obviously). However when you start the game you do a training mission and depending on that the game will recommend a difficulty for you, but you are not bound by this recommendation. The big flaw with the gameplay is the time it takes to complete the single player campaign. It single player barely clocks in at 8 hours, for most it will be around 6.

Online

The online game takes a different turn when it comes to ranking. Similar to a RPG, killing people nets experience points that goes toward your rank. This is not anything new to online ranking but where CoD4 set itself apart is with the Barracks system. Here you are given challenges to complete during online play. Ranks give you access to more weapons. Your starter weapon is pretty bad, and as you rank up you get access to more and more powerful weapons. The barracks have a variety of challenges for these weapons. Each weapon has a marksmen and expert challenge. Marksman challenges consist of getting kills with each rank(up to 3) giving you a new piece of equipment to put on the weapon(A Silencer, Red Dot Sight and Sniper Scope). Epert challenges consist of getting headshots and these give more finishes to place on the weapon. Challenges don’t just apply to weapons. You complete challenges for calling in UAVs, Air Support, killing enemies while crouching etc. These is all well a good, except there is one problem, the ranks you are given, give NO indication of you skill. Unlike Warhawk where ranks are dependent on skill, CoD4 (and every other online game with ranks except Warhawk) ranks mean absolutely nothing.

My first time Online I was in a match with level 30s. Coming from Warhawk i expected to not get anywhere near the top score, i ended up in second place. Most people don’t mind this but it really bugs me because the rank of a player should indicate their skill, rank is more of a “How much time I’ve been playing” sort of thing. I Applaud the multiplayer for every other aspect though.
Graphics/Audio

The game is stunning, easily one of the best looking games recently released, and absolutely the best looking FPS in the market. Infinity Ward have really outdone themselves with their game engine. The sound in the game is extremely well done. The guns sound real, the characters(other than the ones you play) are really brought to life and its just great.

Conclusion

Call of Duty 4 is a fantastic game. However its flaws are pretty big ones. The story could use a lot of work, main characters more developed, and the length of the single player is absolutely horrid. However the length of the game wouldn’t be an issue if the story would give players a reason to reply it. Side from these issues the game sports a truly top notch online experience that many FPSs will find hard to contend with.

Great

Great

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