9.5 out of 10
I am not a first person shooter fan, I don’t like games like Halo or any of the death-match type games. I like story with my shooter and generally speaking that is difficult to find. The PS3 has been blessed with a number of good First Person Shooter titles (many also available on other systems), Resistance Fall of Man, Rainbow Six Vegas, but the best by far to date was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
I have not been a die-hard fan of the Call of Duty series. I didn’t play the first, second or third game for that matter, mostly because I was pretty burnt out on the whole World War II genre. COD 4 abandons history for a more modern story and its a good one.
The plot is complex, but predictable. The story combines two of every-ones favorite villains, Islamic extremists and renegade Russians, into a nuclear packed action adventure and you get a front row seat.
There are two story lines in the game although related, your two playable characters will never meet. On the covert side you play as a British SAS solider and will be running tense missions against what seems like overwhelming odds. You also play a US Marine and follow the US invasion of an unidentified Middle Eastern Country (I wonder where the inspiration for that was?) The SAS missions are challenging, tense and are the major plot movers, the Marine missions are all action and offer some of the best and most cinematic game-play I have ever seen.
Graphically this game is excellent. The graphics and environments look real and play real. I never got bored of seeing the smoke trail from an RPG fired at your position slowly dissipate, or having realistic environments where your high powered equipment can shoot through plaster, wood and sheet metal. Couple that with a great AI and a stable and fast frame rate and you got a smooth action packed game. Add in the fact of some interactive cut scenes (Even the opening credits are somewhat playable) added an unexpected way to play and I though really helped to sell the story even more. (but you’ll have to play to find out what they are, but there is a reason why the level ‘Shock and Awe’ was listed as one of the best game levels of 2007)
The sounds of a game are usually only a secondary thought, but in COD 4 I would like to make a particular note. The music sound track I can’t honestly remember but the ‘battle chatter’ from your surrounding troops (and enemies) is a real bonus, it added something to the experience in playing the game. Overall the sound actually improved the game. The environment sounds of guns, bullets, bombs, rpgs and screaming overhead fly-overs of helicopters and fighter jets is really something.
The game does have a draw back, its far too short. That being said, a lot of games may have 40 hours of game-play, but only 6 hours of action. With COD 4 you will have nearly non-stop action from the opening level to the end and the 6 hours (Which is what it took me to finish it) will go by super quick. It is the reason why the game lost 1/2 a point in my review. On the other hand I was not disappointed in how the story unfolded and was very, very satisfied with the ending.
The game also supposedly has an excellent on-line portion, which some reviewers rivals Halo. I did not go on-line with the game and thus cannot comment on the on-line section. In general I dislike playing on-line, I have no desire to challenge other human players. If I wanted that I would have joined the army.
Even though the game is short, it does have some replay value. It has a nice arcade mode which allows you to go back and play any level and try and get the highest score or you can play through the game in order and try and get a cumulative score, it doesn’t hold your attention for too long, but is a nice feature especially since they did not incorporate a co-op mode for 2 players (there is a death-match, but who wants to frag your friend?)
Whether its the level where you are a AC-130 gunner, or trying your hand a sniping carrying out the first British government sanctioned assassination since World War II or riding on helicopters through RPG’s and Ant-aircraft fire for a slow fight through the crowded streets of some Middle Eastern Country, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare does not disappoint. At $60, with such short game play (unless you are on-line) it may be worth renting, but even if you are not a fan of Shooters or war games, try this one… It’s worth it.