Awesome graphics? Call of Duty has always tried to present itself really well and the fourth game looks incredible. The amount of detail put in to the models and environments really bring the game to life. Character faces are diverse showing great detail. All your weapons are modeled immaculately. Character animations are nicely done with some great motion capture. One of the cool things I witnessed was one of my teammates running at full speed and then sliding into cover. The environments are full of life making it a very immersive experience. For a few missions you'll witness air support flying over head as you head towards your way point. Fast moving jets and helicopters buzz over you giving you a sense that the fight is happening not just where you are but all around you. The aircraft models are also impressively done and you can easily tell what type they are because they are modeled so accurately. Even though Call of Duty 4 is made on a proprietary engine, all the cool effects are in there such as HDR lighting, realistic shadows, dynamic lighting, and so forth. I played the game on a PC with an Intel E6750 powered by a Foxconn GeForce 8800 GTX and my computer had 2GB of memory. I installed Call of Duty 4 on a Vista build and didn't experience any problems. The game ran pretty well with all the options turned high and it look absolutely gorgeous.
Physics effects are also in the game but it's more subtle than others. You'll get the rag doll physics of enemies dying and objects being pushed bounced around and reacting to each other and the environment. The TV station level is a good example of this as during a firefight in a room full of computer monitors, I saw them spin and jump around as they were hit by bullets. I also saw enemies tumble off the balcony as I fire a kill shot into their body. The physics effect look pretty realistic and don't overwhelm you like some games.
The nightvision effect in the game is one of the best I've seen. With one mission taking place in very low light in a city, you'll see the infrared lasers emanating from the guns of friendlies as you work your way through buildings. The level of green isn't over-saturating and the level of detail when you do have the goggles is impressive.
One of the really interesting effects in the game is that really up close objects are blurry just like in real life. When you're crawling through some thick grass, you'll see the blades get bigger as you head towards it. At a certain point the blade of grass starts to get a little blurry and at its closest point to you it becomes out of focus. This depth of field effect is another small but noticeable feature that really makes Call of Duty 4 a great visual experience.
The one thing about the single player experience though is that it's short. And when I say short I mean it's really short. I finished it in roughly five hours which is comparable to the second Max Payne game. Both have something in common though because of this. Even though you can get by the game quickly, you'll have a hell of a time doing it. The length might disappoint some but Infinity Ward seemed to have cut out all the filler and just presented you with the best parts one right after another. Thankfully, the single player experience is just half the fun and I'll get into the multiplayer portion in just a bit.
When the game is done, you'll unlock two modes including a nice arcade mode. The arcade mode lets you play a certain mission and you'll rack up points depending on the level you play, how fast you accomplish the mission, the number of lives you have left, and so on. There are various multipliers as well so the score won't always be the same when you go through it multiple times. It's a nice little benchmark for how well you do against your friends as you can say you scored this high on this mission and see if your friends can beat it.
One of the things that Call of Duty has never really excelled at was the multiplayer portion of the game. That's not to say the older Call of Duties weren't fun to jump in and LAN with. Call of Duty 4 really takes the their multiplayer feature to a new level for the series. You'll now go through a leveling process whereby you get access to new classes, weapons, and features the more you play. You'll see notifications of increase in rank and you'll also see new classes appear. For example, demolitions and sniper will be selectable once you acquire a couple ranks. Building a class is something that's really cool and will be used a lot in my opinion. With a class construction option, you can tailor make your multiplayer character to how you play by assigning special abilities and default weapons. The persistent leveling adds some incentive for you to keep playing as you get access to some great special abilities later on.
You do seem to be pretty vulnerable like in real life where only a few bullets will take you down. Grenades are pretty powerful as well. Because of how quickly you can die, you'll be forced to be more careful and check areas more diligently. The Kill Cam is a feature that will discourage camping. When you die you'll see a video from your killer's eyes so you can see where they were when they took you down. Because your position is given away when you kill someone, you're more apt to move to another area as you don't want to risk the person respawning and coming after you in the same spot. If you do stay alive for a while and rack up a lot of kills without dying, you'll be able to access some helpful extras like a UAV to expose positions of the enemy, an air strike, and helicopter support. I have to say the helicopter support is pretty powerful and can really be frustrating when you're on the other team.
There are twelve various multiplayer modes ranging from the usual deathmatch option to a Counter-Strike like bomb and defuse game. The Counter-Strike like Search and Destroy game really appealed to me as I spent a lot of time in CS and I had a lot of fun with it in Call of Duty 4. The various multiplayer options should keep you pretty busy and there's a nice variety to satisfy a large group of gamers. The multiplayer is strong and helps compliment a quick but fun single player experience. Once you are done with the single player game, Call of Duty 4 has an extremely long life with a satisfying and well made multiplayer feature.
Finally, Call of Duty 4 doesn't do anything really new but does put a complete package together that's fun and action packed. It's one of the few games I've played lately that didn't crash or exhibit any weird behavior. I'm really really happy to see the series back on the PC and was really impressed at how well Call of Duty 4 was put together. While the short single player experience might disappoint some, the extensive multiplayer feature will keep you coming back for more and more.
Call of Duty 4 is a complete package that does everything well. From the intense single player campaign to the fun multiplayer options, the game's got it all.
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