Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Review

posted 12/3/2007 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
Oh how I missed Call of Duty on the PC. Call of Duty 3 was a console only release but it wasn't by the folks at Infinity Ward. No, they had something better in mind and it takes the Call of Duty series to the modern era. No more World War II setting and that's perfectly fine with me as I think that period's been done to death. It's time to move on and Infinity Ward has moved on in a very, very big way. Simply put, Call of Duty 4 is one of the best to come out this year.

There's a certain checklist that I go through when I play a Call of Duty game. Let's start with characters. Multiple characters that you will control? Check. You'll step into the shoes of a few different characters but I would say the main guy is "Soap" MacTavish . You'll be a member of a unit commanded by a familiar character to those that have played other Call of Duty games. The commander must be an Immortal as he looks pretty much the same as in the World War II era games. In any case you'll step into the shoes of a few and you'll travel to a few different destinations between them leading up too the final few missions where the British and US forces combine. You'll start out going after a terrorist named Khaled Al-Asad but will shortly find out he's not the only one you need to take out.

A beginning that grabs you and makes you say wow? It's in the game. You'll run through a quick training course and setup the difficulty level you'll want to play in. The first mission puts you on a barge that sways back and forth with the waves. It's a nice little setup mission that ends in a bang, literally. What follows after the first mission is a pretty intense sequence that serves as the beginning credits of the game. I won't spoil it for you but suffice to say you get to look through the eyes of a person in an unhappy situation. Rather than showing you a generic cut scene, you get to look around a little. When the beginning credits ended, I couldn't believe what I just witnessed but it was pretty sweet.

If it's a Call of Duty game, you have to have some rail shooting sequences on some vehicle and Call of Duty 4 has a great sequence on an AC130 as well as launching mortars from a Chinook. If you have ever seen those black and white videos of a helicopter unloading on terrorists where their bodies explode from the gunfire, the AC130 mission looks exactly like it. Friendlies blink from their beacons so you pretty turn any non-blinking person into Swiss cheese with your machine gun. For clearing small or large areas, you get access to some pretty powerful and destructive shells. You'll see bodies fly as you bring the rain on the enemy below. I'll admit I got a rush taking out all those terrorists with my powerful machine gun. The Chinook sequence is a little different as you'll actually run in and out of the helicopter during the mission. First you'll start out flying around and clearing the area below. Then you'll actually travel on foot to help rescue some of your comrades. You'll go back to manning the gun but will have to get out again for another part of the mission. Finally, no Call of Duty game would be complete with a car sequence and this one has one as well. It's a nice change of pace switching back and forth from being a rail shooter to a first person shooter.

Speaking of changing paces, the folks at Infinity Ward have done a remarkable job at changing the pace between missions. Sure they'll be plenty of heavy gun fights that rely on your quick instincts but you'll also partake in different missions that are in a different tone. The AC130 sequence that I mentioned is a little slower paced and you'll also experience a pretty cool sniper mission that takes a lot of stealth to get through. A firefight in a close quarters TV studio will have you one your toes as you take out all the enemies stationed in the building. The change of pace offers up a nice variety and keeps the game from feeling repetitive. The bread and butter though are the intense firefights that will happen in close quarters.

A new addition to the series that is pretty useful is that you can cancel your reload with a melee attack. I don't know how many times I'd be reloading and someone would pop up around the corner in front of me in other games. Here, you can do a quick swipe with your knife to try and take them out but you'll have to initiate your reload again of your weapon. Switching to the pistol is also a little quicker than reloading and you can try to take apart your enemy if they are not in striking distance. Either way you have some options should an enemy surprise you while you are trying to reload.

Bullet penetration is new to the series and now you're not going to be safe behind every type of cover. Like in real life, bullets can and will go through certain materials so if you see an enemy ducking behind a wooden fence, open fire because the bullets will go through and hit them. This opens up a new wrinkle in the game as you not only have to find cover but quality cover so you don't get pummeled by bullets even when you are hiding. You'll see bullets fly through certain walls so you'll be able to tell if it's truly safe at a certain area. The bullets that do penetrate have a lesser effect that's calculated so while it might take a few more bullets to take you down, there's still a good chance you'll die if you stay behind weak cover too long. I really like the new feature as it makes the game a little more realistic and opens up some new tactics on taking out the enemy.

Along the lines of cover, you'll have to make sure you're not sitting next to anything explosive. While cars are great at stopping bullets, they have a tendency to explode when too many are put into it. I don't know how many times I've been caught but a random explosion of a car but it does teach to you always keep an eye out on it if you're hiding behind one.

Great scripted events? Hell yeah they're in Call of Duty 4. I've always appreciated the single player experience in the series and it's one of the few games that I replay a few times after I am done with it. Infinity Ward really knows how to setup situations and lead you through some masterfully crafted scripted sequences that immerse you into the game. All of this happen in game of course as there are no pre -rendered sequences. One of the better examples of this occurs in a sniper mission that's a flashback for one of the characters. You'll be led by one of your teammates in sneaking through a heavily guarded area to take up a position in one of the buildings in order to take out your target. The close calls and areas you have to move around in are highlighted by various scripted events raise the tension on the situations while providing some interesting moments for you to experience. Some events are more subtle such as running through and seeing one of your squad mates being being assaulted by a terrorist as they struggle for control of a rifle. Others are bigger of course such as seeing planes fly above you or calling in a helicopter to take out the tangos in a building. Call of Duty 4's scripted events are top notch and really add a lot of fun to the single player portion of the game.
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