The original Call of Duty represents many things in the eyes of gamers. From it’s excellent use of id Tech 3, to its harsh multiplayer environment, it could be viewed as the pinnacle of 2003 PC gaming. Fast forward four years, to a world where consoles rule. World War II has been beat to death, and Sci-Fi is getting close to boiling point. How does Infinity Ward adapt to this new landscape? Modern Warfare.
Call of Duty 4 doesn’t follow any specific war, but it hits close to American shores. The game starts with a small training mission, followed by a small team infiltration on a Russian Cargo ship. Story picks up shortly afterwords, as one of the games protagonist, a middle-eastern revolutionary named Al-Asuad, executes the president of an unnamed middle eastern country, President Al-Fulani. From that point on it is a mad rush by the British SAS and the USMC to gain control of the situation.
While the story line is well written from a game perspective, it still feels a little too linear. You are often faced with insurmountable odds, trying time and time again to win each battle. And that is where the single player falls short. It often seems that battle is luck based due to the inconsistent AI. What isn’t luck based comes down to the simple pattern of die, commit enemy positions to memory, die, and try again. That’s assuming you don’t get hit by any stray bullets or happen to sit on a grenade.
Graphics also impress, coating the game in an unprecedented amount of detail. While sometimes the speech looks a little jarring, it is forgiven quickly due to the realism presented elsewhere on the character. The only thing that rivals the graphics would have to be the sound design. The guns all sound and feel realistic, with ample amounts of recall.
The multiplayer though… The online play of the game shines just as bright, if not brighter, as the singleplayer. Modes vary from Team Deathmatch to Headquarters to Cage Matches. Everything you do in any of these modes adds to your overall rank, allowing you to make custom classes to fit your particular glove. On top of that there are also small, mini-achievements for just about anything. These challenges range from getting 10 kills with specific weapons, to getting kills while crouched. After completion of the challenges, you unlock things for your custom classes, like special camo prints for your guns, custom sights, and improved abilities.
Once you finish the single-player campaign, playing through it again seems trivial, unless you didn’t play through on Veteran the first time. The Epilogue makes you want to force Infinity Ward to do a game to compete directly with Rainbow Six. The multiplayer is deep, but the people in which you participate with make it shallow. Overall, it is a solid package worthy of purchase. Especially because it doesn’t take place in World War II.