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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Infinity Ward

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

November 2007

 

 

- Awesome production values, especially the audio

- Great variety of terrain and missions

- Very intense single-player story

- Multiplayer has its own built in rewards

 

 

- Having to click the left stick in to run

- It can feel like quite the uphill climb when starting out on multiplayer

- Still suffers some very scripted moments, when enemies will keep pouring toward you until you hit a certain point

 

 

Review: Call of Duty 3 (360)

Review: Call of Duty 2 (360)

Review: Halo 3 (360)

Review: The Orange Box (360)

 

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Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

The thing that strikes me the most is the eerie whistling and bursting of static from a nearby radio.  I’m stumbling from the wreckage of a helicopter – there are no other sounds.  I look around me and there’s not much left standing and there are bodies strewn around the landscape.  And in the distance, rising up before me, a giant mushroom cloud billowing against a backdrop of dusty orange light.  Then I died.

 

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After this scene, I actually had to put down the controller and turn the game off.  I felt numb.  Besides a cacophony of thoughts about man’s inhumanity to man, I thought about the fact this was the first game where the character I was playing died.  There were no last minute heroics; no helicopter showing up to lift me to safety.

 

Like no other game before it, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare actually made me think about military conflict in the world.  Not so much the geopolitical aspects, 

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but of the men and women on the ground doing the actual fighting.  This is supposed to be a game and in many respects it still is: getting hit by a few bullets only requires a short recovery period to regain full health and enemy soldiers will funnel out of specific points until you move forward and activate a scripted scene.  But oddly enough that 

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doesn’t make it feel less intense – several times during the single-player game I found myself holding my breath while trying to sight enemy positions.

 

It’s very obvious that developer Infinity Ward put a lot of time, energy and resources into crafting a very believable gaming landscape.  The level of detail with both the audio and graphics puts past Call of Duty games – and many other first-person shooters – to shame.  In particular, with a good sound system, there’s definitely the feeling of being in the midst of a very intense situation.   But there are other times when it’s the lack of sound which heightens the feeling of “being there” – in a ghuille suit (hopefully) hidden in the grass with just the sound of approaching footsteps crunching the grass and a tank rumbling somewhere off to the left… it’s absolutely counter to what some games do.  You’d almost expect some kind of electric riff to start blasting the moment the ambient sound effects are the only noise heard.

 

Call of Duty 4 hits a series of crescendos and it’s not long until you hit the closing credits but besides wanting to replay it again, possibly on a harder difficulty, there’s also the option of online multiplayer, which could have been sold as a stand-alone game.

 

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Infinity Ward should be commended for making all the Achievements for the single-player campaign.  Since Perfect Dark Zero, developers will often push Achievements for the multiplayer part of a shooter in the hopes of extending the hours their game is played.  Infinity Ward built in a reward system to the multiplayer that is incredibly satisfying.  As you rank up more and more options and features open up.  From piddly things like granting you a red targeting dot and minor upgrades to your favorite weapons, to the more destructive options like air strikes, there’s an ever-present reason to keep playing and work as a team (going solo will usually result in death).  Leveling-up also grants you access to more modes of play and customization options that feel like actual rewards.  The only downside is that when you start out you'll face opponents many, many levels above you.  It means a lot of dieing at first, but all the a lot of satisfaction when you take out one of those high-ranking players.

 

Equal parts fun and gripping game play (and possibly geopolitical commentary, depending on how you look at it), Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare stands as stunning example of a scripted first-person shooter done right that equals or exceeds the other big first-person shooters on the market today like BioShock, Halo 3, and Half-Life 2.

 

- Omni

(November 23, 2007)

 

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