Posts Tagged ‘war games’

Call of Duty 4 was released on November 5, 2007 and was developed by Infinity Ward.  It’s now May 19, 2011.

Why am I reviewing the single player portion of the game now? Well I’m bored, so let’s get cracking!

The single player journey is intense and packs in a ton of unexpected stuff in what is ultimately a shockingly short game. It can be wrapped up in about 5 hours. In this case, however, it’s quality over quantity. The quality of the single player experience will make you forgive how short the story is.

terrorists

The game was made when 9/11 was still hot in everyone’s minds. Infinity Ward took a risk and made this Call of Duty game in modern times, hence the name Modern Warfare. They also decided to stop making World War 2 games because people were just sick of them (Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 3, Medal of Honor: Spearhead, Battlefield 1942, etc.) These things made Infinity Ward decide to make the events in  Cod 4 take place mostly in the Middle East (while certain events take place in Azerbaijan, Russia and Ukraine).

If you have ever played a Call of Duty game before, then you’re probably familiar with how the story will be told. The story is told in linear, polished story missions. You take control of six different characters, mostly playing as a US Marine, John “Soap” MacTavish, and a British SAS operative, John Price. Rather than two  separate stories, the narrative is one continuous story that’s pushed forward by two different characters in two different places with two different perspectives. In 2011, a Russian ultranationalist named Imran Zakhaev is attempting to get Mother Russia to return to her Soviet ways. In order to do this, he organizes an uprising in the Middle East with the help of Khaled Al Asad, a military commander in the Middle East. MacTavish and Price work to stop the terrorists from using nuclear weapons on America.

You get the idea.

There is no stopping to smell the roses here. The game looks especially good because you are forced to play at such a frantic pace. The graphics don’t quite hold up to close scrutiny, but Cod 4 still looks great in motion.  The use of light and shadow combine to make a great presentation.

Another thing that adds to Cod 4’s presentation is the use of a real location as the basis for a mission in the game.

The city of Prypiat, built in 1970 with a population of about 50,000 people, was abandoned in 1986 after the Chernobyl disaster. Using this creepy setting for a mission deeply enriched the atmosphere of Cod 4.

There are no real twists or turns in the story, but rather the special moments are just plain shocking.  For instance, one moment in Cod 4 has now become a legendary scene in gaming history.

*SPOILER ALERT*

The “nuke scene” is not really a twist in the context of the story, but it’s downright shocking to witnessing the devastation of a nuclear weapon. Throughout the game, there are many moments that leave you spellbound.

Infinity Ward uses their standard shell-shocked, slow motion gameplay that they’ve used in previous Cod games to trigger and highlight these impressive moments. The gameplay is really just a refinement and perfection of the original Cod gameplay.   While it is a linear “go-from-point-A-to-point-B-game,” Infinity Ward does a good job dressing up the linearity with expert level design and, on occasion, infinitely respawning artificial intelligence that force you forward. Tricks like that will keep you from really noticing or being annoyed by the linearity of this game.  The AI, while pretty weak by today’s standards was dynamic and intelligent back in 2007.

The friendly and enemy AI were a significant step forward from what AI had been in previous first person shooters like Rainbow Six Vegas. The friendly squad AI will think efficiently and act and flank enemies on their own. The friendly fire in this game is effective, and I accidentally killed a few of my team in the fray of combat during the course of the campaign.  The mission you are currently playing will restart if you go crazy and start gunning down your own team like a madman. Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish friend from foe, but war is chaos so it isn’t much of an issue.  Infinity Ward also threw attack dogs into the game that make one sneaking mission particularly terrifying.

The attack dogs are some of the most vicious enemy AIs that you will ever encounter. They attack in packs and they don’t fear death like their human  counterparts.  If you can’t shoot them before they lunge at you, they will knock you to ground and attempt to rip your throat out. You have about two seconds to break the dog’s neck before it manages to kill you.  Needless to say, dogs make things scary and frantic. It won’t be long before your hairs stand up on end when you hear the sound of dogs barking.

Cod 4 also attempts to make bullet physics work fairly realistically. Bullets will go through some walls realistically, and in a long distance sniping mission, the player must take into account the wind direction and strength when making a shot.  The attention to detail shown in the gun models and the sound design are both still pretty impressive even by today’s standards.  You will quite easily be able to identify weapons by their sounds alone.  Although the soundtrack is nothing special and none of the characters ever become anything more than two dimensional.

The single player portion of Cod 4 was short, but at the same time, the frantic gameplay makes it a lot fun. It’s still the most intense FPS I’ve played to date, and is the best CoD ever.

9.2 out of 10