Call of Duty 4 Review
If game developers keep releasing great games like Call of Duty 4, I'll never get any work done. COD4 manages to exceed my expectations in every way imaginable. I’ve never been a fan of World War 2 shooters, not because the video game market is over saturated and obsessed with the war, but more along the lines as I just don’t like the weapons. (Besides, I already know how it ends.) So it was refreshing to see Infinity Ward take to the modern era for its next game, since there aren’t too many good Action FPS from this time.
The story in COD4 is actually pretty good. Zakhaev, an untranationalist from Russia seeks to return his country to its former Soviet glory by revolting and taking control of some nukes. Of course the US would never allow such a thing to happen, so Zakhaev has his friend Al-Asad command a coup in the Middle East to divert attention away from Russia. You’ll take control of Soap, of the British SAS and Jackson of the US Marines as you try to stop Zakhaev from succeeding. The plot won’t be winning any Nobel prizes but it’s satisfying to play a FPS without running into a Nazi or alien a thousand times over. Some gamers might complain about the length of the campaign, which can be completed in about 6 hours, but I thought it was just right. The story pulls you in and never lets go and you never get that ‘been there, done that’ feeling that developers all too often use to increase play time.
The graphics in Call of Duty 4 are top-notch. The character models look great but what really is spectacular is the lighting and weather effects. The first level aboard the tanker really stands out as you’re traveling in the helicopter you can see the small flickers of Captain Price’s cigar illuminating his face as the heavy rain descends from the heavens. The environments are great as well. Tall grass does a good job at camouflage while buildings look war-torn and demolished. It really sets the tone for the atmosphere in the game and only furthers the immersion.
The game play in COD4 is reminiscent of Rainbow Six Vegas. You’ll have two types of grenades, an assortment of guns with an alternate fire. There’s no cover in this game, which is fine, since it would be rendered nearly useless as bullets can penetrate through solid surfaces. While the Single Player is short and sweet, the multiplayer is fantastic and possibly one of the best online games I’ve ever played. It shares some core design with Ubisoft’s shooter, with one notable exception: perks. Perks are unique character attributes that really add some personality into your character. (Like having your bullets do more damage, having more health, dropping a grenade when you die, etc) You’ll gain experience and levels and you play (and win) various matches. Leveling up will unlock new weapons and perks for your character.
The online portion in Call of Duty is more balanced than R6. In Rainbow, levels were everything. All the good weapons (and armor) were only available to high-level players. If you were up against high-ranking players, you might as well kiss your sorry butt goodbye. Whereas in COD4, the levels are, in terms of surviving and getting a high score, is irrelevant. You’ll start off on level 1, and it’ll be a tough few battles as you work your way up, but once you get to around level 5 or 6, you’ll find yourself able to go toe-to-toe with level 20s and, depending on your skills, level 30's and possibly 40s. Leveling up is quick. After just 5 hours of online play, you can potentially be at level 15 or higher. (Not to mention you’ll keep playing 1 more game, just to see what you unlock on the next level) Having more weapons and perks is helpful, but the selection of weapons for a low level is very impressive. It might sound cheap for a level 40 to get their @$$ handed to them by a level 10, but in practice it keeps all the matches interesting and fun to play.
Even though we’re only partially through the holiday game season, I’m tempted to label Call of Duty 4 game of the year, right here on the spot. It’s one of those games that you leave in your system for months at a time. While, yes, the single player is short, the pacing is perfect and it’s a good practice run before you get to the superior online mode that you’ll be playing until the next game is release. If you’re looking for the most out of your hard-earned money, you can’t do much better than Call of Duty 4.
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Developer: Infinity Ward
The good: Just about everything, from the gorgeous graphics, to the addicting online mode.
The Bad: No online co-op, but the story is short and the mutliplayer so fun that you won't really care.
The Ugly:There's only 24 hours in a day