Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Review

November 9, 2009

Call-of-duty-4 logo

Developer: Infinity Ward
Publisher: Activision
Platform: PS3, X360 (Version Played), PC
Genre: First Person Shooter
Players: 1 (Offline) 1 – 18 (Online)
Release Date: 9th of November 2009 (EU)

With the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 tomorrow, which I unfortunately won’t be able to get for a while, is there a better time to post a review of the original game that came out two years before? However, calling it the original isn’t completely accurate because there were plenty of previous Call of Duty games before this, set in World War II. As the name would imply though, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare moves away from World War II and is now set in the modern day.

This is a great addition to the series because of this though. It allows the series to be fresh compared to the rest of the other games and Call of Duty 4 really does raise the bar. In a generation filled with shooters it may not be that fresh but when a game provides an experience that is completely different from the previous games in the particular series and trumps most of its competitors then it definitely deserves credit.

I know that if you’re reading this you’ve probably played the game (If for some bizarre reason you haven’t; don’t worry about spoilers as there are none) by now and I doubt you will disagree that Call of Duty 4 is an extremely polished experience with very solid mechanics. The guns all feel great. Whether you’re using the weedy pistol or the meaty machine gun, each gun responds very well and the mechanics are tight. This leads on to some fantastic fire fights which are always tense and exciting. It never feels like you are simply running around and shooting due to the well organised set pieces.

The set pieces are seriously brilliant. An extremely fast and exciting pace is created because of them and there are very few moments which aren’t filled with excitement. Explosions, gun fights, assaults are just a few of the set pieces but I don’t want to give much away so if you’re not already familiar with them you will be just as suspense-filled as everyone else. It’s not always the explosions and the gunfights that make Call of Duty 4 what it is though. A particular level called “All Ghillied Up” is probably the best in the game and requires very little action but still manages to make the game feel very intense.  


However, even though the set pieces and fire fights are excellent there is a slight problem. The game relies too much on respawning enemies and being quite scripted. On your first play through this is great because it is exciting from start to finish but if you decide to play it again then it becomes a lot more apparent and the experience is near identical to the last one. The respawning enemies can get frustrating after a while.

Playing it on a higher difficulty can force you to change your style of play though, which can keep things more varied when replaying the game. Veteran puts the difficulty up quite a notch and can often be frustrating and almost painful (Well, not really) but it does have the one more go effect and I found myself constantly restarting and dying. It makes the game slightly slower which can ruin the pace a little but nobody in their right mind would try veteran without finishing the game and experiencing it properly anyway.

One thing that hasn’t had much of an emphasis in Call of Duty beforehand is story and character. I’m not going to say that Call of Duty 4 has that good a story but I think it is definitely very well told through a few missions which I don’t want to spoil for anyone. The characters are excellent too, well the NPCs are. The campaign lets you play as a few characters but mainly Sgt “Soap” MacTavish, an SAS soldier and Sgt Paul Jackson, of the U.S.M.C. but both of them have no personality what so ever. They don’t speak, interact with others and are basically just a floating pair of arms. The whole “projecting yourself onto the character” thing could fit in here but even then this could have been handled better. There are a few missions that could have been very immersive with a little more effort (There is one mission that greatly achieves this though). Your squad mates are brilliant though. The SAS soldiers tend be very professional and become cool because of this. Captain Price is a character who I won’t be able to forget because of his cool lines and behaviour, his occasional witty line and that amazing moustache. The U.S.M.C. aren’t as likeable (Though SSgt Griggs is an awesome character) but seeing them act all gung-ho is amusing.

Call of Duty 4 Multiplayer

Now onto what the majority of people labelled the best feature of the game: the multiplayer. Thousands of people are still playing Call of Duty 4 online to this day so that shows its popularity and success. The multiplayer consists of a wide variety of game modes and maps which will (Well, it has) keep players hooked for ages.

It manages to be very face paced, akin to the campaign. While it isn’t as exciting as the single player, it rarely ceases to keep players excited in the action. If you want a more tactical, slower game then you are able to host private games or play one of the variation modes. Either way, Call of Duty 4’s mechanics transfer very well into multiplayer.

If, like me, you aren’t able to get Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 when it’s released and happen to have access to a copy of Call of Duty 4 then I’m sure it will keep you busy in the long wait. The mechanics are excellent, the single player has some great set pieces and the multiplayer still has some life in it yet. This is a fantastic experience and quite possibly the best Call of Duty yet.

+ Fantastic set pieces
+ Excellent, fast paced campaign and multiplayer
+ The jump to modern day makes it different from the rest of the series

– Campaign can be noticeably scripted
– Respawning enemies can be a nuisance



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