Skip to comments.Call of Duty 4 Review (Released Today!)
Posted on 11/06/2007 9:20:11 PM PST by Hornitos
Call of Duty 4 Review
Infinity Ward's World War II shooter comes to the modern era and blows us away.
by Tom Chick
Call of Duty 4 is enough to make a jaded gamer's jaw drop. You might think you've seen it all, but then Infinity Ward's latest war pageant rolls out some new trick, and it's like discovering the joy of gaming all over again. With a single player experience this spectacular, and with this much multiplayer content, here's a shooter you won't want to miss.
The gunplay is as good as it's ever been, with a new emphasis on being able to shoot through walls (this takes some getting used to in multiplayer!). The friendly and enemy AI are lively and exciting, with plenty of killing and dying all around you, accompanied by frantic chatter and Hollywood-ized war sounds. And, of course, the graphics are amazing. Infinity Ward knows not just how to build levels, but how to paint them with color, light, and character. The developer's talented artists seem to relish the opportunity to finally break out of the theatres of World War II and into the wide modern world.
As a story, Call of Duty 4 is a solid Clancy-esque politico-thriller, grim and uncomfortably topical. Their previous historical games always felt like a contrived tour of the Greatest Hits of World War II, but these set pieces tie into a central narrative, complete with a cast of characters. It's told mostly from the perspectives of an American and a British soldier whose storylines eventually converge. There's even a nicely developed back story and an astonishing third act twist.
Furthermore, Infinity Ward takes some tired conventions and makes them exciting again. The tutorial, the "tram ride", the turret mission, and the stealth mission are all present, and they're each done in a way that not only avoids cliche, but that also makes them stand out. The tutorial is a quick training session for a mission and then the mission itself, which plays out with you tagging along for a boat ride like you've never seen in a videogame. Longtime gamers might remember the crashing ship from Jedi Knight. Here's the next-gen version.
The "tram ride" concept started with Half-Life. The idea is that you ride through a series of staged scenes, not unlike a Disney ride, that collectively establish the setting. In Call of Duty 4, it's not quite what you'd expect. This isn't the last time Call of Duty 4 will having you asking, 'Wait a minute, can they do that?'
The turret mission is, unexpectedly, one of the highlights of Call of Duty 4. You're shooting from within the safety of an AC-130 gunship, listening to radio chatter about a situation unfolding on the ground below. It's a sobering commentary on modern warfare: remote, brutal, and efficient. And although the sound and visuals might be described as modest - here are no garish colors or fancy 5.1 subwoofer busting blasts! - this is one of the most vivid interactive presentations of the face of war in the era of CNN and the Internet.
Finally, the stealth mission is a wonderful surprise and a great narrative device. Unlike most stealth missions, it's not even that aggravating. The annoying bits of Call of Duty 4 don't come until the very end, at which point you're relentlessly funneled through the crossfire of a hundred hallways stocked with a thousand bad guys. But at least it all wraps up with a bang to reward you for slogging through that final level. And who knows what the heck is supposed to be going on in that epilogue?
The multiplayer is easily strong enough to be a standalone game. It's every bit as good as recent multiplayer gems like Quake Wars, Team Fortress 2, and Halo 3. With the arrival of Call of Duty 4, this will be a difficult season for the wallets of gamers who like to go online. At its core, the gameplay is identical to the slick Call of Duty 2. But the real hook is an experience point system that lets you unlock new weapons and special abilities called "perks". You then mix and match these to create your own classes. Perks range from the usual (extra health, extra damage, longer sprinting) to some really inventive tricks like getting in a last shot when you've been killed or being invisible to enemy radar scans. An "Old School" mode litters the map with weapons and perks for the taking, which makes for some great Quake style deathmatches. Watch out, Unreal Tournament 3! Call of Duty 4 isn't afraid of all-out action.
During the course of a match, getting a string of kills will unlock radar scans (presented as unmanned aerial vehicles), air strikes, and a ruthless helicopter that circles the battlefield and guns down enemy players. The maps are tightly constructed and finely detailed, with a wider range of sizes than the previous games. There's even an included mod that will let you tweak settings and set up variations on the basic gameplay.
Much like they did in Call of Duty 2, the developers at Infinity Ward have set the new standard for scripted cinematic spectacle (the third game, which was a disappointment, was made by another developer). By raising the single-player bar and also including a full-featured multiplayer game with its addictive leveling system, Call of Duty 4 isn't just a rehash with a number after the title; it's one of this busy holiday season's must-have titles.
COD4 PING....I Loved COD3....
Thanks for the ping!
Call of duty ROCKS
Though I could never get passed the last mission in the last one I played. They locked the door behind me, some German guy said I was doomed, and I was just ambushed in a courtyard by a gazillion nazis in the weapons plant.
If anyone can help me...
Was it a singleplayer in COD3?
Think so, it was the one that started helping partisans in Russia? Dang, the campaigns were brutal, played some for hours. Then, in the battle of the bulge segment, I made it through the snowy woods, blew up the tanks, then got into the bunker and killed the nazis in there. Walking down the hall, the door closes, and a timer goes off. I played it till I got sick of it, and gave up.
Dipped my toe into a multiplayer, online game and got my butt kicked.
"Remember when the platform was sliding into the fire pit and I said 'Goodbye' and you were like (deep male voice) 'NO WAY!' (normal voice) and then I was all 'We pretended we were going to murder you'? That was great!"
If anyone can help me...
Stay out of the Nazi weapons factory.
Is it available for the PC?
Yes and the demo is out right now - check it out. It's available for downloading all over the net. The COD franchise has been a winner since the first game in the series came out. I've been looking forward to this and Unreal Tournament 3 as it has been a very slow year for shooters.
Does anyone have a link for Call of Duty 3 for the PC? I went to the official website and it only lists availability for the dedicated game systems, not the PC version.
COD3 was console only - no PC version. COD4 does have a PC version and the demo is available now.
This was waiting for me when I got home last night.
An early Christmas present from my lovely wife.
I will install and test it tonight or this weekend.