Honestly, this is the first Call of Duty game that I’ve played for more than two hours. I have never been a big fan of World War II shooters, considering the fact that there are over 100 of them. This title already had one thing going for it: Infinity Ward was the development team behind it. As soon as I saw the gameplay walkthrough at E3 2007, I was hooked.
Single Player: The single player campaign, though short, was epic to say the least. You take the role of Sgt. Paul Jackson (USMC), and Sgt. “Soap” MacTavish (SAS), in an effort to remove some Middle Eastern “baddies” from power. The diversity between the two roles is astounding, and it’s an amazing experience. One minute you’re in an all-out fire fight in a TV station, and the next you’re sliently picking off ultranationalists, allowing your Russian allies to advance. What makes this even better is that the controls work fantastically. Everything is fluid and soon it will all be second nature to you.
Many FPSs today are the same thing over and over again. Thankfully, Infinity Ward throws you into lots of different scenarios all of which are loads of fun. Ever wanted to drop bombs and cause total hell above your enemies? You’re in luck. Ever wanted to snipe someone from so far away you actually had to take the Coriolis effect into account? I know I have. These are just a few of the breathtaking events you’ll get to act out. There’s a little something for everyone in here, and you won’t get that “lather, rinse, repeat” feeling.
The story really takes off after you and your SAS companions find a manifest on an Estonian cargo ship, which links Russian Ultranationalist party leader, Imran Zakhaev, and Middle Eastern rebel leader Khaled Al-Asad. The USMC, SAS, and Russian Loyalists have to stop them from starting a nuclear war. With many twists and turns throughout, a flashback, and an epic cinematic ending, you will be more than satisfied.
If you’ve seen Call of Duty 4 in action you know how realistic it looks. There are no concerns at all with the graphics, you can’t help but to enjoy them. The guns are detailed, the environments are detailed, the characters are detailed, there’s even stuff blowing in the wind! Not to mention the animations are great. You should get a laugh or two throwing by flash bang at an unsuspecting enemy and watching them flail around. It might have a couple close competitors, but it’s safe to say that Call of Duty 4 is one of the best looking console games out.
This game delivers in so many ways, so Infinity Ward must have slipped up on the audio, right? Wrong. If you close your eyes for a second, you’ll think you’re amidst the fighting. Gunshots sound perfect, explosions are jaw-dropping, and the voice work is some of the best I’ve ever heard. Two of your SAS companions, Captain Price and Gaz, voiced by Billy Murray and Craig Fairbrass respectively, are at the top of my favorites list. Did I mention it has its own rap song? You’ll have to complete the game if you want to hear that, though.
Finally, once you’ve beat the campaign you can try it on a higher difficulty, assuming you didn’t start out on Veteran. I know from experience that the Veteran difficulty is a huge can of whoop ass, and the enemy AI is waiting with a can-opener. Be ready to die… A lot! You get a nice sense of pride after completing a few levels, and watching those achievements add up.
If you completed the game on the highest difficulty, or just want to have a little fun, you should try Arcade Mode. Start out by choosing your stage and difficulty. Then, rack up as many points as you can by getting head shots, staying alive, keeping kill chains going, etc. It can get very hectic and would be a blast if multiplayer was incorporated. Try to climb your way up the Arcade leaderboard.
Another way you can add replay value to your copy of Call of Duty 4 is by collecting intel. This is a boring, albeit rewarding task. Looking for the intel can be a pain, but you unlock achievements and cheats from it. The slow-mo ability is probably the most fun, but you can try combining a few to come up with a whole new way to play. Turning on “slow-mo” and “cluster bombs” to create explosion extravaganzas is quite exhilarating. Don’t worry, I’ll try to stay away from anymore alliterations.
So, you’ve completed the game, conquered the Veteran difficulty (or maybe not for you lazy people), tried Arcade Mode, and experimented with the cheats. Now what’s left? Well, my friend, at the heart of Call of Duty 4 is the multiplayer. You are able to play with up to 18 people in the online battlefield. This is what will keep you coming back all the time.
Multiplayer: Playing through the campaign of Call of Duty 4 will bring you loads of fun, but the online multiplayer is really where it’s at. This is the game where it pays to have Xbox Live. You can go online with up to 18 friends and let the mayhem ensue. There is a plethora of maps, game types, and weapons which makes for outstanding online gaming in itself. In addition to this there is a rank-up system which will unlock your weapons and “perks”. After getting to level 55 rank you have the option to do prestiege mode. What is this mysterious prestiege mode? You’ll find out soon enough.
Most of the maps you will be playing come from the levels in the campaign mode. Infinity Ward was able “cut-corners” this way, but as the gamer, you don’t feel like anything is lacking. The maps vary in cover, terrain, and overall size. Some maps, such as Creek, are open and great for sniping, whereas a map like Killhouse is perfect for run ‘n’ gunning. No matter what your style, you’ll be able to use it in just about every map. You can also look forward to new maps being available to purchase and download in the future. One new map pack has already been released containing the maps Creek, Broadcast, Chinatown, and Killhouse.
There is nothing particularly special about the game types online, but there are a few new spins of standard game modes. You’ll have the mandatory free-for-all, and team deathmatch, but there is no game mode that stands out as being a “signature Call of Duty 4 gametype”. The entire list consists of Team Deathmatch, Mercenary Team Deathmatch, Free-For-All, Domination, Ground War, Sabotage, Headquarters, Search and Destroy, Team Tactical, Hardcore Team Deathmatch, Hardcore Search and Destroy, Old School Free-For-All, and Cage Match. There is lots of fun to be had playing these, but there is no sense of originality with it.
As you play online you’ll gain experience which makes you rank up. When you continue to rank up you’ll unlock weapons, attachments, perks, challenges (which grant you more experience when completed), and the create-a-class system. You’ll start off with basic weapons like the M16 and MP5 attached with iron sights. Eventually, you’ll unlock the P90, G36C, .50 Cal, and all with various scopes and skins to attach. Using the create-a-class system you will choose different weapon sets which allow you to choose your primary weapon, secondary weapon, type of grenades, perks, and attachments. For example, my favorite set is:
Primary- M16 / Red Dot Scope / Red Tiger Camo
Secondary- Desert Eagle
Special Grenade- Stun
Secondary- Desert Eagle
Special Grenade- Stun
Perk 1- Frag Grenade x3
Perk 2- Stopping Power
Perk 3- Deep Impact
Perk 2- Stopping Power
Perk 3- Deep Impact
The weapons and their attachments are pretty self-explanatory, but the perks are a little more in-depth. Perks are different advantages that you assign to one of your classes. You can use them to enhance your specific skills, or you can just mess around and see which perks work together. A list of all unlockable perks and their descriptions can be found here. There are three set groups that you have to choose from to select your perks. For instance, you can’t use Stopping Power AND Juggernaut because they are both in the Perk 2 category. Which perks you use, and how you use them, is the key to being successful.
When you eventually reach level 55, you will have unlocked the option of prestiege mode. If you choose to go through with prestiege mode you will start over at level one. You have to unlock all your weapons, perks, challenges, and attachments all over again. Once you’ve “prestieged” you’ll have a special mark next to your username that shows everyone else you’ve done prestieged. You don’t have to go through with it right away so you can have fun with everything unlocked. You can prestiege up to ten times (that’s 550 levels total), after that just sit back, relax, and know that there is no more pressure. Just so you know, if you don’t prestiege, get ready for a lot of verbal abuse!
Conclusion: If you don’t buy Call of Duty 4 you will miss out on one of the greatest games ever made. It is definitely a top tier, game of the year 2007 contender. In the words of X-Play, “Call of Duty 4 doesn’t revolutionize first person shooting, but it comes damn close to perfecting it.” With such amazing story-telling, gameplay, graphics, and sound I don’t think we’ll see a modern-day shooter that can compete with it until Infinity Ward’s next Call of Duty game.”