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Old 11-13-2007, 01:14 PM   #1
Dr.Finger
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[360] - Call of Duty 4 Review

Title - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Platform - Xbox 360. Also on: Playstation 3, Windows XP/Vista
Developer - Infinity Ward
Publisher - Activision
ESRB Rating - M (17+)
MSRP - $59.99
Editor - Michael "Dr.Finger" Chauvet

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare



The Call of Duty series is already nearly legendary for doing the impossible - making itself the clear class of an insanely crowded World War II shooter field. Now, after three installments set against the backdrop of the European theater, Infinity Ward has moved the game into modern times, with spectacular results.

The presentation of the game is flawless. Graphics are crisp, smooth and very pretty. Character animations are very nice and all of the textures seem fairly high res. The sound design really draws you into the experience, and gamers with good speaker systems can accurately identify where fire is coming from through the sound alone. The controls are pretty much FPS-standard fare, but they're tuned so well that you never really think about them. Each of the guns

You begin the game as Sergeant John "Soap" MacTavish of the 22nd regiment of the British SAS (Special Air Service). After a short tutorial, which also serves to gauge the skill level of the player, you're thrown right into the action. You'll switch between Soap and Marine Sergeant Paul Jackson as the action moves between an unnamed Middle Eastern rogue nation and a former Soviet state that pines for the glory days of the USSR. I won't spoil any of the plot points or twists in the game, but suffice it to say that the fate of millions of innocents rests in the hands of you and your squad. Your squad also seems to have more personality than in previous iterations of the series, mostly because you'll be seeing a few of the same few faces throughout the game instead of the more interchangeable/disposable NPC of earlier games.


Like the previous Call of Duty games the single player campaign is highlighted by several super-intense battle scenes. You'll be tearing a level up when, all of a sudden, you find yourself surrounded and taking fire from all sides. At times I really lost myself in the game, even breaking out in nervous sweats when I couldn't see who was shooting at me through the haze of smoke from the bombs dropping nearby. The pacing of the game is also excellent, as the easier stretches of the game get shorter and less frequent and the 'oh %^$#' moments get more common as you progress through the game. However all of this intensity comes at a price, namely the length of the game. A veteran FPS gamer can probably beat the whole campaign in two or three days on normal. Also there is no co-op play in the campaign. Co-op, and really good co-op, has become so common now that it's remarkable when a big title like this omits it completely. There is some replay value - playing through again on hardened or veteran difficulty or trying to get all of the achievements - but the fact remains that you're paying $60 for a 7-10 hour game. Good thing there's multiplayer.

Multiplayer, when you can get into a game, is an absolute blast. In a departure from standard FPS operating procedure CoD4's MP mode revolves around an almost RPG-like experience system. You begin at level one with a handful of limited weapons load-outs and only a few game types available to you in the matchmaking mode. As you gain experience, for things like kills, headshots, captures and playing for the winning team, you level up. As you gain in levels more and more options are opened up. You can create custom weapon loadouts, choosing a primary weapon, a sidearm, a special grenade and up to three 'perks'. These perks, such as more health, added ammo, and the ability to whip out your sidearm just before death in a 'Last Stand', also slowly become available as you climb the ladder and really let players customize their character to match their style. Chances are you won't see too many people playing the game exactly the same way once you begin to go up the ladder. It would have been nice to customize the look of your character a little, but you can't have everything. You also have a series of challenges to complete for experience bonuses, most of which are also a cleverly designed tutorial, which encourages you to learn different facets of the gameplay. In fact, there are exactly zero Achievements for this game that are acquired through multiplayer; you can only earn Gamerpoints in campaign, and experience points online.


Unfortunately here we come to the next bump in the road - the matchmaking system. Maybe Halo 3 spoiled me, but the method in which you choose matches is sorely lacking. In public matches, the only ones in which you can earn XP and challenge points, you can have up to nine friends in a party, but more often than not you'll lose at least one member somewhere between the chat lobby and the start of the game. You also can't enter into a game that's already in progress, so very often one member or another of a group gets left out of the fun for at least a game or two. There's also a bit of lag at times, but generally not enough to ruin the experience. If you want to play sans-party the connection seems to go a bit smoother, but then you're subjected to the, ahem, colorful characters that inhabit Xbox Live (Shitcock!). These are complaints that most likely can be fixed in a patch, but it's still enough of a flaw to drag the game as a whole down just a bit.

Bottom Line:
Call of Duty 4 accomplishes something rare in today's games - a tremendous single-player campaign combined with an equally stellar multiplayer experience. The relatively short campaign, the lack of co-op play and a few small, but frequently annoying, technical speedbumps in multiplayer are all that keep this one from truly stratospheric heights.
Score: 4 out of 5 EvilEyes


The Good
+ Engrossing and compelling campaign
+ Top notch audio and visual design
+ Terrific online multiplayer

The Bad
- Multiplayer matchmaking is frustratingly spotty
- The campaign is short. Too short.
- No co-op

The Ugly
° The shattered mess you'll leave your controller in after the tenth time you get punted out of a room in multiplayer
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:19 PM   #2
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If it makes anyone feel better, the multiplayer is broken on all three versions.
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:20 PM   #3
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Hmm, glad I'm not the only one having slight multiplayer problems. Sometimes when I am in a party, I get disconnected out of the game. It's irritating, but once I get in a game, it is such a blast to play and adore every minute of it. I also particularly like the subtle music added in the multiplayer at the end of a match. Like said in the EvAv show, it looks like Marty was proven incorrect about not finding a way to add music into a multiplayer game.

I love this game, now I need to work on those achievements (360/1000).
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:22 PM   #4
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Slight multiplayer errors would be fine. The mess we've experienced two nights ago was horrible. Then again, there's to many good things about the game to stop playing it.
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:23 PM   #5
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Yeah, the PC version has connection issues. You can fix them by increasing the timeout to a minute or more but why should it take that long to connect to a server and for the server to validate your key? It shouldn't, which is presumably why the default timeout is shorter than currently required. Maybe the auth server is getting hammered, if so it will smooth out over the next couple weeks.
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:25 PM   #6
Vermillion
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It's obvious you didn't review the Single Player on Veteren difficulty, because it would be counted in the Bad and Ugly section. Tremendous single player is pretty much laughable on this difficulty and you can read that by numerous posters that played on that level here at EvAv.

I think this review needs some qualifiers and a more thorough review of the different difficulties. The single player is too short, the lack of a cover system or ability to even lean (PC has lean, console doesn't) is a huge negative, the AI compensation for difficulty is for it to blatently cheat, etc. etc. I could go on and on, but I've said my piece on this game and you can read those opinions and others in various threads here.

Fun, easy and laid back multiplayer. Thoroughly average and sometimes disappointing single player. I'd say the average user playability of this game is going to be roughly 3 weeks before it gets shelved.
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:42 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Vermillion View Post
the lack of a cover system or ability to even lean (PC has lean, console doesn't) is a huge negative,
This is where we disagree. I don't miss the lean. And as for cover system- it's there. It's called choosing when to crouch or go prone and hide behind cover. I actually prefer it over the "glue yourself to the wall" type of system.
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:47 PM   #8
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once your in and playing it's awesome! Great multiplayer game.
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:54 PM   #9
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This is where we disagree. I don't miss the lean. And as for cover system- it's there. It's called choosing when to crouch or go prone and hide behind cover. I actually prefer it over the "glue yourself to the wall" type of system.
I totally agree. I saw comments on Penny-arcade that indicated there was NO cover system and I was like "shit, I can't duck behind cover like in normal games?" then when I played I went "oh they are complaining you can't actually click to go into cover".

Not a huge deal at all.
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:55 PM   #10
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Play it on Veteren and then come back here and tell me that when the AI gets to use cover and lean and you can't, and the AI can shoot you before you can even see around the box you are hiding behind (because the best you can do is straife into the middle of a doorway), that this game isn't missing a cover/lean system. Until then, your opinion only applies to the penis optional level of difficulty.
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:57 PM   #11
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I didn't have any problems with multi till yesterday. I kept getting booted over and over again.
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Old 11-13-2007, 02:01 PM   #12
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I think the cover system is just fine. You find some cover, and you get behind it! I didn't like games like rainbow six and others where your character didn't feel very human. You couldn't jump in some games and you glued yourself to walls. Multi player for cod4 is great and all, but it still lacks some things. For instance, how come I can get on some objects, but not others of the same type? Only some dumpsters are structurally sound? The clan system is almost non-existent (PS3). Another thing, one of my bigger points, is how much games like this need a lobby system with a rooms list. I think any tactical online game such as this requires it. How can I setup a recruit room and practice at the same time? I think every online game that doesn't use a lobby/room system deserves a fail as far as multi player goes.
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Old 11-13-2007, 02:02 PM   #13
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Didn't even notice the lack of co-op. That sucks balls.
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Old 11-13-2007, 02:04 PM   #14
Bone
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Play it on Veteren and then come back here and tell me that when the AI gets to use cover and lean and you can't, and the AI can shoot you before you can even see around the box you are hiding behind (because the best you can do is straife into the middle of a doorway), that this game isn't missing a cover/lean system. Until then, your opinion only applies to the penis optional level of difficulty.
Nice try (penis optional, very clever) but I played on Hardened which already implements a lot of what you're saying there.

I also see where you're going with your actual point, but I find it doesn't affect my enjoyment of the game.
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Old 11-13-2007, 02:07 PM   #15
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I finally got to play the 360 version, and to be honest, the matchmaking seems to work much better on the PS3, especially how fast you actually join a lobby/game.

No matter what though, it's a great game on either system.
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Old 11-13-2007, 02:07 PM   #16
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Didn't even notice the lack of co-op. That sucks balls.
If you didnt notice it, it can't be that bad.

Co-op is nice, but I don't find it essential.
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Old 11-13-2007, 02:13 PM   #17
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If you didnt notice it, it can't be that bad.

Co-op is nice, but I don't find it essential.
I didn't notice cause I haven't really been playing aside from online with EvAv. My friend can get any new games until his B-day and Christmas, and then afterwards. I do find it kind of essential.
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Old 11-13-2007, 02:14 PM   #18
Vermillion
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Nice try (penis optional, very clever) but I played on Hardened which already implements a lot of what you're saying there.

I also see where you're going with your actual point, but I find it doesn't affect my enjoyment of the game.
There is such a dramatic difference in difficulty between hardened and veteren that I can't explain it to you. Go play Heat on Vet, go play No fighting in the War Room on Vet and then please come back and say the difference is negliable.

Not trying to be a dick, but a retarded one handed monkey could beat hardened difficulty. And it's a much more enjoyable game on hardened too, because it lacks any and all of the bs AI crap they used.
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Old 11-13-2007, 02:14 PM   #19
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The game sure is pretty, but the single player gameplay is still pretty darn basic for a shooter. I felt like I was playing CoD 2 again, with better graphics and in a new locale.

Say what you will about Halo having dumb allies when you play, but the battles were so dynamic that each playthrough could play out entirely differently.

not so for CoD.

Multi is a dream, though.
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Old 11-13-2007, 02:19 PM   #20
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There is such a dramatic difference in difficulty between hardened and veteren that I can't explain it to you. Go play Heat on Vet, go play No fighting in the War Room on Vet and then please come back and say the difference is negliable.
I will try that. But are you sure you aren't comparing Normal and Veteran, and not Hardened and Veteran?

Quote:
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Not trying to be a dick, but a retarded one handed monkey could beat hardened difficulty. And it's a much more enjoyable game on hardened too, because it lacks any and all of the bs AI crap they used.
I take offense sir! I consider myself a pretty good gamer and Hardened still became a very difficult task about halfway through the game. And again, are you sure you are talking about Hardened and not Normal? Because on Hardened, they DID use all the tactics you mentioned (leaning, holding guns over cover and firing, cheating your position, etc).
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