Visually mindblowing, COD4 provides you with an enormous arsenal of real-world weapons to hack and chop at the seams of international terrorism.Call of Duty 4 is one of the most anticipated first-person-shooters of 2007, and we’re happy to report that it doesn’t disappoint. In fact, if it had arrived earlier in the year, it would have been a strong contender for our game of the year. Visually mindblowing, it provides you with an enormous arsenal of real-world weapons to hack and chop at the seams of international terrorism, in two rich story threads that converge for the finale.
Cinematic flair abounds. In one moment, you’re in the interactive shoes of a captured president, violently dragged to his place of televised execution. Beyond that, it’s non-stop shooting in the creek-saturated boots of a British SAS section in the former USSR and the dust-caked goggles of a platoon of US Marines in the Middle East. So, what’s new?
In these battles, there’s now widespread material penetration; the modelling of bullets punching through insubstantial objects. This is a doff of the hat to realism, and it’s a nice improvement. Taking cover in the game doesn’t make use of a specific mechanism, as in GRAW 2 or Gears of War – you’ll rather need to duck, lie flat and stand up as required to peer over things. You also can’t really choose different directions of attack and retreat, or even slight detours. Thankfully, like the space-age Master Chief, your character can absorb unlimited bullets in his lifetime, just as long as he doesn’t take too many hits in a given five-second block of time. Fun takes priority over science.
CoD4 lacks the flexible-open areas and hence the choice of attack vector you’ll find in games like GRAW 2 and Medal of Honour: Airborne. Still, any complaints with CoD: 4 can really be distilled down into criticisms of the game style. While it’ll irk some military enthusiasts, and those who like really open-ended gameplay, the set pieces have been so immaculately constructed that anybody can immediately appreciate the hard work that’s gone into polishing this game. The fully rounded, extensive multiplayer mode is just delicious icing on the cake.
CoD: 4 is supposed to throw you into a relentless avalanche of action and suspense, and in this it flawlessly succeeds. If anything, the game’s near-seamless loading and rapid transitions between levels will have you accidentally staying up ‘til 5am after starting up “just a quick five-minute session”. But this just illustrates the game’s amazing magnetic draw and Infinity Ward’s ability to create a stunningly compelling world.