2007 Reviews

Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

  • Review Date: 2011-01
  • Release Date: 2007-11
  • Developer: Infinity Ward
  • Rating: 8.5

Note: this review is based on the single player portion of this game only, as are all my other reviews.

Unfortunately Call Of Duty 3 skipped the PC market, so PC gamers had to wait two years for Infinity Ward to follow up 2005's COD2 with Modern Warfare in late 2007. COD2 was a solid game, but it didn't bring anything new to shooters. I gave it an average 7.5/10.

Almost every critic puts either COD4, Bioshock Portal/Orange Box or Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii as their game of the year. Nothing else is mentioned, not even Crysis. Let's exclude Super Mario Galaxy - that doesn't interest me in the slightest bit. Portal was a nifty little diversion, but let's be honest; it's only considered game of the year because it brought something a little different to gaming in it's puzzle solving. It also features a cute story, but it's environments weren't very impressive and it only last a couple hours. I couldn't consider that for game of the year.

So 2007 GOTY is definitely between Bioshock (which I'm yet to play), COD4 and Crysis. Nothing else really comes close. Timeshift and Stranglehold are my next highest rated games. There might have been more action games in 2007 than any year before it, but it doesn't mean they were all good. So far, without playing Bioshock, I would, without a doubt, put Crysis well ahead of COD4.

Gamespy gives COD4 a perfect 100% score, as do several other critics. Just about every major critic rates it higher than 90%. While COD4 is great, it's far from perfect. It confuses me how any game can be given a perfect score unless it is perfect and has no room for improvement.

Let's get to the visuals first - which clearly aren't even close to Crysis. They're still some of the best of the year using Infinity Ward's own engine. But it's great visuals come down to the designers, not the graphics engine. Having just played 2008's Quantum Of Solace and seeing how average that looked, it's definitely the creativity and detail packed into each level that makes this game look good. There's a lot of variety in settings as you play; mostly throughout the middle east and Russia, such as the ghost city of Pripyat. Admittedly, Pripyat looks better here than what S.T.A.L.K.E.R. did with it. COD4 is certainly one of the best looking games of 2007.

The gameplay does nothing new for the franchise, or the realistic shooting genre, at all. Sure it's great fun, again one of the most fun games of the year, but it's the same meaningless guns that all feel the same. The same human enemies over and over again with no variety and little to even distinguish them from your own team mates. The A.I. is, however, quite decent. Enemies will retreat, change positions and hide behind objects. This isn't a cover shooter, thank god, but you will need to use cover all throughout the game. The fact that you get a bit more health than Quantum of Solace gives you a bit of breathing room and makes the game much more enjoyable.

Finally the story - and this is where COD4 is lacking a bit. Initially you're on the hunt for a middle eartern terrorist/leader, then his arms dealer. The cutscenes between the eighteen main levels are pretty cheap - there's no real cinematic storytelling. There's no character depth - all I knew was that my characters name was Soap. 2008's Brothers In Arms was far superior at the storytelling, and it too was a realistic war shooter.

So overall we have some good fun gameplay - though nothing new over previous COD's, a great looking game - but not the best of 2007, and a fairly average storyline. Does this make a perfect, or close to perfect game? Hell no.

It comes down to this - when I finished Crysis I then played through hours and hours of fan-made maps and mods. COD4 doesn't have any fan-made releases, not even graphical enhancements of which Crysis had many. Even if it did, the short playtime of COD4 (easily under 10 hours) was enough. I wouldn't want to sit through another 15 hours worth. Hell, even S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has dozens of feature-rich fan-made mods. So for me it's no contest - Crysis is the better game.

COD4 is definitely the best of the franchise so far, and better than all it's competitors such as the Tom Clancy games and Medal Of Honor. But there's still room for improvement in this great game.