A couple of weeks ago I ended up buying ‘Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’ (Wikipedia). The game, as the title suggests, is situated in today’s world (instead of the usual WWII setting): the single player portion delivers a slightly unrealistic story about a revolution in an (unspecified) Arab country and ties that together with a storyline about a nationalist faction in Russia. You play two officers: a staff sergeant in the USMC and an SAS operative and (obviously) your job is to stop the terrorists at all cost (no, really).
Before I continue to elaborate on the single player missions: I was pleasantly surprised about the hardware requirements: I had no problems running it on my current preferred setup. The game has excellent frame rates at a 800×600 resolution: with a higher end duo-core 2 processor (5600 and higher) and a better graphics card (Nvidia 7200 and greater) you should be able to run COD4 comfortably on 1024×768 or higher, that is, including shadows and that. So: if you bought a computer just recently (lets say, a half year to a year ago) you should be able to run this game provided that it came with a 3D capable card (NVIDIA or ATI that will be). Parents, do notice that this game is rated ‘M’ (17 years+ older).
The main critique on the game is that the single player mode is way too short: If you play the game on ‘medium’ level, you should be able to finish it off in about 4 hours. What you get for that is a remarkable story flow that brings you around the world, amazing cut-scenes and varied gameplay: I think most players will agree that (although macabre and cynical), the ‘AC-130 gunner’ mission is one of the (brilliant) highlights. There are some tough firefights (particularly the missions set in that ‘Arab’ country) but none of them come close to the ‘I give up’ feeling: they’re generally well-done and well-scripted. At the end there’s an extra mission and when that one’s over, the game unlocks an ‘Arcade mode’. I didn’t really care about that mode, but it may fit your keyboard (and mouse) needs.
Which brings me to the Multi-player/online gameplay: the game takes over most of the game styles that you find in Counter-Strike: you can compete with your peers in Death Match and Domination (‘Capture the Flag’) tournaments. Infinity Ward added their own ranking system, which unlocks weapons and ‘perks’ (extras) at each level you reach. Additionally, obtaining new ranks opens up new ‘challenges’, which in turn allows you to rank faster. However, unique is that you can create custom classes (if you can’t pick, there are of course 5 default classes) which you can use to try out all these different weapon combinations and perks. If you have never played online before: it’s hectic, fast and fun. It seems that online play (however) is geared too much towards the ‘run and gun players’, even so at the ‘team multiplayer games’, like ‘Domination’ and ‘Search and Destroy’. If you’re on a console, you may (thus) have slight disadvantage (Yes, PS3 owners and XBOX owners can join in the online ‘slaughterfest’). A small word of advice: If you’re not used to play online with others, I recommend that you try playing the Free For All games first, so that you can get used to the speed and the ranking system. (This reminds me that I should try the multi-player ‘Ghost Recon’ and see if that online play is substantially different or not, since it’s heavily touted as a ‘tactical’ first person shooter).
So there you go: the game is too short, too easy, but has some brilliant missions in single player mode. In multi-player mode game-play can be hectic but (eventually) rewarding. There are some flaws: The most annoying one I thought was that single player and multi-player mode do not share the same key combinations (you need to set them separately). Also, ranking (in Multi-player) your character is limited to Infinity Ward’s approved levels: I hope this means that the developer will release new maps. After a while, playing the existing multi-player maps (16 in total, I believe) gets a bit boring.
On the overall, if you’re into FPS games and particularly online play, you should (definitely) check out Call Of Duty 4.
Minimum system requirements:
- CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.4 GHz/ AMD 64 2800+/ Intel and AMD 1.8 GHz Dual Core processors.
- RAM: 512 MB (XP), 768 MB (Vista)
- Video card: NVIDIA Geforce 6600 or better, or ATI Radeon 9800Pro or better
- Sound card: 100% DirectX 9.0c compatible
- HDD Space: 8GB free hard drive space.