Sunday, December 16, 2007

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare First Impressions

Yesterday, I got the opportunity to play on the new Call of Duty from Infinity Ward, set in the modern world. I managed to play both the single player and the multiplayer, and I can assure you it is a first class shooter and a much needed break from World War 2!

The single player is, at first, a little strange, particularly if you are coming from Halo 3, which most 360 owners will be, as you can only jump about 1ft in the air. Also, if you want to shoot with any kind of accuracy, you need to enter aim mode. However, once you get in to it, the feeling is exhilarating. You genuinely believe you are in a SWAT team. This is largely due to the team chatter. Which, unlike basically every other game ever, doesn't just say them same 3 lines over again ("Tango down") Another thing which also goes quite a long way towards making you feel is the graphics. Except for the odd thing which randomly looks terrible, like the opening water,the graphics, lighting and rain are spot on. Oddly, the game doesn't apply physics to everything, like most ultra hi-def shooters do. The environments, despite this, feel realistic.

Remarkably, I didn't want to spend loads of time looking round, like I usually do. This is, once again, down to the fact you feel like you are a member of the SAS. The missions are compelling, and there are beautiful set pieces round every single corner. I am not exaggerating, there is literally no breaks in the action. Although this does make the game more action packed the Matrix Reloaded, you never get to spend half as long as you would like to at each battle because you need to keep going. Although I haven't played though all of the single player, I have heard that it is short. I think this density can be blamed for that and a little spreading out would also make the fighting even more intense.

Then, I tried the multiplayer, and while it still may need to stand the test of time, I think we genuinely have a rival for Halo MP. The fun class system, servers and very little voice chat makes the games seem more akin to a PC shooter than a console shooter. The game also adds dynamics such as being able to call in a Helicopter to aide you if you get 5 kills in a row. At first this feels cheap, but once you get near 5 kills and you have worked out you can take down the helicopter, it makes the combat much frenetic, as your death is worth more than just one point. Although I only got to try a couple of maps in Team Death Match, I am hooked. The class system, while may not be as crucial in this as say, Day of Defeat, does add an interesting dimension to the multiplayer, particularly with the perks system, where you can choose 3 special abilities, like drop grenades when you die! All in all the multiplayer is great and while on time will tell if it is as addictive as Halo, I believe this could be the game to topple Halo.

This game has jumped in to my "Want to get for my 360" list, a great honour indeed. I can safely recommend this to all PC shooters players as the game is as close to a PC shooter as you are ever going to get. Console shooters, be warned, this is NOT Halo. There is no bunny jumping and beat down really is a last resort. Please don't let that put you off though, providing you are prepared to play it realistically, you have a highly refined and truly polished game. Once again, I find myself taking my hat of to Infinity Ward (Call of Duty also warranted a nod of the hat)

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