Call of Duty 4 is Infinity Ward’s third development in the franchise, and they have truly raised the bar. The story is set in the modern-day as opposed to World War II and takes the player to not only the Middle-East, but also to Russia along it’s plot.
Gameplay: In typical Call of Duty style, you will play as several characters in the game. The character you play as most and probably considered the main character of the plot, is Sgt John ‘SOAP’ MacTavish, a British SAS trooper. The interesting thing about how they work the ‘jumping’ between characters is that sometimes the character you are playing is meant to die as part of the plot. While in some games this would not be an issue, when a character dies in Call of Duty 4, you have an emotional response to it. Whether it be a feeling of sadness for a fallen comrade, or revenge and righteousness (and even some guilt thrown in for good measure at having those feelings) for a dead enemy. The game sucks you in and just wont let go!
The AI of the NPCs around you, your squad’s and the enemy’s, is very well written. They work in teams and will go for cover and choose the appropriate weapons for a situation on their own. It is so well done, in fact, you can forget they are computer-controlled.
The battles can be a bit monotonous in one respect as no matter how many bad guys you shoot in an area, they just keep spawning until you reach your objective marker. While keeping the game intense, this can loosen the game’s realistic-style, as a two bedroom shanty can only hold so many troops before you start thinking ‘clown-car’ or, worse yet, ‘What were those thirty guys doing in there?’
A great feature of the ‘realistic’ shooter, is the ability for weapons (depending on caliber) to be able to penetrate surfaces (depending on the type). If you are in CQB, waiting for an enemy to pop from behind a wall: don’t! Just shoot through the cheap wall and drop the bastard where he hides.
Graphics: Call of Duty 4 features beautiful graphics. While not as cutting edge as, say: Crysis, they are well done with excellent texturing and lighting, not to mention the environmental effects. Most importantly, even with 4xAA turned on at 1920×1200 resolution, the game runs smooth as silk!
Sound: Sound is very important in Call of Duty 4, as it is a huge giveaway of an enemy’s position. Also, the weapon sounds are, for the most part, recorded from the actual weapon. The vocal work is excellent, adding to the ‘cinematic’ quality of the game. Even the small details such as the rustling grass and bouncing shells add to the immersion factor.
Music: Scored by Harry Gregson-Williams, who has contributed musically on such films as ‘The Rock’ and ‘Armageddon’, the score is beautifully rich with military cadence and ‘action movie’ theming.
Conclusion: Infinity Ward has delivered a rock-solid game that goes a long way to creating an ‘interactive movie’ that pulls you into it’s story and takes you on an adrenaline-filled roller coaster ride until it’s finished. It would be foolish to miss out on this game.