Moving away from cliché World War 2 story types of the past, developer Infinity Ward brings players a fresh new experience in the modern world of terrorism and nuclear warfare. For those of you who are still stuck playing Resistance Fall of Man, with nothing else available to help make your PS3 shine, look no further - Call of Duty 4 offers everything and more with its photo realistic graphics to its thrilling multiplayer gameplay.
To start things off, let’s talk about the single player. In Call of Duty 4, players will traverse across many different countries playing as two different soldiers. The game begins with Sgt. John "Soap" MacTavish, and a young Capt. Price boarding a barge from helicopter during a storm on the sea. This part of the story plays as prologue, 15 years before the general events of the game take place.
What’s great about this opening level (entitled “Crew Expendable”) is it helps the player get fully immersed in the action. After you collect the target data, the ship is hit with a missile and it’s a race to the top before the water gushing in entraps you and your squad. The tilting camera as the ship sinks and soundtrack alone get your blood pumping.
After the prologue, players move to present day, taking control of U.S. Marine, Sgt. Paul Jackson. Shipped to the Middle East, Sgt. Jackson must find and terminate a terrorist group lead by a man named Imran Zakhaev. What’s so bad about this guy you say? Well the fact that he has nuclear missiles and is leading a revolt to return Russia to its former self as the Soviet Union, kind of makes him a little on the unpopular side.
As you progress through the first Act one of the more appealing levels has to be “The Bog”. Taking place at night, players will have the primary objective to save a crew of an Abrams tank stranded in the desert. What’s unique about The Bog is that this is the first level you utilize night vision as well as lock on rockets. Also, it was one of the first levels to show off Call of Duty 4’s A.I. Players will notice that not only will enemies take cover and throw grenades, but they will flank you, deploying units from multiple angles using cover fire to engage you and your fellow troops.
At the end of Act I, Sgt. Jackson finds himself caught in a nuclear explosion. After extracting fellow commutates, terrorists detonate a nuclear bomb in the center of the Middle Eastern capital, wiping out all entering U.S. forces as well as the escape helicopter Sgt. Jackson is aboard. Surviving the crash, you crawl out onto the desolate terrain only to die moments later for radiation poisoning.
Once Act I is over, players jump in the shoes of Sgt. John "Soap" MacTavish, seen earlier in the prologue. Teamed up with Captain Price, players move from the Middle East to areas in and outside of Russia. Everything from stealth sniper action to Rambo style demolition missions follow, eventually leading to a cool slow-motion matrix style shoot out with the ultimate nemesis you’ve been tracking throughout the whole game.
When looking at mission types, Call of Duty 4 offers a wide range of different objectives that you and your squad must accomplish, some very linear and some offering multiple paths to your checkpoints. Things you may encounter include everything from defending specific locations to rescuing and escorting VIP members to safe extraction points.
For example, in “All Gillied Up”, you must sneak your way into an encampment using the grass cover of your gilly suit. Once in position, you use your sniper rifle to assassinate a lead terrorist, only to be followed by waves of enemy troops and attack dogs. After you make it through the surging enemy forces you and your teammate must run to the extraction point where your helicopter is waiting.
All together the single player campaign should keep you occupied for at least 8-9 hours, if not more. Once you’ve beaten the game, be sure to stay around for after the credits, as there is an Epilogue taking place on what looks to be Air Force One. Also, once you’ve completed the game for your first time, new modes such as Arcade and Cheats will be available. If you decide to play through Arcade mode, this could add another 8-10 hours to your game time as you’ll gather points for an accumulative high score at the end of each level. Either way, Call of Duty 4’s single player campaign is more than satisfactory for a first person shooter and if you get bored there is always multiplayer.
Now when gamers think first person shooter multiplayer, they usually think of generic death match, team death match, and the occasional CTF game modes. However, in this case, Call of Duty 4 breaks outside the box and goes leaps and bounds to offer one of the most in-depth online modes available. With a total of 12 different match types, over 16 multiplayer maps, hundreds of unlockable objectives, and the ability to create custom gear packages, Call of Duty 4 could easily be named the best online game of the year. The only let down however, was at the time of this writing, Infinity Ward was having problems with their servers and being disconnected from games happened quite often.
Another great feature found in Call of Duty 4 has to be the “Perks” system. This mechanic allows you to choose special abilities for your online character. As you level up new abilities or specific ammo will be unlocked. There are three different perk sets each with their own skills. For example choices for Perk 1 include; C4 charges, Claymores, and RPG-7 rockets. As for the other two perk sets, choices include things such as “Stopping Power” which increases bullet damage and “Eavesdrop” which allows you to listen in to enemy voice chat. This new feature adds even more replay value to Call of Duty 4’s multiplayer and helps provide even more customization to your character.
The match types that are offered include; Free-For-All, Team Death match, Ground War, Team Objective, Team Tactical, Search and Destroy, Headquarters, Domination, Sabotage, Team Hardcore, Old School, and Oldcore. Now if you are interested in the maps available, they include; Ambush, Blacklot, Bloc, Bog, Countdown, Crash, Crossfire, District, Downpour, Overgrown, Pipeline, Shipment, Strike, Showdown, Vacant and Wet Work. Plenty of options to keep the online user busy for months to come.
Looking for a title to show off for its graphics and smooth gameplay? Call of Duty 4 has it all. Running at a solid 60fps, Infinity Ward has done an amazing job at bringing both stunning visuals and life like animation together on the PlayStation 3. Even in the heat of battle when everything around you is exploding and bullets are whistling from every direction, the framerate still remains smooth. Everything from the shadows and lighting in the environments to the particle effects of the grenades and textures on the character models, Call of Duty 4 is by far one of the best looking titles on the PS3.
In terms of controls, first person shooter fans should have no problems here. Fitted to be both familiar, yet unique to the style of gameplay, players will find the button layout nicely synched to what should feel comfortable in a FPS. Even the controls in multiplayer for when using airstrikes and calling in ally helicopters works perfectly as its set to the D-pad and not in the way of your general button scheme.
To finish things up, I’ll talk about the music and sound effects found in the Call of Duty 4 title. If you have played past Call of Duty games you known one of the best things about them is that the sound alone makes the weapons feel real, and the musical score helps bring the mood together. Whether it’s an intense scene of rushing water spilling into a hewn barge, or the subtle ambience of the trees and wavering grass, the sound effects in Call of Duty 4 add that extra oomph to make your total immersion complete.
All together, Call of Duty 4 succeeds in nearly every department, making it a must own for PlayStation 3 gamers. If you are looking for a title that not only offers a great single player experience, but one that will have you playing online for years to come, Call of Duty 4 is the game for you.
-The Final Word-
Combining an intense single-player campaign with addicting online multiplayer, Call of Duty 4 is one of the first must buy titles of the holiday season.