Call of Duty 4

2008-12-07 21:48:23

Call of Duty 4 (Xbox360)

I'm a sucker for First Person Shooters. Ever since the first encounter I had with them with Wolfenstein 3D, through the Doom, Quake, and Half-Life Lineages. I've watched FPS grow up with me. Recently someone changed the formula. FPS has split into 2 camps. First Person Shooters that involve run and gun in your face games like the Halo series, and Squad Tactical games. I'd like to place blame on the maturation of Squad Tactics to Gears of War, but that game is so horrible that I'd hate to reference it in a good way. So you can infer by my last sentence that I really enjoy my Squad games. I've played and beat GRAW2 , Rainbow Six: Vegas, and now Call of Duty 4.

To call Call of Duty 4 a beautiful game is an understatement on par with calling the Sistine Chapel's ceiling a nice way to fill blank space. Call of Duty 4 epitomizes the term next gen when it comes to games. It does next gen way better than Halo 3, but it's much too easy to draw contrast between the Bloom and Barbie Bling world of Halo 3 with it's shiny everything and hot purple accessories, and Call of Duty 4's smoke grenades and matte black assault weapon appearances. So instead of beating the dead horse that is Halo 3, let me get to Call of Duty 4.

When I first put the disc in my machine and started up the game I was amazed by the quality of the way that the guns were modeled down to the gunsights. The intro mission was nice and was a good way to judge skill. the mock up training map made for a good indicator of how things would play out if you wanted to do difficulties like Veteran(as in you'll be redoing it over and over until you get it right kind of way.)

The first live mission as Soap MacTavish puts you on a freighter barge in the middle of the ocean. the combat is light and fun, and the run back to the helicopter as the boat is sinking is incredible they did a great job modeling that out and you can see the great lengths they went to to make it believable. After that most missions can be broken up into 2 parts. Marines who fight almost all of their battles inside city streets or in vehicles, and S.A.S. who spend most of their time out in the wilderness and rural areas of the old U.S.S.R. The switch between the two groups is well executed and the suprise twists down the road are great.

I'm sure you are all thinking but Raging Geek, what is there to rage about in this game, everyone has been parading 10/10 and 9/10 reviews for it? Well, I'm glad you asked audience. My gripes with the game are in some cases minor but in some cases can be damn infuriating. The big one, my biggest frustration is the Infinite spawn of bad guys. When I first played through the game I felt I was under significant pressure and eventually figured out that hey if I kill terrorist x, a new terrorist x will show up performing the exact same animation sequence as original terrorist x. That's when the 4th wall shattered and I realized that I'm trapped in a terrorist factory with no hope of help. In order to shut off the pipe of infinite spawning baddies I and I ALONE have to move across a checkpoint, and once I do it only causes them to spawn further up the road. This in particular makes missions such as the last half of the sniper missions ridiculous because here I am a ghillied up sniper and I could be popping terrorrists all day with my M21 sniper but I will never thin the herd, they will keep coming until I switch to my AK47 and make a harried sprint to the checkpoint that turns off the spawn. It's only in a few places that this seems to be a shitty way to create tension, but those places become infuriating retries until you complete them and it renders any sniper rifle you might find or receive to use for a mission entirely useless unless your supposed to defend a point for x amount of time.

Another convention of Tactical Shooters you will see out there is Squad Control. Band of Brothers, Rainbow Six, and GRAW are known to allow you to have some say on what your team does. Unfortunately in Call of Duty 4, not only am I the sole person capable of stopping the horde of infinite terrorists, I am also surrounded by the most inept people for support. Most times when I get myself stuck I have to fight and retry until I get myself free, because I can never count on my friendly troops to kill the dog trying to rip out my throat, or clear the enemies pinning me into a shed. I have to do it alone, it becomes pretty obvious that my friendlies are only good for minor suppressing fire and mostly eye candy.

Aside from that the Enemy AI is pretty intelligent, making realistic strategic decisions in many places, and being just plain outright deadly in most cases. Veteran makes them more accurate and do more damage as well.

Multiplayer on Live is pretty awesome too, creating your own custom loadouts that range from being an utter fuckwad(Sonic Boom, Martyrdom, and Stun Grenades for ultimate asshattery) to being a super secret ninja (Silenced weapon, UAV Jammer, Dead Silence). Unfortunately there is a problem here too. It is in the use of Prestige Mode. Prestige mode is a way to reset all your challenges, unlocked guns, loadouts, and everything Live related back to lvl 1 like you just got the game in exchange for a special symbol by your name. Only problem here is that there isn't any other incentive other than being an Elite x10 Prestigious member. The problem there is that it's just not worth all the trouble to be a lvl 10 elite, you don't get anything special and most people don't care or even mention your Prestige rank. I myself do Prestige just because I like the added challenge of switching out back to square 1, but I'm a masochist, I play shitty games just to have the luxury to review them. Not everyone is that gifted.

Multiplayer everywhere else is utter shit. You can't co-mingle Live with Local play at all, and splitscreen is relegated to 15 loadout selections and no ability to customize the loadout what so ever. In addition if you try to play local play you can't play 4 player splitscreen and connect to another 360 to get 8 players all split screened on 2 units. 1 person per local play LAN unit, or 4 on 1 box. That's all you get, and it's a poorly thoughtout hacked up multiplayer experience and is nothing like the awesome that is online play.

For these reasons I am forced to give CoD4 a bill of 8/10 points for quality. Overall it's a beautiful game, and a fun game, but Local Multiplayer(it's a console not a computer, do the damn local play offers better next time.) and infinite enemies is a bit too much in most cases. A little tweaking and Call of Duty 5 might see much more perfect accolades.