"Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare"
A modern game for modern players.
Publisher: Activision, Infinity Ward
Game systems: PC, PlayStation 3, XBox 360
Apart from the Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon and other Tom Clancy franchises, plus other titles like it, “Modern Warfare” proved to be the only real winner of its kind. It had the cautious, just-under-the-shadows feel of a contemporary war, just the right story-to-gameplay ratio, and a setting all too familiar to anybody who paid attention to the Middle East in the past four years. This game probably couldn’t have been released until recently because the setting parallels that of our current one to such a steep degree. I’d love to shake the hand of who came up with the idea for the scene during the opening credits; it’s so sinister and great that I give the game four stars for it alone.
What separates “Modern Warfare” from its brothers is just that; it’s modern. You’ll go through most of the game spraying Hadji and Ivan alike with an M4A1 Carbine, not a tommy gun, and at your hip sits an H&K USP .45 and not a Luger. You don’t even have to throw grenades anymore if you find a gun with a launcher.
Can’t see a bloody thing? Hold up on the directional pad to switch on night-vision. The control scheme is still there, and the health system remains the same.
I hear that most online gamers prefer “CoD 4” over its successor for its slew of cutting-edge firearms, and some of those same gamers hate Treyarch for “ruining ‘Call of Duty.’” Please, Infinity Ward-shippers (like worshippers). “World at War” would sneak up behind “Modern Warfare” out of the bushes, give it an unholy wedgie and call it a sissy for looking too pretty. “MW” is distinctly sleeker than “CoD 3” or “WaW.” It's very ... modern.
I like to look at video games as I would albums from a band: They can get better or worse depending on who makes them. If “X-Files” creator Chris Carter wanted to write an episode of “The Twilight Zone,” then I bet he could do it, but he’d have a heck of a task on his hands writing for “Seinfeld.” So if the wrong people are making things happen, then the wrong thing will be the product.
Not that this is the case with “Call of Duty”; quite the contrary, in fact. I feel like Infinity Ward and Treyarch, while under employment of Activision, are exactly the right people for the job. Infinity Ward dishes out a top-of-the-class game here that would rate five stars, except for two glaring flaws: It’s too short, a fault made even more apparent by a totally bogus, out-of-nowhere ending. Until it crashes to a screeching halt, it flies high all the way.
Matt Noyes is a TulsaPeople editorial intern. Have a video game you’d like him to review? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.