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Platform(s): PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: Infinity Ward
I start this review off with an apology. Extended to the mass of Blend Games readers out there, this apology is headed in your general direction. You see, logistically speaking, this review of Infinity Ward's latest installment into the Call of Duty franchise, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is long over-due. In fact, the review should have been out the day the game released so you loyal enthusiasts would know whether to buy or save your money.
Unfortunately, game journalists are human too. And, like you, sometimes we get caught up in the momentum that is a top-notch game. The fact of the matter is, upon buying Call of Duty 4 for the PS3, I haven't put down my controller. I didn't know I had to set aside a minimum of 5 days just to soak in the awesomeness. Needless to say, my social life, health and education all took a backseat the second the Game Stop clerk handed me my change and bagged the game.
Putting the disc in, you're greeted with a to-be-expected CGI sequence of epic proportions. Needless to say, the action never really strays far from this brand of balls to the wall, "shoot first and ask questions later" brand of carnage. Infinity Ward has taken close care of this title, ensuring that even the remedial initial training missions have your heart racing.
The story line is engrossing; you play as either an American Marine or British S.A.S, working towards a common goal of stopping the cooperation between middle-eastern extremism and the nuclear interests of Russia. Most levels are fast and frantic but the developers did a great job of including a variety of mission types. Your levels range from sniper maps to shooting out of a truck careening down a highway. You even get to man an AC-130 cannon! The variety is fantastic and truly gives meaning to a well rounded game. In addition, A.I. is of the highest caliber. Your teammates will pick up enemy grenades and lob them back, they'll duck and cover behind trucks and pop smoke grenades in order to run from cover to cover.
More exciting, however, is the multiplayer mode. Infinity Ward had to structure their online matchmaking service from the ground up for the Playstation Network. We were all skeptical about it, but sure enough they came through. You start as a level 1 private and gain experience points as you keep playing online. Capturing bases, flags, killing enemies and completing weapons challenges all contribute to your XP and subsequently, raise your rank. With higher ranks come more game modes, customization options, weapons and 'perks'. Perks are little advantages you can give your character to maximize survival on the battlefield. Such perks include rocket launchers, increased aim, faster health boosts and even martyrdom (a perk where you drop a grenade upon dying in the event that you kill an enemy with it). A standout feature is the prestige mode, where once you achieve all the ranks, you turn your rank over to the prestige mode in exchange for a special insignia. This can be done 10 times, changing or modifying your ranks insignia each time. Ultimately, the replay value of this is seemingly infinite.
The game isn't without its flaws, however. Little can be said about the length of the single player campaign – I finished it in one 6 hour sitting on the regular difficulty. Infinity Ward tried to make up for this through the inclusion of an Arcade mode which you are granted after you have the game beat.
In addition, push-to-talk is not an included option in multiplayer games. What this means is, if you have a microphone, it automatically detects noise and relays it to the server…ANY NOISE. Such noises include, but are not limited to: Eating, breathing, car alarms, coughing, sneezing, yelling mothers, cats, dogs, farts, burps, ringing telephones, and general existence. While convenient, hearing a 9 year old's plea to his mother for "5 more minutes" isn't exactly what I want to hear when I'm saving the Western world from nuclear holocaust.
Nevertheless, if you haven't picked this game up yet, you definitely should. Be prepared to dedicate some time to it as it is addictive and enthralling. Infinity Ward has done an excellent job at keeping this title loyal to the quality we have come to associate this brand with.
Not to spoil this for anyone, but when you beat the single player campaign, don't rush through the credits – Infinity Ward included something 'extra special' for us PS3 owners.