Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Top Ten Favorite Games: #7—Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

It’s hard to think of a more “game changing” title—Call of Duty 4 is just that for this generation. There is no other game that comes even close. Sure, you could just point to the sales of the Call of Duty franchise as proof of how hugely successful these games are; that’s not enough though, just because a game is popular doesn’t mean it’s any good.

COD catches a lot of flak nowadays as an annualized franchise. It’s being squeezed out each year, with little improvement or advancement in between each title. That’s because everything that COD is now, and maybe anything it will ever be stems from the masterpiece that was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

My heart was leaping out of my chest during the singelplayer in COD4, it was a non stop adrenaline ride—sorry for the cliché, but it’s apt in this context. Sure if it were a movie it would probably be a cheesy Michael Bay action flick, but as a game, actually being in the shoes of a marine was such a haunting and exhilarating feeling.

There are so many levels were it’s just an “Oh, shit!” reaction—from experiencing what it’s like to be shot in the face (don’t know if anyone wants to know what that’s like?), to being in the middle of a nuclear blast at one point!

COD4 made you feel like a badass. You were untouchable as this team of U.S. Marines and British Special Force. It wasn’t new to be in a full-blown warzone in a game, but COD4 just made it feel more real. You could almost feel the air get hot behind your ears as bullets grazed passed your head. While now it’s standard fare, so may of the levels had a great atmosphere, and you could almost create an entire game off of just the concept from one of the missions.

But what’s made Call of Duty into the powerhouse franchise it is today is multiplayer.

Introducing pseudo-RPG aspects into a First Person Shooter was such a brilliant idea, and well it wasn’t wholly original--it was perfected in COD4. It was so satisfying to shoot someone, see those numbers appear over their heads, and get that guitar riff whenever you leveled up. Gaining experience led to new guns and perks that could be used to customize your playstyle. 

I'd never been addicted to competitive multiplayer--COD4 changed that!

Unlike recent Cal of Duty’s, COD4 was a much more balanced affair. Not just in the tangible sense (all the guns in COD4 just feel so much better than any other COD) but with killstreaks and the decline in the level of competition.

I won’t get into how much “camping” has hurt most multiplayer games like COD—I’ll just say because COD4 wasn’t the phenomenon that it’s successors have been it was a more pure game (less people played it, but the people who played were exceptionally skillful), when you met someone with actual expertise, you knew it. And it was a better experience. Now people just camp in order to get killstreaks…I understand the thinking, but COD4 wasn’t about individual killstreaks, it was about teamwork.

I still play Call of Duty now…who doesn’t? But those who played Call of Duty 4 know that’s where the title was at it’s absolute best. No First Person Shooter has a better combination of singleplayer and multiplayer than Call of Duty 4.

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