CoD4 Progress Report #1

CoD4 Grenades

CoD4 Progress Report #1

I’ve slowly been making my way through Call of Duty 4 on Veteran (the hardest) difficulty setting. It isn’t too bad, except for a few key sequences that are exceptionally hard. Ridiculously hard. omg-i’m-going-to-beat-QA-to-death-with-my-controller hard.


If I meet someone who tested these sequences,… they better hope they have quick load handy.

At this point, I am generally abusing the fact that my AI compatriots are invulnerable. I try to have them breach and clear the house first, since if I turn a corner and actually see someone the only breaching done is the kind that keeps you in the shower scrubbing yourself raw and mumbling.

Of course, they never actually follow you. They only move from point to point as you cross invisible trigger lines. Most of these are actually in the houses themselves. It is another reason why Star Wars: Republic Commando is the best squad FPS game made. If you ever need to retreat, they will retreat further. If a grenade needs to be thrown back, you had better throw it. If covering fire and assault needs to be made, be prepared to cover yourself. It is not that they are incapable of doing any of these actions. On the contrary, when they do do them they do it perfectly. It is triggering this behavior that is tricky. The AI is a crack shot when it has a clear shot, but couldn’t hit a barn hiding behind a fence. Often they will slightly avoid (but hardly at all) a grenade blast. Still, on this high of a difficulty you are reliant on them helping you. If the enemies aren’t shooting at them, then they are shooting at you. They never miss, and you are roughly 3 hits of automatic fire away from looking at how well the grass is rendered.

These frustrating sequences average one a level, but I have only encountered about 4 so far that took me a significant number of retries to pass. They exist because there are some instances where the enemies have cover, you must assault their position, and they respawn until you do. These must be tense, exciting moments on the other difficulties, but unless every enemy dies just right, your squad assaults perfectly, and the respawn times correctly (to not happen), Random Soviet Trooper will pick you off as you run towards your goal.

For each of these sequences, there are large sections of perfectly playable and fun gameplay. The enemies and challenge is just right to be a tense experience. It is only when you are forced to repeat a single minute of gameplay 45 times, so long that it is equal to the entire length of the rest of the level, that the game’s Veteran difficulty begins to feel a bit masochistic.

The other sequences, the scripted feel of the missions, is a definite strength. Every encounter feels epic in some way. One of the last missions I played had to be done entirely in stealth, as you hid in tall grass avoiding an entire platoon of enemy soldiers and tanks. The entire level was scripted as you followed a superior officer around patrols of guards, dogs, and APCs. It was quite fun, and one of my favorite levels in an FPS.

Overall, NOT everyone should play on Veteran difficulty. Initially it is not so bad, but the game definitely ramps up in difficulty. As many have pointed out, “go with what the training tells you.” If it tells you Veteran, then you are already an achievement whore who is willing to play the training level 40+ times to get a time under 20 seconds. And only Veteran will give you those achievements for beating the levels.