I finally beat: Call of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare
Last week, or perhaps 2 weeks ago, I beat CoD4’s single player campaign. After much trial and error, I made it through a particularly hard spot near the end, where you have just a few minutes to beat a level (and don’t receive checkpoints unless you reach it with at least a certain amount of time on the clock). A couple of ‘I’m a fish in a barrel’ hallways filled with enemies later and the credits roll.
But it’s not over. After the credits is one final, extra mission. A mission where you must traverse through a plane filled with terrorists who can shoot through your cover within a 1 minute time limit. And the entire reason this article has been delayed until now. Did I beat it? Or did I give up after playing the same ONE GOD DAMN MINUTE OF MY LIFE FOR FIVE FUCKING HOURS?
Before I delve into my review: “FUCK YOU, MILE HIGH CLUB! I HATE YOU SO DAMN MUCH!”
There, I feel a bit better. Alright, let’s discuss the basics. This is a FPS (you knew that). It takes place in Modern times instead of WW2 (you knew that, too). You can carry 2 guns, and 2 grenade types, and you regenerate your health (You’ve played Halo. I know you have.)
You may have also read my article where I suggested playing on Veteran Difficulty. You may have also read the article where I retracted that, and warned that you shouldn’t. I have hit a compromise. I know you are an achievement whore, so play the first few levels on Veteran. Play until they stop giving you an achievement for every Veteran level (and start lumping them into 2 or 3). Then stop. The pain and suffering required to beat this game on Veteran difficulty (the hardest difficulty in which a single shot hurts, and the second kills. and people have BURST FIRE WEAPONS. And usually at least TWO people are shooting at you) is not worth it. I am certain that some of my friends, who played this on normal difficulty, had a blast. Hell, I enjoyed the crap out of the first few levels. The increased realism and high damage was fun to deal with, and refreshing when I normally breeze through my games without dying ever. Then I hit a couple of key sequences. See, those cinematic sequences the game is lauded for were never balanced for Veteran difficulty on the console (which lacks the ‘peek’ functionality of its PC brethren). There are key sequences were you must advance through infinitely respawning enemies. In these sequences on normal difficulty, it is tense because you must expose yourself to fire, rush forward, and kill everyone in a tense Close-Quarters-Combat moment. On Veteran difficulty, you are forced to advance through infinitely respawning enemies in tense moments where you expose yourself to fire and are SHOT AND KILLED again and again.
Exposing yourself to fire kills you on Veteran difficulty. So, if these sequences are impossible, how do you beat them? Well, they aren’t impossible, they just require that as you advance everyone is dead from grenades, or you shoot everyone exposed before they can squeeze the trigger. If any one person shoots you, you’ll lose your accuracy and subsequently not be able to shoot anyone else (which means either the initial shooter, or someone else you had been aiming at guns you down). After a half an hour of practice you get past these sequences. You memorize enemy locations, were you have to stand to get your friendly AI to advance, learn a pattern of walking where you can shoot and minimize who shoots you, and eventually get lucky with your AI shooting that one other person they normally fail to take care of. Unless the level you are playing is the Mile High Club, at which point the above applies times a FACTOR OF 10.
Overall, the experience IS cinematic. The scene set-pieces are all different. Each map is interesting, and look great both graphically and artistically. The Russian assassination mission is definitely a standout level amongst any FPS; presentation and scripting are top notch.
Controls and AI are pretty good. As easy as it is to die yourself (on Veteran), enemies go down fairly easily as well. No shooting someone in the face and while watching them walk up and kill you <cough>Gears. Halo.</cough>. This leads to satisfaction as you can spray down several enemies (ala Rainbow Six style).
As a GotY contender last year, this is a highly recommended game. It’s multiplayer is addictive level building, and its single-player is a short, but sweet, cinematic master piece. Sure, it’s just a bunch of guys running at you, but it is always cleverly hidden under some great map design. It’s not quite as “revolutionary” as some seem to say, but it is leaps and bounds better than Halo’s, Gears’, or Bioshock’s maps.
Well, if you look at my gamer score, you’ll notice: Yes, I beat Mile High Club. One day, when I’m not as burnt out, I’ll go back on easy and get the last couple of achievements I don’t have. For now, I can simply claim: “I beat the game. WHOOOOoooo-” and pass out.