March 6, 2008


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Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (360/PS3/PC/MAC)
Infinity Ward, Feb. 1
By Glenn "Oorah" Given

Someone should have gotten a controller into the hands of the W a few years back and mayhaps we could have avoided this whole actual war in favor of hundreds of billions of tax dollars invested in getting next-gen game consoles into the hands of children. Which seems to me a better investment than finding new ways to take a kidís mother and father and bury them in the sand half a world away. Yay! Call of Duty 4!

It seems that somebody at Infinity Ward got the memo that WWII ended forever ago and that the tools of warfare and their creepily fun digital translations have gotten much cooler in the intervening decades. Putting aside the Axis and muddiying the moral waters, Call of Duty 4 splits the single-player experience between gung ho U.S. Marines what with their door-breaching Middle East fanatic-hunting whack-a-mole agenda and the British S.A.S. who seems to follow them around like a morally ambiguous cleaning crew; if by dusting the house mantel one instead cut the power and head- shotted the inhabitants.

CoD 4 has a high-gloss realism to its presentation that makes the war room at FOX news drool in footage lust. As you swoop into a sandblasted hell hole to execute a radical terrorist leader astride a phalanx of Blackhawk helicopters the sun-dappled RPG fire that whooshes toward your ride will take your breath away. Itís a conversation-stopper of an experience. Once on the ground, realistic team tactics will win the day as you clear rooms and follow squad leadership to meet your objectives. Which, suprise, mainly involve shooting people with various high-caliber automatic weaponry, aided in part by flash bang grenades, night-vision goggles and the mili-tech porn that Guns & Ammo subscribers stand at attention for.

As usual, PC (and MAC) gamers will have the edge with pinpoint mouse aiming, but the consoleís snap aiming helps alleviate the standard TV-based FPS tortoise-like controls. Nevertheless I am hopeless at these games. In single-player campaigns I dumbly barge forward into a hail of bullets and Arabic as my co-Marines dully stare at my incompetent corpse. Online, long-time Halo-ists have edged out my honed-on- Goldeneye chops to an embarassing degree. But I still fight this unwinnable war, damn the losses, the cost and the unpopularity of my mission on the home front. I continue to charge blindly across the desert into a roomful of enemies and spin wildly while spraying my machine gun fire and dropping frag grenades at my feet in the hopes of taking a few tween-aged twitch addicts along with me. Call of Duty 4 is likely the best FPS out today, it has a suprisingly coherent plot presented in increasingly resonant scenarios and the multi-player is phenomenal. A+ for making war an entertaining vision of hell. ó Glenn Given. ó Glenn Given