Call of Duty 4
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is even shorter.
Call it five hours, maybe. Tops. And just as expensive.
Now, it’s a pretty game. Prettier than Halo 3, even. But short. Terribly short. I played it maybe an hour or so last night while Maynard was over and then this chick called and I had to kick him out and blah blah blah and then I played it for about an hour and a half this afternoon and then for another hour and a half tonight. And that time includes a couple points where I had to repeat several points because they were frustratingly difficult.
And you know, I’m gonna stop bitching about how short it is and talk about other things.
First: Holy crap, is this game pretty. I really can’t repeat that enough.
Second: There are some really fun levels and the game does a good job of not overdoing a specific gimmick. For example, one of the more fun levels is you playing the part of a gunner on a C-130 with an infrared camera, firing 150mm shells into soldiers. It’s just fun to killify individuals with what amounts to the explosive power of Dresden.
However, the game suffers from a bizarre difficulty ramp.
This is difficult to explain, but you play several “characters” throughout the game. You start off as a soldier in the British SAS, which is a nice change from your standard Gung-Ho, Team-America type game. This starts out as a lot of fun: the SAS missions are very focused on stealth and night-time activities (the first mission is a darktime assault on an oil tanker that is transporting a nuclear device).
But then the game throws you into the persona of some dumb marine stuck in
Iraqrandom middle-east country number five. And these levels are irritating: Start at point A. Killify the bad guys who come at you in waves. Move to point B. Killify the bad guys who come at you in waves. Repeat through to point F; level ends.
And then you get killed by a nuclear weapon.
And no, I’m not kidding: the US soldier you are playing gets killed by a nuclear bomb. And not even in a “clean” way – the game lets you think you might survive it. No no, you die of radiation poisoning, and the rest of the game is back in the brain of your SAS dude.
The bulk of the fun is spent playing a dude named “Soap,” who is a member of the SAS. This is awesome if only for the excellent voice work of your brothers in arms. Most of the time British accents in games are really. . . well. “Shitty” is the best word, but I’ll go with “poor”. Seriously, the voice work in this game is on par with its visuals: purely excellent.
In fact, if I had one complaint about the voice work, it would be that all of the pilots speak in a Texas drawl. And I mean all – even the pilots in the British armies.
So, back to Soap. Soap is fun. There are a several levels where it requires some thought about how you are going to approach a position, and what kinds of weapons you want to use so as not to draw attention, etc, etc. And then maybe about 1/2 or 2/3rds of the way through the game (pretty much after you get killed as a US soldier), the “stealth” part of the SAS missions is replaced with more “goon wave” missions.
There is an awesome, creative “flashback” level. And by “creative” I mean, “I’ve never seen it’s like in a first person shooter and I’ve been playing FPS games since Castle Wolfenstein which is longer than most game players have been alive” type creative. Seriously, it was that good – and the level alone (“All Ghillied Up” and “One Shot One Kill”, combined [I suppose it’s actually two levels]) – anyways – that sequence is worth the price of admission.
However, with this exception (and the aforementioned killification from a C-130), Call of Duty 4 is pretty much a super generic, “mission based” FPS game. It’s super polished, and shines and shines and shines, but it doesn’t really bring much “new” to the table.
I suppose, actually, my biggest complaint is that it seems to want to display a moral message, but that message is . . . terribly schizophrenic. Every time you die, a quote is thrown up on the screen about how awful war is. And then, 5 seconds later, we respawn back into a game that glorifies war.
There isn’t a real comment about the current US conflict in the middle east. It’s sort of a “we have always been at war with Asia” type statement: we don’t have to examine why the US is in the middle east or look at motive because that’s what we do. We eat steak, fuck bimbos, and shoot a-rabs.
(And yes, I can call her “this chick”.)
Anyways. The SAS involvement in the entire thing has motive. I find that refreshing. But the US involvement is seriously just another walk down the “hoo-rah” bullshit that is fed to 17 year old FPS afficionados. Who aren’t really even afficionados because they eat whatever garbage is thrown in front of them.
Rent the game, don’t buy. However, this advice comes late, as I’m certain that a sheer ridiculous number of people have already bought it, and thus spent $55.00US more than needed to experience the game and get the measly 300 or so gamerscore for finishing it.
Also: Fuck you.