The first Call of Duty started life on the PC so it only makes sense that every sequel after would follow suit. While this addition boasts the same highlights as the 360 and PS3 brothers it also has a major bonus of its own in the way of user-created mods. All of this isn’t to say that the game doesn’t also share the same failings as both the console games as well.
The one thing that sets this version of the game apart from the others is the ability to create new multiplayer maps for others to experience. While this isn’t anything new or interesting to the PC world does seem like it is a vote of confidence to the people playing what many now consider a console centric game. Add on top of that the possibility that some of the maps may be picked up at a later date and made “official” maps and that makes Call of Duty 4 a good game for people to get an edge into the industry.
This does manage to skew the core mechanics of the game. During multiplayer games players unlock upgrades and new weapons for their avatars by repeatedly performing well during ranked multiplayer games. The problem with the addition of mods to the environment is that not all of the games being played are ranked and thus don’t give any form of experience for playing in. Later in the game when most of the guns and new talents are unlocked for advanced characters this isn’t really an issue, but early in the game this very easily can leave new comers feeling cheated and confused.
The single player campaign is possibly one of the best examples of good story telling in a First Person Shooter in recent memory. The way that the story introduces the story, the way that it puts the player through a tutorial without it feeling like one, to the moment later in the game when several major plot turns continue to happen it is hard to not feel interested in the game. This is done by the game being paced rather well throughout. Only several points through the entire game do things get knocked out of alignment and cause copious amounts of frustration.
These frustrating events in the single player normally happen when the player manages to break the game through simply exploring the levels. Most of the game was designed using shared levels between the single and multiplayer game. Sadly some of the best multiplayer maps quickly fall apart in single player when the gamer chooses to use a hidden passage to ignore oncoming enemies. The entire computer controlled team that follows the player is immortal so when an entire level’s worth of enemies is skipped by simply crawling through ditches the team can take several minutes to catch up with the player as they run through their predetermined path through the level.
It is important to not get too down on Call of Duty 4 as it is still an amazingly good game and nothing enhances this more than the amazingly detailed graphics the game boasts. While not the greatest or the most stylized the game never really has an issue conveying the emotion to the gamer of what is going on. When a helicopter flies over head and is firing bullets down in a ruined Chernobyl the game feels nothing less than totally impressive.
The key everything that has tied the Call of Duty games together is the amazing sound quality from every aspect of the game. When a bullet goes whizzing by the side of the players head to when air support is called in, the entire atmosphere of the game feels intimidating. All of this is brought together by the amazing level of detail of every sound. Things in the game sound entirely different depending on where the gamer is standing in relation to them. With some knowledge of most of the multiplayer maps it is easy to figure out where players are simply by listening to the shots that are being fired.
The main disadvantage that this causes is that even with the greatest amount of loving care that could be put into the game nothing great is really gotten from the sound without a decent surround sound setup. This isn’t to say that things don’t sound good, but they never really touch what it is like to hear a teammate directly behind you trying to shoot down a helicopter as it spits bullets down at your feet.
The most interesting part of Call of Duty is that it feels like two ideas on the same game. The single player manages to focus on storytelling and the multiplayer seems focused entirely on the most compact exciting experience that can be gathered from one game. All of this is rather promising and well designed, and with the addition of the mod tools it makes Call of Duty even more of a desirable computer game. Strangely, though, there are other options with a larger community out there as well. Call of Duty is just getting its feet under it in the way of user created content, so it will be interesting to see what comes out of it in the next several months.
Call of Duty 4 is a solid game that is easy to get into, but has enough content that most gamers will be able to find a lasting appeal for several months in the multiplayer arenas. Being on the PC the game does manage to have tighter controls from its other console based versions, and the addition of Mods will make the game have legs the 360 and PS3 probably won’t ever come close to having. The bottom line is that Call of Duty is a good purchase regardless of its faults and shortcomings.