Call of Duty is a gaming phenomenon, love it or hate it. It is a game style that pretty much perfected the controls of the first person shooter, using the left trigger to aim down sights which created a whole new way to take on enemies. Snapping from target to target feels great and has for many years and if it wasn’t for Call of Duty 2 perfecting this, many games may not have chosen to go with this control scheme.
Think about playing Destiny or Bioshock without these controls; those games probably would not feel as fluid. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was a turning point for the franchise, taking the fight from the tried and true WWII setting and putting it into the modern battlefield. For this review, we’ll be taking a look at the influence of Call of Duty 4 and reviewing Modern Warfare Remastered, which is coming to consoles and PC in early November.
Call of Duty 4 was one of the first blockbuster titles I remember making a substantial impact during a broadcast of E3 back in 2007. I was there with my friends, talking about all the new games coming to the new Xbox 360 and arguing that the Wii was going to be awesome, when my buddy Ben pulled up a clip he caught on his DVR. The clip was the reveal trailer of CoD4, showing an attack helicopter, snarling dogs leaping at the player’s face, and of course that iconic stealth scene of snipers crawling through tall grass as tanks drove by. It was awe-inspiring, unlike anything we had seen before, and for a group of young boys into action games, it was everything we ever wanted in a war game.
Of course we had played the other two Call of Duty games on 360 and many on the PS2, enjoying the multiplayer and ridiculous Veteran difficulty that we challenged each other on regularly. The aforementioned friend Ben held the record of most achievements on those games, getting all of them on Call of Duty 2, no easy feat even now. Even though we enjoyed peppering each other with MP-40s in the multiplayer, we were all encaptured by the brutal, high octane action of the campaign, always seeking to a little better than Ben. When Call of Duty 4 came out, we dived head first into the story, enjoying every explosion, every set piece, and every trigger pull.
Call of Duty 4 is indeed a challenge, but on lower difficulties, it is more of an experience. It’s like watching all of the action scenes of Saving Private Ryan, with story being abridged to only the important parts. This game tells its story by putting the player in the situation directly, like the execution of Yasir Al-Fulani in the mission entitled “The Coup” in which the player is dragged through a war torn country and executed in public. Missions like this made Call of Duty 4 unique, flashing from perspective to perspective as a major war erupted across the world, one that wouldn’t really resolve even after several games. We got to see the conflict develop through several of these characters, even becoming attached to a few of them.
Frantic action and reaction are key components to Call of Duty 4’s gameplay, as the player is given some of the most advanced weaponry of the modern era, like the P90, which is perfect for close quarters, or the Barrett .50 Cal Rifle, a sniper rifle capable of hitting targets miles away. Some of these weapons are even featured in special moments of the game, highlighting their use and making them feel more like tools for the job. For example, an early level has the player grabbing a Javelin missile launcher to take out armored vehicles so soldiers can go through the underpass unscathed. Another moment uses the legendary Barrett .50 Cal to take out a terrorist leader, in which the player has to work with their spotter and the wind speed to make the shot. Knowing what tool is best for the job, or trying something that goes against reason, makes each mission fun to play multiple times.
All of these well-crafted missions don’t take a whole lot of time to complete, but finishing the game is satisfying. The ride is made all the better as the game had pretty amazing graphics and sound design for the time. The weaponry and equipment being used by these soldiers were modeled well after the actual weapons and many of them were recorded to be as authentic as possible. That being said, this game does look a bit aged when compared to the last Call of Duty games on the 360 and PS3, which is why the game was remastered for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Call of Duty 4 is no doubt a great game that has its place in gaming history, especially for Activision and Infinity Ward. It was originally released in 2007, so it makes sense that almost ten years later the remaster has been bundled with premium editions of Infinite Warfare. Developed by Raven, the remaster sports new textures, physically based rendering, improved lighting, and more to bring Call of Duty 4 into the modern era.
By comparison, the remastered version looks and sounds amazing. For those worried about the gameplay enhancements of other Call of Duty games invading this classic, fear not. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered sticks to the controls and feel of the original. Meaning, there are no wall runs or slides to be found, grounding this game into a more gritty feel than its predecessors. This remastered game will be an interesting contrast when Infinite Warfare releases, showing what the franchise started as and what it has become, for better or worse.
While playing the remastered version, all of the memorable moments started flooding back to me. I started to feel like that wide-eyed teenager again, thrust into a dangerous world that was a vague impression of how wars have been fought recently. Of course, Call of Duty can’t even compare to the horror of actual war and to make light of that is asinine. However, it was one of the first games that made me feel the weight of a bullet fired, especially in the air support and sniping missions.
Truly the only criticism I have for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered is that it is just that, a remaster and not much else. Of course, we’ll have more information on the multiplayer side of the game soon, which is where many players sank countless hours, but I do wish there was maybe a mission that was cut in the old version or something. It is important to note that while it is heavily speculated that Activision will make this remastered game available later, it is at the moment a bonus for the premium versions of Infinite Warfare. A valid marketing technique considering the reaction Infinite Warfare’s trailer received, but I’ll hold criticism for it until I actually play it.
Overall, if you find the older versions of Modern Warfare a bit aged and really want to get back into the multiplayer on the new consoles, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered might be a perfect reason to go the extra mile when purchasing Infinite Warfare. The single player campaign of Call of Duty 4 still holds up as an awesome experience, keeping the original feel intact while making it look and sound much better.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered will be available through the Legacy, Legacy Pro, and Digital Deluxe editions of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare on November 4th. Early access to parts of Modern Warfare Remastered campaign is available to those who preorder the game for Playstation 4 with details available on Activision’s Support page.