Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Impressions - First Look at Call of Duty Gone Modern

Forget World War II. Infinity Ward looks to reinvent its storied series--as well as the first-person shooter genre--with a gorgeous, action-packed new sequel.

It can't be easy for most publishers (that aren't named Microsoft) working on first-person shooters due out this fall. After all, said publisher's sci-fi shooter sequel Halo 3 is easily one of the most anticipated games of the year. However, Call of Duty is a pretty big series in its own right, dominating the popular World War II genre with excellent single- and multiplayer gameplay. And with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward has recharged its franchise by busting it out of the World War II setting and giving it a jaw-dropping graphics update.

Get ready for Call of Duty action in a modern-day war.

Perhaps the biggest news with Modern Warfare is that yes, it no longer takes place in World War II, the setting that has served it so well all these years. However, with most of World War II's major battles already featured in a Call of Duty game, it was perhaps time to move on. This new game is set in a modern-day conflict--not in the near future. While the conflict that the game portrays is fictional, Infinity Ward wanted the actual combat to be rooted in today's truth. There are no fancy prototype weapons or equipment here. Everything in Call of Duty 4 is supposed to feel as authentic as possible, and Infinity Ward talked to veterans fresh from Iraq to hear their thoughts on the modern battlefield.

The new game doesn't take place in Iraq. Rather, it sets up a conflict with a mysterious Middle Eastern dictator and his henchmen, who have teamed up with a Russian ultranationalist and his henchmen, thus giving them the media-friendly name of "The Four Horsemen." You'll play primarily as one of two different characters, though you'll occasionally see the conflict through the eyes of other characters as well. The first is a British SAS commando caught up in the Russian storyline, and the other is a US Marine in the middle of the Middle Eastern conflict. How those storylines intersect is the basis of the game's overall plot. Modern Warfare's story will be told mainly through the perspectives of these two characters, since there won't be any fancy third-person cutscenes or glossy news broadcasts. By introducing a modern conflict, Infinity Ward created a storytelling challenge for itself. After all, almost everyone understands what World War II was about, and who the good guys and bad guys were. Introduce an original story, though, and you have to spend a lot more time introducing the various players and factions.

Still, Modern Warfare is a Call of Duty game, and that means that you're going to experience an almost nerve-wracking amount of action. The missions that Infinity Ward showed us featured the trademark intensity that the series is known for, from a nighttime shipboard assault in the midst of a raging thunderstorm to a massive air assault featuring more than a dozen Black Hawk helicopters swooping fast and low over a Middle Eastern city. In fact, the action seems even crazier than before, thanks to the fact that modern weapons and equipment are so much more advanced and lethal than their World War II counterparts. Now, every soldier is armed with an automatic weapon, and there are night-vision goggles, Javelin antitank missiles, and grenade launchers. In at least one mission, you'll serve as the gunner aboard an AC-130 Spectre gunship, providing fire support for troops below; the gameplay looks eerily like real-world gun-camera footage, with radio chatter to match.

The game will feature a brand-new story and impressive new technology.

However, there won't just be wall-to-wall, over-the-top action in Modern Warfare. That tends to be a bit too emotionally exhausting, not to mention repetitive from a storytelling perspective. Instead, Infinity Ward is looking to really mix things up. "What we're really going for is massive variety of gameplay, so along with telling the story in a sort of a 24, never-know-what's-going-to-happen-next style, we're doing the same with the gameplay," said Jason West, Infinity Ward's chief technical officer. So, there will be sniper missions where you have to sneak around, or the aforementioned one-off missions where you experience life as someone other than the two main characters. You'll even get the chance to experience a coup firsthand--from the perspective of the guy being deposed.

Regardless of what you do in the game, it will look absolutely spectacular, thanks to the game's cutting-edge graphics engine. Infinity Ward spent a lot of time showing off the incredible level of detail in the game, including character models that seem as detailed as expensive, 12-inch premium action figures, right down to the shadows cast by individual bullets. Of course, it's hard to appreciate this when pretty much the entire world around you is going to hell--but even the chaos looks impressively realistic. While there's no large-scale environmental destruction, there is material penetration by weapons, so it's possible to kill someone who is crouching beneath a window, or shoot up through the ceiling to get someone on the floor above. "On Call of Duty 2 we were [an Xbox 360] launch title, everyone was learning and ramping up on beta hardware... So now, the artists have been trained up from day zero, so we think this is the best-looking game you'll see on a next-gen console," said Vince Zampella, Infinity Ward chief creative officer. "We've really squeezed a lot out of the hardware, and it looks 10 times better than Call of Duty 2. And I think Call of Duty 2 looks great."

The single-player game alone makes Call of Duty 4 seem very promising, but toss in the multiplayer and it becomes even more impressive. After all, Infinity Ward has built up quite a reputation for multiplayer. The developers note that the Call of Duty games are among the most popular on Xbox Live, and that Call of Duty 2 was the most popular multiplayer game on the Xbox 360 for almost a year. Modern Warfare won't just be Call of Duty 2 multiplayer with new maps and weapons; there are also a ton of new features designed to improve accessibility, community participation, and persistence. Perhaps the most intriguing new feature is the create-a-class ability, which lets you create your own custom soldier, armed with different weapons and equipment, depending on what you've unlocked. Even better are new special abilities that add an almost role-playing-like aspect to the game. There are potentially dozens of special abilities, but you can choose only one or two at any given time, so it becomes a matter of choice. For instance, there's last stand, which gives you a few seconds after you're killed to pull out and use the pistol to shoot the person who got you. Heavy endurance will let you sprint farther, and fast reload will let you reload faster. Or there's martyrdom, which automatically drops a live grenade if you die. Perhaps the nastiest one we heard of lets you eavesdrop on the other team's voice communications.

Call of Duty 4 will also offer brand-new multiplayer options to go with its intense action.

In terms of community, Modern Warfare will introduce a Halo-style party system that will make playing with your friends a lot easier. Best of all, the multiplayer graphics look as good as the single-player. There's no sacrifice in graphical quality that we could see, and it's quite possibly the prettiest multiplayer gameplay that we've ever seen.

Having the Call of Duty name is already enough to get the attention of most shooter fans, but Modern Warfare really looks like a huge leap forward for the franchise, and it's hard to imagine how this will not be one of the biggest games of the year. The shift to modern times has injected the series with new energy and gameplay, and it all looks great. But best of all, Infinity Ward has revealed that the game is already far along in development, and it's on track for release sometime this fall.

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Discussion

203 comments
TheRealUser101
TheRealUser101

The online multiplayer mode of Modern Warfare 2 has the same experience points and unlockable reward system as that of Call of Duty: MW3 multiplayer. Activision announced Call of Duty Elite will be fully integrated into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and allows tracking and comparing statistics with other MW3 players.

xxxz2
xxxz2

i can`t wait for this game, it`s something that the call of duty series needed

sonyducks
sonyducks

cant wait for it to come out, but is it really necessary to rate all these games M i have no problem with it. its just u wpould think ud get more customers. such as socom 3 was a big hit also rated M, but socom combined assault was a bigger hit rated t. i just dont beleive rated M games are necessary.

Slayervorge3000
Slayervorge3000

My god look at those graphics, simply amazing. I can wait to see this games on store shelves then I can get it.

Jonny91210
Jonny91210

if u haven't seen the gameplay vid, u sud jump off a cliff and die lol

Dirt_knap
Dirt_knap

It's Niiiiice!!! Good to see a great franchise change up their age old formula. This looks spectacular, can't wait!!!

monkeytoes61
monkeytoes61

no no no no no. call of duty should stick with a ww2 theme. there are a lot of areas of world war 2 they could still cover.

sirkel28
sirkel28

I hope the weapons do real to life damage as possible. Unlike BF2.

Hicks_1
Hicks_1

can't wait to tear it up on live

_Sam_
_Sam_

This game is looking GREAT. But I should play all of them again before this comes out

glasgow01
glasgow01

yea, it's pretty cool that COD is making a new consept...modern warfare instead of WW2 games, i'm not saying that i don't like COD 1,2 and 3 but this is kinda special, had no idea they where goin to do this, but it rocks! this game is on my must-have games! GO CALL OF DUTY! hope they have more orders you can give the battalion, if you get my meaning, I kinda like games where you can give orders to your squad, but anyway I think this game is goin to be exelent

kingofdacastle
kingofdacastle

this game is nothing like graw, graw is a tactical third person shooter with a small team. this is a whole war and probably a little bit less tactical. the only thing you could compare this game to would probably be battle field 2, and this game looks a thousand times better than battle field. graw and battle field were good, but this game looks insane!

karrasxk
karrasxk

Will be stupid if you can use last stand after taking a bullet to the brain. Hope it is context sensitive.

lockstock
lockstock

Sounds good, but COD3 on PS3 lacks chat, stats and leaderboards, the possibility of clans...if COD4 can adopt all the online advantages of, say, Battlefront2;Modern Combat, a PS2 game but nevertheless better equipped than COD3 then we are in for a treat

MushuMan
MushuMan

wOW looking out standing........ I hope this time they create new character models & maps.......but I'm sure this game gonna be a blast .....as always give a tough competition......blesSings to programmers

3zzman
3zzman

Well the mysterious Middle Eastern country that the first gameplay clip took place in, is Egypt. I know cuz i live there. In the opening of the gameplay clip, you see a marine runnig towards his team while his captin is giving orders, there r 2 signs hanging above, the names written on these road signs r in Cairo Egypt.

Ocram_Zepol
Ocram_Zepol

Man... this games looks and sounds amazing. Finally something truly decent coming to the PS3. I was getting kinda tired of resistance.

darthvulger
darthvulger

its not a copy of GRAW...which is a completely diffrent game...this is a FPS...and GRAW is a Third-Person Shooter...and also that in GRAW...u kill countless people without dying...and in COD 4 you allies will help you kill the enemy

loronton
loronton

why copy Ghost Recon this is the next Gen we are talking about. People dont want to play the same game only with a diffferent title be more creative

e1337prodigy
e1337prodigy

At last no more WW2 shooters :). 3 Call of duty games all based on WW2. Now the designers can use there imagination.

ewjim
ewjim

This game is looking good... no GREAT! I'm looking forward to it, like everybody else!!! :D

IDeathR3aperI
IDeathR3aperI

dang this game looks sweet. Looking forward to it :D

Gta4lif3
Gta4lif3

this will be fun but it might be just another look-a-like of some of this games... rainbow six and ghost recon we need new kind of games.

Gamer443
Gamer443

man this game is gonna rock so watch out Battlefeild

hackur
hackur

well im in the army (British may i add) and im telling you this look just like the real thing even more so when the night vision is flicked on i cant beleive the realism to it i was shocked, there is no other game that i have seen that matches this unprecidented realism, and i have played near on every modern FPS out there, not even crysis comes close (too over the top).

bam29
bam29

From what I just read this game sounds very promising, and given it's a COD game it should be great. And as much as I like WWII games, it has been done so much now so I'm glad they're moving on.

rizzlabombaking
rizzlabombaking

Personaly id love to see a world war 1 FPS like call of duty, but owell this looks amazing as well.

Megatron_1
Megatron_1

I know i cant wait for this to come out!

chaos0xomega
chaos0xomega

Things lacking in FPS's: Vietnam War Korean War World War 1 Modern(not quite as badly as the others) World War 2 - Eastern Front World War 2 - North African Campaign World War 2 - German/Axis Perspective World War 2 - Pacific Theater Chinese Civil War 'Hot' Cold War . Things Not Lacking: World War 2 World War 2 World War 2 World War 2 World War 2 World War 2 Sci-Fi

hitman1988
hitman1988

What a great idea moving to modern warfare..Genius!

diablos101
diablos101

Seems quite awesome and juding from how the article was strucutred and their use of language - clearly gamespot is looking at this with great awe. I never bothered with all the CoD games but this one i might just have to pick up if they play their cards right. Hopefully they could manage their schedule nicely and have all these features implemented

captainstringer
captainstringer

looks like rainbow six and cod put together what a masterpiece this might be

flakpanzer4
flakpanzer4

Theres only so many n4zis heads I can blow off with a trench gun before D-Day, France, and well, WWII start to get old. But this game looks amazing and I will defientley buy it.

xHINDERx
xHINDERx

Can't wait. Gonna be one of the games of the yeasr:D

XCOD23
XCOD23

No doubt this is going to be a MUST own if you have an Xbox 360, PS3, or PC. Multiplayer looks significant with create-a-class. Every great thing about Call of Duty 4 is overshadowed by an even BETTER thing. New story, insane graphics, multiplayer options, and new settings and time period; get ready for this one.

simsalisivan
simsalisivan

wonderful, underbart..i'm going to get this one for sure.

LittleYoshi
LittleYoshi

Seems it is going to be the best Call of Duty game ever! But we will never really know for sure.........Call of Duty 5.

swoosh18
swoosh18

i must get this game. CoD 3 was great online, this shoulld be even better

nappan
nappan

I was VERY skeptical about yet another CoD, but damned if I'm not drooling over this. Take the original CoD style and apply Rainbow Six realism and graphics and I'm on board! This looks just awesome to me, and I'm not a huge modern/WWII fps fan.

salo1129
salo1129

i need this game on the ps3 after seeing the graphics its sooo cool i mean i cant belive it

armyMP153rd
armyMP153rd

can't wait for this game.. it will be interesting to see how the multiplayer is since infinity ward will be behind it again.. i didn't really like COD2 online, but COD3 is awesome.. it will also be interesting to see if the special abilities take away from the realism.. it would be kinda dumb if you snipe someone in the head and he sits there trying to pop off a few last second rounds with the pistol.

blorg13
blorg13

When I first heard it was in modern settings I thought all that I loved was gone, I was very, very wrong.

RockerTom
RockerTom

I thought this game would be not such a hit since COD is known for WWII but i actually thinks it's going to be ace and i can't wait to see the graphics