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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346 comments
dead_god86
dead_god86

Yeap definately looks awsome, i can't wait to try out the special abilities in multiplayer ;), the first 2 where awsome, never played 3 coz was never on PC /cry.

padouke
padouke

this looks like an amazing game, better tha any of its predecessors. but they have to make a version for wii. how can they make call of duty 3 and not give nintendo COD4? please activision, make it happen!

BL-kun
BL-kun

jscherdell88 Gametarilers are a bunch of douches! It's for PC but they're leaning more and more towards the console side of games. They don't even report any PC games from E3.....just ignore them

dsfb
dsfb

yo like omg yo this game is god compare to games out there and incoming years

companyofheroes
companyofheroes

this game should only be for PC because ps3 and xbox 360 should have to come up with some of their own games for once (microsoft).

jscherdell88
jscherdell88

Is this for PC cause on gametrailers it says its for 360 and ps3

opollo
opollo

If anyone has played Quake Wars then you know that BF2 still ownz, never have i seen such crap.. COD4 is looking awesome cant wait to play it, but i hope when the beta comes out that they will listen to critizism unlike quake wars beta as you cant complain as their game is perfect in their eyes and no matter how or what you say it, its wrong!!

Sion5
Sion5

In my opinion BF2 still stands unrivaled in the mmo modern combat area but i am looking forward to seeing what this game can do!!

mach-stem
mach-stem

COD and COD UO are still two of my favorite shooters of all time. I STILL have both installed and jump on UO servers when BF2 and BF2142 get too boring or repetitive for me. With this, World in Conflict, Crysis and ET Quake Wars on the horizon, COd may finally go through an uninstall on my PC. Doubtful, but possible! ;) Another title I'm excited for is Frontline: FoW, let's hope they push out something worth while as well! They never mentioned how many people multiplayer would support...I gander they'll cap it at the "console" limit of 24-32 players which would be extremely sad considering multiplayer shooters still haven't moved up to "next-gen" standards of evolution... PEACE

Col-Neil
Col-Neil

This looks very promising so far that is

Darkorcs
Darkorcs

Game looks cool i've played 1,2, and 3 now i want to see whats next in story. Can't wait to try it out.

JcDent
JcDent

Iraq and Afganistan aren't the battlefields that could provide enemies in tanks and **** And hoardes of aforementioned enemies running about in cities.

YO-ss
YO-ss

ooo yehh..the game looks szuper..can't wait to play it

commando8535
commando8535

Game looks great, but I'm not entirely too sure I want to play something modern just yet. As for the comments about including fictional battles and not using Iraq and Afghanistan. Reason behind this is politics. It's basically a minefield when using Vietnam or modern conflicts; you'll always "step on a mine" when creating these games. Plus I don't think people are ready to play out a real live action representation of Iraq or Afghanistan. I do this for real, and I'm not ready to play a game based on Iraq or Afghanistan.

zetius12
zetius12

Wow, this game looks absolutely fabulous. I must get this one also. But I didn't read if it's made by same engine as Call of Duty 2?

Klown_hitman
Klown_hitman

This game looks like its better quality than RL :P

Kuilan18
Kuilan18

WOW great move on getting out of world war 2 that was getting so boring already knowing what im going to fight :P and having a new COD on pc with the new intense direct x 10 its gonna be crazy cant wait to pwn and get pwned !!! W00T PS: i agree 100% with neil thats what they need in a COD pc game vehicles and not just a freaking bike tank and car no we want heli's some. Hey maybe a jet u know the rest with those 2 things the game will get alot interesting cause u wont have just to look straight, your gonna say this:LOOK OUT, ABOVE YOU and NOOO :)

neilbrady1989
neilbrady1989

Activision ,money hungry bästards have done it again.They made call of duty especially for xbox360 and ps3. They are not putting in vehicles or anything in multiplayer, just putting in some other crap for simple ps3 and xbox players. I hope infinaty ward and activision knows which machine started the call of duty franchise. Yes PC, Call of duty united offensive put vehicles in call of duty. Then the crap playstation 2 call of dutys came along because the money was got. "Forget about pc, just aim call of duty at the consoles ,more money for us" They never released an expansion for cod2 on pc because it wasnt worth their time,Instead move on quickly to the next game so we get loads of money. Roll on september when pc players will get to play the best game ever with tanks and what not! |||CRYSIS|||. EA and crytek should make a ww2 game using the crysis engine. R.I.P. Call of duty......

nuseir
nuseir

seems it has the same mistake of call of duty ,by not letting gamers play the other side , I would have liked to play the germans also , and in the new game I would like to play the insurgents , war in iraq is far from over and things are better on the insurgents side , so why not let the other side play . like in battle field 2 , hell I enjoyed all factions in the single player maps . and it is a game in the end .

turkatim
turkatim

Yes. Yes. Yes. This is the greatest thing to happen for the Call of Duty franchise. The WWII games were great, but moving into a less populated area of FPSs, along with getting Infinity Ward back in to do what they do best - Amazing single-player campaigns, is really going to rock.

razarocks
razarocks

Moving out of WWII was fine, but fictional battles!. This is going to suck, after all it isn't too hard to feature actual iraq and afghanistan battles.althought the action is going to be great, the game isnt going to have the same charm of realism that previous CoDs had.

_Alpha_Omega_
_Alpha_Omega_

I'm waiting for new story line for World War 2 combat, and now I got a modern war?!? No! No! I think it will be some bad game ever created in Call of Duty series! i disagree with you all, mate!!! Please back to World War 2 shooting game!!!

pogswarts
pogswarts

I hope there is a demo, because this game looks awsome

cezeon
cezeon

Hey! You can't say this game is gonna blow bcuz its not set in world war 2?! Saying the whole game is gonna suck because of the theme is retarted! Ps3 & Xbox360 All day !!!

gameniko
gameniko

Call of duty 2 is very addictive, and excellent multi player too. I hope this lives up to expectations and they dont ruin it.

URBANSN1PER
URBANSN1PER

Looks good to me, I will defiantly try it out.

fskull
fskull

wwwwoooowwww i mean wwooooowww bad news for me because i don't have a ps3 or xbox 360 or a good pc for that matter

makeuser
makeuser

finally a new run & gun modern combat game (I didn't like GRAW 2), this looks beautiful & if it plays like BF2 all the better. Please let there be climbing & jumping! ww2 was tired 5yrs ago

ochi0
ochi0

I don't like it,because it's moder combat.I like the old Call of Duty much more...

Caliban360
Caliban360

islamabdelwahab: It's probably because they will move thier troops through there on the way to the middle east, or something... Game is looking good though, it will be nice to test later on

skulleton1
skulleton1

KingMi hmm, if i remember well, Cairo is in the middle east, no?...anyone? It's In Egypt, near where all the pyramids are.

KingMi
KingMi

hmm, if i remember well, Cairo is in the middle east, no?...anyone?

kikaiser
kikaiser

Holy Christ Wagons of Poseidon... Its America's Army Rise of a Soldier if they did everything RIGHT! YES! Now if only they weren't making an America's Army for the 360 Already... you know what? screw america's army, friggin recruitment tools suck, Call of Duty was made to be fun, and DAMNED if it wasn't! ALL HAIL C.O.D! ALL HAIL MODERN WARFARE!

jeton23
jeton23

its really interesting cuz we are not used to see call of duty in modern shooting,,anyway the graphics looks great ;)

xeno1ith
xeno1ith

Wow, such negativity here! And it's amazing to see such certitude and harsh criticism... all from an early trailer and five screenshots? I didn't know there were so many talented clairvoyants out there. But for some reason I always thought it wiser to wait and actually play the game myself before righting a review on how everything in the game sux, and about how that other game will "pown" this game. Just me I guess...

Scout013
Scout013

Awesome! Can't wait to play it! If they add cover and smart AI like in Gears or other next gen games it will definitely beat Battlefield, especially if the multiplayer is as intense as in CoD2! And to all the people complaining about how it will suck: 1. Go back to all the WW2 games that you have played so much you claim you are the master at it, and 2. The only reason you dont like it is because your computer sucks and you wont be able to play it at its best.

PhantomFury_
PhantomFury_

Happy to see that they switched to a Battlefield 2-like environment.

JoH007
JoH007

Is this Captain Price in hte last picture? I love this guy he's great and he was featured in every CoD game till now, but he supposed to be old right now (60 years after WW2)- maybe it's his grandson!

dado_dadito777
dado_dadito777

Whats the sistem requiriments for pc? of this game