Developers: Infinity Ward
Publishers: Activision, Square Enix
Plot: The president of a Middle-Eastern country is murdered in the streets, provoking the SAS and U.S Marines to retaliate, before World War Three is sparked.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is exciting for a lot of reasons. Before Warfare, a lot of army games were based in history, like Medal of Honour and other instalments of the Call of Duty franchise. In fact, as far as competition went, Ghost Recon had a pretty open market to strut its stuff around in. This was the game, where Call of Duty decided they wanted a slice of that business venture and amazed the gaming community with this game. Also, this is the Call of Duty franchise at its very peak. Some would argue that this game marks the pinnacle of the series. Most importantly, Modern Warfare knows its target audience and makes sure that, in buying this game, they have a world of fun.
What surprised me about Modern Warfare is that the story is actually quite a detailed and intriguing one. Call of Duty suffers from a fan base that’s only interests appear to be multiplayer. I know people with this game that have never even touched the story mode. That is a mistake, because it is the winning argument that this game is more than a brain-dead shooter vehicle. The writers create a terrifyingly realistic scenario, where a radical movement threatens peace in the Middle-East and countries have to band together to stop the next world war from breaking out. On a smaller level, the characters are just as interesting as the bigger picture. You grow attached to your units, either the dedicated marines, who take on impossible odds or the ‘laugh-in-the-face-of-danger’ SAS unit. The British, in particular, have a great supporting cast that you will enjoy trading quips with, during a field mission. By the time, you are thick in the action, you care for your unit, which can only add to the idea of playing a close-knit military squad. It also did something that changed the idea of narrative for me. It might seem simple now, but in that opening credits sequence where you play the President, whose murder sparks this all off, I was shocked and blown away by the twist. Seeing as the premise is built on the idea, it is no surprise that this character is killed off, fairly sharpish. However, I was not expecting to be playing the character at the time of his execution. Knowing that a playable character could be killed off, during gameplay, blew my mind and it is one of the staples of the Call of Duty franchise that makes it so unpredictable and thrilling.
Of course, the story wouldn’t be easily forgotten by the multiplayer fan base, if it wasn’t for a near-flawless gameplay system. Modern military games haven’t interested me, because I have never liked the layout of them. Ghost Recon has endless icons and screens being forced into your vision, forcing you to split your attention, during combat. It gets across the impression that you are in the thick of battle, but it forgets that people will tune out, if the going gets too tough. Rainbow Six often gets repetitive quick, having the neatest gameplay out of the three military games, but forgetting the finer details that makes Call of Duty so holistic as a gaming experience. Modern Warfare strips the game right down to the brass tacks, letting the atmosphere get across the idea of being in the middle of a battlefield, so when it comes to controls, we are comfortable. It isn’t as though it makes the game too easy. Too often does a stray bullet catch you out and you are never aware how someone managed to get a clean shot on you.
Fine, let’s talk multiplayer! Well, there isn’t much to say that the Call of Duty online movement won’t say for me. The developers have created a terrifically fun experience. They create simple maps with enough complexity that the experience doesn’t feel half-assed, and then just allows everyone to shoot the hell out of each other. It is simple fun, yet given enough attention that you have to give Modern Warfare the credit for creating this scenario. While the multiplayer side of Call of Duty has improved phenomenally, since the old days of the first Modern Warfare (again, it is the most popular aspect of the game, so the developers pile their time into perfecting it), you can still find appreciation in what this game has to offer, in terms of online gameplay.
Final Verdict: Call of Duty peaked with this game. A gripping story, gameplay that doesn’t go over your head and a beloved multiplayer system.