So, after a week of playing a game I waited so long for, what did I think?
Let me just say right up front that I have NO delusions about this post influencing anyone on this game. This thing is a juggernaut that I could say “It literally kills puppies”, and people would still buy it. Also, considering how many millions of copies have already sold, no one is going to really care, but I figured I might as well express my thoughts since I talked it up so much pre-launch.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare had a fairly good single player mode, and a fairly coherent plot.
… what went wrong this time?
The plot felt like something that would fit better in a season of 24 with conspiracies, shadowy government plots, rogue military officers, double crosses and more. At least in the first game you were working towards an actual enemy, and this one just felt like Infinity Ward, the makers of the game, had a bunch of random ideas for scenes and then went, “how do we string these together?”
There was also the issue that this had to be one of the shortest single player games i have ever gone through. It only took me about 5 & 1/2 hours, and considering that I am not some hard core gamer, that is just ridiculously short. The game play is solid with excellent controls, and the game is gorgeous to look at, but it is just way too short.
Significantly missing from this game was any sense of gravitas. While the first game made me actually move to the edge of my seat a few times while in a firefight, this time I just felt like I was being led by the hand through an amusement park. During one of the major chase scenes I was trying my hardest to catch the villain, only to realize at the end I was never going to be allowed to catch him so I could be led to the next scene.
Then there is “that” scene. The scene that is causing the game to be pulled from shelves in Russia, and leading to talking heads wringing their hands on news shows. While the ‘No Russian’ scene is essential to the “plot” (I use the term loosely), and there is a way to skip it, people are still freaking out over it. Folks … it’s a video game, get over it. The scene is not glamorized in any way if you actually bother to listen to the mission briefing before it.
In short, if you aren’t going to play online, I would skip the game, but as every one knows, Call of Duty games get their real value in the multi-player modes.
Infinity Ward basically took everything you loved about the last multi-player in CoD4, and turned the knobs up to 11.
Weapons – Better … really, that’s all you can say. They are better. They look better, they handle better, the sound effects are improved and in general they just seem like they are all around better.
The fact they also made your secondary weapons more broad helps a lot. Instead of waiting for the perk that allows you to carry more than a pistol, you can carry machine pistols, shotguns or pistols from the outset. It makes a lot more sense from a military perspective, being restricted to pistols never made much sense.
Play – The “Host Ended The Match” pain in the butt is a thing of the past as the host will now migrate to another player if the host should happen to leave. The matchmaking also seems to be a bit quicker, but that could be chalked up to the millions of people currently playing.
Experience Points – This may be my one complaint about the multi-player. There are so many ways to earn experience now that the screen always seems to be busy telling you the 500 ways you just earned some more XP. “+50 for ending a kill streak … + 100 for revenge … +100 for longshot …” you get the idea.
The XP just flows so fast it seems like Infinity Ward may have coddled the lower rung players a bit much in giving them faster ways to rank up. I am not the best player, I admit it, but even I think they went a bit overboard in how many ways you can earn them now.
Grenades – Not too get too specific, but … oh thank you almighty Infinity Ward for getting rid of the rain of grenades we all suffered through various maps in the previous games.
Maps – The maps seem a bit more complex, and a bit “blind corner” happy, but they do seem a bit more balanced and “realistic”. By that I mean you really do have to be aware of your complete surroundings from looking up at roof tops a lot more than you did in the last game, checking more balconies, preceding with a lot more caution through alleys and so on. In short, these maps are not suited to people who just want to run without thought, there are consequences to just about all of your actions.
Perks – We now earn XP for using perks? We even earn basically for just having a perk installed that has nothing to do with what you are doing … er, okay, that makes no sense, but whatever.
Multiplayer Conclusion – If you liked CoD4, don’t worry, you’ll still love this one.
It basically depends on what you want from the game. If you just want it for the single player, skip it. If you are the least bit interested in the multiplayer aspects, it’s a must buy.