Ultra slick presentation and super-streamlined gaming make this the best Call of Duty yet, and one of the games of the year for its short but thrilling single-player campaign. Just for once in the world of hyperbole they were all right - this game really is worth playing.
With so much hype attached to its release and its modern day setting I was reticent about trying this out. But due my Xbox360 spitting out Mass Effect in 20 minute intervals, I treated myself to some straight up run and shooting to relieve the stress and boy, was I glad I did.
From the very first prologue mission you know you�re in a Call of Duty game - you�re thrust straight into the action with the S.A.S. and you never get a moment to draw breath. Whether you�re rescuing Russian informants, battling through the streets of the Middle-East or storming a boat, you�re at the front of the advance always doing the interesting stuff and never mundanely going from point A to B.
Special mention has to be paid to a number of levels and instances. Firstly the opening credit scene is unexpected and remarkably effective. I have to admit that being a lefty, pro-liberal green-ass, I was somewhat dubious about this game�s morals when it came to the modern setting. However, it does a very effective job in creating the �bad guys� and separating them from the general populace of the Middle-East. You�re put into the body of the president of an unnamed Middle-Eastern country as a coup d�etat is taking place. From there you�re taken on a car ride which shows your country being torn apart and its here that the game sells itself to me.
The brutality of the uprisers killing your own people makes it just black and white enough for you to dive right into the conflict - not that the game gives you much time to do any thinking far beyond survival.
The following missions are all high-calibre and you could single everyone out as a highlight, but one seems to stick out more than any other level and that the AC-130 Gunship mission.
Now lets be honest - its a good level, something very different from any other Call of Duty mission ever seen, but the rapturous praise it�s been getting is rather hard to fathom and even harder to stomach.
You take control of the gunner on the gunship with the level explicitly titled �Death from Above�. Your mission is to protect your guys on the ground and eliminate enemy soldiers and vehicles using your Catfantastic bag of cannon and artillery.
This all sounds like good country-warfare but what people have been raving about is the authenticity of the gameplay. The night vision graphics are exactly the same as the military reels you can find off YouTube involving real combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. That, coupled with the comments on your shooting by your aircrew buddies, creates a really chilling combination and made me question - for the first time - the ethics of having such a level.
Yes - its a game. But when a game so faithfully recreates real war that it no longer feels fun, is it really a game at all? Indeed, the final comment of your wise-ass buddy is, �this�ll make a great highlight reel�.
Is this some highly subversive anti-war statement or just an example of gun-happy dev�s a-lovin their violence? The only thing that brings in back from the knife-edge is the fact that the people you�re protecting actually mean something to you. In Call of Duty 2 I really couldn�t give two tosses about Captain Price, but this one is so much different. The members of your squad are so tangible that you really care about them and �Death from Above� benefits from this so much, this liberal peace-nik will let it pass.
Aside from that, Call of Duty 4 is flawless - the story weaves interesting and sometimes shocking bends and curves. The level in Chernobyl told through flashback is an immense work of video game history and the final scene in the game shows exactly what war, whether modern or old, can be like.
Special mention also goes to the final US Marine mission when Call of Duty goes above and beyond (there, that�s two puns in a review!) what normally occurs in most FPS�s
9 / 10