|Call of Duty 3 < Modern Warfare > World At War|
 General Info
The official fourth game in the Call of Duty series, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was developed by Infinity Ward, creators of both the first and second titles. Returning to the mantle after Treyarchs Call of Duty 3, Modern Warfare is unique in the fact is it the first game in the series to branch from the standard World War II setting, opting for a modern, fictional war instead. Despite this, the game still retains most of Infinity Ward's typical design features, like showing several different story arcs from a multiple of playable perspectives.
The Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare campaign is divided into two: one shows the grim – and seemingly familiar – tale of a USMC soldier, Sergeant Paul Jackson, as he struggles through Middle Eastern areas. The other captures the brave heroics of British SAS operative 'Soap' MacTavish as he encounters numerous terrains from mid-sea recoveries to assassination attempts in Russia. While these two hold the main perspectives, we are also given small-time narrative-improving roles from taking the back seat as a humble civilian to undertaking a sniper mission decades before. As with the setting's jump in time, as has the weapon selection. The game boasts a broad range of new weaponry, accurately portraying the pros and flaws in each, as well as introducing new means of attack like air-strikes (similar to artillery of previous titles) and helicopter assaults to aid your kill-to-death ratio in multiplayer. The significant jump in time equally represents a significant change in gaming experience, and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has become universally applauded for this jump.
Built upon a modified version of the engine used for Call of Duty 2, the gameplay, mechanics and physics remain very similar to the previous Infinity Ward effort. There is a slight revision of the control layout to accommodate the introduction of a sprint ability (the first in an Infinity Ward title), with the melee attack button taking the blunt. The awkward gun-butts designed for each gun that were used for this melee have been replaced by a universal, swift combat knife that requires even more precision than that of the previous attacks. One alteration to the engine includes penetrable environments; nearly every wall or surface can be shot through, the strength of which determined by the weapon (and in multiplayer, your perks), making it possible to kill an enemy hiding in cover.
Typically, the singleplayer campaign consists of the generic first-person-shooting expected. As with the perspectives, the styles of fighting are split between more hectic, open-fire battles in war-struck streets as an USMC and contrasting, more slow and tactful gameplay as the SAS operative. However, intertwining the story are severable unique gameplay experiences. The first of these sounds dull written and without context, but sees you unwillingly forced through the extreme conditions of modern-day Middle East, as you witness mass murders, pushing you towards execution. Another example is an entire mission situated as the gunner of an attack helicopter, given a small selection of weapons and expected to defend or attack several targets from the sky, all in a black-and-white camera view, or one of the later levels where it puts you in the eyes of your squad leader many years before as you attempt a sniper assassination mission. There is even the opportunity of a story defining choice at the end of the game.
There are four difficulties to choose from:
The multiplayer component of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is one of the most significant departures from the series' standard design.
The typical mechanics featured in many multiplayer World War II shooters of having weapons limited to nation of the team you're playing on has been completely abandoned for a “weapon class” system which applies to any nation you fight for. While you are given five pre-set, uneditable classes to choose from initially, the real classes come from the five editable sets above. As you level up through the ranking system (detailed below) you unlock weapons, weapon features and game enhancers called “perks”. Each of these five suits allows you to pick one Primary Weapon (or two with use of a specific perk) and its features, one Secondary Weapon, a Primary Grenade, a Secondary Grenade and one perk each from three different perk groups. One balancing manoeuvre to this addition is the fact that, in-game, you are limited to these five sets; you can not alter them or select another weapon until you have left the game.
Another addition is the ability to modify your weapons. Nearly every weapon features a set of unlockable attachments (typically an ACOG Scope, a Red Dot Sight or a Silencer) or paint jobs (Digital, Red Tiger, Blue Tiger and for one select weapon from each classification, being made of gold) that are unlocked by doing specific “challenges”. The gameplay changing unlocks are achieved by getting a set amount of total kills with the specific weapon, whereas the paint jobs are completely aesthetic and are unlocked by getting a total amount of headshots with that weapon. The rarer gold weaponry is accomplished by completing all of the headshot achievements in a weapon classification (for instance, getting all the headshot achievements with the rifles unlocks a golden AK-47.)
As mentioned above, the game also now includes its own online selection of challenges, similar to the Xbox 360 achievement system but instead of providing gamerscore, they instead give you XP towards the ranking system and in some cases, weapon alterations. These are mainly either weapon or game-type based (get 100 kills with the M4 Carbine, for instance) but there are also some more random inclusions like falling a large distance.
Unlike the previous Call of Duty games, Call of Duty 4 also replicates the ambitions of fan-made realism mods with an official new game mode called Hardcore which increases bullet damage as well as removing all features of the HUD. On the PC version of the title, the mode is applicable to every gametype, though the console versions are limited to Search and Destroy and Team Deathmatch. Accompanying this game mode was the creation of Old School. This game mode was completely different to its two counterparts and instead of using the weapon class system, it starts every player in the game with a pistol and allows them to find upgrades all throughout the map. This was far less popular than Normal and Hardcore, however, and is rarely played.
Despite all of these changes, the game does stick to its series routes including the majority of game-types from the previous titles, consisting of player-favourites Search and Destroy, Headquarters, Domination and Team Deathmatch. As well as these, it also added Sabotage, a Search and Destroy styled game-type with respawns and crossing attack and defend objectives. All of these can be played in Hardcore or Normal on the PC version. On the console titles however, most of these are restricted to normal but there is also Mercenary versions (which assign you with random players) as well as Cage Matches, which are essentially player-vs-player matches.
The multiplayer on a whole has been widely applauded for its balance and longevity, and thus has been both Playstation Network's and Xbox Live's most played online game at points.
 Ranking System
Call of Duty 4's ranking system is based on acquiring experiencing points (XP) in the game's various play lists and game types. Players can obtain XP by getting kills as well as performing other objectives, depending on the game type. These may include planting explosives or capturing objective points on the map. There are also challenges the player can perform in-game that vary from getting a certain number of kills or head shots with a certain weapon to completing other objectives. These challenges can offer XP as well attachments for weapons. As you rank up you earn Perks that aid you in battle.
Call of Duty 4 starts with 55 levels. When a player reaches the maximum level, they are given the option of going through Prestige Mode. If the player accepts, Prestige Mode will reset the player's level, weapons, and challenges. The player can then play through multi-player again, leveling up and unlocking weapons. Prestige Mode also changes the player's rank insignia to a different medal. The player can enter Prestige Mode up to ten times, each giving the player a different medal for an insignia. However it is not essential for the player to prestige.
- Cpt. Price, a British character in Call of Duty, United Offensive, and Call of Duty 2, is often mistaken for returning in Call of Duty 4. If he did so, he would be at least 87 years old at the time of combat (provided that he was 20 in 1943 and CoD4 takes place in 2010). A different Price appears.
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is the only Call of Duty game to date to be rated "M" by the ESRB.
- According to Major Nelson's Blog, on January 14th, 2008, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare surpassed Halo 3 as the most played game on Xbox LIVE. One week later, Halo 3 was #1 once again, and the two games have been topping each other since. For the PlayStation Network, it has been the top played game of 2008, beating launch game Resistance: Fall of Man.