Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – An amazing, legendary FPS

By NICK McCOY

Tiger Media Network

When it comes to the modern first-person shooter genre, few titles can match the massive impact of the “Call of Duty” series. Next to Microsoft’s landmark “Halo” franchise, “Call of Duty” is one of the most important games in the world of both traditional first-person action, and the multiplayer sphere. From its humble roots as a polished but dime-a-dozen World War II shooter to the juggernaut it is today, there is no denying just how much of a mark “Call of Duty” has left.

The thing is, that statement may seem crazy to a lot of people nowadays, considering the direction that the series unfortunately took. However, before the time of yearly releases, “Warzone”, and being able to play as Nicki Minaj, “Call of Duty” was well renowned not only for its incredibly fun and addicting multiplayer but for its excellent single-player campaigns, featuring memorable characters and some truly breathtaking moments; All of this is perfectly exemplified with “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare”. 

As the game that really put the idea of modern military shooters on the market, following an abundance of World War 2 and Futuristic titles, “Call of Duty 4” features not only a really addicting multiplayer option, but an absolutely amazing campaign mode that’s intense, thrilling, and incredibly captivating. It’s a true reminder of a time when “Call of Duty” wasn’t the symbol of greed and trend-chasing, but rather an incredibly polished FPS series bringing both great single-player and multiplayer gameplay. 

Release: 

  • Released on November 5th, 2007 for PCs, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
  • Developed by Infinity Ward, with several team members having worked on fellow WWII shooter “Medal of Honor”
  • Published by Activision
  • A separate release for the Wii subtitled “Reflex Edition,” released in 2009
  • A remastered edition was released in 2016, bundled with “Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare”
  • “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered” released standalone in 2017
  • Followed in 2009 by “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2”

Deviating from the World War 2 setting of the first three games, “Call of Duty 4” takes place in modern times, more specifically in the year 2011. The campaign focuses on the efforts of the British Special Air Service (SAS) 22nd Regiment, led by Captain John Price, and the US Marine Corps 1st Force Recon Company. Of the few playable characters present, players mainly take control of SAS recruit Sergeant John “Soap” MacTavish and Marine Sergeant Paul Jackson, with Captain Price playable in flashbacks. 

The SAS and Marines are individually tasked with stopping a violent civil war in Russia between the Russian Federation and the Russian Ultranationalist party, and with apprehending Khaled Al-Asad, a revolutionary leader responsible for a coup d’etat in an unnamed Middle Eastern country. However, following a devastating nuclear attack, both the SAS and Marine Corps band together to stop Imran Zakhaev, the leader of the Ultranationalists, from launching more nuclear devices on US soil. 

While “Call of Duty” nowadays is more known for its multiplayer, there was a time when just as much energy was put into single-player campaigns. As a result, the campaign present in “Call of Duty 4” is excellent from start to finish. The individual missions, the characters, and the overarching story are all handled incredibly well. There’s a reason why Captain Price has developed somewhat of a legendary status; his sarcastic remarks, incredibly epic moments and amazing mustache are just a few examples. 

Other characters I enjoyed include SAS’s “Gaz” and Staff Sergeant Griggs of the Marine Corps, while Zakhaev, despite only appearing in the last few missions, is a memorable and intimidating antagonist. The writing can be pretty funny sometimes, too. Hearing Price and Griggs get into an argument about the proper temperature of beer is something I never knew I needed in a “COD” game. The characters really do add quite a bit to the campaign, and it’s a shame the most recent games in the series just don’t understand this. 

The individual missions and setpieces, however, are the real highlights, and give way to some of the most breathtaking moments, and some of the most iconic in video games, period. The game starts off with a bang with the opening mission, “Crew Expendable,” which ends with a high-octane escape from a rapidly sinking ship. The mission “All Ghillied Up” is a legendary mission that sees players controlling then Lieutenant Price, sneaking through the ruins of Pripyat, on the outskirts of Chernobyl. The moment when Price and his commanding officer, Captain MacMillan, lay in the grass as a platoon of enemies walk mere inches from you never ceases to be intense. Then, there’s probably the most powerful moment in the entire campaign: The nuke. The moment when your helicopter is caught right in the middle of a nuclear blast is such an incredible scene. Not only that, you then have to crawl out of the crashed helicopter, as your character basks in the absolute destruction left by the bomb before ultimately succumbing to the blast. It is such a powerful and emotionally riveting scene, and it sticks with you well after it’s over. It’s another great reminder of just how good these campaigns used to be. 

The main gameplay present in “Call of Duty 4” is, by all accounts, simple, but it is still something all its own. There is a varied selection of weapons, from different assault rifles, shotguns, pistols, LMGs and Sniper Rifles, with special weapons such as a Minigun, Grenade Launcher and AC-130 Gunship in specific missions. Flashbangs and Frag Grenades are your main throwable items and are of great use in hallways or small buildings. You also have access to a few attachments and other tools, just as Claymores, C4, and the infamous “Noob tube”: a grenade launcher attached to the M4 assault rifle that annihilates groups of enemies. The guns are all pretty satisfying to use, and the individual levels really propel the game’s core gunplay. 

Typically, the SAS missions are quieter to start, being played more covertly, before things inevitably go loud. Meanwhile, the Marine missions start off loud and stay loud to the very end. The battles present here are incredibly tense and only increase in scope and intensity as the game progresses. One of the game’s greatest strengths is that it does not make you feel like a one-man army but instead just one man fighting a battle with so many other soldiers both by and against you. It goes a long way into making “Call of Duty 4” intense, thrilling, and sometimes frustrating, but the core experience is excellent no matter what. 

Of course, it is hard to talk about “Call of Duty” without talking about the multiplayer. Despite being 17 years old at this point, there is still a dedicated player base for “Call of Duty 4”, and it’s entirely possible to play it in 2024, even if it’s mostly just Deathmatch and Free for All. Players can choose from various game modes, from traditional Team Deathmatch, Domination, Objective-based modes and Hardcore variants, which disable the HUD and increase the damage of weapons. Pretty standard fare for online multiplayer, but what really made “Modern Warfare” a game changer at release was its progression, perks, and prestige system.

The multiplayer in “COD 4” is a consistently rewarding experience, as whether or not you win or lose, you’ll be getting plenty of XP that allows you to level up. Each level grants players access to new weapons, challenges, and the ability to customize their individual classes. The various perks available have reached infamy among players; Juggernaut (increased health) and Martyrdom (dropping a grenade after death) are the bane of many players’ existence. Finally, Prestige allows players to reach another level after reaching level 55, granting a new logo and some other bonus, at the cost of going back to level 1. While it may have been milked to death by Activision, the multiplayer experience of “Call of Duty 4” is still so much fun to this day. 

“Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” is still, to this day, an excellent FPS that more than deserves its legendary status. From its riveting campaign, excellent online modes and the core gunplay present, “Modern Warfare” provides both an amazing single-player and multiplayer experience, one whose influence can still be felt today. 

Nick McCoy is a senior at Fort Hays State University, studying digital media and journalism. An avid gamer and music listener, he reviews video games and songs and hosts the radio show “The Understanding of Nick” for KFHS. 

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