Archive for June, 2008

GTA IV DLC Might Take a While

June 30, 2008

I have some potentially bad news for all GTA IV owners who are anticipating the quick release of DLC. There could be quite a delay before it actually comes out. Michael Hollick, voice and motion capture actor of Niko Bellic, was featured on ign’s weekly podcast, GameScoop. Daemon Hatfield from the IGN Nintendo team asked “So, there’s episodic content coming for GTA IV; have you already recorded those parts, or do you have to go back and hit those?” Hollick replied “I have not. Yeah, I have not. I’m not sure exactly, you know, what is involved or if Niko’s involved or anything like that.”

This doesn’t mean that DLC won’t be out soon, because no one, except for Rockstar, knows what content is going to be released. If Niko isn’t involved in the DLC then this would all be disregarded. Perhaps a new weapons or vehicle pack will be released. I think we can all rest assured that Rockstar will deliver with what’s to come.  

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Diablo III Formally Announced

June 28, 2008

First of all, I am by no means a PC gamer. Not that I don’t like PC games, I just have a PC that would throw up all kinds of metallic odds and ends if I tried to run anything video game related on it. That said, I have never played Diablo or World of Warcraft, unless you count about ten minutes of playing at my cousin’s house. I never really understood the appeal of these games, but I know they have their fanbase, and a monstrous one at that, so here you are: a PC gaming post. 

While this has been expected for a long time now, Blizzard has officially announced Diablo III. There was some speculation that it would be confirmed when there an odd “icy” splash screen was posted on Blizzard’s main site. Rumors started spouting out from everywhere, but Diablo III seemed to make the most sense. Over time the splash screen changed, revealing more pieces to the mystery. That splash screen has now been replaced with a Diablo III graphic, after the game’s confirmation at the 2008 Worldwide Invitational. The official site has been launched containing the debut teaser trailer, a twenty minute gameplay demo, over 60 screenshots and concept art, character class information, and more. The teaser and gameplay demo are posted below, but you can go to the Diablo III website to see everything else.

Teaser Trailer

Gameplay Demo Part 1

Gameplay Demo Part 2

Sony Down $3.3 Billion Due To PS3 Pricing

June 27, 2008

No, that’s not a typo, Sony really has lost $3.3 billion since the Playstation 3’s launch in 2006. They put so much money into research and development all for a system that didn’t sell.

It all started when Sony made the console cheaper than it actually costs to make, so they’re virtually losing money each time a system is sold. Companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo don’t make their money from hardware sales, though. Their systems need to be supported with high-selling software to make a profit. By lowering the price of the PS3 Sony is losing more money on hardware sales, but they are increasing the consumer’s incentive to buy software. This all could be because of a low quantity of stellar games. If so, Sony’s fortunes might change in these coming years.

The list of upcoming Playstation3 titles is outstanding to say the least. A handful of triple-A games such as LittleBigPlanet, Resistence 2, Socom: Confrontation, Final Fantasy XIII, Killzone 2, and more. I expect the beast that is Sony to be back on its feet in no time.

Call of Duty: News, Rumors, and Trailer

June 26, 2008

It’s true that Call of Duty 5, or Call of Duty: World at War, will once again be taking place during World War II, albeit in the Pacific Theatre. It’s also true that Treyarch, makers of the lackluster CoD3, are developing it. But, you might not want to give up hope just yet.

Why the name change from Call of Duty 5, to Call of Duty: World at War?

As posted on VideoGamer:

“We’re getting rid of the number in Call of Duty for a very specific reason. It’s because we want you to know that when you’re playing Call of Duty: World at War you’re playing the best shooter, the best WW2 game ever. Likewise when you’re playing Modern Warfare, likewise when you play any game that will be called Call of Duty.” -Senior producer, Noah Heller

Modern Warfare still had a ‘4’ in its title, so what will Infinity Ward’s next CoD game be called? Huge amounts of fans are requesting a sequel to the Modern Warfare. If they choose to create a sequel, what will they name it, Call of Duty: 6 Modern Warfare 2? That would be stupid! Their only other option would be to name it Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: The Sequel. Considering all this, maybe Infinity Ward has something else in the works…

RUMOR: What might Infinity Ward be working on?

A supposed “Infinity Ward insider” has let slip that Infinity Ward is currently working on a sci-fi title, that may or may not be a CoD game. With CoD4: Modern Warfare selling over 10 million copies, you’d think Infinity Ward would stick to the working formula. Or perhaps they’ve split development into two teams, one to work on said sci-fi game, and the other to create a new CoD. Either way, Infinity Ward has shown they know how to please the fans.

Any new details regarding Call of Duty: World at War’s gameplay features? 

Yes, and fans of the series should be excited, even though Treyarch is developing it. A major aspect of this CoD is fire. Two new weapons, flamethrowers and Molotov cocktails, add a new experience to the gameplay, mainly because of the physics involved. The fire will move and burn according to the wind. In addition, the fire comes into play with one of the next key fetures: destructable environments.

Akin to the recently released Battlefield: Bad Company, objects you are able to destroy in real life should be destroyed in the game. Say you need to make a quick getaway, so you shoot the walls of the wood building you’re in and there’s a new exit. Hopefully, this feature will be implemented into the amazing online multiplayer that is CoD.

The online multiplayer in this installment is supposed to be similar to CoD4, but will also pose some new additions. Features such as perks and air strikes will still be in place, however Treyarch is adding something that CoD online has never seen before: vehicles. For the first time, you will be able to locomote in ways other than on foot. Whether this means planes, tanks, or recon vehicles is unknown, but it is still groundbreaking for the franchise nonetheless.

Finally, Call of Duty: World at War will have both split-screen and online co-op, a feature that’s been wanted since the beginnning of the franchise. Split-screen can be enjoyed by up to 2 players, whereas online co-op can house up to 4 players. During co-op play difficulty will be altered depending on the skill levels of the players. With so much returning from the beloved fourth installment, and amazing new additions this might be a must-have game.

Call of Duty: World at War Trailer:

via Joystiq/VideoGamer

Guitar Hero: World Tour Rumors

June 25, 2008

A little bit pricier than Rock Band, Guitar Hero: World Tour is rumored to set you back $179.99. We’ll see if Rock Band 2 will continue the trend of increasing the price. Most fans of these series probably won’t want 2 drum sets in their game rooms, so it’ll be interesting to see how it all works out.

Not only was the price unveiled, but a new guitar and list of bands was shown. The guitar, seen in the latest trailer shows a wireless, touch-sensitive neck, which is the first of its kind. Having a strictly touch-sensitive guitar might propose some qualms with long-time fans, but the neck appeared to have buttons in the trailer. As for the bands and artists you’ll be mimicking, the list is comprised of Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Korn, System of a Down, Ozzy Osbourne, Interpol, Muse, Van Halen, The Eagles, Linkin Park, Sublime, and lot’s more. In the June issue of GameInformer, Brian Bright, project director of Guitar Hero: World Tour, said “[We’ll have] more songs than we’ve ever put in a Guitar Hero game, more than any other disc-based music game. And they’re all master tracks , and a lot of triple-A bands. We’re going balls-out.” This is certainly looking to be the best Guitar Hero sound track, so let’s hope Neversoft can deliver.

via Joystiq/GameInformer

Xbox 360 Info Leaked

June 24, 2008

Recently, a online survey company, Intellisponse, had their site hacked, releasing tons of juicy info. Microsoft was one victim of the leak. Soon after, Intellisponse responded to Kotaku saying “It is our policy that we do no comment on rumors or speculation.”

One major reveal was that avatars might take place of gamerpics. An image showed the rumored avatars, and one can’t help but notice a likeness to Nintendo’s Miis. With Home pushed back, releasing avatars would be a slap in the face to Sony. As you can see, one of the Mi- avatars is sporting an Incredibles t-shirt. If this turns out to be true will it just become another place for Microsoft to throw ads?

In addition, a rumored Microsoft product, codename Lips, is said to be a karaoke game created by the developers of Elite Beat Agents, iNiS. If confirmed, it looks as if Microsoft will be trying to compete with Playstation 3 exclusive, SingStar. Supposedly, Lips will come packaged with two microphones, each with built-in lights and motion detectors. Furthermore, it will contain 30 songs from the start, and you can upload your own songs to the game. Somehow, the game will be able to display lyrics from imported songs and reduce the vocals, so you can hear the singer. With the ability to use your own songs Lips would just about have infinite replay value.

Finally, Forza Motorsport 3 (Forza 3) was announced to come with 2 discs, over 400 cars, over 100 tracks, and damage-modeling. It’s another competition with a sony series, Gran Turismo (GT). The GT series has always had a variety of cars, beautiful graphics, and many tracks, but no damage-modeling. Having cars wreck and seeing no damage is one of the main complaints of GT fans. If Forza 3 can combine the realism of the GT series and the damage-modeling of the Burnout series, Microsoft will have a top-notch racer on their hands.

via Xbox 360 Fanboy/Kotaku

Defend Your Castle

June 18, 2008

After playing Defend Your Castle there is only one word to describe it: addicting. Many others and I have been enjoying flinging stick figures in the air and watching them crash to the ground on the free flash version of Defend Your Castle. Now, you can purchase this revamped title as a WiiWare game in the Nintendo Shop Channel. For only five dollars, or five hundred Wii points, this is definitely a bargain.

Concept: As the commander of your castle you must stop invaders from reaching your keep. However, if they reach your castle they will try to break the walls down, lowering its health. Armed with an invisible hand you must destroy any enemies who try to breach the walls of the castle. Attacks will start early in the morning, and last until dark. When the invaders are gone you can repair any damage and improve your defenses by spending points gained from killing enemies. See how long you can withstand the constant forays and defend your castle.

Sound: With just about every sound effect coming straight from the mouth, let’s just say audio isn’t this title’s strong suit. The main menu is the only screen with actual music, unless you count the lip popping “music” played in the fortifications and upgrades shop. Splat noises, explosions, and other various sound effects are done by mouth, which is actually oddly satisfying. It gives the game a nice touch, and I can’t help but laugh when I click an explosive and hear the homemade “Pa-kow!” It is disappointing to go from round to round only listening to the grunts and bone-crunches of the invaders. You probably wouldn’t be focusing on the background music even if you had it, but your brain needs something else to hear to avoid melting.

Gameplay: You would never think that something so simple could be so fun. With a compelling single player, hectic multiplayer mode, and simplistic controls there is hours of replay value.

A game like Defend Your Castle that needs rapid movement and precise button presses could not be done with broken controls. Developer/publisher XGen Studios has delivered in this regard. There is an on-screen cursor that you move over your enemies. Then, you press either ‘A’ or ‘B’ to pick them up. Flick your wrist up, and release the grab button to send the baddie flying through the air. The bigger invaders, however, are too heavy to be picked up, so you must make them stumble until they die. Later, if you purchase special ability of magic for your castle, some controls will be mapped to the ‘D-pad’. The amazing controls definitely help the WiiWare version to improve upon its flash game counterpart.

When you start the single player mode you’ll realize that the first few levels are extremely easy. You will only see a couple stick figure invaders, and slow ones at that. At these levels it’s almost impossible to lose. Don’t worry though; when you start progressing to the higher levels more difficult enemies will emerge. Not only are there unarmed, “fist-fighting” stick figures, but now some will be holding battering ram-esque popsicle sticks. Moreover, there are “monster” stick figures and catapults that won’t be defeated with only one throw. Your screen is going to be flooded with an abundance of sprinting invaders. The cursor will be a blur as you frantically toss the stick figures left and right. Fortunately, you can purchase upgrades for the castle to aid you in the many onslaughts to come.

After each round you will be taken to the fortifications and upgrades shop. You can choose to repair any damage done to the castle, increase its total health, or buy training facilities to help defeat enemies faster. Some of those facilities include the institute of magical arts, archery range, demolition laboratory, and stone masons shop. Before you buy one of those, you first have to purchase the “pit of conversion”. If you drop an enemy into the pit of conversion, 30 seconds will go by and that enemy will now be helping you. That new helper can be assigned to work at any of the above mentioned facilities. If you assign one to the magical institute you will be granted magic abilities. For instance, if you scroll your cursor over one of the big monsters and press down on the ‘D-pad’ an eraser will pop up and take them out. The archery range allows converted soldiers to fire arrows at your opponents. Perhaps the most important advantage, the demolition laboratory, creates a suicide bomber. This comes in handy when you have an unbearable amount of attackers at the castle door. Finally, when you appoint an ally to work at the stone masons shop the damage to the castle will slowly be repaired. Improving upon your castle is the main element that makes Defend Your Castle so addicting.

All of the above is available in the frenzied multiplayer. You can enjoy Defend Your Castle in all its frenetic glory with up to four players with seamless drop-in/drop-out play. For example, one of your friends stops by while you’re playing, so you turn on another remote and the player two cursor pops right up. Depending on how many players are in the game the number and pace of invaders will increase, meanwhile the players are competing to become “king”. The player with the most points at the end of the round becomes king, and he or she gets to choose what to spend the point on. It’s nothing particularly special, but it’s fun and it works.

Graphics: Most likely the most controversial aspect of the game is its art style. With most people it’s either you love it or you hate it. I, for one, enjoy the simple look and feel. Imagine someone raiding an arts and crafts store and pasting it all together. Menus are made from crumpled paper and crayon writing. The battle site has a colored felt background and stick figures made from scribbles. You can decide for yourself whether you like the classroom art style or not, but in the end, that’s not the reason you’ll be buying it.

Conclusion: At five dollars I would say that Defend Your Castle is definitely a bargain. You will miss out on a lot of fun if you don’t download this game. If you’re going out to lunch one day, skip it and use the money for this. Both would stay with you for hours, but Defend Your Castle certainly has more value. Buy this game!

79/100

Nitpicks:
-Having no background music is very annoying
-Would be nice having more modes

BioShock

June 14, 2008

My name is Andrew Ryan and I’m here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? ‘No!’ says the man in Washington, ‘It belongs to the poor.’ ‘No!’ says the man in the Vatican, ‘It belongs to God.’ ‘No!’ says the man in Moscow, ‘It belongs to everyone.’ I rejected those answers. I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose… Rapture.”

BioShock is one of the greatest games ever created, and that’s without multiplayer. To those of you, who think BioShock is just another first-person shooter, guess again. This is a horror, action-RPG, first-person shooter and an amazing cinematic experience. I urge everyone to go out and buy this game as soon as possible. With a sequel in development, and a sequel to the sequel already hinted at, you won’t want to miss this series.

Concept: BioShock has one of the best, if not the best, story in video game history. There are quite a few jaw-dropping twists and turns, some that rival The Sixth Sense. I have to say that the writers at 2K Boston/2K Australia are geniuses, and have made a masterpiece that will go down in gaming history.

You start off in 1960, when your plane crashes in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Your character, Jack, has to swim to the nearest land which happens to be an eerie lighthouse. Once inside you see the statue of Andrew Ryan, and take a bathysphere down to the dystopian city of Rapture. When the bathysphere lands you see a man being confronted by someone with hooked hands, a splicer. Jack watches the splicer brutally murder the man, and eventually leave. Jack finds a radio inside the bathysphere, and meets a man named, Atlas. Atlas is your survival guide to Rapture. Through Atlas, old audio diaries, and ghost-like “flashbacks” the story of Rapture and why you are there unfolds in front of you.

The underwater city of Rapture was the brainchild of Andrew Ryan. In the 1940s, he created Rapture in his hate of authority. The only rule that was strictly enforced was there could be absolutely no contact with the outside world. Ryan wanted Rapture to be an Eden “where the artist would not fear the censor, the scientist would not be bound by petty morality, [and] where the great would not be constrained by the small!” The only rule that was strictly enforced in Rapture was absolutely no contact with the outside world. For a long time the city flourished, but the discovery of ADAM and trouble with smugglers lead to the downfall of Andrew Ryan’s secret utopia.

ADAM, discovered by Dr. Bridgette Tennenbaum, is stem cells extracted from a special type of sea slug. These stem cells allowed the inhabitants of Rapture to make genetic modifications to them. Scientists created “plasmids”, which granted humans strange abilities and are “refilled” using a substance called EVE. For example, the incinerate plasmid allows you to shoot fire from your fingertips.  Citizens could “buy” plasmids with ADAM. The constant need for ADAM made people lose control, and become splicers. Furthermore, scientists created the “Little Sisters”, who were made to wander Rapture, harvesting all available ADAM. To protect the Little Sisters, the “Big Daddies” were made. The Little Sisters were young girls injected with a sea slug, whereas the Big Daddies were genetically reworked and well-armed humans in large, protective diving suits. At this point, Rapture was like a leaky pipe. You can cover the leaks with small patches, but eventually the whole thing is going to burst.   

      

Former mobster, Frank Fontaine, smuggled goods into Rapture, breaking the only rule of the underwater city. Fontaine wanted to become wealthy and have dominance in Rapture, but Ryan wanted the opposite. Both had many followers, and they became arch-enemies. Fontaine who controlled all of Dr. Tennenbaum’s discoveries became rich and was gaining too much power. Andrew Ryan could not have Fontaine get anymore stronger so he had him assassinated.

With the death of Frank Fontaine a new rival for Andrew Ryan appeared. The new rival was Atlas, Jack’s radio companion. Atlas and his ADAM-hungry followers attacked Andrew Ryan and his high-class followers on New Years Eve. A war broke out between the two groups and the city began to crumble. Ryan’s methods became corrupt and he lost many of his followers. Most of Rapture’s remaining population was splicers, but some normal humans have been able to hide within the city. At around this time Jack arrives at Rapture.

Sound: BioShock has some of the best audio you’ll ever hear. From voice acting to music there are absolutely no flaws. Its ominous tones add suspense, and the audio diaries are very well done. I would actually say it’s perfect.

Armin Shimerman and Karl Hanover do an amazing job voicing Andrew Ryan and Atlas. None of the characters are flat, each having they’re own personality. Even the splicers have different views! One will be singing Jesus Loves Me while another screams that he’s “Lonely, just lonely!” In addition, the audio diaries sound very realistic. They sound exactly like they’re supposed to, old and washed-out, and at the same time they’re filling you in on the background of Rapture.  

Andrew Ryan looking his best! 

As for the music, nothing sounds out of place. If you are at a creepy section, creepy music comes on. It’s all matched perfectly for the situation. I was walking through an old barber shop because I heard faint music, and when I further investigated I saw an old record player. When I walked closer I recognized the tune as Beyond the Sea. It sounded so eerie, but it was very intriguing. Another catchy tune you’ll hear later in the game is That Doggie in the Window, and there are many more. After you’re done playing, you’ll start singing these songs out of the blue. Have fun getting them out of your head!

Finally, there are the sound effects. It must be near impossible to find a sound effect for everything in a game, but I think 2K Boston/2K Australia did it. When Jack walks you hear the pitter-patter of his feet. Most importantly, the sounds of gunshots and wrenches to the forehead are all there, and they sound fantastic. Throw in some glass shattering, water rushing, cassettes playing, fire burning, and drunk hiccoughing and you’ve got a game!

Graphics: Many critics say that BioShock has the best art style, and I wholeheartedly agree. The entire city of Rapture is depicted brilliantly, through its gorgeous art style. I now know what to expect if I ever visit an underwater, dystopian city.

If you play the first level, and are not stunned already, you might need to get an eye checkup. BioShock shows off its graphical power as soon as you hit the surface from the plane crash. The water effects are so outstanding, that they actually make some of the other elements look bad. The fire in the game looks like it could have been done last generation, but the water really pushes it to the limit.

The environments in Rapture are truly stunning. There is a variety of different sections, and each is portrayed with beautiful graphics. At one point you’ll be walking through the blood-stained walls of the Medical Pavilion, and later you’ll be in a lush, green forest. Meanwhile, old-timey advertisements adorn and flashy vending machines adorn the walls, keeping that 1940s vibe going. Only Andrew Ryan could create so much diversity in a submerged metropolis.

Lastly, the character models and animations are wonderful. The splicers look like you’d expect, deformed. They will creep up behind you, and once you turn around it looks like death is staring you in the face. Even better, are the Big Daddies and Little Sisters. They look realism from such an unbelievable character is chilling, so much that you might want to put on a diaper during Jack’s first Big Daddy encounter.

Gameplay: In my opinion, the gameplay is where BioShock shines brightest. You can choose how you want to take down your enemies. The RPG aspect makes it feel more in depth than a simple shooter. There are so many things packed into the gameplay, but most of it works magically.

I’ll start of with my only gripe about the gameplay, and that’s the part where you have to hack machines. You can hack vending machines, security bots, and safes. It’s all very gimmicky, but it’s not even a fun gimmick. You could skip this feature entirely, but then you miss out on lower vending machine prices, friendly security bots, and finding free goodies. The hack “mini-game” is similar to the game Pipe Dream for the NES. You have to switch pipes around very quickly while avoiding obstacles. A green fluid moves through the pipes and it has to end up going through a specified pipe. Though it does come in handy I’d rather not see this feature in the upcoming sequels.

Pipe Dream anyone?

There is nothing worse than bringing home a hyped game to find that its controls are broken. Luckily, the control system is runs smoothly, and there is a small learning curve. I’m glad all the plasmids are located on one button rather than spreading them all throughout the controller, or worse, making you open up the start menu. There’s never a point where you don’t feel in control of Jack.

The AI of the splicers and Big Daddies is some of the best around. The splicers will react as soon as Jack becomes visible. They proceed to lunge or shoot at you, but if they see a shotgun or ball of flames in your hand they will try to run. The same goes for the Big Daddies when attacked, but they definitely won’t run, no matter what you throw at them. You can tell how good the AI is by comparing it to the real world. For instance, you are unprotected except for a lead pipe. You see a man with a Thompson submachine gun approaching, so your first instinct is to run. Now let’s say you are in a tank and a man with a revolver approaches. Obviously, you’re going to run him down with ease. It’s intriguing to watch the different reactions you get from various people in Rapture.

Most importantly, the combat won me over just like that. You’re given so many options on how to take down the security bots, splicers, Big Daddies, and more. Will you run and gun with the various firearms, use plasmids the whole way, or try a mix of the two? The choice is yours! I would compare it to a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story. You try one thing, and if it doesn’t work out, you try something else. That’s just the beginning, though; there are lots of customization options, which give BioShock an RPG feel.

One of the main focuses of the game is upgrading. You’ll be finding or buying plasmids and tonics to upgrade Jack according to the way you play. Tonics are like plasmids, in that they give you special abilities, but their abilities are a little different. The categories for tonics are physical, engineering, and combat. I, for one, used a variety of plasmids and a wrench. Therefore, my more valued tonics were combat type. My favorite tonics included wrench jockey, which deals more wrench damage, and static discharge, which shocks enemies when touched. Eventually, Jack acquires a camera which will grant new tonics when a certain type of enemy is researched. It sounds complex, but it all works quite nicely.

That wrench couldn't even take the Little Sister down...

For your firearms a different type of upgrade is given. Occasionally, you will stumble upon a “Power to the People” machine. These machines allow you to make one upgrade on one of your weapons. Whether you increase your gun’s ammo capacity or how much damage is given, it really doesn’t matter. In addition, at a U-Invent machine you can create different types of ammo from otherwise useless items you’ve picked up. All these customization options make the game feel hand-crafted for you.

Conclusion: BioShock isn’t perfect, but for a single-player only game, it’s pretty close. There is a lot packed into this game, and I’m sorry if anyone is a Wii only gamer. Being the 360 “fanboy” that I am, you’d think I’d be upset to see such a great exclusive become multiplatform game, but I’m actually glad. Disallowing PS3 owners from playing BioShock would be like putting them through the Chinese water torture. It’s just not right. I feel special to have been graced by this game’s presence. It definitely deserved the many game of the year awards it won in 2007.

95/100

Nitpicks:

-No multiplayer

-Hacking mini-game becomes annoying, fast

-Last level could have been better

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

June 12, 2008

 

Honestly, this is the first Call of Duty game that I’ve played for more than two hours. I have never been a big fan of World War II shooters, considering the fact that there are over 100 of them. This title already had one thing going for it: Infinity Ward was the development team behind it. As soon as I saw the gameplay walkthrough at E3 2007, I was hooked.

Single Player: The single player campaign, though short, was epic to say the least. You take the role of Sgt. Paul Jackson (USMC), and Sgt. “Soap” MacTavish (SAS), in an effort to remove some Middle Eastern “baddies” from power. The diversity between the two roles is astounding, and it’s an amazing experience. One minute you’re in an all-out fire fight in a TV station, and the next you’re sliently picking off ultranationalists, allowing your Russian allies to advance. What makes this even better is that the controls work fantastically. Everything is fluid and soon it will all be second nature to you.

Many FPSs today are the same thing over and over again. Thankfully, Infinity Ward throws you into lots of different scenarios all of which are loads of fun. Ever wanted to drop bombs and cause total hell above your enemies? You’re in luck. Ever wanted to snipe someone from so far away you actually had to take the Coriolis effect into account? I know I have. These are just a few of the breathtaking events you’ll get to act out. There’s a little something for everyone in here, and you won’t get that “lather, rinse, repeat” feeling.

The story really takes off after you and your SAS companions find a manifest on an Estonian cargo ship, which links Russian Ultranationalist party leader, Imran Zakhaev, and Middle Eastern rebel leader Khaled Al-Asad. The USMC, SAS, and Russian Loyalists have to stop them from starting a nuclear war. With many twists and turns throughout, a flashback, and an epic cinematic ending, you will be more than satisfied.

If you’ve seen Call of Duty 4 in action you know how realistic it looks. There are no concerns at all with the graphics, you can’t help but to enjoy them. The guns are detailed, the environments are detailed, the characters are detailed, there’s even stuff blowing in the wind! Not to mention the animations are great. You should get a laugh or two throwing by flash bang at an unsuspecting enemy and watching them flail around. It might have a couple close competitors, but it’s safe to say that Call of Duty 4 is one of the best looking console games out.

This game delivers in so many ways, so Infinity Ward must have slipped up on the audio, right? Wrong. If you close your eyes for a second, you’ll think you’re amidst the fighting. Gunshots sound perfect, explosions are jaw-dropping, and the voice work is some of the best I’ve ever heard. Two of your SAS companions, Captain Price and Gaz, voiced by Billy Murray and Craig Fairbrass respectively, are at the top of my favorites list. Did I mention it has its own rap song? You’ll have to complete the game if you want to hear that, though.

Finally, once you’ve beat the campaign you can try it on a higher difficulty, assuming you didn’t start out on Veteran. I know from experience that the Veteran difficulty is a huge can of whoop ass, and the enemy AI is waiting with a can-opener. Be ready to die… A lot! You get a nice sense of pride after completing a few levels, and watching those achievements add up.

If you completed the game on the highest difficulty, or just want to have a little fun, you should try Arcade Mode. Start out by choosing your stage and difficulty. Then, rack up as many points as you can by getting head shots, staying alive, keeping kill chains going, etc. It can get very hectic and would be a blast if multiplayer was incorporated. Try to climb your way up the Arcade leaderboard.

Another way you can add replay value to your copy of Call of Duty 4 is by collecting intel. This is a boring, albeit rewarding task. Looking for the intel can be a pain, but you unlock achievements and cheats from it. The slow-mo ability is probably the most fun, but you can try combining a few to come up with a whole new way to play. Turning on “slow-mo” and “cluster bombs” to create explosion extravaganzas is quite exhilarating. Don’t worry, I’ll try to stay away from anymore alliterations.

So, you’ve completed the game, conquered the Veteran difficulty (or maybe not for you lazy people), tried Arcade Mode, and experimented with the cheats. Now what’s left? Well, my friend, at the heart of Call of Duty 4 is the multiplayer. You are able to play with up to 18 people in the online battlefield. This is what will keep you coming back all the time.

Multiplayer: Playing through the campaign of Call of Duty 4 will bring you loads of fun, but the online multiplayer is really where it’s at. This is the game where it pays to have Xbox Live. You can go online with up to 18 friends and let the mayhem ensue. There is a plethora of maps, game types, and weapons which makes for outstanding online gaming in itself. In addition to this there is a rank-up system which will unlock your weapons and “perks”. After getting to level 55 rank you have the option to do prestiege mode. What is this mysterious prestiege mode? You’ll find out soon enough.

Most of the maps you will be playing come from the levels in the campaign mode. Infinity Ward was able “cut-corners” this way, but as the gamer, you don’t feel like anything is lacking. The maps vary in cover, terrain, and overall size. Some maps, such as Creek, are open and great for sniping, whereas a map like Killhouse is perfect for run ‘n’ gunning. No matter what your style, you’ll be able to use it in just about every map. You can also look forward to new maps being available to purchase and download in the future. One new map pack has already been released containing the maps Creek, Broadcast, Chinatown, and Killhouse.

There is nothing particularly special about the game types online, but there are a few new spins of standard game modes. You’ll have the mandatory free-for-all, and team deathmatch, but there is no game mode that stands out as being a “signature Call of Duty 4 gametype”. The entire list consists of Team Deathmatch, Mercenary Team Deathmatch, Free-For-All, Domination, Ground War, Sabotage, Headquarters, Search and Destroy, Team Tactical, Hardcore Team Deathmatch, Hardcore Search and Destroy, Old School Free-For-All, and Cage Match. There is lots of fun to be had playing these, but there is no sense of originality with it.

As you play online you’ll gain experience which makes you rank up. When you continue to rank up you’ll unlock weapons, attachments, perks, challenges (which grant you more experience when completed), and the create-a-class system. You’ll start off with basic weapons like the M16 and MP5 attached with iron sights. Eventually, you’ll unlock the P90, G36C, .50 Cal, and all with various scopes and skins to attach. Using the create-a-class system you will choose different weapon sets which allow you to choose your primary weapon, secondary weapon, type of grenades, perks, and attachments. For example, my favorite set is:

Primary- M16 / Red Dot Scope / Red Tiger Camo
Secondary- Desert Eagle
Special Grenade- Stun

Perk 1- Frag Grenade x3
Perk 2- Stopping Power
Perk 3- Deep Impact

The weapons and their attachments are pretty self-explanatory, but the perks are a little more in-depth. Perks are different advantages that you assign to one of your classes. You can use them to enhance your specific skills, or you can just mess around and see which perks work together. A list of all unlockable perks and their descriptions can be found here. There are three set groups that you have to choose from to select your perks. For instance, you can’t use Stopping Power AND Juggernaut because they are both in the Perk 2 category. Which perks you use, and how you use them, is the key to being successful.

When you eventually reach level 55, you will have unlocked the option of prestiege mode. If you choose to go through with prestiege mode you will start over at level one. You have to unlock all your weapons, perks, challenges, and attachments all over again. Once you’ve “prestieged” you’ll have a special mark next to your username that shows everyone else you’ve done prestieged. You don’t have to go through with it right away so you can have fun with everything unlocked. You can prestiege up to ten times (that’s 550 levels total), after that just sit back, relax, and know that there is no more pressure. Just so you know, if you don’t prestiege, get ready for a lot of verbal abuse!

Conclusion: If you don’t buy Call of Duty 4 you will miss out on one of the greatest games ever made. It is definitely a top tier, game of the year 2007 contender. In the words of X-Play, “Call of Duty 4 doesn’t revolutionize first person shooting, but it comes damn close to perfecting it.” With such amazing story-telling, gameplay, graphics, and sound I don’t think we’ll see a modern-day shooter that can compete with it until Infinity Ward’s next Call of Duty game.”

97/100

Nitpicks:
-The campaign is a little on the short side
-There is no split screen option for online
-No co-op modes