Yet another “call to duty”
After the success of the brand Call Of Duty with the 1st and 2nd episode and the lack of depth and character of the third, Infinity Ward, head of the first two chapters, has decided to cut ties with the past, believing this generation mature enough to propose a major change.
Modern Warfare is set in the present day, shunning then the now world’s second battle grounds of a clean setting retracing; These changes have required a complete review of the entire arsenal of technological equipment, means of support and equipment light weight (from clothes to edged weapons).
One understands then how the work behind this product, in development since the release of the second episode, it was enormous, especially for completeness and accuracy at which the team, in the past, we have become accustomed.
Right down to the smallest details the guys hired a programming group espero in combat, tactics and firearms, Hank Keirsey, former Marine from decades of experience in international conflicts.
Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, published by Activision for Microsoft Xbox360, PC, Nintendo DS and Sony’s Playstation 3 is available on the market since November 9.
Infinity Ward goes to Hollywood
The plot that gives depth to the single player campaign of Modern Warfare is not much different, in terms of characteristics, to that of earlier episodes.
We face the terrorist threat represented by an ultra nationalist Russian leader (Imran Zakhaev) who, in the throes of an uncontrollable desire for greatness, seized by some nuclear warheads and, following a coup d’etat in Middle East, allied itself with the leader of an anti-American extremist faction (Khaled Al-Asad) in order to create a “reign of terror” that can wipe out once and for all the United States.
In this context will just pose as a soldier of the first Force Recon Marines (Sergeant Paul Jackson) and a British 22nd Division of S.A. ‘s military (Sergeant John “Soap” MacTavish).
The story, as from “copycat Call Of Duty”, will be articulated through the viewpoints of both protagonists, bound by common destiny can: save the world.
Unlike previous chapters, however, there will be twists and turns, dark backstory and flashbacks to shed light on the plot where the latter will already be widely developed.
The plot, fairly linear and contained anything new, is told without major interruptions in action, thanks to short cut-scenes created with the game engine and real-time briefings are useful to explain, act after Act, the evolution of the situation.
Events, unlike many other similar productions, are by no means the action side but will integrate increasing exponentially the involvement of the human player; all this is made possible by a Director and a photographic film, capable of cutting mold typically produce spectacular situations and at the same time epic, really ever seen in a video game.
The interpretation of such identification is to be found also in the explicit decision of programmers to increase “jumps” from one protagonist to another, in order to keep alive the player’s attention.
”The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle”
The gameplay of Call Of Duty 4 not deviates from previous episodes tracing the classical structure of moderately paced FPS that has made the fortune of the series.
Upgrades affect primarily the war, expanded and modernized equipment: in addition to the classic assault rifles, shotgun, uzi and so on and so on and so forth we can count on plastic fillers with detonator, Claymore mines, Javelin (rocket launcher with lock-on function) and an array of gadgets (from night vision to laser pointer) which will contribute greatly to the completion of the classic goals, indicated by checkpoints, which are essential to accomplish ends the Adventure (spread in 18 missions).
Particularly interesting is the presence of laser sight for the assault rifle in basic equipment; using the night vision, in fact, you will see all the tracks the laser, which will facilitate the aims and will easily reveal the presence of the companions which, moreover, will be equipped with a special fluorescent plate on the helmet, so that avoid losses caused by friendly fire.
Even more interesting the possibility, in some situations, to shoot through low thick surfaces (wood, sheets, dividing walls): this opportunity will be regulated by a special algorithm of very complex nature that will calculate the trajectory and kinetic output from the hole, taking into account parameters such as the caliber of the bullets, the same surface thickness and composition material.
The result will determine the force with which the cartridge case will impact the body of the enemy and the damage that the strike will cause; This element gives new possibilities to the player who, knowing the hideout of the victim can equip, if he were in possession, a heavy weapon and attempting the killing by covering that, at worst, can also be destroyed.
In this regard, in many levels, you can shoot at vehicles parked behind which will camp terrorists, causing them to explode or piercing just the tires for lower them far enough to see the enemy’s head.
The control structure is almost identical to the previous ones and is functional and precise targeting system; the most important change, at this juncture, was the inclusion of the faculty to subside up to crouch down, thus providing new tactical possibilities especially when it is controlled by a sniper.
Even artificial intelligence of the enemies and teammates underwent heavy revisions: comrades will not bring more into the fray by sketching solo actions but will follow strictly highest orders, working more often choral and covering each other when necessary.
Enemy forces, for their part, react much smarter for our every move by organizing ambushes, taking full advantage of the battlefield and not expose themselves in an unholy at our fire.
Must be underlined, in particular, the goodness of the learning curve, which works almost as if, during the span of 18 missions, we revised a military career: in the first box, in fact, will be the CPU to advance eliminating most of the enemies but, with the remainder of the adventure, the companions are far more accustomed to follow the star and serve as cover.
You notice, particularly at higher difficulty levels and in particular sections (to unlimited respawn), the tendency of fellow soldiers led by the CPU to return fire without adverse impact, leaving the player most liability.
These sessions-thankfully few-are undoubtedly the biggest flaw in the excellent Modern Warfare gameplay as they present until the next checkpoint, the continuing rebirth of the enemies and, for playing, fellow teamwork; especially in these situations, as noted earlier, the CPU will tend to leave the shelter our team holding forth, in fact, in all of the enemy fire that, occasionally, it seems nothing short of “snaps”.
To obviate the frustration induced by those elements typical of the brand will be eligible for a good linearity and level design, which will give the possibility to change the gun battles, and a number of alternative missions able to break the monotony. among them we can’t help but mention two Oscar-winning: the pilot of the AC-130 and commissioning “stealth” in Chernobyl.
The longevity is not outstanding (approximately 10 hours with a substantial proportion of daily game) is slightly elongated by a series of secondary objectives related to the Gamercard or useful to unlock certain cheats (infinite health, unlimited bullets); the second type, of a more interesting will be the discovery of 30 laptops scattered in various locations and containing enemy intelligence.
Once the campaign also will be made available an Arcade mode by poor utlilità and even more scarce degree of interest: this section will in fact merely retrace the campaign missions with the only variation to get bitten by kill, appearing later in specially created online leaderboards.
”Friendly fire … it isn’t”
Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has the advantage to combine to a single player campaign among the finest ever seen, a very solid and capable multiplayer segment, thanks to its numerous features, add many hours of fun at work.
The most interesting among these features are the full customization of the digital alter ego and the introduction of RPG elements, such as character development and specialization in certain weapons.
The CoD 4 will be a real military career: we’ll start as privates and then passed as grade, gaining experience points resulting from the kill and the completion of some extra goals, like killing a number of opponents with the same weapon, the downing of a helicopter and more.
The passing grade will unlock new special abilities and weapons while completing secondary objectives, which are present in each mouth, will add to the provisioning of our soldier more precise optical, silencers and camouflage colours suited to the perfect camouflage in any environment.
The skills, Perks, calls are active and passive peculiarity that the player can select to your profile, so you get a better standard of health, projectiles, seeks improved and many lobbies; These Perks will be divided into categories and can be used in combination of three at a time, avoiding abuses and excessive height differences between players.
Level by level the player can then fully customize your digital soldier, adding to the 5 basic models other 5 fully customizable.
The game modes, of which was only given a glimpse into beta, are many: the clash-for-all, the arrangements for team goals, and each has options to change the number of respawn much criticized in Beta, the candidates are, the maximum score and many other important features.
We must digress to the madness that characterizes the elusive “Prestige Mode, which is activated when you reach the maximum level of 65: this option allows you to reset all the exp and Perks received, mistaking them with an icon renamed by the same developers “I’m handsome icon” that will distinguish you from ordinary mortals; not enough of these icons there’s ben 10, which translates to 10 reset statistics and a schedule of 650 levels of experience accumulated to get them all.
In any case, in order to dispel the monotony of match with respawn activated, were included some bonus that entice players to run consecutive kills without dying and therefore not always throw himself headlong into the fray.
After a series of 30 seconds to kill 3 in sequence we can activate the radar which will mark on the map in the upper left corner of the screen the location of enemies every 5 seconds, after a series of 5 we will launch an air strike by selecting the area of interest and finally, after the beauty of 7 killings spun, we’ll have a CPU-driven helicopter, flying over for a minute abundant the entire map, will topple every enemy in sight.
Particularly interesting, also, the introduction of the Kill Cam which, once dead, will move the viewpoint on the one who killed us, showing a detailed replay of our end.
Considering the gameplay we can say that everything works fine: aim is precise, the attackers when the connection permits-fall with short, precise, strikes and the action is frenetic enough to entertain without frustrating.
It must, however, admit that the experience is not fully balanced: applying advanced optics to brace, for example, it becomes in effect a precision weapon, devastating even from long distances; Similarly the attack up close and personal with the knife, featuring an animation very long, can hit from several meters away, resulting in unrealistic situations.
As in any self-respecting multiplayer title, finally, all statistics relating to matches will be collected in a complex system of Leaderboards that will allow, at any time, a direct confrontation with friends and opponents of all over the world.
Like Halo 3 Call Of Duty 4 also adopts a Matchmaking system for creating the match game: starting from a classified community room, depending on the number of players and the selected mode, the system will search for compatible matches.
Missing, unfortunately, an effective balance with regard to skill and quality of the connections, given the lack of filters that allow you to try the game by setting these criteria.
Maps available are 16, all taken from some glimpses of the single player campaign and capable of promoting, thanks to an excellent level design, both waiting, encouraging actions that raids, however, team play.
A joy for the senses
Technically we can say without fear that there is no FPS for consoles, able to stand up to Modern Warfare.
The polygonal models (of soldiers and weapons) are artfully managed: solid, rich, with attention to every detail and animated credibly and natural; pace in walking and running sometimes does not coincide with the movement speed but, overall, the animations are well linked to each other and achieve excellence, particularly in the post-mortem, in mechanical and ragdoll.
The polygon models are also enriched by a complex self-shadowing that casts shadows, dynamically, depending on the angle from which light; particularly impressive to see how every detail of camouflage jumpsuits (holsters, belts, pockets) produces a shadow totally independent.
In contact with rain or wet, finally, the suits will acquire heaviness showing showy folds and giving a realistic “wet”.
The environments, which are also rich in complex models and are embellished with a texture of the highest level that employs a clever implementation of color, bump and normal maps.
Enlightenment is nothing short of exceptional, thanks to the optimal use of shaders and multitexturing making it realistic at times: particularly nice effect of blindness due to the passage from a completely dark area to a floodlit .
To make so well these effects were used for lighting that textures, applied on top of other, reproducing the global illumination giving a phenomenal quality, almost never seen before.
The particle effects are great and contribute decisively to draw the player into the belligerent atmosphere.
Watching near the barrel of a gun while shooting, you can clearly see the air incandescent; After a battle, smoke particles remain in the air for a few seconds as well as remains in the air, reducing visibility, the trail of RPG rockets.
In addition to a perfect and extremely spectacular, made of explosions and the effects of wind and rain on the surrounding environment.
All this splendor, it is right to underline this, runs constantly at 60 fps, without losing the frame even in the most challenging.
The only downfalls of a very solid graphics are the flatness of some elements and physics applied only to a minority of the objects on the screen.
The sound, after that graph, is the second jewel of this product; the implementation of DirectX 10 also feels without a sound system from the Arabian nights.
Environmental noises at all is an excellent Championship and explosions once again contributes to recreate the atmosphere that immerses the player in battle and keeps him glued for hours in front of the screen.
Having a facility that supports digital audio and remaining in complete silence you can even hear the footsteps and the sound of rifle charging those who stand around, more or less intense depending on distance.
A technical Department of that caliber joins unfortunately a netcode not yet optimized heavily affected by the lack of dedicated servers.
Although the phenomenon of lag are virtually absent latency (identifiable as a delayed response) makes every match heavily dependent on the connection and the matches with friends overseas unplayable.