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Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – Still the King of the CoD Series?

by | Aug 14, 2021

I recently found a sealed bundle including Infinite Warfare and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remaster a couple of months ago and finally decided to give it a spin … 12 years after its original release.

Initially released in 2007 on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare took the CoD franchise to a whole new galaxy. In November 2016, Activision released a remaster for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Is it still worth your time and money? Answer in this short review.


A “modern warfare” scenery

Before CoD4:MW, the Call of Duty franchise only covered the horrific events of World War II. In this episode, Call of Duty is taking us to a unique and modern battlefield.

The game opens with terrifying events. The year is 2011. A terrorist group has kidnapped and executed the president of a Middle Eastern country. At the same time, a civil war just began in Russia.

In CoD4, you’ll live these two conflicts from the perspectives of a US Marine and a British SAS Soldier, and you’ll be going to the UK, to the Middle East, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Ukraine throughout the game.

The plot is not ground-breaking, but it should keep you interested throughout the game.


Graphics — Updated textures (but…)

Light effects, textures, faces, and HUD have been updated to meet today’s standards, making CoD4 more enjoyable than ever.

Here’s a video comparing gameplay sequences captured on PS4 and Xbox 360 to illustrate the work done on the 2016 remaster:

All in all, everything is the same but slicker. And it’s not coming as a surprise since the game is called Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remaster — and not Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remake.

With that said, some textures have aged, and the game cannot compete with the latest CoD productions. The rest of the game is unchanged, and most of the animations have aged pretty badly. But fans of the original will most likely see this as a good thing, starting with the sweet, sweet gameplay of the game.


Gameplay — King of its time

With CoD4, Infinity Ward added new gameplay mechanics that gave way to CoD as we know it today.

Here, no gadgets, no jet packs, nor running on the walls non-sense.

If you’ve played Call of Duty: WWII, you probably noticed that the life bar had been reintroduced to the series. None of that in this episode where, instead, your screen gets bloodier as you take damage, thus indicating how hurt you are. A couple of seconds in hiding will be enough for you to get back on your feet after being hurt.

It’s obviously not realistic, but if you play in a high enough difficulty (or multiplayer), you won’t need much damage to bite the dust.
About that, I recommend that you challenge yourself with the Hardened difficulty mode if you’re used to playing FPS games. Otherwise, the Regular difficulty mode should be enough to keep you busy for 7 to 9 hours.

I have to say that I had a lot of fun revisiting the campaign. Having forgotten most of it, it was a complete rediscovery.


An immersive soundtrack, but…

Call of Duty games have always been above average when it comes to the sound environment. Back in 2007, it felt like the real thing. From weapons to explosions and voice cast, the whole package felt pretty convincing.

Now, this is a 2007 game, and it is far from today’s high standards.

For instance, I found it particularly annoying to hear soldiers repeat the same sentences over and over again — or to have an ally telling me 50+ times to pick up a gun when I’m clearly not in a position to grab it.

So many years later, I would expect most gamers to forgive those details, but I think it’s still relevant to mention because it will affect your experience, especially if you only play for the campaign.


Online multiplayer — Where the fun (really) begins

CoD4’s multiplayer includes pretty much everything you’d expect from an old-school FPS game, from the traditional Team Death-match to capturing areas.
It rewards the best players via a leveling system (1-55) that allows you to unlock weapons, items, camouflage, and other consumables. I haven’t played enough yet to reach a high level, but enough to make up my mind and compare it to more recent games: it is fast, nervous, and tactical, turning each kill into actual accomplishments (in my humble, low-skill CoD player opinion).

Now, after 10-15 hours spent online, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare started to shift from fantastic to very frustrating.

On the one hand, I enjoyed that the game requires mad skills to win. On the other, I disliked the airstrikes and helicopters you can call when on a kill streak.
This is a common multiplayer trick of the series. The more frags you’re able to do in a row, the more bonuses you’ll unlock. As much as I appreciate the willingness to reward the best players, it simply doesn’t work out well for average players like me as it creates even more of a disadvantage between teams instead of leveling things up.

It could be that I’m just not good at this, but, in the long run, I’m more nostalgic of Halo 3’s multiplayer than this Call of Duty 4.


An interesting replayability

That depends on what you expect from the game. If you’re only in it for the solo, you might want to replay it once every couple of years, but otherwise, your copy might get dusty.

If you’re in it for the multiplayer, you’re in for a treat.

Verdict: Good buy or goodbye?

It depends on what you expect from the game. If you’re after a fun, challenging, and rewarding multiplayer experience, this Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remaster is a good buy.

Having said that, don’t expect the same amount of fun we first felt back in 2007 – the game has aged quite a lot, especially when comparing it to more modern productions. So, unless you’re a big fan of the series (in which case you’ll spend countless hours on the game’s populated servers), you might end up playing CoD4 for 15 to 20 hours…and that’s it.

Overall, this remaster is a good pick if you find it under 15 bucks.

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