i just finished off the CoD4 single-player campaign and i've gotta say - i understand what people were talking about now. it is an EXCELLENT game. heck, me feeling the need to post about it right after beating it is a testament to how good it is. quick notes:
- the trademark CoD way of showing the war from a number of different perspectives was in full force in CoD4, and even added a new trick to the bag - your characters could die at any moment. that's right, your characters could die during a cutscene and you couldn't do anything to stop it. it changed my perspective on first-person shooters. it was excellent. i do wish that there were one more perspective (you pretty much follow 2 people, i wish there would have been a third), but as there were only British and Americans on the side of "good" in this one, i guess that's all they could show.
- the reason i have good in quotes above is because this is the first CoD game to be set in modern times (with previous games being set in WWII), and we all know how modern war isn't exactly black-and-white, good vs evil. the war depicted is the Iraq War - well, it is and it isn't. really it feels more like an episode of 24, with 2 terrorist groups working together and grabbing a bunch of nukes. it really felt like something out of the 80s, painting the Muslims as evil terrorists - and i wish it DIDN'T do that. i wish it actually set the war in Iraq and took advantage of the storytelling tools (first-person multiple perspectives) to show just how gray modern warfare really is. i mean could you imagine putting us in the shoes of a Muslim? they'd never do that, as the developers would get too much flak from the media - but still, with the game the way it is now, it's almost doing more harm than anything. ignorant people playing it could come away thinking that all Muslims are terrorists. some may even call CoD4 wartime propaganda. read this article. i agree with almost everything the author says about the game. it's a great game that's a fun ride, but it's disappointing thinking about how much more it could have accomplished.
- game could have been a little longer. i started playing it Thursday or Friday and beat it tonight (Sunday), so at about 2-3 hours of playing each night... i'd say it was about 8 hours long. the game seemed to take its time getting started, jumping around a bit, and then all of the sudden rushed to its conclusion. could have had another perspective, as i said above, or maybe another flashback level (see below).
- one of the levels is a flashback level. you're a sniper on an assassination mission in Chernobyl 15 years ago. that's right - this is after the Chernobyl disaster. you're running around in a dilapidated nuclear wasteland of a town... a modern-day ghost town. just this level alone was worth the price of admission.
i love CoD4 for what it is, but it could have been so much more. it was a beautifully told story that really got you caring about the characters BUT is there really that much to care about when there's no substance behind it? they really should have set it in the Iraq War, and they really should have had another perspective. it also could have been a little longer. all that said, this is still an excellent, EXCELLENT game.
9.5 out of 10
CoD4 overall (campaign, multiplayer, arcade mode)
9.75 out of 10