The frustrating thing about trying to write about Call of Duty 4 is that all of the phrases that best describe it have already been applied to and, in turn, drained of their impact by far less deserving games. It's a "non-stop thrill ride," its graphics are "almost photorealistic" and it is, in fact, "so real that you'd almost think you were there." What Call of Duty 4 so authoritatively manages to do is reclaim those action game clichés and, in doing so, infuse them with a new, fresh power.

What Call of Duty 4's single player campaign could best be described as though, is a master's class on making good game design choices. From beginning to end, moments last just as long as they need to, difficulty is perfectly balanced and the action ebbs and flows between full-on chaos and chilling silence. From a pulse-pounding start to the final, desperate ending, it's a meticulously crafted experience. We haven't even made mention of the game's multiplayer yet, which mixes the game's explosive presentation with some RPG fundamentals to predictably addictive results.



Perhaps the most surprising thing about the game is how few actual revolutionary concepts are contained within. It selects existing game design tools, hones them to practical perfection and creates what is, in our opinion, the military shooter against which all others must be judged.



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This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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