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Nega-review: Call of Duty 4

Kyle Orland

While Modern Warfare finally brings the Call of Duty series into the present day, "the story itself ... isn't exactly cutting edge." (2) "The story unfolds from an unapologetic 'us versus them, and they are wrong' perspective, with little time spent on the larger philosophy of war." (4) "The story fails to provide many twists. There's not much of a guessing game taking place here." (3) "The story flies by so fast," (1) but at the same time, "there are a few too many shell-shocked slow-mo moments that seem to drag." (2)

There are "no massive renovations in the AI department. ... they're pretty much the clever-clogs Nazis we've shot before." (9) "The enemies aren't the smartest lot, as they are formidable thanks more to their numbers than their IQ." (3) "There are going to be moments when enemies get stuck in dumb routines or stand in the open waiting to be mowed down." (2) "However, some of them have definitely missed their calling as an NFL quarterback -- tossing grenades 100 yards, dropping them right at your feet time and again." (3)

Your squad mates are no better. "It is a little annoying when you figure out that your highly trained and specialized team is totally dependant on you in every situation." (8) "There were several moments when it would've helped for my friends to be a little more proactive. Once, when we were flanked by enemies from both sides, Captain Price just sat there, kneeling, waiting for me to make a miracle happen. If he would have popped a few shots at one of the guys so that I could go after the other, that would have helped a lot--not to mention make the game more realistic." (1)

"Friendly fire is an unfortunate part of war, but it doesn't need to be a part of a videogame." (2) "There are moments where it is really difficult to tell whether the person in your sights is a friend or foe." (5) "Enemies in some levels have the same color scheme as your own mates. Frankly, in the fray, it gets tough to tell friend from foe." (2) "Night vision goggles segments can be really conducive to friendly fire." (5) "Real is real, but there is a point where you have to say this is a game and you should more easily know good guys from bad guys." (2)

The difficulty never feels just right. "Like Halo 3, the Normal level is just a bit too easy, and most players will be able to get through it COD4without too much trouble." (6) But, "thanks to the more powerful enemies and less powerful armor, Hardened is ... frequently a repetitive frustration." (4) "Some of the levels are just downright hard" (7) and "there are certain 'brick wall' areas that overwhelm you with punishing enemy fire and little recourse." (4) "It can also be a bit counter productive when you have to restart several minutes back from the place you died. And in a few missions near the end, this irritated me to point where I wanted to scream." (8)

"Considering you spend almost the entire campaign with the same squadmates, the hope (and even expectation) for online co-op is not unwarranted." (2) "Call of Duty 4 is the perfect game to experience with another player ... but the developers seemed to forget this. ... Something that Rainbow Six: Vegas, Halo 3, and Gears of War did to perfection, COD4 did not attempt at all." (7)

"There have been a lot of people questioning how long Call of Duty 4 is." (6) "As some rumors on the internet have stated the single player campaign is not the longest thing ever created." (7) "On Regular difficulty, you can probably beat COD4 in 5 - 6 hours. ... it's a very brief experience." (2) "The single-player campaign in Call of Duty 4 is a little on the short side." (3) "It is short." (5)

Even at its abridged length, "the game hits a brick wall of mediocrity and you'll find yourself trudging unenthusiastically through the final hours of the game. A mixture of bad checkpoint placement, bizarre difficulty spikes, lazy design and blatant enemy spawn points suck the fun right out of proceedings. ... If I had a virtual highlighter pen I could mark out a distinct fraction of the game that's simply, inexcusably rubbish."(9)

Welcome back to the Joystiq Nega-review... your source for all those middling negatives from a variety of glowing reviews that, when strung together, make a great game seem awful. We do this not because we hate games that are obviously excellent, but to highlight the fact that even the best game has its problems and no game is perfect.

It should be said that a lot of the negatives in this particular Nega-review were points of major disagreement among reviewers. While the reviewers quoted above were upset with the enemy and allied AI, other reviewers singled it out as being excellent. Also, while everyone agreed that the game was short, many saw this a a positive in this busy day and age.

(1) GameTap
(2) IGN
(3) GameTrailers
(4) 1UP
(5) CheatCC
(6) TeamXbox
(7) PlanetXbox360
(8) ActionTrip
(9) CVG

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