Call of Duty: Retrospective Warfare

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With news flying thick and fast regarding Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – uncovered via a Playstation Store listing a few days ago – it has since emerged that the game may well ship with an updated version of Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Call of Duty 4 changed the very template of a Call of Duty game when it released and set the bar high for competitive multiplayer when it introduced Killstreaks to the world of online shooters. Released late in 2007, it is now almost 9 years old!

And with news that we will see an updated version included with Infinite Warfare, what better time is there to take a look back at the original Modern Warfare title?

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Released in November 2007, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare took a radical new approach to the long-running Call of Duty franchise, which had so far concentrated its efforts on past wars – as had rival franchise Medal of Honor. The game’s single-player campaign was set in 2011, where the leader of a radical group has executed the president of an unnamed Middle Eastern country. The game’s plot spirals out into a globe-spanning thriller as you alternate between two playable characters – John ‘Soap’ McTavish of the British SAS, and Paul Jackson of the USMC 1st Force Recon. The campaign was excellently executed in order to keep the action moving and included the first shocking time that a main character was killed off during a Call of Duty campaign when Sergeant Paul Jackson was killed in the aftermath of a nuclear detonation. At the time, this was a genuinely jaw-dropping moment that played out excruciatingly slowly as you succumb to your wounds, and radiation poisoning, gradually. Since this incident, however, every Modern Warfare title seemed to feel the need to include “that shocking moment” and it gradually lost its impact over time.

The single player campaign also featured many amazing set pieces, and memorable levels such as ‘All Ghillied Up’ where you, along with a partner, have to methodically infiltrate enemy lines. This ended brilliantly, with a climactic sniper assassination and chase set piece.

I find I can quite regularly return to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’s campaign, replay it, and still find it an enjoyable experience from start to finish. But the game’s multiplayer is where it really began to shine.

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Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare featured an extensive multiplayer mode, where two opposing teams would compete over a variety of maps and objectives in order to win matches. During matches, players had access to customized weapons and loadouts, and killstreaks could be earned by racking up consecutive kills, from UAV drones that revealed enemy locations, to support aircraft. Between matches, players would level up and gain access to additional weapons and equipment. Now, this all sounds pretty standard by today’s measures, but at the time it was a revolutionary take on online shooters. And it worked. It kept me, my friends, and players all over the world coming back to Modern Warfare’s multiplayer mode to chase that next rank or get that new attachment for your weapon.

Call of Duty and its multiplayer modes have come a long way since 2007, but Call of Duty 4 still holds up well against all of the more recent iterations of the formula. I’ve gone back and played the game a little on Steam these last few days, and firstly was surprised by how well populated the online servers remain, and I was secondly surprised by how a Call of Duty without wall-running, mecha, drones, and nuclear killstreaks still functions. It was a breath of fresh air and took me back to what I enjoyed about Call of Duty games in the first place.

Now, Call of Duty games follow an almost robotic routine of April/May reveal, intense hype, November release, then rinse-and-repeat for next year’s title – so I tend to find that the more recent released in the title haven’t really captured my attention. In fact, the last Call of Duty game I actually bought was Ghosts, and this is largely due to the increasingly ridiculous nature of the series’ multiplayer. With that said, if Infinite Warfare can show come quality single player potential, and ships with a remastered Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, then I feel I may find myself buying back into the franchise. Even if only the play Infinite Warfare’s campaign, then live out my days in Call of Duty 4’s multiplayer.

With E3 just weeks away, further details and a full announcement of Infinite Warfare would happen at any moment. So be sure to keep your attention on Nerd Reactor for more information as it becomes available.

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