27. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)
Say what you like about the current state of the Call of Duty series. However you feel about gaming’s most populist punch bag, the entry that arguably set it on its mainstream-baiting trajectory is still an absolute masterpiece. A masterclass in pacing, scripting, and brutally affecting in-game storytelling, if its greatest moments have become diluted through years of attempted emulation that’s only because of their shocking, exhilarating, and damnably intelligent ability to put hearts in mouths and pulse rates off the scale.
CoD4 is one of the smartest, ballsiest games about war ever made, thinking nothing of casually presenting the player with the dirty, unheroic nature of the beast at every turn. Whether inflicted by the enemy or friendlies, it’s never afraid to force the player to confront the demands or consequences of the situation, right through to its teeth-rattling climax. It might not be the longest of games, but few other shooters will leave you so shellshocked, worn-out-exhilarating or elated, or with such a massive man-crush on an abrasive moustachioed Englishman. And we hear the multiplayer isn’t bad either…
Representing: The Call of Duty series