Even the biggest fans of WWII first-person shooters have to admit video game companies are beating a dead war. Thank the big Sergeant in the sky that original Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward is bringing its unique brand of sweat-inducing, urine-causing FPS intensity to a setting in this millennium.
For Call of Duty 4, Infinity Ward fabricated its own fictional war. Studio head Vince Zampella says, "Today's real conflicts don't suit the Call of Duty style." That style deals with two equal sides seesawing control, and well-defined lines between good and evil. In Modern Warfare's case, the good is generally either the British SAS or American force reconnaissance. Russian despot Zakhaev populates the wrong side of the tracks, along with a plethora of metaphorical ants all too eager to spoil the world's picnic.
Modern Warfare looks a bit like a Tom Clancy title, with its high-tech gadgetry and competent squad mechanics. In execution, however, it definitely earns the Call of Duty name. While the action isn't turned up to 11 at all times, you'll experience a whirlwind of tension-filled missions that will have you invading a cargo ship on a stormy night one moment, and defending an Abrams battle tank against infinite assailants the next.
Curveballs in the story include flashbacks and playable cameos, while the gameplay stays fresh with a stint as a bomber - raining gnarly, sickly-satisfying death from high above in a scene seemingly lifted straight from CNN footage.