Why Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is one of the greatest games ever made

And all of that is only the single-player; we haven’t even got into the impact that the groundbreaking multiplayer has had on the series, and even the industry at large. It’s hard to find a modern shooter that doesn’t follow the Modern Warfare multiplayer formula. Player progression, perks, and challenges changed the way we play online shooters, and made the competitive game modes even more addictive in the process.

The multiplayer system felt different than any other in the genre. It was brilliantly balanced, players could customize their characters, and the constant rewards sucked you in, match after match. Newcomers and low-level players aren’t left at a significant disadvantage, because it only takes a few bullets to gun down even the most experienced players.

The perks were the true game changers: Players could customize their multiplayer characters beyond simply choosing what weapon they were holding. Perks grant abilities like being able to hold additional equipment, reload faster, or be invisible to radar. With each kill you made or point you captured, challenges and accolades constantly popped up on the screen, which rewarded experience, weapons, attachments and perks. Even using your favorite loadouts and using them consistently earned you bonuses, giving you better perks as you complete specific challenges.

If Modern Warfare did one thing right, it’s getting players addicted to its greatness. We loved the multiplayer so much that once we reached level cap, we’d Prestige--an option setting us back to square one. Only the basic weapons were available and we’d work our way back up to the cap. Then we’d do it again. And again. And all we got for our trouble was a special Prestige badge next to our names. We wouldn’t play a game with that kind of dedication if it wasn’t spotless. The controls are so smooth, the progression so addicting, and getting good enough to spit back some trash talk over the mic is oh-so satisfying.

Even now, games in the genre are still trying to reach the impossibly high bar that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare set--even those in the same series. Modern Warfare changed the face of the shooter genre with its innovative features, tight controls, engaging campaign, and revolutionary multiplayer. Let the haters hate--it definitely deserves its spot on our top 100 games of all time.

"Why _____ is one of the best games ever made" is a weekly feature that goes through GamesRadar's list of the 100 best games of all time and highlights different titles, explaining why they're on the list, what makes them so amazing, and why we love them so much.

Lorenzo Veloria

Many years ago, Lorenzo Veloria was a Senior Editor here at GamesRadar+ helping to shape content strategy. Since then, Lorenzo has shifted his attention to Future Plc's broader video game portfolio, working as a Senior Brand Marketing Manager to oversee the development of advertising pitches and marketing strategies for the department. He might not have all that much time to write about games anymore, but he's still focused on making sure the latest and greatest end up in front of your eyes one way or another.