Don't consider this a 'review' so much as a critique.
I won't be giving number ratings, as I don't believe that you can express the enjoyability of a game with math.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, as its name suggests, is the fourth game in the long-running Call of Duty series, and the third game developed by Infinity Ward for the series. Released in the golden year of '07, CoD4 brought with it a new storyline for the series that branched out of the series usual World War II setting, and instead focused on a more modern setting.
The story itself centers MOSTLY on an SAS squad, in particular the character John 'Soap' MacTavish, but the player also gains control of Captain John Price and Sergeant Paul Jackson for a few missions. They all control the same, have access to virtually the same weapons, and the only real differences are the settings that the characters missions take place in and the accents of their fellow soldiers.
The gameplay is pretty standard as far as FPS games go. Left trigger scopes, and right trigger shoots. In addition to mixing in flash bangs, crouching, and throwing back enemy grenades, that's about all you need to know to beat the game. The levels are linear, and you always seem to have a squadron of soldiers around you that will pick off any dudes you happen to miss while firing your MP5 into the wild grey yonder.
Except that Modern Warfare makes use of infinitely-spawning soldiers, which is a gambit that I feel is included just to prolong playtime. There are several instances in which you will find yourself unable to proceed unless you push forward towards enemy lines, or else you'll be stuck behind that one ruined car with a minimal amount of ammunition left in your gun. This gimmick is really cheap, as advancing towards the armed soldiers gunning you down tends to make you an easier target, and it feels like it's mostly thrown in to be a bigger challenge than it needs to be.
A big issue I have is that a lot of the characters are so of hard to 'like'. They all seem to follow the mold of 'hardened war machine' without a whole lot of variation in between. Sure, there are shades of development and character here and there, but overall, they are pretty same-y. This goes double for the playable characters, because they act completely different in the hands of the player than they probably would otherwise, especially in the case of John Price, who is a support character when Soap is being played as, but is playable in a few missions. Would he run out and take 40 shots to the chest normally? No. In the hands of the player? Sure, why not? The inconsistency in the characters, at least in this respect, just subtracts from their 'interest' factor.
I'm not going to sit here and bad-mouth Call of Duty for being a cookie-cutter series, but I will stand my ground and expose what is done well and what isn't.
All-in-all, the game has pretty solid controls, a good HUD so you know what's going down and what to do, where to do it, and how many bullets you have to do it with, but the levels have shades of good and bad design when you have to do something that seems to require your squadmates, who will seemingly not advance until you clear a building that you need their help to clear. The levels aren't terribly similar, and the graphics are nice for an '07 release, with some noticeable simplicity in shading and some textures.
Certainly not the worst in the series, but it leaves a little to be desired. I recommend at least playing this entry if you are at all curious about getting into the Call of Duty series.
"Aim towards the Enemy."
-Instruction printed on US Rocket Launcher