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Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for DS: Not Enough Bang for Your Buck

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (COD4) is one of those DS games players both dream of and dread. They dream of finally seeing a great three-dimensional, first-person shooter but dread how it will get chopped up on the DS setup. Now that COD4 is finally out on DS, can it live up to the full console versions, or will it fall on its face? Read on and find out how this game fares.
In COD4, players are a Special Forces member out to stop terrorists from deploying a nuclear bomb. The story line takes you through the Middle East and Russia as you hunt down bad guys, all the while using an arsenal of very real looking weapons. The control layout is a little different than traditional consoles, but DS players are used to that.

The graphics on this 3D shooter are as real-looking as you can get for DS. From swaying trees to blood splatters, players will enjoy working in a very detailed environment. There are a wide variety of character models which move in a natural manner. You can crouch, shoot, and run just like the full sized game. This game is probably just a half-step behind the big guys. The only real drawback is the smaller screen players have to use. While I wouldn’t call the animation stellar, I would say that it does a very good job considering the format.

The audio is just as impressive as the graphics. Gunfire sounds like its actually occurring in the room with you. Vehicles rumble by realistically and the soundtrack is put together nicely. There’s lots of good dialog, including game chatter, briefings and enemy conversations. This is another area COD4 for DS excels. Again, this isn’t 5.1 surround sound, but it definitely conveys a lot of realism.

In-game movement is accomplished by using the D pad. Shooting is done by using either shoulder button, while dragging the stylus directs your look angle and aim. Players can zoom their aim by double-tapping the screen, while trading out weapons by using on-screen icons. You can even toss live grenades back at your enemies. With all that screen-tapping, the game sometimes has some issues with sorting out some of the commands. Players may suddenly find themselves running when they were trying to crouch and views may change on their own. While these problems can be frustrating and detract from game play, they aren’t enough to warrant not buying COD4.

You’re character no longer uses a health bar. As you take damage, the screen begins to turn red. The more damage you take, the redder the screen becomes. Hiding out and resting will allow the screen to clear up. Missions usually involved getting from point A to point B, killing any baddies that get in the way. Some missions involve diffusing bombs or riding on the back of a vehicle, manning a gun. You may even find yourself piloting planes. Players will enjoy finding themselves in different roles, with different goals to accomplish.

There are really only two problems that hold this game back. While a head shot will take down opponents quickly, it sometimes takes 10 or more hits with smaller arms to take out enemies. This means players will find themselves re-loading a lot more than in previous versions of the game. Also, bad guys have some unusual spawning habits, like appearing in areas you’ve just cleaned out. Staying on your toes and keeping ammo supplies up will help cure this problem, however.

The second problem is a far worse one. You can play in multi-player mode with up to four people, utilizing WLAN, in the same immediate area but you can’t play on-line. In multi-player mode, you can play capture the flag, death-match, team death-match, and hunter-vs.-prey. Unless you have three friends who also own this game, you will likely find yourself finished with it in less than a week. Considering that there are about 10 or so hours of game play, this seriously hamstrings the long-term appeal of this game. Call of Duty 4 is a really great game, for a little while.

Overall, this is a pretty good game, with a lot of immediate appeal. I’m not sure it’s worth $30 for the two or three days of game play you’ll get out of it, though. While this is a good game, it is far too short to warrant purchasing it, especially without on-line content. Instead of buying this game, I recommend renting it or borrowing it.

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