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300 Word Review – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Multiplayer)

‘RPG elements’ is sort of game designer’s code for “no skill required”. With the exception of World of Warcraft, most games that have players earning experience points and unlocking new abilities don’t require mastery so much as a willingness to sink in the right amount of time.

In opposition to its single player campaign, which emphasizes gritty, quasi-cinematic realism, the multiplayer in Call of Duty 4 is a game of logistics. Players get points for almost everything they do. Killing an enemy, killing an enemy while crouching, killing an enemy with a certain gun, etc. These points will then unlock new guns, attachments to guns, and special abilities called ‘perks’ (such as dropping a grenade as soon as you die).

All this creates a single player, meta-RPG lying on top of the different games of Deathmatch and Capture the Flag and King of the Hill; the purpose of which is to allow Call of Duty 4 effective serve two masters: the ‘casual’ and the ‘hardcore’ .

This levelling meta-game acts as an opiate for the mass of players who will never play the game on a high level but because of the realities of sorting and matching players by skill level still have to roll with the big boys. No longer are you purely concerned with your kill to death ratio. For every person you bring down, you get just a couple of more points towards the next piece of kit that you want to try out.

The downside of this is, of course, that the difference between doing well and doing poorly is sometimes having unlocked a laser sight. However, in the long run a skilled player will be able to overcome these types of disadvantages, and the rest of us will enjoy the consistent pleasure of playing with new toys.

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