I was fortunate enough to get access to the Call of Duty 4: Modern warfare multiplayer Beta for the XBox 360, and being a fan of the series, I couldn’t wait to get going! So what do we know about the series? Well previous Call of Duty’s are usually set during World War II, and as this title suggests, the series has taken a leap forward and set the game in modern day war zone, along with modern weapons and vehicles.

Onto the game itself, from the menu finding a game is simple and you can choose from 3 out of 4 options, I presume the other option can be unlocked as you earn more experience points, more on this later. The three modes available are Team Death match, Free-for-All, and Team Tactical, the none selectable option is Team Objective. Although I am sure this is just for the Beta and will all change for the final version.

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So when the lobby is full you start a game, and while it is loading, you get little tidbits of information about certain features which I guess/hope will appear in the final game like, ‘Create Class’, where you can customise your Class by choosing the default weapons, Naming the Class and Ranks to anything you like, with this feature you could customise your class to suit your playing style.

Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare   Console  1As you would expect, it looks amazing, the environments are well detailed, with vehicles on fire, debris floating across the battle field, the explosions are realistic and the stun grenades temporarily blinding you and even giving you tinnitus for a few seconds! The game feels like classic Call of Duty, but as you play you start to notice the small changes they have made, the radar is no longer a compass, but more akin to the radar in Metal Gear Solid, however you only see other players’ locations when they are firing a weapon. One of the snippets of information that you get while a map loads is that you can be invisible to radar if you have a silencer attached to your weapon. The Melee attack now uses a knife for finishing off opponents up close, and… The Kill Cam is back! So you can see where the sneaky so and so’s shot you from. I saw some players, even though they were shot and down, they pulled out their pistol and fired off a few rounds in there dying moments, this is a nice touch. You also have access to night vision goggles, but I never felt the need to use them with the maps available all being set in the daytime.

Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare   Console  3At one point a helicopter appeared over head and started firing at me, after the initial shock of seeing this thing come over a rooftop and turn toward me I decided to run and hide in a barn, but alas, the choppers powerful guns shot right through the weak barn wall and got me, to add insult to injury the Kill Cam provided an awesome view of my death from the chopper. You also now see Fighter Jets speed overhead when someone calls in an air strike, this looks very impressive.

After 10 minutes of getting shot to pieces by the more hardcore beta players, the game ended and you are presented with the standard results screen, then you are shown your rank and your newly acquired experience points that you earned in that round, these points are what help you upgrade your rank, and unlock certain items as you go along, like new weapons, features, challenges, game modes and an interesting feature called perks.

Perks appear after you unlock ‘Create Class’ mode, mentioned earlier, these perks contain things like increased bullet damage, steadier aiming or longer sprinting times, so you can really customise your Class down to these finer points.

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I liked the fact I got experience points even though I only managed to kill one person my first time round, so, back in I went, new map, new faction and tried again, with slightly better results. There seems to be a few teams involved this time round as opposed the Allies vs. Axis in the previous games, now there are Marines, SAS and a Russian faction. I am sure there are a few more.

It does seem like there is a lot going on at first, but after a couple of games it all seems to make sense and as I mentioned before it feels like Classic Call of Duty. I think this is shaping up to be the best Call of Duty so far, with all the features available it will ad some longevity to the multiplayer mode and lets hope the single player mode, which is usually fairly short in this series has a few tricks up it’s sleeve.