Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Half-Life 2: Episode 2 - Steamed!

This is the “middle” episode of the 3 episode saga after Half-Life 2 proper, so you would be forgiven for initially thinking that it would just be "filler" until the third and final episode. However, I wouldn't forgive anyone for thinking it's just filler after they played it. It's just as fresh and rich a gaming experience as HL2 and Episode 1 before it. On today's hardware the game runs more smoothly than ever before; the engine is only now beginning to slightly show it's age, yet it still remains one of the most graphically impressive gaming experiences available today.

Even from playing the first few minutes Episode 2, you realise that you’ve returned to the best gaming experience ever created. Valve's second expansion to the “best game ever” is a perfect example of how to tweak the mechanics and prolong the superbly crafted tale by adding just a few more hours of gameplay for the fraction of the cost of a full game. Indeed there’s almost nothing new about Freeman (you), your abilities or weapons etc. as it takes place only minutes after the end of Episode 1, but you’re in very different environments then you’ve been in for the past several hours of the saga. In Episode 2 you’re in the countryside for the most part, (detouring for a while to investigate the lair of the Ant-Lions) outside the desolate urban area of what now remains of City 17, visiting unused power plants, half destroyed bridges, inoperative train yards, deserted villages and silent logging compounds to name but a few of the varied scenes the action takes place in.

You'll be pleased to know that all the staple Half-Life 2 elements are intact. Perfectly controllable drivable vehicles allowing you traverse some of the greater distances in this expansion, your sidekick Alex still driven by the most advanced artificial intelligence still found today and the trusty zero-point-energy gravity gun which I feel you use more then before as you have to solve some of the most audacious, yet logical physics puzzles you’ve ever faced. The combat is more innovative and perhaps less tactical than previously, partly due to the change in environment and is a most welcome change.

Your enemies have not been idle either, the Ant-Lions have bred a new breed of warrior capable of dealing severe damage with it’s acid mortar-like attack. The Combine have also created a Hunter- a tough, smaller and much faster version of a Strider that looks and moves pretty much like a gorilla and you're forced to employ your heavier weapons against them before they take you down with their exploding tazer bolt weapons.

The voice talent is still top of the line on par with previous installments: Tony Todd replaces Louis Gossett Jnr. as the Vortigaunts which have some of the most hilarious dialog in gaming. Adam Baldwin voices some of the more courageous rebel soldiers and the rebel who gives you your final battle briefing. Robert Guillaume returns as Dr. Vance as does Michelle Forbes as Dr. Judith Mossman, although her appearance is brief, it's obvious that she'll be a major part of Episode 3. Kelly Baily returns with his trademark Half-Life score to lend the final piece to the expansive soundscape.

Because of it's middle episode nature, I obviously can't recommend it for new players to the Half-Life franchise, because it assumes you know what you your doing and why you're doing it, there's a few tips to help you on the way if you've not played Episode 1 since it's time of release, but these disappear quickly and are far less than what you find in the most basic FPS training level - in other words you get right into the action pretty quickly.

I must finally applaud Valve's revolutionary Steam delivery service, which has grown exponentially since I last activated it. While I had expected to play Episode 2 for a year now, time and projects prevented me from doing so until August 29th this year; but once I made the decision to purchase and install the game, it was effortless to obtain. Like Episode 1 and SiN Episodes: Emergence, I was able to install it through Steam in about 3 hours due to Steam's ultra fast servers after Steam takes only €12.69 from your Credit Card (for Episode 2 only). Steam installs with Half-Life 2 or any time you desire for FREE from steampowered.com and now you get far more than Valve's back catalogue. It's easy to see why this is an example of the method from which we will obtain all our entertainment in the not too distant future; games, movies etc. and say goodbye to rows of shelves filled with plastic boxes and optical discs.

Final Verdict: This is exactly what an expansion should be: An extension of the original that stays ever so true to it's origins and borderline becoming a sequel in it's own right with it's innovation.

Colonel Creedon Rating: *****+

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"He doesn't understand"

That was John McCain's message Friday night, in reference to the lack of experience Barack Obama has when compared to him, in the first of three live debates between the two US Presidential candidates in this remarkable election.

The first 90 minute debate traditionally is about major foreign policy and national security, but in light of the recent economic crisis it was the economy that seemed to take centre stage. Both McCain and Obama have somewhat different views on practically everything, the current crisis. How they would handle the future of the US economy was no different and they both put their respective viewpoints across adequately without much interference from each other.

The majority of the remainder of the debate focused on questions about Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and the recently belligerent Russia. Obama was quick to point out that the war in Iraq was wrong and should not have happened, however McCain said that the next President of the US should be more concerned with ending the military presence in Iraq after victory and not be so concerned with why it started or how it's been handled. McCain all but issued warnings to those that would threaten the peace but objected to Obama's practically threatening the US ally Pakistan - "You don't say that out loud," McCain said.

One particular moment caught my attention. McCain told a poignant story about a serviceman killed in Iraq his name which is now engraved on a bracelet on his wrist (left) at the request of the serviceman's mother. Obama, in an extraordinarily infantile gesture exclaimed "I got a bracelet too," but he lost points by having to look down and read it before he told us the name on it, not very presidential.

During the foreign policy portion of the debate, McCain's message of "he doesn't understand" was hit home twofold as the maverick kept repeating it for all to hear and the obvious truth of the statement was apparent as he was speaking about his policies from a great breath and depth of experience for may years, something Obama is considerably lacking in.

The next chapter in this incredible saga will be be written on Thursday wen Governor Sarah Palin faces down Senator Joe Biden.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bond's newest song

The delectable Alicia (Smokin' Aces) Keys and some scruffy yobbo called Jack White took over from the self destructive wreck of Amy Winehouse to record Another Way To Die, the theme song for the newest James Bond adventure: Quantum Of Solace.

White wrote, produced, plays the drums and sings with Keys in the first duet as Bond title song.

I don't think it's as good as Chris Cornell's effort for Casino Royale, but I'll wait to see it in the context of the movie before passing final judgment.

You can listen to it yourself here: http://www.thirdmanrecords.com/

Saturday, September 20, 2008

2IGTV Episode 60

We open with a discussion on our latest gaming endeavours. As Television continues to return to normal, hear our thoughts on The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Fringe, Gossip Girl, True Blood and 90210.

We have the beef on The Preacher series, the Watchmen lawsuit and a Dr. Who movie. We repeat the latest insane ramblings from Vin Diesel, William Shatner and Sam Raimi. We answer why Harry Potter and whatever the next Harry Potter movie is called won't be out until summer 2009 and we draw the battle lines for the 2008 US Presidential Election - BETWEEN US!!!!

Be sure to enter our 60th Episode Competition involving the photo below to win a load of crap!!!

Get all this and much more here.
Discuss this episode and obtain competition rules on our official forums.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Death Star looms over San Fran

This is probably one of the most bizarre, yet amazing videos ever created. What if the Death Star was in orbit of the Earth and the Empires presence seemed perfectly normal?

Source: Mark, Current

Monday, September 15, 2008

Iron Man 2 in 3D and/or IMAX

Jon Favreau has said he’d love to do Iron Man 2 in 3D! He said it would be all about the cost, but if it's possible he’d like to do it. He also referred to the IMAX Dark Knight footage as "a game changer" and expressed a desire to shoot part of the Iron Man sequel in IMAX.

As for what will be in the sequel, he has mentioned The Mandarin and has said we can expect a lot more surprises in the sequel in terms of other comic book characters. He also hopes to keep the story relatively simple in the sequel and hopes to raise the emotional and technical side of the story.

Read this extensive interview from Comingsoon.

Source: Collider, Comingsoon

New Trailer for Max Payne

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Crysis: Maximum Review

Crytek's original game, the award winning masterpiece of free roaming island hopping Far Cry is among the highest rated First Person Shooters of all time. It was noted for it's extraordinary draw distances, superbly drivable land and sea vehicles and it's sandbox approach to the outdoor levels which allowed the player to choose their own route to an objective rather than the usual way other developers confine you to one linear path with dozens of scripted sequences. Now Crytek has taken all of those elements from Far Cry and enhanced them with an even more free roaming environment, superior almost unpredictable AI, added an airborne vehicle and wrapped it up into a magically beautiful and realistic graphics engine for their next game - Crysis.

I've written a load of info about Crysis previously, so I won't repeat myself for this review. Suffice to say, everything I previewed came to pass with bells on. The whole gameplay experience was top-notch especially the majority of the game's campaign that dealt with you killing a lot of North Koreans. You could sneak around the island picking them off one by one in your heavily armoured and souped-up Nanosuit or go for a full-frontal assault depending on your play-style or your mood on that day. The the game caters for multiple approaches for the same problem. For instance just to see if it could be done; I assaulted the same enemy compound a few different ways: Once I sneaked in via a nearby stream underneath the buildings like some sort of high-tech ninja and reached my objective using suppressed weapons. A second time I took up a high-ground sniper position and picked off the sentries and heavy machine gun nest operators allowing me access unhindered. A third time I launched a rocket at their gasoline supply creating a successful diversion away from my exposed infiltration. And my personal favourite: Driving straight through the main gate in a pickup truck to an easily defensible position close to my objective which included taking out a few enemies by blowing up my truck's gas tank once I was free. I've no doubt there's other approaches as well perhaps from the coast to the West or the jungle to the East, but I had to move on.

You have an arsenal of weapons to chose from, but choose carefully as you can't carry everything. In addition to your pistols which you can set to fire two bullets at once - and carry two of them so you can fire an awesome 4 bullets at once - (that's just the pistol!), you also have a machine gun, obligatory shotgun, a SCAR assault rifle (that you'll run out of ammo for very quickly and need to replace with a N.Korean rifle), a sniper rifle, minigun, rocket launcher and more, all the tools you need including your Nanosuit. Provided you set up your hot-keys for it's different functions correctly the Nanosuit can both save your life and enhance your gaming experience. There are 4 operational modes, the default being armour which as the name suggests prevents as damage for as long as you have power, strength for punching your way through doors and jumping greater heights, speed for running short distances as quick as lightening and a cloak which bends light around your armour effectively making you a Predator. Unfortunately all these abilities are generated from a central power core which is expended in seconds but it regenerates via solar collectors in a short time. The only bad thing about the Nanosuit is that you don't have one in every FPS.

It is later in the game, perhaps 66% of the way through that the game falters for 2 reasons, graphics issues and the alien levels. While Crysis has been praised for some of the most incredible graphics ever seen on the planet putting all current consoles to complete shame, it has been slated for those same graphics being so badly coded that they will grind a system running even triple SLI GeForce 9's to a near unplayable state in the final third of the game. It's frightening to think that machines the equivalent and perhaps even more powerful than the vaunted Maxximus could be reduced to 10FPS here when we enjoyed completely fluid High-rez DirectX 10 up to that point. A shocking let down to have to reduce some of the graphics settings to in order to complete the game.

Part of me is not upset at having to reduce graphics quality however, as the final levels of Crysis concentrate on finding and thwarting the alien menace. You find your way eventually to the Alien ship? or whatever and the gameplay changes radically from what it was to fighting flying aliens in zero-g! Still that particular section isn't as bad as the infamous "Zen" of the original Half-Life, but it's a little naff nonetheless. Improvement comes later when you escape from the ship and proceed to the final showdown on board the USS Constellation aircraft carrier which was for the most part thrilling and exciting in it's own way but not as good as when you were battling the N.Koreans.

Final Verdict: Crytek managed to recapture the awe and wonder of Far Cry for the next- generation of systems and while it's two major issues prevent Crysis from knocking Half-Life 2 off of it's "Best Game Ever" pearch, the game is still one of the greatest entries in the FPS genre and one I hope will continue through it's planned sequels and expansions.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11: Seven Years On

As the world watched Barack Obama and John McCain put their differences aside for a day, share a hug and make remembrance speeches at Ground Zero in New York; A call was being made at the site of another terrorist attack on that day, a call to Remember… Reflect… Renew.

The Pentagon Memorial, was dedicated today to the memory of the 184 people who perished in the September 11th attack on the nucleus of the blanket of freedom provided almost worldwide by the noble forces of the United States Military.

Seven years after AA flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, the nation's first major memorial to the tragic events of 9/11 opened to the public after a dedication ceremony attended by 20,000 guests, including President Bush.

The Memorial is a small park of benches and trees located just feet from where the aircraft struck the building. Family members of those who died in the attack played an important role in raising the funds needed for it's construction and insisted that it should be placed at the site of the aircraft's impact with the building.

"It's an individual memorial. It's a collective memorial. It kind of tells a story of what happened that day," says Jim Laychak, who heads the Pentagon Memorial Fund and whose brother David died on 9/11.

"Seven years ago at this hour a doomed airliner plunged from the sky, split the rock and steel of this building and changed our world forever," Bush said in his dedication speech. "The years that followed have seen justice delivered to evil men in battles fought in distant lands. Since 9/11, our troops have taken the fight to the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them here at home," said the President, joined at the ceremony by former SECDEF Donald Rumsfeld, who was actually in the Pentagon during the attack.

Rumsfeld, who wore a sling on his arm from recent shoulder surgery, said it was at the Pentagon that the fate of the victims - both on the ground and on the plane - were "cruelly merged forever." His successor, SECDEF Robert Gates, said that while the Pentagon represents U.S. military power, the memorial will be a remembrance of how "fanaticism once laid its terrible hand upon this building."

"Thanks to the brave men and women, and all those who work to keep us safe, there has not been another attack on our soil in 2,557 days," President Bush said to applause. The ceremony was the last time that he will lead the nation in recalling the attacks that prompted him to declare a Global War on Terrorism that has defined his presidency.

Though now open to the public, the fundraising effort to pay off the memorial will continue. So far, $19 million of the memorial's $22 million construction costs have been donated and an additional $10 million is needed to fund an endowment to maintain the memorial.

You can donate here: http://www.pentagonmemorial.net

Source: ABC News, Reuters, Associated Press.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Is Obama confused about his religion?

Remember that Whopper's Bunker is a impartial forum especially when it comes to politics. As there was quite a lot of coverage there concerning the Republicans over the past week, it's time to see what the Democrats are saying. Unfortunately I couldn't see or hear much of Obama's speech at their convention due to McCain's announcement of Sarah Palin of which it's fair to say completely overshadowed Obama's speech. However, now that the commotion has relaxed a little, we can hear Obama again.

In an interview yesterday on ABC’s This Week with host George Stephanopoulos; Obama was trying to suggest that FOX News and others “closely allied” to Republicans are promulgating the notion that the Illinois senator is Muslim.

The senator was asked if McCain himself has done anything to suggest Obama is Muslim, he said, “Let’s not play games. What I was suggesting — you’re absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith. And you’re absolutely right that that has not come…”

“Christian faith,” Stephanopoulos interrupted, correcting Obama.

“… my Christian faith. Well, what I’m saying is that he hasn’t suggested that I’m a Muslim. And I think that his campaign’s upper echelons have not, either.” Obama said.

I does sound like he's a little confused, to me. I mean I talk a lot about Scientology on 2IGTV as we take the piss out of the likes of Cruise and Co., but I never get it confused with being a Jedi do I?

Have a look/listen here and decide for yourself:

Source: Fox News

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Tropa de Elite (The Elite Squad) makes Judge Dredd look like a pussy!

I'm very particular about what foreign language films I watch. I prefer ones that have so much action on screen that you don't realise you have to read what they're saying. I knew however that I was going to like Tropa de Elite because the poster consisted of a lone BOPE officer holding an MP5. I knew I was going to really enjoy this movie when I discovered their logo was basically a skull with a knife stabbed through it superimposed over crossed pistols. No "to serve and protect" or "guardian's of the peace" here.

Rio De Janeiro is a crime trouble spot, especially in the Northern favelas or slums. Homicide is a daily occurrence and with less than 3% of murders solved it becomes obvious why when watching this movie:

Colonel Otávio [Commanding Officer]: Trainee, you're gonna do this report again. Look at this: "Body was found at the beach". Deaths at the beach, my son, are tallied as "drownings".

André Matias [the Trainee]: But Commandant, the body had a bullet perforation.

Colonel Otávio: [shouting] And are you a coroner now?

The regular police are ill equipped to handle the level of crime especially in the favelas. Adding to that: corruption is almost a prerequisite for being a police officer. The drug traffickers pay the police to turn a blind eye and merchants pay the police not to tow or ticket their customer's cars. The BOPE [Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais, or Special Police Operations Battalion] is a little different in contrast. Their officers are both uncorruptable and highly trained in weapons and tactics, training so brutal that I'd imagine even a Navy S.E.A.L. would wince and maiming or serious injury was a regular occurrence. The BOPE's method of interrogation to flush out the drug lords is to shoot a few members of a gang dead and place a plastic bag over the faces of the survivors or threaten to ram a lubricated broom handle where the sun don't shine until they talk! (Females and young teenage gang members are not given special treatment either). Yes, they're the good guys.

The movie presents an intimate look at the Rio’s vast and intricate web of corruption and the sheer brutality of both the drug lords and the police force. The narrative is told through the perspective of Captain Nascimento, a BOPE squad leader who is hoping to train a replacement so he can leave the unit and spend time with his wife and newborn son. Nascimento sees potential in two of the force’s newest recruits, Neto and Matias, childhood friends - one who quick on the trigger, the other is an idealist. Together they are the perfect replacement, but Nascimento can only have one.

Final Verdict: I wish there were more police like these guys. Why waste time arresting and incarcerating people you know are guilty? Isn't it better just to shoot them? Yes it is- and Tropa de Elite do it in Rio.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****

Saturday, September 06, 2008

"Fight with me!" McCain inspires supporters.

John McCain sounded a warning to Washington on Thursday evening that “change is coming,” in his speech accepting the Republican Presidential Nomination. His speech stressed his military service as well as his maverick reputation. He called for an end to the “constant partisan rancour” he says has crippled the federal government and closed out the Republican National Convention by urging voters to “fight with me” and usher in a new age of American leadership.

McCain thanked President Bush “for leading us in these dark days following the worst attack in American history.” He also had words of thanks for First Lady Laura Bush, his own wife Cindy, his seven children and all those that helped and supported him in his campaign adding: “I won’t let you down.”

McCain outlined policy differences on issues like taxes and energy exploration between him and Obama casting his rival as a big-government liberal, but generally steered clear of the attacks that punctuated his running mate's speech the previous night. McCain actually began his address on a conciliatory note, congratulating Obama, the first black presidential nominee of a major party, for his historic accomplishment. “We’ll go at it over the next two months. You know that’s the nature of this business, and there are big differences between us,” he said. “But you have my respect and admiration. Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. But let there be no doubt, my friends: We’re going to win this election.”

McCain also touted his own experience at fighting corruption, “and it didn’t matter if the culprits were Democrats or Republicans. They violated their public trust, and they had to be held accountable.”

He did not attempt to match the stagecraft and magnitude of Obama’s historic acceptance address a week ago to a stadium of 85,000 people. He did, however, have the stage at the St. Paul Xcel Energy Center rebuilt with a plank that allowed him to step into the delegate audience to deliver his speech — keeping in line with his preferred “town hall” style of forum.

McCain's video introduction highlighted his years in captivity in Vietnam. He invoked those years on stage, “I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. But he warned of the dangers that threaten it: “We face many dangerous threats in this dangerous world, but I’m not afraid of them. I’m prepared for them. I know how the military works, what it can do, what it can do better, and what it shouldn’t do. I know how the world works. I know the good and the evil in it.”

He finished his speech by urging Americans to better themselves, and in doing so, better the country. “Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier, because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself. With hard work — with hard word, strong faith, and a little courage, great things are always within our reach.”

Election Day is Nov. 4 but there'll be a lot of events before that. The next major one is the first presidential debate on September 26th.

Source: FoxNews

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Clone Wars on TV in October

Cartoon Network has debuted the official website for the animated series. The site not only announces the debut date for October 3rd, but also has a new trailer for the animated series and a game called Fierce Twilight. This is just one of the commercials that have been airing on Cartoon Network over the past weekend.

Source: Rebelscum

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Not just a pretty face

Not since Richard Nixon in 1952 has such an "average American" been nominated for presidential office. Sarah Palin stepped out of near obscurity as the Governor of the almost Canadian state up in the cold harsh north of the US to be come one of the most Googled people since Paris Hilton's sex tapes were "released". I mean everyone knows who McCain, Obama and Biden are but who the hell is Sarah Palin?

Well last night at the Republican Nation Convention in Minneapolis, Palin revealed herself to the world (just not in a way a lot of us would hope for, heh heh!) by delivering possibly the most important speech of her career and captured the hearts and minds of all who would doubt her, mostly in her own party, a party that needed to be re-energised and enthused because their "ideal candidates" were rejected by the people.

She was cheered and applauded for minutes before she could even start. She introduced herself to the world and delivered her own thoughts on issues and told delegates about her own experience in reforming her own small corner of government and how she's not afraid of shaking up the "Washington Elite".

The Vice-President is often seen as the "attack-dog" of the President and Palin proved more than capable of filling that role - and she didn't even need her guns. She took a swat at her political opponents who disgraced themselves by mocking her service as a town mayor and in turn mocked their own ridiculous "Styrofoam Greek columns". There was no venom in her voice, she's the type that can wound or kill with a smile (and what a smile!).

Palin's family were also in attendance lending an even more human face to this remarkable woman. She cited that her family had the same challenges and ups and downs of other families. Some of these challenges have been dragged unfairly and unjustly through the media recently and even Obama himself has asked them to stop.

She cited that Obama and Biden have oft said how they will fight for the American people, but she reminded that only one candidate has ever really fought for them "in places where winning means survival and defeat means death. And that man is John McCain."

She finished by citing an anecdote about the future President: "A prisoner of war, Tom Moe of Ohio recalls looking through a pinhole in his cell door as Lt.Cmdr. John McCain was led down the hallway by the guards, day after day. And the story is told, when McCain shuffled back from torturous interrogations, he would turn towards Moe’s door, and he’d flash a grin and a thumbs up, as if to say, “We’re going to pull through this. My fellow Americans, that is the kind of man America needs to see us through the next four years."

It's fair to say that Palin has taken the first step in unifying the party and claiming some of the the votes of the undecided or independent voters which comprises of about 20% of the total electorate. The next and final step to that unification can only be taken by McCain himself tonight. This and the next 60 or so days are going to be most interesting.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Review

I keep my small change in a metal tin, y'know, pennies, 2c, 5c, 10c etc., the ones that are too small to be going carting about with you on a daily basis. When the tin is full I count them and bring them to the bank and they give me about €40. Well I was counting today and I accidentally knocked the empty tin off the table. It landed with a clunk and rolled under the desk. "Grenade!" I thought, "There's no way I can reach it in time to throw it back!, I've got to get out of here now!" and I dived out the doorway. When I regained my composure; I realised that my instincts had been honed a little too well by Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, a game where during every enemy confrontation, you have about a dozen grenades thrown at you. You have a split second to pick it up and throw it back if you can reach it in like 1 second or you can dive for cover in the opposite direction. As I had just come off an intense 4 hour session with the game: my adrenaline level hadn't returned to normal yet- thank goodness I didn't go outside into civilisation where I would have grabbed a dogs neck and twisted it until it snapped- something else you're forced to do in almost every level unless you shoot the mutt before it pounces.

If you remember the Medal Of Honor: Allied Assault Normandy beach landings, easily one of the greatest moments in modern gaming, then you know the quality and attention to detail that Infinity Ward is known for. Twenty-two of the best developers from 2015, Inc. formed Infinity Ward in 2002 and released a better WWII game than anything in the Medal Of Honor franchise: Call Of Duty. It was followed 2 years later by one of the greatest sequels in gaming history. It was bizarre that IW made quite a gamble to break from the comfort zone of Nazi-occupied Europe and leap into present day warfare for their third crack at it, but it paid off. Call of Duty 4 rivals even the games that carry the Tom Clancy label like Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon, previously the clear leaders of this sub-genre.

The meticulous care IW took to faithfully recreate WWII-era weaponry was also lent to bringing modern armaments to life. Many of the incredible tools of war used today come into play in COD4. You'll man the weapons of the AC-130 Gunship, which flies above the battlefield and fires 105mm rounds that decimate the enemy; make big explosions with Javelin missiles, which drop straight down to hit the thinner top armor of tanks; and cycle through a small arsenal of both light and heavy personal weapons featuring a variety of scopes and augmentations. With an astonishing number of enemies in the field, you are going to need every last bit of modern tech to survive.

Unlike the previous Call of Duty's, Modern Warfare presents one continuous story. You will hop between perspectives of a British S.A.S. soldier and a U.S. Marine 1st Force Recon operator. These leaps continue the progression of the story. It's a very effective tool. The story itself is hardly Tom Clancy but it's a good as a better 24 outing, and it revolves around stolen Russian nukes and Middle-Eastern terrorists. IW finds ways to make you care for every last one of your teammates (even though they can absorb several hundred enemy rounds and are never in much harm).

If you played the original COD's, then there'll be no problem controlling COD4. There is no revolution of game controls, (it is a basic FPS when all is said and done). The new graphics engine still retains some of the game mechanics of the older games such as sight aiming. You have standard iron sights on some weapons, red-dot scopes on others and full magnification on sniper rifles - you'll hit people more than firing from the hip. Throwing grenades back at the enemy if you can reach them in time (or duck and cover if you don't).

The real change in COD4 is in the combat. The action here is intense and seriously fast-paced. There are so many enemies, everywhere, to the point where it seems slightly ridiculous. They are smarter too thanks to some refined AI. Although this is a linear shooter that essentially funnels you through corridors, there are quite a number of side-paths that lead you to flanking positions that'll pay off when you appear off to the side of the enemy taking cover from your buddies but completely and utterly exposed to you. And if you do not flank the enemy, be assured they will flank you- Enemies usually know to stay in cover. And they also know that you, being a well-trained soldier, aren't going to fight in the open, so the bastards throw dozens of grenades and fire RPGs at you. They are trying to flush you out. Most cars explode and will kill you if you are standing beside them so MOVE! Stay still and you die; Movement is life.

Fortunately, good AI is not confined to your enemies, your squadmates have also benefited from some audacious programing. COD4 doesn't employ squad commands, because as this is realistic and as you're not in command, you must do the following, you're treated like a grunt, from the start (watch out for Craig Fairbrass as Gaz) but you're a link in a chain and a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link, so don't the be weak link! Your comrades look, move, act, and react like their true military counterparts. In fact, were you to have the ability to issue commands, you'd likely end up doing more harm than good.

Final Verdict: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is one of the best First-Person-Shooters on the market. While it's easily Infinity Wards greatest work, it's nothing too revolutionary.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****1/2

Some info sourced from IGN