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I received Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare from Gamefly, last night. So far, it is the most visually astonishing game that I've played for the PS3 platform. For example, in the first level, a helicopter ferries you to board a cargo ship being tossed about by storm in the Bering Straight. As you strafe the ship, it is periodically illuminated by lightning. Once on deck, waves wrack and breach the sides of the craft, obscuring your vision. As the boat rocks in the torment of the ocean waves, the shadows cast by cargo containers and moonlight skitters across the deck and railings.

But after playing only 5 levels of the game, I'm going to send it back. I find it emotionally disturbing in a way that twists my gut too often.

Case in point: the level I described above opens with the captain of your squad informing you that the civilian cargo ship's crew are expendable. Within seconds of touching down, you raid the crew's quarters killing everything that moves. One of your squad members turns his gun on the crew members asleep in their bunks. The visual animation of this happening is ghastly real.

Even worse, in the second level, you passively watch a Saudi Arabian coup as it transpires from the perspective of the target of the coup: the President of Saudi Arabia. As the events unfold ultimately leading to your beating and public execution, you witness civilians being cut down in the streets, caught in the cross-fire of running gun battles. The game's makers went even as far as to add the cries of agony of not only those of civilians, but even the bad guys.

Don't get me wrong, I love me some Halo 3 where there is no gore, no suffering: just cartoonish animations of a semblance of violence. Other, similar, fantasy representations of violence I find enjoyable. Perhaps I am splitting hairs, here. Nevertheless, I can't help but conclude that Call of Duty 4, while a great achievement by its authors, is simply not my kind of game.

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( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Jan. 22nd, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)
I've played through it twice, and I think it is absolutely brilliant, from start to end. Yes it's very unforgiving, but it's still just a video game.

Don't be such a Jack :)

-mg
(Anonymous)
Jan. 22nd, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC)
Well
For me it was too bad I bought it when I got my PS3. After playing COD4 it is hard to like other games, since COD4 looks so good.

When I bought Rainbow Six: Vegas, I almost started crying when I saw how bad it looked. I was even disappointed about how assasin's creed looks!
(Anonymous)
Jan. 22nd, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
Thats how real war is
I think that the realism is a good thing, in a world where wars are fought by professionals, the regular citizen has no idea what real war is like (its not like what you see on CNN). So, I guess that if some people can experiment a tiny bit of it through a video game, maybe they'll make wiser choice when selecting a president.. Or maybe not. That said, CoD4 really is an amazing game (on the PC) and the graphics are quite good. But still not as amazing as Crysis's graphics.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 22nd, 2008 10:19 pm (UTC)
Realism
So you want war and death to be fun? It was OK when the hardware was too limited too support all the detail but right now I think it wouldn't be fair to show it like in Schwarzenegger movie. Of course CoD4 is mostly fun but you can't ignore the truth - real world can be harsh and unforgiving.
jasondclinton
Jan. 22nd, 2008 10:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Realism
No, I want games to be fun. I'll think twice about adding any war simulations to my game queue from now on...

I want war to not exist, period.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 28th, 2008 09:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Realism
your faggot, COD4 rocks...why dont you go play wii sports you fairy
(Anonymous)
Mar. 28th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Realism
It's WAR GAME...you're not meant to playfully shoot bad guys and let them go with mercy....it's harsh, brutal, and realistic just like war and makes you feel like you're apart of the action...awesome game!!
(Anonymous)
Jan. 22nd, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
I agree with you. When I rented the game for a few days (what I usually do before spending $BIGBUCKS ($90 in Germany) on a game) I was amazed by the graphics but also found the bunk bed scene on the ship as well as the 'Arabian revolution' somewhat disturbing. You have to be 18 years old in Germany to buy and play the game but I believe some of the graphic display and intentions shown could have been left out without affecting the game story-wise. There'll be kids playing this.

Still I bought it and enjoy some online deathmatch whenever I have time to kill.
adamwill
Jan. 23rd, 2008 12:13 am (UTC)
Fun?
I just find it interesting that you find a twisted representation of violence as consequence-free 'fun' less disturbing than a realistic representation of violence and the actual consequences of it.

I also find it interesting that most of the 'moral majority' would agree - I suspect there'll be more people calling for a ban on this game than on Halo 3.

I'm not saying that in a way as to imply that your position is *wrong*, BTW - I genuinely find it interesting, and I wonder why it's the case for so many people. There's probably a deep and penetrating paper to be written on it by someone.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:25 am (UTC)
I felt the same
I picked up COD4 for my 360 over the weekend, when I was in the store I noticed that it was rated 'M', and commented to the clerk that the previous COD's were all rated 'T'. When I got home and tossed it in I was immediately enthralled by the visuals but became more and more disturbed as the game progressed. My unease started in the training session, but came to a head at the bunk incident. I'm not anti-war but I think that we should elevate honour in our story-telling and not callously discard life. I hope that later in the game I find that the SAS unit from the first level is in fact part of the enemy.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 23rd, 2008 01:54 pm (UTC)
duh
For me, it's completely inversed. I don't enjoy much the idea of purely free violence with sugar on top. I *love* movies like Saving Private Ryan *because* it turns my stomac upside down and I sometimes feel the need for a down-to-earth shot reminding me of what the world actually is. In france there's no military service anymore and the new generation isn't really getting to feel any hardship at all in their lives. Grow in big cities, go to schools up until they either reach majority (18 years old) or go to universities/faculties (50 years ago the major part of the french population didn't have any kind of education after 14, most of them were already learning to *work* like part-time harvesting. If I recall it right, my father was 15 when he began working as a barman.)... i don't think it's a good idea to give them games like GTA and Halo.
ext_80577
Jan. 23rd, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC)
Please try the multiplayer
Even if the single-player campaign is too brutal to you, you should really check out the multiplayer. It is, to me, by far the most entertaining FPS multiplayer I've experienced in a long time; possibly ever.

I liked the single-player campaign, but there were some very ethically-questionable parts. Also, the endgame at even just Hardened difficulty was really damn hard. My roommate gave up about 85% through the game at Veteran.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 24th, 2008 11:52 am (UTC)
I agree the game is very full-on, and I'm glad it's rated M.

I think it'd be good if a few of the world's leaders and other war hawks, were forced to play through it before sending their armies off to war - it certainly makes you realise how terrifying and horrible it must really be.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 25th, 2008 01:48 am (UTC)
I think it's good
seriously

I think this game is doing the MORAL things.

war is ugly, playing it can be fun and all, but war is ugly

politics is real
manipulation exists
violence is a day-thing in some country
and civilian murder is reality.

if a game, a book, whatever can show it, it's good.

you play it for fun yes, but in the same time you know what the news on tv could be in _Reality_ if you were _there_

and maybe it will help people to realize the consequences of political choices.

"ho yeah, Saudi Arabia news, like in my old game, well, maybe I do not want real murdering in streets"


but yes, I understand the moral trauma. to be sincere, I have the same problem with the show 24.

24 is too much horrible (and too much "real" ) for me. I cannot watch one episode without ask me if I would torture people in the same setting. I cannot watch it without ask me if it's what is USA and so on

it's not enjoyable. but I don't think everything would be "enjoyable".

the game is about to act in a setting, to be fast and successful, but I don't think the drama would be "enjoyable". no, if it's dark, if it's about the real world, it should NOT close the eyes on it !

Call of duty 4 is not a kiddy game. maybe teenagers : "go play the war if you like it !" but even that, I'm not sure. but adults ? yes and it should enact the reality.

better would be the game allows you to espace the horrible orders, murdering and so on. to go rogue and still have a fun game to play.



-
in the other hand, Super Mario Galaxy is truly a marvel for all kids and adults. a marvelous gift.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 4th, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC)
IGNORANCE
You ignorant bastards

Don't get me wrong I love Call of Duty 4 but for someone to shape their opinion around that is absolutely INSANE. If someone replies to me that they in no way enjoyed the game and found it brutal harsh and disgusting. I will say congratulations now you have a real opinion on war. But for all you idiots saying oh good it shows the real consqeunces of war WHILE YOU GO OUT HAVING FUN. This realistic approach to war will only be good in a doccumentary that changes minds without you enjoying it then I will shake that persons hand without winking an eye. But I agree 100% with the author of this forum and thank you for bringing to the realisation that finding fun in a game where you watch innocent civilians gunned down with no more thought than going on to the next cut scene is horrible. You play a game to have fun you never play it to change an opinion and if you do change an opinion based on that game the more fool to you. Any game that you enjoy NEVER EVER teaches you about war. PERIOD
(Anonymous)
Feb. 7th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
Those arent crew men. They are armed
(Anonymous)
Feb. 18th, 2008 10:34 pm (UTC)
get over it
dude get over it, "ITS JUST A GAME", i have done it once on PS3 on hardened and twice on 360 recruit and VETERAN, got all intel laptops and all the TV's, i LOVE this game....
(Anonymous)
Sep. 29th, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
Yea - just a game that folks are having a grand old time as they become more and more insensitive to the real human suffering that is happening in the world. Worse yet - some kids are even playing!
(Anonymous)
Mar. 2nd, 2009 05:16 am (UTC)
CoD4
Ive been living under a rock and finally put this game in tonight. The reason I found your blog was because I too found myself deeply troubled by the realism in the game and Im still working through my thoughts on it. Ive played most of the way through Act 1.

Anyway, you aren't alone. I too found many of the cut-scenes and gameplay quite disturbing, and in a way Im glad I and others do too.

Maybe in a twisted way it helps bring some sliver of the actual experience to someone like myself. In fact throughout the game I thought about our men and women doing this in real life and felt a renewed sense of thankfulness for their sacrifice, and felt it was somehow wrong to take inspiration from that type of hellish experience into an entertainment product for me.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 16th, 2010 09:08 am (UTC)
I couldn't agree with you more Jason Clinton. My sentiments exactly.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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Jason D. Clinton

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