It’s here. It took awhile, but it’s here: Nearly eleven months after its lauded debut, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is on the Mac. The game is intense, immersive, fun and rewarding. From the moment I saw a trailer for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare I couldn’t wait to fire it up and play it. I loved the idea of taking a break from the period epics and diving into some modern battles with the latest weaponry and modern bad guys. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare delivers in spades.
So, I couldn’t wait. I took my Christmas money from last year and bought an Xbox and Call of Duty 4. Heresy, I know, but in fact, at the time I had no idea that much later in the year Aspyr would be putting it on my computer as well. After a week of testing it on my Mac I can say the experience is excellent. I enjoy the higher resolution of having it on my 30″ monitor, and the controls, while a bit disorienting at first, are great.
Installing the game couldn’t be easier. Just a good old-fashioned “drag to your hard disk”. That’s just what I did and it worked like a charm. Note: You do need the actual DVD mounted on your hard drive to run the game, unless you purchase the downloadable version.
With Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare the experience is top notch. The graphics are just astonishing. Even if you’ve played a bunch of video games and think you might not be impressed when something good comes along, trust me, you’ll be impressed. Whether it’s sunlight catching on the dust particles in an abandoned building, or walking through the smoke from someone’s smoke grenade, you’ll feel like you’re there.
The other part of that immersive experience is the sound design. The sound in this game is among the best games I’ve ever played. I highly recommend donning a nice pair of headphones when playing this. The explosions and gunfire may startle you, the tanks rumbling by will feel very real, and the voice acting is excellent. They also used a nice soundtrack that adds ambience while not detracting from the game play.
In Single Player mode, you do about as you’d expect. Going through and accomplishing missions, saving the world of course. Unfortunately there’s no way to go through the campaign in co-op mode, which is a bit of a shame because the possibilities for teamwork are definitely enticing. You do get a team, but they are all just fellow soldiers controlled by the game. The good news is that the AI in this game is fantastic, both the bad guys and the good guys are smart, reactive, and add to the experience.
There are some extremely memorable moments where everything in the gameplay comes together, such as this time when I had to sneak through a field, as a sniper, and moving ever so slowly as a tank rumbled slowly by with a group of bad buys walking with it. It was intense, and I’m sure my pulse was racing and my jaw clenched. I could hear their footsteps and I knew if I was discovered I was a goner.
The Single Player game could stand to be longer. One could get through the game in a matter of just four or five hours. There is some replay value, and you can certainly try your hand at playing in a harder mode to extend the experience.
Where you get a ton of replay value is the multiplayer version of the game. When I say “version”, I mean it. It’s actually an entirely different application you launch. If that isn’t weird enough, the multiplayer game doesn’t even import your settings. I had to reconfigure the display settings and all my custom control options when switching to multiplayer for the first time. Aspyr should be sharing the settings between modes.
Nonetheless, once I was up and running, I was playing online with ease. Connecting to games was simple and gameplay was exactly as I expected. Well, not exactly. I think I’ve been spoiled by my experience with Xbox Live. I know, I know, I’m praising a Microsoft product on The Apple Blog, but I did find things I was missing from Xbox Live. For instance, in the Xbox version of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, it’s simple to just set up a private match with people with whom you’re already friends. Additionally, when joining other matches, you can always make sure you and your friends are on the same team. These things are missing from the non-Xbox versions of this game (or at least they’re so hard to find that I didn’t come across them in testing).
Despite that, multiplayer is fun and extremely rewarding. Players start out with a few preset classes of weaponry, including a primary weapon, sidearm and some perks. As you gather experience, you unlock new weapons, and new perks, soon allowing you to build your own custom classes. As you get more experienced with specific guns, you unlock mods and scopes for those guns, such as a red-dot site or a silencer.
The perks I mentioned are especially handy. Each custom class comes with three custom perks. Perks include a radar jammer, making you invisible to the enemy’s radar, special grenades, extra health, more deadly bullets, and “Last Stand” (with this perk, as you’re about to die, you pull out your pistol and get to squeeze off a few rounds before you expire). There are plenty more, but I’ll let you find them on your own.
Imagine how versatile these custom classes are for the player. Perhaps you come across a map with lots of good hiding spots. Maybe a class with a good sniper rifle and the radar jammer is in order. Is everybody hiding behind walls? Pull out your big gun with the “deep impact” perk, which makes your bullets travel further through solid objects. You can reconfigure your classes between rounds of play, and any time you die you can switch between them.
As you rise through the ranks, more and more options get unlocked, making it extremely rewarding. Alas, it also makes for some late nights as you decide to just stay up a tiny bit longer to unlock the next thing.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has set a new standard for gameplay, and having it on the Mac is an excellent thing. At $55 Aspyr could stand to make things a little more full-featured for the multiplayer, taking some cues from Xbox, but in the meantime, it’s still a fun, rewarding, and marvelously designed game.