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Top 50 Games of the Last Generation | #1 - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Call Of Duty, Games of the Generation

Top 50 Games of the Last Generation | #1 - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

I laughed the first time I saw this. This is impossible, I muttered silently to myself. Out of all of the games of the last seven years, are we really going to hand the title of Game of the Generation over to Call of Duty? Something must have gone wrong. My maths has been going steadily downhill for years, I must have simply gone awry with the voting tallies.

It seems ludicrous that Call of Duty should come anywhere near the top of this list. But there it is -- the only game to have received a nomination from everyone here at Dealspwn.

Top 50 Games of the Last Generation | #1 - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Of course, the incredulity stems from familiarity. Call of Duty is a biggest IP in the business. Along comes another game every twelve months with a bunch of marginal tweaks and changes -- surgery performed to justify annualisation, contravening the old adage that begins "if it ain't broke..." because, well, money. Call of Duty has become synonymous with stagnancy.

But it wasn't always this way. Whatever you might think of the franchise today, Call of Duty once stood for innovation and excellence thanks to one game in particular that rewrote the book on post-millennial first-person shooters. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare didn't just blow up and redefine a genre, it set the bar for multiplayer shooters going forward (a bar that still exists, undisturbed, to this day), it turned a day in November each following year into the biggest event in entertainment media, and it brought storytelling in our industry to our own front doors, rejecting the safety of fantastical lands, sci-fi imaginings and historical settings.

Top 50 Games of the Last Generation | #1 - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

The singleplayer campaign of Modern Warfare is still a strikingly powerful experience, and All Ghillied Up will go down in gaming history for providing one of the most memorable levels ever to grace the industry. It's a perfect marriage of form and function -- the black and white aesthetic giving way to full colour as you step into the boots of a younger Price, fifteen years previous to the game's main events, and get to discover firsthand what makes him the badass that he is. The stealthy gameplay is top notch, crawling through the fields of Pripyat, and the way the level then segues into One Shot, One Kill with its astounding finale at the ferris wheel is a masterful. The atmosphere is positively soaked in tension. It's one of the most thrilling chunks of gameplay we've ever had the pleasure of playing through.

Modern Warfare achieves more in one level than many whole games do across their entire span. (Of course, we're going to gloss over the bit where Call of Duty never reaches these heights again, we'll get to that in a bit.)

After redefining the WWII shooter scene, and by getting out just as Medal of Honor was desperately trying to run it into the ground, Call of Duty brought war to our doorsteps. Modern Warfare did more than just jump forwards in time, it dealt with conflict in a post-9/11 world, and it did so without resorting to jingoism or gratuitous brutality. Here were familiar conflicts in a world we could see out of our windows, being dealt with in mature fashion. Modern Warfare presented two sides, yes, but there were few heroes to be found here. Between the callous brutality of the SAS and the obnoxious frattery of the US Marines, there were no "good" guys, just a nuclear disaster to try and prevent.

Top 50 Games of the Last Generation | #1 - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

See, look at that. That's how good Modern Warfare was: I can spend time talking about how fantastic the singleplayer part of the game is, and no-one bats an eyelid!

Of course, what was once gold has turned to... well... not gold. Endless repetition has birthed stagnation in a series that now feels the need to constantly reach higher and higher in to the realms of ridiculous pantomime. We have to look elsewhere now for the narrative thrills Modern Warfare once gave us -- Spec Ops: The Line being a prime example.

But on top of tall of that expertly-paced drama, Infinity Ward also provided The Best Multiplayer Game We Have Ever Seen. Arguably. If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then this really is probably the greatest game of all time. Even Halo, a series also built to redefine what it means to be an FPS game, has moved to tread in Call of Duty's footsteps with Halo 4. EA made the mistake two years ago with Battlefield 3, desperately trying to cram in more COD-esque elements, when what they really needed to do was develop the DNA that had made their series great.

Top 50 Games of the Last Generation | #1 - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

We finally had a multiplayer shooter that really allowed us to tailor the experience to suit our style of play. The Perks system allowed us to customise our skills; extensive Loadout options allowed us to build an affinity with the tools we favoured most; the XP system kept us coming back for more and more rewards, building that sense of progression and fuelling our addiction. We scoff at shoehorning RPG mechanics into games of different genres, but this was no cosmetic dalliance with incremental unlocks: this changed the landscape for all subsequent wannabe big-hitters in the FPS genre and beyond.

It was phenomenally balanced, too, something that carried over from the singleplayer component of the game -- a perfect equilibrium that found the sweet spot between the accuracy afforded to PC players using a mouse and keyboard, and the familiar accessibility of analogue controllers. It is not an easy thing to do, creating a fundamentally, wholly-satisfying multiplayer shooter for a console market given the disadvantages in direct control that come into play by swapping one control input for another, but Infinity Ward cracked it.

Top 50 Games of the Last Generation | #1 - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Its quality is there for all to see, and its impact is still being felt. Call of Duty is the biggest IP in all of entertainment media, and Modern Warfare is the benchmark by which it, and every other FPS pretender, is still judged. Few games, if any, have proven so utterly complete, so impressively capable, so mechanically sound, steeped in depth and yet invitingly accessible, and so extraordinarily game-changing. What Activision have made of Modern Warfare's legacy is another matter. The implacable machine of business and industry has arguably stripped Call of Duty of what once made it special, transforming the trope-twisting take on immediate conflicts into something more bombastic and gaudy.

But that's not the fault of Modern Warfare. It can't be held responsible for the mistakes and mediocrity that came afterwards. After all, how do you go about bettering something that's already pretty damn perfect to begin with?

Add a comment16 comments
la1986  Dec. 14, 2013 at 16:20

I loved MW1 which I think is definitely the best COD game, but in my opinion the best games of the generation were Batman Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.

Last edited by la1986, Dec. 14, 2013 at 17:59
r3tract  Dec. 14, 2013 at 17:09

I called it. :)

Breadster  Dec. 14, 2013 at 17:12

I figured it had to be this after not seeing it on the list. It's a fair shout, I'd probably have to agree really. Certainly not my favourite game, but definitely one of the best.

Late  Dec. 14, 2013 at 23:06

Gotta love it.
Not many games journalists would put cod at the top of their list (out of interest, do you want to tell us what position it took in each person's list, or publish each staff member's personal top ten?) but when you collate the lists of a number of people the franchise's position rises inexorably toward the top.
To be fair, cod is the biggest entertainment licence in the world and is undeniably one of the most defining game series of the generation - and cod4-mw was the installment that turned it from a decent fps to world beater, so it's #1 position isn't undeserved.

Last edited by Late, Dec. 15, 2013 at 00:59
r3tract  Dec. 14, 2013 at 23:31

Late, that is exactly it.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Call of Duty has defined this generation of gaming. It was a game changer.

It was the game that really brought online console gaming to the masses. Halo multiplayer was still largely for the hardcore gamer; catering for the needs of the PC gamer dipping into the console realm. Call of Duty 4 was the game that every kid up and down the country and around the world clamoured to play.

Last edited by r3tract, Dec. 14, 2013 at 23:32
r3tract  Dec. 14, 2013 at 23:35

I should add that it did also have a negative impact on gaming as it coincided with the decline of the single player only experience.

Suddenly every single game had to have an online multiplayer mode otherwise it was deemed to have little longevity and thus wouldn't sell well.

That was to the detriment of a few notable titles.

But that just goes to show how much of an overall impact upon gaming this game had.

The landscape completely shifted.

Last edited by r3tract, Dec. 14, 2013 at 23:36
gmdlogan  Dec. 15, 2013 at 00:17

Gotta admit it's a fair old game. Its what dragged me fully in to last gen. It was all down hill from there. Loved it. Absolutely loved it.

Absolutely the marker which all fps' aspire to reach. Nothing comes close. Simple, yet so very, very brilliant!

AC2 Brotherhood and this. Remade for next gen and i'd preorder them all tomorrow!

MankeyBombs  Dec. 15, 2013 at 01:06

50 thousand people used to live here... now its a complete ghost town.

fowler002  Dec. 15, 2013 at 01:48

Cop out is all I can say, drip feed the top 50 over a few days to be left disappointed.

MassacredSav  Dec. 15, 2013 at 02:56

And lets talk about the Call of Duty games this generation.

Call of Duty 3 (2006) - Not a bad entry decent first person shooter with good single player.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) - One of the greatest first person shooters of all time. Everything down to extraordinary well written and grounded single player to the very intuitive multiplayer helped changed the gaming landscape. (oh and the cheats and original mode were awesome too)

Call of Duty: World at War (2008) - I skipped this, title because after playing Modern Warfare going back to World War II seemed like a step back. I have heard that the single player was quite changeling however and that peopled loved the flame thrower.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009) - This is the game we had all been waiting two years to play? How was it. Well... pretty damn sweet. The mutliplayer was pure chaos and the amount of weapons, customization, and kill-streaks had all been upped. (Every complains about the over crowded air space, but I love) Sure the mutliplayer was perhaps less balanced, but the pure anarchy of it meant the game was tons of fun. The single player, was still pretty good. Although not as grounded as Modern Warfare, MW2 still provided a number of interesting locals, even if the game felt more like a action movie and less like an alternate timeline. Yet, moments like No Russian were still quite powerful removed from the context of the more fantastical story. Over all the game was still very enjoyable and well worth playing to this day.

Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010) Here was a game that really caught me off guard. After Treyarch had made WAW most fans thought of them as the B team to Infinity Wards A team.

(Yet all was not well, at IW. There was a lot of mistrust and underhanded reports coming out of IW ward regarding things like Activision searching thought emails and hiring private detectives to follow studio heads Jason Ward and Vince Zampella. Ward and Zampella claimed they were never payed the proper dues they and their team, were promised for the completion of Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2. Then Reports there were talks of Jason and Vince striking a deal with EA. This culminated a in a large number of employees leaving along with West and Zampella, who went on to form the studio Respawn. And much of the original talent from IW seemed to be all but gone)

At any rate, this gave Treyarch a chance to finally shine. And boy did they ever. Black Ops two was very much based around the Vietnam era and cold war. You played through "Black Ops" classified by the government." The single player was engrossing and even brought back a number of familiar faces from WaW. Yet we are just scratching the surface. Black Ops made Huge strides with the multiplayer experience. Adding in ability's such as dive to cover, giving us a number of new modes like Kill Confirmed, Gun game and rotisserie (where you need to pick up players dog tags, each kill gives you a newer more power weapon and ever 30 seconds you gun changes) theater mode, Expanded Zombie mode, a huge number of statics and a new method to level up with Call of Duty point (which is still the best way of all the games.) this game was a rabid Call of Duty players, dream. Absolutely worth playing.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011) Now here is where we go from the highly unlikely to utmost absurdity. Gone was all the nuance and gravity of the original Modern Warfare, instead we had city crumbling and a story line that made little no sense. In an apparent effort to top what came before it, Call of Duty when all out Micheal Bay. The story was simply silly and it was apparent at this point that Jason and Vince's departure was taking a tole. The Mutliplayer was no where near as interesting as the past two year iterations although the balancing was alright. The systems used were also very much considered a step back. You were giving different options which allowed you to use different Killstreaks, such as strike package, support etc... The whole thing was well... pretty lame. Highly recommend staying away from this one.

It was at this point that it become quite apparent that Treyarch was now the leading developer, and the new Infinity Ward had become the B team.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (2012) Once again Treyarch deliverers a good game. The single player, this time, allows diverging paths and different outcomes. The Tech is based from the 80's all the way up to the near future. They added new feature like strike force, which allowed you to control units and drones strategically. Multiplayer has been changed as well. Heavy integration with the competitive E-community was added and the ability to play games against a group of bots is now available, Multiteam matches and customization galore, such as reticules and emblems. While up to personal taste, I the one portion I did not believe was improved was the new pick ten system. It competently ruined the ideas of Wager Matches, which were some of the best fun to be had in Black Ops. Zombies mode as also received a number of upgrades, particularity transit, which allows you to roam around to different areas surviving as long as possible. Other modes include competing with another team to see who could last the longest and classic zombies as well. Easily the pinnacle of how much content can be crammed into a Call of Duty game, worth playing if you enjoyed Black Ops and are hungry for more.

Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013) Haven't played this yet so I have no opinion. Lol

What do you guys think?

Breadster  Dec. 15, 2013 at 03:43

I remember playing it for a few weeks, then when it got to Christmas, xbox live just died because of the sheer amount of people trying to play it. :p

gmdlogan  Dec. 15, 2013 at 10:52

And lets talk about the Call of Duty games this generation.

Call of Duty 3 (2006) - Not a bad entry decent first person shooter with good single player.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) - One of the greatest first person shooters of all time. Everything down to extraordinary well written and grounded single player to the very intuitive multiplayer helped changed the gaming landscape. (oh and the cheats and original mode were awesome too)

Call of Duty: World at War (2008) - I skipped this, title because after playing Modern Warfare going back to World War II seemed like a step back. I have heard that the single player was quite changeling however and that peopled loved the flame thrower.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009) - This is the game we had all been waiting two years to play? How was it. Well... pretty damn sweet. The mutliplayer was pure chaos and the amount of weapons, customization, and kill-streaks had all been upped. (Every complains about the over crowded air space, but I love) Sure the mutliplayer was perhaps less balanced, but the pure anarchy of it meant the game was tons of fun. The single player, was still pretty good. Although not as grounded as Modern Warfare, MW2 still provided a number of interesting locals, even if the game felt more like a action movie and less like an alternate timeline. Yet, moments like No Russian were still quite powerful removed from the context of the more fantastical story. Over all the game was still very enjoyable and well worth playing to this day.

Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010) Here was a game that really caught me off guard. After Treyarch had made WAW most fans thought of them as the B team to Infinity Wards A team.

(Yet all was not well, at IW. There was a lot of mistrust and underhanded reports coming out of IW ward regarding things like Activision searching thought emails and hiring private detectives to follow studio heads Jason Ward and Vince Zampella. Ward and Zampella claimed they were never payed the proper dues they and their team, were promised for the completion of Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2. Then Reports there were talks of Jason and Vince striking a deal with EA. This culminated a in a large number of employees leaving along with West and Zampella, who went on to form the studio Respawn. And much of the original talent from IW seemed to be all but gone)

At any rate, this gave Treyarch a chance to finally shine. And boy did they ever. Black Ops two was very much based around the Vietnam era and cold war. You played through "Black Ops" classified by the government." The single player was engrossing and even brought back a number of familiar faces from WaW. Yet we are just scratching the surface. Black Ops made Huge strides with the multiplayer experience. Adding in ability's such as dive to cover, giving us a number of new modes like Kill Confirmed, Gun game and rotisserie (where you need to pick up players dog tags, each kill gives you a newer more power weapon and ever 30 seconds you gun changes) theater mode, Expanded Zombie mode, a huge number of statics and a new method to level up with Call of Duty point (which is still the best way of all the games.) this game was a rabid Call of Duty players, dream. Absolutely worth playing.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011) Now here is where we go from the highly unlikely to utmost absurdity. Gone was all the nuance and gravity of the original Modern Warfare, instead we had city crumbling and a story line that made little no sense. In an apparent effort to top what came before it, Call of Duty when all out Micheal Bay. The story was simply silly and it was apparent at this point that Jason and Vince's departure was taking a tole. The Mutliplayer was no where near as interesting as the past two year iterations although the balancing was alright. The systems used were also very much considered a step back. You were giving different options which allowed you to use different Killstreaks, such as strike package, support etc... The whole thing was well... pretty lame. Highly recommend staying away from this one.

It was at this point that it become quite apparent that Treyarch was now the leading developer, and the new Infinity Ward had become the B team.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (2012) Once again Treyarch deliverers a good game. The single player, this time, allows diverging paths and different outcomes. The Tech is based from the 80's all the way up to the near future. They added new feature like strike force, which allowed you to control units and drones strategically. Multiplayer has been changed as well. Heavy integration with the competitive E-community was added and the ability to play games against a group of bots is now available, Multiteam matches and customization galore, such as reticules and emblems. While up to personal taste, I the one portion I did not believe was improved was the new pick ten system. It competently ruined the ideas of Wager Matches, which were some of the best fun to be had in Black Ops. Zombies mode as also received a number of upgrades, particularity transit, which allows you to roam around to different areas surviving as long as possible. Other modes include competing with another team to see who could last the longest and classic zombies as well. Easily the pinnacle of how much content can be crammed into a Call of Duty game, worth playing if you enjoyed Black Ops and are hungry for more.

Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013) Haven't played this yet so I have no opinion. Lol

What do you guys think?


MW3 was the low for me. Closely followed by Cod 3 and BO 2. BO2 was hardly any different to MW3. Everything looked plastic and shiny. And it wasn't a patch on BO1. Which i hated, till MW3 came out. MW2 could have been so much more. But over powered guns, awful killstreaks. Just plain stupid. Although the maps were probably the best of any COD i've played. Only had a wee bash at Ghosts campaign. Liking it. Over the top as usual, but good fun.

GoodLuckWithThat  Dec. 28, 2013 at 03:56

GG credibility.
First time coming to this site, you have CoD as the best game of the last 8 years, never coming here again.

Even a die hard CoD fanboy would be hard pushed to get a CoD game into their top 10 list, let alone their number one spot.

BetterThanLife  Dec. 28, 2013 at 13:14

Only a retard would argue that COD 4 isn't a great game. Good riddance ya trolly ****.

fowler002  Dec. 29, 2013 at 13:08

Only a retard would argue that COD 4 isn't a great game. Good riddance ya trolly ****.


Does that mean I'm a retard? :p
Just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't mean they're wrong nor gives you the right to call them names, different people have different tastes you know.

gmdlogan  Dec. 29, 2013 at 22:29

Cod 4 is one of the best games i've ever played. Assassins Creed 2 & Brotherhood are my fave games for years. And played through them both so many times.

But you can't validly say that COD 4 isn't a great game. Its an absolute legendary game! Got me back into gaming in a big way.

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