As I mentioned in my MW2 post, I started playing these games on veteran because vanlandw has started the trend. Somehow, he powered through COD4 on veteran on his first play through. And, he considers it the paramount of his gaming career. Obviously, I thought that he was being a little melodramatic so I played through MW2 on veteran on my first play through. MW2 certainly sucked on veteran, but it was not a life altering event. So, I was prepared to give vanlandw a rough time about it. But, I figured first I had better play Call of Duty 4 on veteran.
This did give me the opportunity to discover that COD4 is a much better game than MW2 in numerous ways. The story makes much more sense, the kinds of activities you participate are plausible (no snowmobile races with enemies, etc…), and it just feels more realistic…to a point. There are a few major flaws in COD4 that utterly destroy the experience, I’ll try to outline those now.
Elite Dogs of Utter Death and Destruction
Frequently throughout the game you will encounter dogs in the game. They are as annoying as all hell. When a dog attacks you, nothing else matters. You can get shot while grenades explode around you like fireworks. The only thing that matters is that this dog is going to rip your throat out, and it is nearly impossible to stop it. Once the dog “quick time” event starts, you have to hit melee when the button pops up on the screen. You give about 1/10 of a second to react. So, effectively you need to anticipate when the prompt will come up so you can already be pushing the button. If you hit it to soon, you die. If you hit it too late you die. If you do not hit it at all, you die. Luckily, the fixed this in MW2, so it is actually possible to hist the button in time.
Hey Captain, Look, its Raining…Grenades
The United States spends more on defense than the rest of the G8, and they do not equip their soldiers with infinite grenades. So, where the fuck are these people that live in the ghetto getting all their grenades? It is wretched when you find yourself in a situation where you are trying to pick off enemies to advance, or are just waiting out a timer and you cannot sit in cover long enough to crouch without being surrounded by grenades. On numerous occasions I stopped to scratch my head in an area without enemies only to see the grenade warning pop up because I was standing still for too long. I know this is suppose to be a game play mechanism to encourage you to advance, and feel the pressure of battle, but they take it to the point of absurdity. To a certain extent this has been fixed in MW2, but the enemies still have enough grenades to make you feel uncomfortable.
Hurray, another Choke Point
Frequently in the game you find yourself funnelled into a hellish littler area where you are forced to fight endless waves of enemies unless you advance. Advancement is usually forced down a linear path with spare cover (which does not matter because if you stop behind cover you’ll get naded). Most of the time these choke points are only really difficult because of the poor game testing this game received on the veteran difficulty. And, there is perhaps the mother of all choke points on the stage, “No Fighting in the War Room.” Vanlandw mentioned it in his post, and I experienced it myself. I cannot think of another section of a game that takes two minutes to get through, but it took me countless tries over three hours and two days to get past it. If you want the video below, the section in question is at 4:36. However, I think most of the videos up for this were actually played on hardcore, rather than veteran because I encountered quite a few more enemies in this section. And, to help illustrate this I whipped up a quick graphic to show how bat shit crazy it is.
Another section that was really annoying is the ferris wheel section of One Shot, One Kill. After attempting repeatedly to play this legitly, and just getting naded to pieces I broke down and hid in one of the ticket booths. If you want to know how to do that, here is a video that demonstrates someone pulling it off. Keep in mind that it requires luck, if someone throws a nade in there you are pretty much toast, and when you leave it is a crap shot whether or not you die instantly. Persistence in the key.
The other really annoying area is a shining example of poor testing. The final section of the stage, “Heat,” gives you air strikes, and very little hope of getting to the LZ. On veteran it feels impossible, but it is amazing what a little information will do for you. Check out the video starting at 0:44. Basically all you need to do is follow the timing, and path of this guy and you should be in good shape. You can actually get through the stage without using a single air strike (I did).
For the most part these kind of things are gone from MW2. Sure there are choke points, but there is nothing remotely close to these three travesties.
These situations are extremely frustrated because you can stand their and just watch your team mates shoot at nothing in particular, while waiting for you to pave the way to salvation, which brings me to my next point.
Who Do You Think You Are, Soldier!?
You have team mates in the game, but they are just for show. Basically the only useful thing that your team mates do is let you know when you have advanced past a choke point because they magically teleport up as if they helped you the whole way. Frequently they will just stand out in the open and get totally obliterated, but it doesn’t matter because they are invincible, just like real soldiers. Sometimes they will go out of their way to step in front of you and draw friendly fire. The game rewards you by giving you the game over screen.
The stupid soldier issue is kind of fixed in MW2. You can shoot them forever without repercussion, and they move around a little bit better. But, it is still very much the same.
I could go on for hours, but those are my biggest gripes about the game. And, I whole heartily agree with vanlandw in warning everyone not to play this game on veteran. If you do, you’d be doing it for bragging rights, but not because you could receive in the slightest amount of enjoyment from it.
In conclusion, COD4 is in theory better than MW2, but some show stopping bugs, and balancing issues make it nearly impossible on its highest difficulty. While I ranked this game a 0 based on my first play through (I believe on hardcore), I have to give this game a -5 on veteran.
Despite all this, I think vanlandw did overrate, if only slightly to the difficulty of the game. I receive an equal, if not greater level of frustration on my play through of Ninja Gaidan on the original Xbox.