Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Publisher: Activision

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

Rated: M — Mature

Game type: Shooter

Rating: ***** (out of five)

 




What’s the premise?


Play through a visually breathtaking and break-neck paced military epic alternating back and forth as both a member of the U.S. Marines and the British S.A.S. as you battle through hotspots all over Asia in an effort to avoid a revolution in Russian and a coup in the Middle East.





This game is most similar to…?


Call Of Duty 3, Ghost Reckon Advanced Warfare 2





Is it suitable for younger gamers?


COD 4 is packed with intense action and a ton of violence that would no doubt freak out many a youngster.





One player or more?


The multi-player and online multi-player modes are deep and challenging with piles of different maps, types of soldiers and weapons to choose from.





What’s missing?


A co-op campaign mode would put an already incredible game through the roof.





The (not-so) secret to success is…?


Only fools rush in. You’ll spend a good chunk of time in COD 4 hunting for cover, because if you don’t you will spend a lot of time watching loading screens as you start levels over and over again.


Oh, and beware of dogs. Seriously.





And in the end?


Just as Call Of Duty 3 was a high-water mark for World War II shooters, COD 4 has set a new standard for detail, realism and overall excellence in modern shooters.










Kane & Lynch: Dead Men

Publisher: Eidos

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

Rated: M — Mature

Game type: Shooter

Rating: *** 1/2 (out of five)





What’s the premise?


Two hardened criminals — a former mercenary and a medicated psychopath — are forced to work together to try to recover a missing fortune before a brutal team of hired killers murder those closest to them.





This game is most similar to…?


SOCOM blended with Hitman.





Is it suitable for younger gamers?


The violence level of K&L is spectacular and every other word out of every character’s mouth starts with an f and ends with a k. Not exactly Viva Pinata, eh?





One player or more?


This game is actually a lot more engaging in its two-player co-op mode than solo (although the vertical split screen is a pain in the butt) and the online multi-player mode is pretty cool as you work together to pull off a robbery.





What’s missing?


About four to six months of development time would have been good. There are clipping issues, lighting problem and other small glitches throughout the game that might have been avoidable if it wasn’t due out pre-holidays.





The (not-so) secret to success is…?


Remember it’s just a game. You’ll find yourself doing some pretty reprehensible things playing as Kane (and especially as Lynch), but don’t beat yourself up about it. Just remember not to try anything you see at home.





And in the end?


The no-holds-barred action of Kane & Lynch makes it fun to want to stick with as long as you can look past some of its minor shortcomings.










WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008

Publisher: THQ

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, PSP

Rated: T — Teen

Game type: Sports

Rating: *** 1/2 (out of five)





What’s the premise?


Step into the squared circle as one of over 50 WWE or ECW superstars and show off your moves in over 100 different match types to battle your way to championship glory.





This game is most similar to…?


WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2007





Is it suitable for younger gamers?


A good rule of thumb is: If you’d let your child watch WWE TV shows, you probably won’t mind them playing the game.





One player or more?


Up to four players can go head to head or work together in co-op mode both online and off. Still no 30-player co-op mode for real Royal Rumble action, though.





What’s missing?


In the ECW “extreme rules match” you can club your opponent with barbed wire wrapped 2x4s that are on fire and you can unlock classic wrestlers like Canada’s Bret Hart and the incomparable Mick Foley. What else do you need?





The (not-so) secret to success is…?


Know your role and shut your mouth. The type of wrester you choose determines how you’ll play so think hard before you decide whether you’d like to be a high flyer, powerhouse, brawler, hardcore, submission artist, technical, showman or dirty fighter. And you’ll just have to live with the fact that Mark Henry will never do a somersault off the top ropes.





And in the end?


Fans of the WWE ought to love this overflowing package of wrestling goodness.










Backyard Football 2008

Publisher: Atari

Platforms: Wii, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS

Rated: E — Everyone

Game type: Sports

Rating: *** (out of five)





What’s the premise?


It’s time for a little pigskin action; kiddie style. Choose your favourite NFL team and stock it with a bevy of pint-sized players, including young versions of All-Pro players like Tom Brady, Reggie Bush, LaDanian Tomlinson and many more and then hit the gridiron for some trick-play filled action.





This game is most similar to…?


Backyard Hockey, Backyard Basketball.





Is it suitable for younger gamers?


It’s aimed pretty squarely at kids and more mature gamers will no doubt have a better time with the more familiar Madden franchise as a result.





One player or more?


You can take your peewee team into action against your friend’s.





What’s missing?


Some of the Wii controls don’t work as well as they could and you’ll often find yourself flailing your arms around trying to get the ball downfield and into your receivers’ hands.





The (not-so) secret to success is…?


Kiss my arsenal. Having success in this game will build up a power gauge that, when filled, allows you to unleash some neat tricks like throwing a laser pass and forcing your opponent to fumble. Unfortunately, your opponents also get to use the same tricks (and they do — over and over again).





And in the end?


Kids may well enjoy the odd mix of simulation and wacky arcade action, but seasoned gamers likely won’t.




jonathan.kuehlein@metronews.ca