reviews\ Nov 17, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex - WII - Review

You're a highly trained government soldier operating under strict orders to shoot and eliminate anything that moves in this sector. But there's a problem. You can't seem to hit anything. For some reason it's taking you much longer to line up your targets and by the time you do you've sprayed bullets all around them and now have to reload and start the process all over again. Two years ago on nearly a carbon copy of this mission you deftly marched through the city streets and none survived. So what's changed? Oh yeah, the Wii remote.

The Nintendo Wii has never really been known for its amazing collection of first-person-shooters. Quite the contrary, in fact. The system is notorious for its horrendous ports of much better FPSes from other consoles. So it was with much trepidation that I approached the (finally) newly released Wii version of one of the greatest FPSes ever made, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Ultimately, the Wii's unfriendly controls clearly proved to be too much of a hurdle for even FPS masters Call of Duty veteran developers, Treyarch, to surmount. That said, this game comes much closer to success than any other shooter on the Wii, and gives hope that the future of the Nintendo Wii could hold some good games in this genre.

The overall product is buoyed in no small part by the simple fact that the original source material is so fantastic. This is the same game that was released back in 2007 on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. So this entire review comes with the caveat that if you have the capability to play CoD4 on one of those other systems you absolutely should. And so it goes without saying that if you've already played the game there's no reason to play it again here, unless for some reason you have a hankering to enjoy the experience again while struggling with the controls.

The motion controls and pointer just make the experience that much more difficult to enjoy, especially if you're not using the Wii Zapper add-on. Classic events like the opening in which you're playing a dethroned leader of a nation being driven through the streets of his own overthrown city, watching his supporters executed, becomes much harder to enjoy once you have to keep the Wii Remote pointed at the center of the screen at all times. It's either that or the camera will just aim towards the floor for the entire event, which isn't exactly a more plausible option. Again, it’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s semi-obnoxious.

This is the type of thing that plagues the entire experience. It's not that the overall quality has gone down; it's just that the whole game is just a smidgen more annoying. The great firefights and intense scenes are bogged down just a bit, because you're not able to be as fast or precise as you could be with a mouse or a control pad. As a result, you're not able to play as much of a key role in each battle that takes place, and have to rely much more on your squad.

The graphics on the other hand have held up rather well. Obviously, they're not as impressive as the other versions of the game, but as far as realism goes on the Wii, these are some of the best graphics on the system. Historically, the Wii hasn't handled realistic graphics with much grace, but aside from some overly dark areas, CoD4 looks pretty good.

The only major difference is in the multiplayer. Most of the game modes and maps have made it into this port, but matches cap at 10 players which is approximately half of the original. And of course, there's the horrible Friend Codes to deal with which only allow you to play with people who’s Friend Code you already have. So don't expect to experience the same amazing multiplayer that was on the consoles and PC.

Overall, there are some good thoughts here, but it's only enough to elevate this game to the level of an average first-person shooter from another console. And it certainly doesn't live up to the legacy of its forebear. Small touches like the ability to press a button to hold your viewpoint in place while you aim around the screen, add to this game's enjoyability, but don't expect miracles. This game is still severely hampered by the need to use the Wii sensor to both aim and turn the camera. I'm not really sure how else the control scheme could have been implemented with this controller, but my hunch is that Wii FPSes need to ditch this setup if they're ever going to overcome the level of mediocrity that is holding the system back.

Gameplay: 9.4
Even though it's two-years old, Call of Duty 4 remains one of the very best first-person shooters around.

Graphics: 8.0
These are some of the best and most realistic graphics on the system to date. Other games manage better visuals by going to style, but in realism CoD4 is practically unsurpassed.

Sound: 7.0
There's nothing here that's going to make your jaw drop, but everything is where it should be with no distracting glitches other than a few repeated instructions during battle.

Difficulty: Medium
The difficulty is tuned just right. You'll die a few times every now and again, but that's to be expected.

Concept: 7.5
It's nothing truly original given that it's a port of an existing game, but the original game itself wasn't all that original either. CoD4 makes a name for it by perfecting the existing formula not reinventing the wheel.

Multiplayer: 6.0
Matches only hold roughly half as many people as the original, and you can only play with people who’s Friend Code you already know. But if you're Ok with that you'll have a blast.

Overall: 7.4
This is still a really great game, but it's unable to truly surmount all of the difficulties that Wii puts on an FPS. If you only play one FPS on the Wii, this should be it, but it's still got many of the same problems that the genre is known for on this system.


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