Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
No, it's not as killer as the console versions. However, Call of Duty 4 still puts up a good fight on the DS.
I could go on and on for hours on end about how superb Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. However, this is a handheld site, so that would be a moot point. (Plus I've been so busy with Mass Effect that I haven't played in a couple of days...what the hell's wrong with me?!) Anyway, for those stuck with a Nintendo DS for the holiday season, don't fret, as you also have a version of COD 4 available to play. No, it's not as superior as the console versions, but that's a given. What n-Space does here, however, is more than satisfactory for your shooting needs.
You basically get dropped right in the middle of a war zone, in a story that's explained through sharp still screens and full dialogue. n-Space does remarkable work cramming all this into a cartridge, making the story fulfilling without letting it go off into boring territory. It's really the in-game action that'll grab your attention, though. You'll go through checkpoints on foot, shooting at whatever comes your way; you'll man bombers and take out targets from afar; and you'll be riding in vehicles, shooting at enemies with a bullet-filled gun on a turret, mowing them down without a care in the world. The game looks great throughout, occasionally suffering from lack of detail and slowdown but not enough to take away from the intensity. The sounds of battle are right on the spot, too.
Then there's the controls. They're not quite perfect, but n-Space once again delivers the goods. You man your weapon and movement by using a collaboration of the D-pad and touch screen, and it works surprisingly well -- for the most part, anyway. Some problems do emerge when it comes to double-tap functions, such as starting off in a sprint or going into a zoom-in view with your sniper rifle. Sometimes you'll accidentally revert back to normal when you didn't expect to, forcing your accidental death if you're in the middle of an ambush. This seldom happens, however, and the controls work fine otherwise. You'll also find some strategy thrown in with your action, as you'll occasionally need to defuse a bomb to move forward in the mission.
As for multiplayer options, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is both loaded and empty at the same time. How, you ask? Well, it's loaded on the local front. Up to four players can take part in the action, either with multiple carts or through download play on one cartridge -- a very cool option, to be sure. However, the game doesn't support the Wi-Fi Connection at all, leaving those wanting to play against others online in the dirt. That's a shame, because that leaves the local multiplayer and the single-player campaign as the only options available. The single-player's not bad, but it's over in a matter of hours with little reason to return -- unless killing terrorists becomes your bread and butter.
Never mind. Although we'll take one of the higher-up versions just for the sake of looking at the unimaginable frame rate and getting some online multiplayer in, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is still a solid recommendation on the handheld front. Its local multiplayer options, great presentation and mostly stable control mechanisms make it a war worth enduring. Enlist today.
What's Hot: Outstanding graphics that really draw you in; excellent touch controls; great local play options.
What's Not: Total lack of online options; single player campaign is rather short; some control options are quirky.