A single player extravaganza. Mum kindly got me this for Christmas, I'm running it on my 4400X2 AMD with a 7800Gt and the standard 2GB of RAM. The initial settings were a little low (minimum spec), so I had a fiddle to improve the resolution and so on. I run it at 1280x1024, the native res of my monitor with no AA or AF set.
First, let me tell you how disappointed with Battlefield 2 I was. I love Battlefield, I loved the fact you could go from quiet and stealthy to blowing-you-bits-off action. I thought Battefield Vietnam got it right but should have rewarded more for being useful on the Battlefield. BF2142 returned to form. You got points for making yourself useful, rather than just being the hero. Battlefield 2 was modern and just too hectic. Now, BF2 is a very different game but I was worried that the modern combat is just a little too close to what you see on the telly, so the suspension of disbelief that allows you to handle the intense playing is diluted. You end up being strung out after ten minutes. In my book, not fun. with the squeeze towards realism, you also die too quickly, which can be annoying on an online game with a spawn delay.
In Single Player, though, COD 4 is similar and different. It's intense. By god, is it intense. It's eye wateringly beautiful (and thus technically clever on my non-cutting edge rig) but in a realistic way. You get utterly drawn into what is essentially a series of linear missions placed across the world. You don't play a single character but a number who exist in important events throughout the story the game tells. There is a mix of "quiet missions" with someone telling you direct airborne support ordnance to the hardcore in-city firefights where there are RPGs going off all around you and enemies just keep coming if you don't move on. If you don't find yourself sweating then you're not human. I often found myself panicking nooblike when ambushed or finding it difficult to pick a target from the 50 windows along the streetside. I'm used to these sorts of games, christ knows what it would be like for a total noob.
The thing that I was particularly impressed with was the seemless nature of the narrative. You watch the briefing movie while the level loads and then you're off! No loading screen, no hanging about. Playing on the one-up-from-easy made it a challenge without being ridiculous. It's extremely well polished and although I'm only a couple of hours in, I am looking forward to the next sesh I get to plough in once more.
I've not played the multiplayer yet, so I can't comment on that. I'd imagine it was also very good, the weapons clatter with a convincing sound and the explosions do leave smoke that does mess up the battlefield.
Even based on what I've played, I'd recommend getting your hands on it. According to my soon to be Bro-In-Lo, it's much prettier on my than on his XBox-LCD setup, so if you have a choice, mouse and keyboard it. Don't insult it with autoaim.