Join GameSpot as we have fun gaming historical past and provides recognition to essentially the most influential video games of the 21st century. These aren’t the perfect video games, they usually aren’t essentially video games that it is advisable to rush out and play at the moment, however there isn’t any query that they left an indelible influence on recreation builders, gamers, and in some circumstances, society at massive.
In 2007, the newly annual Call of Duty series–while extremely popular–had lots of competitors. It was a landmark 12 months in video games, notably for shooters; BioShock, Team Fortress 2, and Halo 3 all arrived that 12 months, as did Mass Effect, Assassin’s Creed, and Portal. These days, you may not anticipate the yearly Call of Duty entry to seize lasting consideration amongst a sea of ingenious new franchises. But in 2007, the fourth Call of Duty recreation, Modern Warfare, was a standout in its personal proper. Modern Warfare not solely marked a shift for the series–it additionally basically altered multiplayer shooters for over a decade to come back.
In the 10 years or so main as much as Modern Warfare, first-person shooters had undergone fast adjustments. In the mid-’90s, PC shooters had been evolving because of technical developments, and 1998’s Half-Life helped set a brand new customary for storytelling within the style and in video games usually. Both native and on-line multiplayer improved on a technical degree, particularly with regard to matchmaking and console multiplayer–thanks, largely, to Halo 2 and Xbox Live. And then there have been Medal of Honor and Call of Duty, which kicked off the World War II recreation growth of the early 2000s.
Modern Warfare owes rather a lot to those foundations. Its moment-to-moment gameplay, particularly within the marketing campaign, did not precisely reinvent the wheel. If you appeared previous the waves of enemies and unbelievable set piece moments, the marketing campaign was nonetheless a moderately linear collection of checkpoints and, as then-GameSpot reviewer Jeff Gerstmann noted, it was “almost shockingly short.” But shock was sort of the purpose. It was all too straightforward to get swept up in its larger-than-life motion and its fictional-but-still-plausible modern-day narrative. Gerstmann summed up the now-infamous mission All Ghillied Up, by which you crawl by way of the grass as tanks rumble over you, as “a breathtaking moment in a campaign filled with breathtaking moments.”
In some ways, Modern Warfare tread new floor. It was the primary Call of Duty recreation not set throughout World War II, breaking from the collection’ origins as a Medal of Honor competitor. And it wasn’t a complete energy fantasy like these WWII video games, both. Gerstmann stated it completely in 2007: “In a world filled with war games in which the good guys come out unscathed and the world is left at total peace, Call of Duty 4 will wake you up like a face full of ice water.” That’s illustrated finest by the mission Shock and Awe, by which you must work to evacuate your AI squadmates earlier than a nuke detonates, all set to a countdown timer. No matter how briskly you use, you’ll fail, and that nuke will go off–and everybody, together with you, will die.
The single-player marketing campaign obtained widespread reward amongst critics and followers, and so too did the multiplayer. Modern Warfare launched numerous collection mainstays, together with Hardcore recreation modes (the place your well being is way decrease and there isn’t any HUD, amongst different adjustments) and Killstreaks, which later branched out into totally different sorts of streak rewards. But it was Modern Warfare’s class-based development system that may find yourself having the largest influence.
In Modern Warfare’s multiplayer, you began off with a alternative of three courses (5 complete, after you leveled up a bit and unlocked the remaining) with totally different specializations and loadouts. What set it aside was the brand new perks system, by which every class had preset, distinct perks that you just’d unlock as you performed that class. That meant that, by taking part in a particular manner, you would be rewarded with additional methods to enhance that playstyle–and when you unlocked the flexibility to create a customized class, you can mix perks from every class you’d been taking part in and leveling up.
It was a system that gave you stable incentives to maintain taking part in, exterior the final enjoyable of competitors, and that is the sort of factor that creates devoted gamers who follow a recreation for months and years. Many shooters tailored this within the years following. Once a robust competitor, 2010’s Medal of Honor emulated Modern Warfare’s development system and Killstreaks (and was adopted up by one last entry in 2012 earlier than the collection was shuttered). Battlefield: Bad Company 2 in 2010 additionally had related class-specific rewards, a shift from earlier Battlefield video games’ broader unlock system. Even Halo: Reach, a decidedly very totally different sort of shooter, introduced courses and customizable loadouts to the Halo collection’ multiplayer.
In current years, as team-based shooters and battle royale video games develop in reputation, this actual sort of development system is changing into much less and fewer widespread. Today’s Call of Duty video games take inspiration from these video games, not the opposite manner round; 2018’s Black Ops Four included a battle royale mode, and development in battle royale video games is by design not gameplay-related. But Modern Warfare set the stage for the trendy idea of multiplayer shooters, video games that gamers maintain coming again to for tangible reasons–whether these causes are gameplay-specific rewards or a randomized loot field filled with cosmetics.
Call of Duty is among the many most profitable online game collection of all time, all however synonymous with gaming normally. It is a powerhouse, even when a yearly installment fails to impress. There have been 11 Call of Duty video games since Modern Warfare, a few of them extra sensational, perhaps–Modern Warfare 2 precipitated fairly the stir–and a few of them excellent in their very own proper. Some issues which have since change into nearly important to the Call of Duty expertise, like Zombies, got here after Modern Warfare. It speaks volumes that, over 10 years later, Modern Warfare is just not solely one of the crucial necessary Call of Duty video games, but in addition one of the crucial notable video games to come back out of among the finest years in gaming within the 21st century.
For a have a look at the remainder of our options on this collection, head over to our Most Influential Games Of The 21st Century hub.