There has never been a Call of Duty game better than COD4

50,000 people used to live here, now it’s a ghost town

You sprint through an eerily quiet Middle Eastern setting. Unremarkably drab, the beiges and browns melt into one another. The sound of foot steps pounding and a back pack bouncing on shoulders. Seconds later a piercing scream punctures the silence “GRENADA”.

The opening three to five seconds of a COD4 match encapsulate the game’s simplistic beauty. Unrefined and revolutionary.

Our generation has never looked back since Captain Price demanded us to get to our feet. Nothing has come close to its brilliance. The First Person Shooter genre was redefined and other franchises spent millions of pound and hours trying to replicate it. All because of one game. None of them came close.

Sniping in Pripyat before fighting off endless waves while you wait for Big Bird. Sergeant Jackson’s heart stopping drama. Poor Paul Jackson. It’s the only game in the franchise where the campaign has equaled the online experience. Endless hours spent trying to gain entry to the video gamers’ Shoreditch House – the Mile High Club.┬áMinute after minute only to be told that true veterans get headshots. Soul crushing.

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It is in these anecdotes of incomprehensible difficulty that COD4 demonstrates its true value. No customisable kill streaks, no COD dollars available to buy. The in game purchases of Advanced Warfare would make Staff Sergeant Griggs blush. If you weren’t good enough, you didn’t succeed. It was as simple as that.

Fantastic map design, a host of weapons on an equal footing and the Ying of Stopping Power to Juggernaut’s Yang. Can’t hang with the big boys? Tough – you’ll have to learn. You made a joke about a 14-year-old’s mum and he challenged you to a one on one on Shipment. Sure, you got a couple of rogue grenade kills but he was better than you and you knew it. That’s how you learnt.

You’re the last man standing in overtime of a game of Search and Destroy on Strike. There are three players on the opposite team and they’ve planted at B. What do you do? You can feel the gaze of your teammates burning a hole in the back of your skull. That feeling, the adrenal rush has never been matched by the COD franchise. They’ve developed and complicated and sophisticated but they haven’t revolutionised.

When Modern Warfare 2 was released, you felt guilty for playing it. You haven’t clenched the controller and screamed at the TV in quite the same way since COD4, and you know it.

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