Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC (eventually Nintendo Wii and DS, mobile devices)
Price: Used $6.99 (www.gamestop.com)
Content Areas: Mathematics
Suggested Age: High School
Warnings: Rated Mature for Intense Shooting Violence, Blood/Gore, Strong Language
Play Length: Single Player – 6 hours (Multiplayer – unlimited)
Number of Players: Single, Online multiplayer
Difficulty Rating: Easy-expert range
Few game franchises can share the storied success that the Call of Duty franchise has enjoyed for the last decade. Beginning as a WWII shooter on the PS2 and original Xbox in the early 2000s, Call of Duty branched out in 2008 to include modern warfare and take advantage of last gen consoles’ ability to give gamers high end graphics, precise game play, and massive online gaming opportunities. While the Call of Duty franchise has laid the groundwork for control schemes, online multiplayer matches and FPS shooting, and has earned billions of dollars in profits, it was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare that began Infinity Ward’s ten-year domination of the military FPS genre.
Although Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare marked a historic shift from the WWII shooters that dominated the PS2 and original Xbox era to the more modern warfare focus of the PS3 and Xbox 360 generation, a major reservation for educators to consider is its mature rating. Previous entries in the Call of Duty franchise were rated Teen, but Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare received a Mature rating for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, and Strong Language. This mature rating limits the age level of students who can play the game. Students who already play the game are mostly likely already comfortable with the tight control scheme and “snap-on” shooting mechanic that makes aiming down the iron sights more realistic. Players new to this game who may be more comfortable with large, open world environments may not be impressed with its linear mission structure and predictable AI. There are relatively few collectables to be found along the way and little more than ammo to pick up from dead soldiers, so many players may find the gameplay tedious. The action, however, makes up for the deficiencies. With awesome, action filled sequences that force players to jump into moving helicopters or chase down a fleeing enemy through bullet filled alleyways, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare immerses players in the kind of action only seen in Hollywood films.
Despite some reservations, however, there are some great opportunities for teachers and students to examine Call of Duty 4 with some deliberate classroom planning. Focusing on Mathematics, teachers and students can examine the statistical data surrounding Call of Duty 4 then compare it to other entries in the franchise. For example, students could do a comparative analysis of the amount of money each entry in the Call of Duty franchise made and determine where Call of Duty 4 lands within the data set. Furthering this analysis, students could research how much time it took each entry to earn a million dollars then create graphs to visually depict the data set. Examining review scores for Call of Duty 4 and other Call of Duty games would also be an interesting mathematical analysis activity.
Students who play games in the Call of Duty franchise will most likely be familiar with other games that have been released since Call of Duty 4 that have attempted to share the success of the modern warfare setting. Franchises such as Medal of Honor and Battlefield have all attempted to cash in on the military first person genre; however neither of those franchises has realized the same success as Call of Duty. Students could continue their analysis of Call of Duty 4 but also expand their research to include Medal of Honor and Battlefield. Looking at longitudinal data and comparing the data from each game franchise could be a great project based learning opportunity for a math classroom that focuses on these tough Algebraic ideas. Students could use profits and review scores to decide, based primarily on statistical data, which games are better.
In the last decade, the Call of Duty franchise has grossed billions of dollars in profits and seen iterations on home consoles and mobile devices. It’s difficult to deny the impact that Call of Duty has had on the culture of video games from development to innovation and certainly difficult to ignore the impact Call of Duty has had on players with Call of Duty e-sports gaining traction as a legitimate professional sport. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is at the heart of it all as it sparked the foray into the modern setting away from the fledging WWII shooter scene and solidified it’s roots as a true military FPS. And Call of Duty 4 is, in the hearts of many, the best entry in the genre.
Educational Rating: 5/8
Classroom Friendly, Motivation, Concrete Learning, Additional Skills, Feedback, Difficulty, Accessibility, Extension
Overall Rating: 8/8
Immersion, Environment, Storyline, Replayability, Entertainment, Gameplay, Originality, User Control