Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3Year: 2007
Original review score: 5 out of 5 Stars
Finally taking the series out of World War II-era Europe, Call of Duty 4 went for the throat with the most realistic combat situations possible in Modern Warfare. Immersive and intense, COD4 went on to become one of the best-selling and most respected shooters of all time, rivaling even Halo's earth-shaking impact.
Why It Was Innovative:
After countless invasions of Normandy, developer Infinity Ward finally brought Call of Duty to the modern era - a decision that was controversial at first. Modern Warfare fine-tuned the gameplay of the Call of Duty series to achieve near-perfection while simultaneously popularizing RPG elements (selectable skills, an experience meter) in its trend-setting online multiplayer mode. Even the single-player campaign stands out as a classic, with its genuinely surprising plot twists (yep, the A-bomb goes off) and subversive themes (the AC-130 gunship scenario remains a darkly humorous genre high point). Call of Duty 4's innovations are less splashy than other games on this list, but no less deserving of recognition. This is a damned fine game.