Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is the squad-based, first-person combat shooter set to release November 5th, but the multiplayer beta has been released slowly to the public in the last two weeks via Xbox Live. August 27 was its first day it went public, tokens given out at the official game website to those keen on the site at 12 noon. We've been following the beta with media access even before this date, and to sum it all up, were stoked.

The series has proven to be a huge success, producing hit after hit of its almost perfected WWII formula. Most devoted fans of the series weren't sure what to believe when Infinity Ward jumped ship to switch to modern combat after such three epic titles. Personally, I was indecisive until the official trailer hit the scene, purely convincing me Modern Warfare would be just as superlative as its predecessors.

Modern Warfare still feels like part of the series, but looks and plays better. To start, Infinity Ward has really perfected their depth of field effects, and the models look even more incredible than before, right down to the gun attachments. These attachments are unlockable as you level up online, including laser sights, silencers, and many more. The much talked about perks will become available too, as do second primary guns and better secondary guns. For perks you have things like air strikes, rocket launchers, deeper penetrating bullets, or a "last stand" wherein you can take your last faceoff to the floor and continue blasting at your enemy with your pistol before they finish you off. With these additions (including helicopters) even the weary will get in the battle, bagging a kill here and there.

The levels aren't overly large as of yet, but they are definitely engaging for the current twelve player match up. The detail is incredible, from the long grass and hay, to the pile of bricks that you can pick off one by one. Certain guns are customizable with things like camo paint, and some can blast through wooden walls to deal smaller amounts of damage to your target than a regular hit. Aside from games that include things like a rail gun, this is a new concept and will have to be learned by most, as there are times when you'll feel undercover, but your actually not completely. Putting objects between you and enemy fire will not make you invincible, which increases realism dramatically. In game objects like cars will blow up upon contact with highly penetrating or highly explosive ammo. The placing system within the beta is also great, either because it's great at choosing the perfect spot, or because the already chosen spots are perfect. Either way I've never run into a problem with the enemy camping a spawn. Connection problems are simply host based, and I've only run into this problem once. This is rectified by a simple quit and search for a new game. There are literally no load times meaning you'll be back in play in about a minute (including menu time). This makes for some extensive and enjoyable replay value.

Modern Warfare as a whole is proving to adapt to its new theme perfectly whilst still sticking to the same feel of the series as we all know it. The action is still intact and thus the smack talk is also still intact. With such a solid foundation there is no doubt that the single player campaign will be tremendous. The beta will continue to increase the level max to test the system out and to slowly give out the new perks and abilities. Be sure to jump on it with us when you can and check out what is looking to be one of the hottest releases of the holiday season.