Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Game Poster Image
Top-notch war sim, but T-rated series is now "M."
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 99 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 277 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Themes of camaraderie, duty, and loyalty permeate most missions, with the game's heroes aspiring to these noble traits. However, there are sequences in which the game treats the killing of enemy soldiers with alarming indifference.

Ease of Play

Challenging shooter, with excellent online multiplayer modes.


Harsh, frontline military violence, including realistic gun battles and close quarters bladed combat (both of which result in graphic bloodshed), is omnipresent. There are also disturbing sequences in which the player takes a first-person perspective of a helpless execution victim and a soldier slowly dying from a nuclear blast.


While not excessive, profanity of the kind typically uttered by real-world soldiers is present through much of the game.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of the soldiers is partial to cigars.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although earlier games in the Call of Duty series had "Teen" ratings, this game is rated "Mature" for portraying highly authentic modern military combat with realistic gore. There are distressing situations involving torture, execution, and the gruesome deaths of primary protagonists to whom the player will likely have grown attached. This material is more intense and disturbing than in earlier games of this series, and a diverse selection of cuss words is clearly audible. This game can be played with others online, which Common Sense Media doesn't recommend for anyone under the age of 12.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bynnick December 31, 2010
first off, if your kid plays halo and stuff, you should let your kid play this. blood only stains on headshots which almost never happen, launguage isn&#039... Continue reading
Parent of a 12 and 14 year old Written bythunder1 June 4, 2009

Ok for 11 and up.

This is no worse than normal tv shoes families whatch like csi. There really is no "gore" just little puffs of blood. The "torture" is more... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byCharlie Sw January 21, 2013


I bet more than half the reviews are just kids who want to convince their parents to get this game. It Is extremely violent, very crude language and someone is... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byXxtokyoboyxX November 8, 2010

good for tweens and up

I think this game is a game that can educate a child about "modern warfare" and it sends two messages. That if you get too gungho and join the army,... Continue reading

What's it about?

The bulk of the action in CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE takes place in the Middle East. However, developer Infinity Ward has cleverly managed to avoid stirring the political pot by never naming the countries in which the action takes place and delivering a fictional and unquestionably evil enemy in the form of radical terrorists set on global nuclear holocaust. Players step into the combat boots of two soldiers, a British S.A.S. operative and an American Marine, as they battle the terrorists. You always work with a squad of at least a few other soldiers, who, unlike artificially intelligent companions in most games, are essential allies that can be counted on when things get rough, which is most of the time.

Is it any good?

This highly polished and intelligently designed interactive entertainment is dramatic and thrilling stuff. The only downside is the campaign's brevity; at just seven hours on medium difficulty, you'll likely find yourself wanting more when the credits start to roll.

But that's why multiplayer exists. With hundreds of items, game types, ranks, and customization options slyly designed to unlock one by one the more you play, the online component has a decidedly addictive, just-need-a-few-more-points-to-level-up quality to it. Expect your sessions to be frequent and long.

Online interaction: Online play over a headset can yield very colorful conversations.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about war. What leads to war? Is war ever justified? Why or why not? How does the media typically portray war? How realistic is this game's presentation of war? Is the nuclear threat imagined by the game's designers something you think could happen in the real world?

Game details

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate