Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Common Sense Media says

Top-notch war sim, but T-rated series is now "M."





What parents need to know

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.

Not applicable

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

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One of the soldiers is partial to cigars.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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.

Families can talk 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

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Available online?Not available online
Release date:November 7, 2007
Genre:First Person Shooter
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language (PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was written by

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

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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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't bad at all. the ESRB made this game sound over the top but it was only because it was call of duty's first M game. really if you ask me (and many others) halo in parts are worse than this. if you are not letting your child get this game because of the ratings, watch the game please and base your decesion off that. by the way there is no limb loss, decapition and no gore, gore is in halo 3, with the dead soilders in the second mission. blood is on them. but let your kid get this game. i can't believe it got rated M. probably because of the more realistic graphics make it seem more life like. and the better graphics in war games make the rating go up. thanks for reading this. :)
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 just someone looks like there gonna die and you dont see anything. Not really the worse m game. I'd rate it in the lover kid age of mature. Parents should know the don't use to much language other than the d*** h*** and crap. This is good though for kids 11 and up. Parents dont worry.
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, you can be easily killed at any time, but it also shows that if you do join the army, it is unlikely, but you can become a national hero.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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