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Having to pull away from playing Modern Warfare 2 to put together performance charts and write some notes made the completion of this article double the challenge. Despite having picked up the game at the mid-night release, so far I've only spent a few hours playing it, which does seem a little cruel.
In that time what I've seen of this new game certainly lives up to the hype, and those already calling it game of the year could be right on the money. While the multiplayer was expected to be top notch given that this is a Call of Duty title, the single player campaign has impressed me the most so far. The missions are loads of fun and the improved A.I. makes it feel as though you are playing against real free thinking opponents.
Looking at our in-game screenshots are only half the tale, Infinity Ward has done an excellent job with the graphics and animations, all while keeping the game running smoothly on modest hardware. I was impressed to find that at 2560x1600 using 4xAA and maximum visual quality settings we had 7 graphics cards break the 60fps barrier.
Furthermore, using these extreme quality settings GeForce GTX 260 and Radeon HD 4890 owners, for example, can enjoy of perfectly playable performance. Consider those are not super expensive $600 graphics cards, but rather humble offerings that can currently be bought for less than $200. In some cases, you may have paid more for one of those cards taking into account they have been around for over a year.
Those playing at lower resolutions can get away with a more affordable graphics card such as the Radeon HD 5750. Users of 22" LCD monitors will find themselves needing even less, using a $120 valued Radeon HD 4850 or 4770, for example.
Overall the IW 4.0 game engine seems to be very well designed providing gamers with cutting edge graphics that can be enjoyed on affordable hardware. The engine is also very well supported by both AMD and Nvidia. We had no problems using multi-GPU technology and the results delivered by the Radeon HD 5770 Crossfire cards, Radeon HD 4870 X2 and GeForce GTX 295 were breathtaking.
Finally, time to go back and play CoDMW2, you should too.