Guitar Hero and Call of Duty are as about as different as you can get, but as I played both quite a bit this week I thought I'd share my thoughts.

Call of Duty 4

I've been a huge fan of the Call of Duty series. They were dramatic - exciting - and fun as heck. Sure it was a bit easy (hurt? just stay still and you heal), but the games focus on fun versus realism was just fine by me. COD 1 and 2 were both great fun. Unfortunately COD 3 was... well lame. First off - I think I was just a bit burned out on WW2 and Europe. I would have loved to see them go to the Pacific like Medal of Honor, but no, they stayed in Europe and frankly, it was just more of the same. Along with a boring story line, there were bugs and crashes. My favorite bug was the one where my character would get stuck. This never happened in the middle of nowhere - but always in the middle of a firefight.

So when I heard COD4 was moving to modern times, I was definitely interested. When the screen shots started to pour in, I got even more interested. I pre-ordered it via Amazon, but Amazon told me yesterday morning that my copy wouldn't ship till January 2008 (seriously). I ran up to the local Game Stop and they had plenty of copies.

The first thing you notice about the game is the level of detail. It is easily the best visuals I've seen on the XBox ever. It makes Halo 3 look like an Xbox game. It even surpasses Bioshock.

Of course, pretty graphics aren't everything. The game play is awesome. After a kind of boring, but quick, training gig, you are put on a mission that is exciting as heck, and that's just the beginning. Every mission is incredibly intense. While you have some stealth portions, in general everything is one huge firefight. It's so quick, loud, and frentic that when things do slow down, you don't want to trust it. The game moves back and forth from Russia and Middle East, and each area is very well done (not that I've been to either place!). I can definitely recommend Call of Duty 4, just maybe not via Amazon.

Guitar Hero 3

Well, there isn't much to say about this one. I really enjoyed Guitar Hero 2. In fact, I'd find myself hearing the songs from the game on the radio and remember how much fun it was to play it. But let's face it - GH isn't really a deep game. GH3 is more of the same. Now that isn't a bad thing. Don't get me wrong. But it plays more like GH 2.5 than a major update. Sure, it's flashier. The graphics are better. But who sees the graphics when you play? I know I don't. There are some new things in the game. I haven't tried the online multiplayer, mostly because I focused on opening all the songs first. You also have guitar battles with various rockers. This is... mildly interesting, but almost too easy. (I've only played Easy so far though.)

I kind of feel like I may be being overly negative. I really do recommend the game, but I don't think folks should expect anything revolutionary. Now, I will say the music selection is much better. There are some great songs in there, especially the punk songs. But I have to say - it is a bit ironic to play a song talking about white male corporate oppression on an XBox. Somehow I can't imagine Sonic Youth intending for legions of geeks to be playing plastic guitars to that tune.