This is not a Call of Duty 4 clone. In fact, other than offering a control scheme similar to COD4, this game couldn't be further away from COD4. This is a simulation of war. As such, the run and gun of other first person shooters is intentionally absent. Guerrilla did not want you to engage a group of Helghast as you would a group in COD4. You have to take cover, constantly watch your flanks, and aim your shot before you squeeze the trigger. Doing otherwise will cause you problems (especially later on). This is not, however, as intuitive as I may have made it seem. It took quite some time for me to get the hang of the game's controls. After playing around with the sensitivity levels I finally found a mix that worked for me. I'm guessing most people that play the game will have to do the same before getting too deep in the game.
The Helghast are perhaps the smartest enemies I've ever encountered in a game. Failure to keep a watchful eye on them will result in plenty of deaths (especially on the harder difficulty levels). While they are difficult, they are not impossible if the player restrains from playing the game like you would Halo 3 or, again, COD4.
The cover system is flat out superb. Be forewarned that taking cover will not provide a safe haven. You still have to worry about grenades (and there's no grendade indicator) and you also have to remain aware that you are rarely completely protected from enemy fire. Seriously, playing the last stage on the second to hardest difficulty level will teach you this lesson in no time.
The meat and potatoes of any first person shooter is the gun control. Each weapon in the game must be used differently. You can zoom in with certain weapons, but doing so is almost useless as they're meant to be shot from the hip. Other weapons are really only effective if you zoom in but be forewarned that the Helghast will not stand idly by and let you aim for their heads. In fact, my cousin went as far as to say the AI is cheating because the Helghast only move when you place the cursor/reticle over their heads. I don't agree, but I can understand how he'd say that.
I played the game with 5.1 surround sound headphones and enjoyed every blood curdling scream. I found the squad mates to be useless in combat but I actually laughed out loud at some of the dialogue between the guys. It doesn't get nearly as cheesy as some of the other reviews would have you think. There is profanity but it nearly really came off as gratuitous. Heck, I curse like a sailor when playing Street Fighter 4 online. I can only imagine how much I'd be cursing if I was in combat with a fascist race.
And now the graphics. Yes the game is gorgeous. The character models look great but the real star is the lighting. Case in point, after finishing the first two levels I was impressed but not blown away. My mouth hit the floor on third stage. Every strike of lightning was flat out amazing. And the visuals only got better from there.
I finished the game today and can't wait to play through again. I'm currently at my school apartment and the broadband stinks, so I purposely refrained from discussing the multiplayer. The game is a well worth the cost of entry and is a prime example of good things coming to those who wait.