E3 '07: Call of Duty 4

What better game to follow up Dark Sector than Call of Duty 4? I spent a lot of time with Activision going over all their games before their conference, and a short bit after that going over some again. While Quake Wars, Guitar Hero III and Tony Hawk are all great looking and fun games, CoD4 is easily the gem of Activision’s showing.

I got treated to a run through of a CoD4 level by two of the guys directly involved in the game’s development. They couldn’t tell me exactly where it takes place (and I’m not going to guess where based on the few signs I saw), but it’s obviously a city environment-you DO start the level out on a freeway!

The demo started with the squad in the middle of a huge firefight with some people in buildings adjacent to the abandoned freeway. Taking cover behind a car didn’t prove to work very well, as it ended up blowing up, killing every non-enemy there. Whoops.

Example shown, they moved on down the freeway, running between abandoned cars and stopping briefly to shoot at the enemies, and then moving on. The combat was extremely fast-paced, but kept the same realistic tone CoD is known for.

After exiting the freeway, the squad entered a building with the orders to clear it. This is where things started getting awesome. The building was pitch black, so nightvision had to be turned on. In CoD4, the nightvision seems to work a lot more realistically than a few other recent games. Laser sights show a pale green line to the target, and flash grenades absolutely destroy you if you see one go off (which we did-our own…)

The game is also packed with tons of cool and custom animations, as well as entirely fluid scripted scenes (for example, one where an enemy attacked one of the good guys and tried to take his gun away; also one where a troop kicked out an air conditioning unit to open a line of sight to the enemy).

The custom animations did lead to one funny moment. One of the cool animations the guys were hyped up about is basically the car-slide from the Dukes of Hazard. Your troops will run over a car, slide across the hood, and get into position. However, one guy decided he would slide on top of a car that had just exploded…and ended up sliding across an exposed engine of a recently running vehicle. Obviously he didn’t burn his ass off as it’s just a minor issue to fix, but we all had a good laugh over it.

Animations and realistic soldier movements are a big part of the vision of CoD4. The team wanted to get a lot of things done right, so they asked actual soldiers for advice and used Neversoft’s mocap studio.

After clearing the building and a few enemies outside, I got to see one of the coolest weapons I have ever seen in action: the Javelin. Modeled after the real life counterpart (which costs $70,000 per missile, and is one of the only weapons never used in training), it’s incredible. Basically, you target whatever you want to blow the shit out of, and shoot it. It goes straight up into the air, then comes straight down, striking the weakest spot of whatever vehicle you want to blow up.

Outside of the Javelin, there’s one confirmed level where you control a vehicle. Smiling, Activision’s guy said, "There’s one level where you’re in an AC-130. It’s punishing, man!"

After experiencing the game live, I can honestly say Call of Duty 4 looks to be a game which will live up to the immense hype. It may not be completely "next-gen" as it doesn’t offer the Vista-360 connection, but like my pal playing the game said, "It wouldn’t be fair. I’m a PC gamer, I would destroy them."


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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