Sunday, October 21, 2007

Call of Duty 4: Updated Hands-On

- By Randolph Ramsay
If you're one of the lucky ones, then you're probably busy playing the recently released multiplayer beta of the upcoming Call of Duty 4, which is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated games of the year. But while the rest of the world was playing multiplayer, Infinity Ward was kind enough to show us some more of the game's single-player campaign at Activision's recent Activate Asia Pacific Conference. If you're read our earlier previews of the game, you'll know that Infinity Ward looks to have so far captured the Call of Duty series' trademark high-intensity firefights in Call of Duty 4. Our play through a previously unseen level--named War Pig--was no different.

War Pig is a day time mission which expands on The Bog mission we've previously covered (which had you trying to secure a stranded M1-Abrams tank trapped in a war torn city). You and your squad of US Marines are basically tasked with pushing through the city to get closer to Call of Duty 4 baddie Al-Asad's base, and have to fight through dozens of militia hiding in the ruined buildings of the town. Luckily, the now repaired Abrams tank is with you, and although you can't take direct control of it, the tank does provide welcome cover as you stalk through the streets. The action in this level is just as intense as we've previously seen, with militia armed with rocket-propelled grenades seemingly on every rooftop, joined by countless others shooting from behind cover.

This level was a great example of Call of Duty 4's destructible cover--we had great fun shooting militia as they hid behind doors and even walls, with our bullets easily piercing through these weak barriers. We also experienced the importance of finding decent cover firsthand--we thought we were safe ducking behind a car, forgetting that with enough hits, cars will explode in Call of Duty 4--which is exactly what happened in this case, ending our mission prematurely.

What the daytime level showcased most was Call of Duty 4's impressive graphical clout, with plenty of detail to be ogled at in the environments. From the rubbish-strewn streets to the dilapidated buildings, the visuals were absolutely top notch, although it was hard to concentrate on them at times because of the high level of action. Sound was also a winner--this game begs to be played with a full surround-sound set-up, and is filled with nice audio touches (such as its excellent attempt at recreating an ear-ringing sound every time you're too close to the Abrams as it fires a round).

Call of Duty 4 is slated for release on November 7 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.


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