Although the recently released Call of Duty 3 was well received by the media and public alike, discerning gamers knew that although it looked and played similar to the first two Infinity Ward titles, Treyarch’s Call of Duty 3 maintained rather than raised the bar set for historical first person combat. With Call of Duty 4, Infinity Ward is back in true form and poised to blow our minds all over again, and this time, they’re taking the fight to the modern battlefield.
Why should you care? For starters, Call of Duty 4 features some of the best graphics you’ve ever seen, and amazingly these jaw dropping visuals never dip below 60 frames per second. This is no mean feat considering that the game’s characters and environments contain tiny details unimaginable in most games. For example, begin a mission at the break of dawn, and you’ll be treated to a glorious digital sunrise demonstrating the game’s authentic day and night cycles. After the sun appears, things literally begin to heat up, and characters visibly perspire as they bask in volumetric rays of light chocked full of dust and other debris. Want to know when the sun will go down again? Just approach any NPC and check their functional wrist watch to see what time it is in-game. And when you take cover in the shade of a parked car, know that your enemies are still able to shoot through it and hit your scrawny ass, demonstrating Call of Duty 4’s fully destructible environments made possible by a rich physics engine.
Players will get to experience combat from a variety of roles, including the local rebels, U.S. Special Forces, and the British S.A.S. Commandos (shown here.)
The main reason Infinity Ward decided to abandon the World War 2 setting for a more contemporary battlefield was to give players access to the technology and weapons available to today’s soldiers. As a result, Infinity Ward is including a much broader arsenal of weapons, gadgets, and gear… roughly double the number available in Call of Duty 2. In addition to the new high tech guns, all soldiers have night vision goggles. These goggles not only help players by illuminating the shadows, they allow players to easily identify friendly soldiers, (all of whom have glint tape on their helmets,) as well as identify enemy positions by revealing the ultra violet lasers equipped to all of the game’s firearms. So if you should roll around a corner and see a bunch of lasers heading your way, you know there’s going to be trouble ahead. Finally, in addition to being able to call in armor and air strikes during the game, Infinity Ward promises numerous vehicle segments giving players command of powerful munitions mounted on Abrams tanks and AC130 gun ships.
But single player portion isn’t the only thing getting totally overhauled… Call of Duty 4 will offer a much deeper multiplayer game than fans of the series are accustomed to. Apparently, Call of Duty 2’s multiplayer code had problems because Microsoft changed firmware at the last minute, forcing Infinity Ward to scrap much of their net code. In order to finish the game in time for the 360’s debut, the team had to throw together a rudimentary online offering that was fun, but relatively bare bones and plagued with latency and connectivity issues. Having freed themselves from such time constraints, Infinity Ward has expanded upon their original multiplayer concepts, and the result is exciting for fans of class based shooters like EA’s Battlefield series. Players will now be able to choose from a selection of classes, and eventually unlock the ability to create a custom class to suit any play style. Custom classes are created by choosing 3 perks that enhance particular abilities. Perks include: Double Tap, (an increased rate of fire that quickly burns through ammunition; Deep Penetration, allowing bullets to penetrate barriers using the game’s physics engine; Last Stand, which grants a fallen player a few seconds to either commit suicide or fire off a few desperate shots from his pistol; and the self explanatory More Gear; GPS Jammer; Increased Damage; and Stealth. Call of Duty 4 will support up to 16 players online, and should be every bit as exciting as the single player campaign.
One look at Call of Duty 4 and it’s easy to see why numerous E3 attendees have declared it to be the most visually impressive title shown at this year’s electronics exposition… it’s got high tech weapons, drop dead gorgeous graphics, and innovative game play both online and off. Look for it this holiday season on PC, 360, and PS3.
(Xbox 360 owners should consider registering at the official Call of Duty Website for a chance at participating in the open beta scheduled for later this year.)