Patrice Diselets, AC’s Creative Director discusses the fight controls a little bit more in depth. Now, the fighting system was my number one concern with this game, and judging from this trailer, it doesn’t look so choppy. (final judgment is eight days away suckas.)
The CoD4 beta officially comes out today (on a first come first serve basis), so I thought it was a good time to share my impressions thus far. I’ll try to hit all the points that matter. Keep in mind that this is only a beta… not even a preview or demo. Things are likely to change a little.
Graphics: They rock. Technically speaking the game is excellent. The art style is solid, with a few caveats. Despite the new “Modern” setting for the CoD franchise, the three levels included look like they could have been in Call of Duty 2. I personally liked Call of Duty 2’s landscapes, so it’s not so much a complaint as an observation. Overall the games geometry is rather boxy, generally lacking an organic, curvy appeal. It looks very raw, as would be expected in a gritty war shooter. Again, this is more of the games art syle, which is well executed and technologically sound. The game wont disappoint in the looks department.
Gameplay: I’ll be honest and let you know I’ve never played too much Call of Duty online. I was disappointed with Call of Duty 2s matchmaking (or lack there-of), which has been completely revamped of Call of Duty 4. If you are a friend of Halo 2/3 matchmaking, you will feel right at home, since it is practically identical. You’ve got party support, playlists, ranking, etc. It’s buttery smooth and should be easy to get together with your friends, find a match, and get in the game.
Game types in the beta in Free-for-all, Team Deathmatch, Team Tactical, and Team Objective (these are essentially the “playlists”). The first two are self-explanatory, both supporting 6-12 players. Team Tactical is for smaller teams of 2 to 3, doing both team deathmatch and Search and Destroy. Team Objective is again 6-12 players and includes Search and Destroy, and Domintation.
Search and Destroy is essentially like Counterstrike. The team on offense has to plant a bomb at one of two locations that the opposing team defends. The offence team wins by planting and detonating the bomb, or killing all of the opposing team (no respawns). Defense wins by killing all of the opposing team or defusing the bomb. Domination feels similar to Battlefield 2, with numerous flags or control points which you must control for the most amount of time.
So far everything is tried and true, essentially the best of numerous games. Where CoD 4 gets creative is with it’s “Create A Class” mode. You can create and save your own classes, complete with weapon selection and upgrades, and the all new perks. In a typical shooter, each class has their own perks inherent to them. A marksman may have truer aim, and a demolition expert may have increased explosives skill. With Create A Class, you pick your own weapons and skills. Do you want to be a stealthy snipers packing a UAV jammer, and how about an RPG just for the hell of it? Done. Increased health? Increased bullet damage? Faster reloading? Longer sprinting? It all sounds great, but of course you can’t have it ALL. You can really customize your playing style, and carefully pick the perks you want.
One of my favorite things about the game is that not everything is available right off the bat. You want to upgrade the scope on your M4? You’re going to need to earn that! If you visit the Barracks, you will see your current goals. You have goals for each of the weapons in your arsenal. If you want to upgrade your M16, you need to use it. The Barracks will tell you at your current level, you need 75 more kills with the M16 in order to get that new scope. There are numerous upgrades for each weapon (ranging from grenade launchers, camo, improved sights, and scopes), so there are numerous sets of goals for each weapon. When the full game comes out, if you want the most coveted gun in the game with the most upgrades, you’re going to have to work for it.
While this is a great reward system and even adds to replayability (who doesn’t want to get the upgrades for ALL the weapons?), I can see it also being a bad thing. If a guy on your team is working on getting upgrades for his Shotgun, he might decide to use it on a level not so fit, and bring down the rest of your team. Ideally you would just be patient and get the upgrades naturally, using weapons as fit, but I can definitely see this happening. Last night I was getting my last 50 kills for an M4 scope upgrade, and I was using that gun whether or not it was the best choice. My kill/death ratio suffered, but I got my scope!
The ranking system also has its ups and downs. You gain experience points for everything you do right in the game. Get a kill, +10. Activate the team UAV, +10. Get an assist, +2 (it softens the pain of someone stealing your kill). You need xxx number of experience points to reach the next rank (not unlike and RPG). The bad thing, is there is apparently no way to LOSE experience. That means if you kept playing and never got better, even if you continually lost, you would slowly but surely climb the ranks. Just imagine if in Halo 2 if you couldn’t level down from losing… ranks wouldn’t be as telling of skill. On the bright side, being on the losing team doesn’t hurt you as much, as long as you perform well on your own. But this kind of tears apart the whole fabric of a team based game.
What really matters is that Call of Duty is fun. It’s shaping up to be a great game, and even with the currently limited map, weapon, and perk selection, it’s a good time and leaves you wanting more.
Depending on who you ask, that is. Gamespot and Destructoid both posted their impressions of Mass Effect being displayed at GC, and they couldn’t be more polar opposites. What Destructoid calls “emotionless voice acting and subpar facial animations,’ Gamespot calls the game dramatic, innovative, “exhibiting a lot of polish and flowing smoothly.” Destructoid says that it’s at worst, disappointing, and at best “not that bad.” Gamespot thinks it looks great at this point.
So who do you believe? (My vote goes to Mr. Brad Shoemaker. I’m not sure I’ve ever disagreed with him).
Update: Fixed all my gramatically errors. I wasn’t drunk when I wrote this, I swear.