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Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Preview

publisher: Activision
developer: Infinity Ward
genre: Shooters

ESRB rating: M

release date: Nov 05, 07
» All About Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare on ActionTrip

Activison and Infinity Ward hosted a preview of their upcoming shooter Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare a few days ago and I was lucky enough to attend. When I got the invitation e-mail, I was more than a little excited to see what changes would come to a series that has been the pinnacle for WWII shooters, when the time frame is adjusted to current day. While I was a little disappointed that I wouldn't be able to see any of the single-player content, the prospect of getting time to mix it up in multiplayer was still very appealing, as we are still playing CoD 2 death match around the office two or three times each week.

For folks who missed our preview of CoD 4 back in June, you can brush up on the relevant details here.

In the meantime, understand that since all I was able to experience was the multiplayer component (and on an Xbox 360), that is all I am going to focus on. However, that being said, after mixing it up with 11 other players for several hours, I am very excited for what the single-player game has in store for us. But I am getting ahead of myself.

If you have played a CoD game before, you will feel right at home in CoD 4. The ability to choose your weapons is handled this time around by choosing a class. You still get a listing of weapon accuracy, damage and mobility, but this time around, you should consider another point: penetration. Okay, I know there are at least a few of you out there that snickered when I mentioned that word but you won't be laughing when an enemy caps your sorry butt through a wall. That's right, it's not a hack and it's not cheating. Every bullet and every material in the game have their own penetration rating. If you are the right distance away from your target, packing a powerful enough weapon and the material that stands between you and him is the right kind, you can drop that slack jawed yokel when he thinks he's safe.

So, if you're running across a field and you see dirt being kicked up behind you by a hail of gunfire, simply diving behind the nearest picket fence is no guarantee that you will be safe. If the enemy is using small arms to shoot at you, that wooden fence might be enough to keep the slugs from your pasty white underbelly. However, if your opponent is using an assault rifle or a sniper rifle (you better pray he's not, Sally), that wood is going to be like you're hiding behind a paper plate. Now think about that a minute and then think about the scene I witnessed while playing where one of my teammates ran into an abandoned building to escape the fire from the other team. As he made it through the door of the unfinished building, he thought he was safe enough. Little did he know the dry wall he was sheltering behind would soon resemble a large piece of Swiss cheese thanks to the modern-day arsenal our enemy was packing.

You should understand that weapon penetration is only a small part of the overall additions to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Other features, which made me oh-so-happy, include a perk system to customize your in game abilities, rank advancement that grants you access to new weapons and perks, the ability to customize you equipment load out, new grenade types, a mini map that shows where gunfire is occurring on the battlefield and a completely updated graphics engine that was smooth, fast and detailed through all my time playing.

The perk system is interesting and will extend your multiplayer experience for quite some time to come. As you increase your rank (by earning points for winning rounds, making kills and assists), you will unlock new weapons, weapon camo patterns, the ability to create your own class and perks. As soon as you can customize your player, you can select your main gun, any attachments the weapon type can utilize, your side arm, grenade type (flash, stun, smoke and frag) and what three perks your custom class will use. Limiting the player to three perks per load out introduces an interesting bit of strategy and a rock-paper-scissors type of system. Some perks, for instance, allow you to reload faster. Another gives you a bit more toughness and makes you harder to kill. Another grants you more grenades. And still another gives you the ability to draw your side arm as you lay dying to fire over a few rounds at any poor bastard who happens to be closing in on your corpse. That's a nasty little surprise for the other team.

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