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Old 10-11-2006, 08:25 PM   #1
RiddlingCat
 
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Preview

CoD3 is coming soon, so it's time for a preview ! The game's looking pretty good, I'm hoping for a demo before it's release. I'll keep the pictures in so you guys can see Here it is:



Activision recently invited us to its offices in Santa Monica, California, so we could get a look at some of its soon-to-be-released Xbox 360 games. While all were impressive, most of us came away shaking our heads at Call of Duty 3. No, not shaking our heads in disappointment, but in admiration for what we saw.

First, it’s important to note that CoD3 isn’t being created by the series’ originator, Infinity Ward, but rather by long-time developer Treyarch. While Treyarch isn’t new to the series—having crafted the console versions of Call of Duty 2: Big Red One—getting to build the latest installment is quite a coup, and a sign of trust on the part of Activision, despite Treyarch’s obvious skills and previous accomplishments.


(Though no one will confirm it, the rumor is that Infinity Ward handed over the reins on CoD3 so that it could concentrate on work toward the next PC chapter in the series. CoD3 won’t be on PCs—to the disdain of some hard-core fans.)




We were offered the chance to sit down and play some of the single-player game, which portrays the portion of World War II called the “Normandy Breakout.” It soon became clear that, when the game is released next month, you’ll surely have your hands full trying to keep your American, British, Canadian and Polish troops (the latter two nationalities being new playable additions to the series) alive as they try to battle their way out of German-occupied France. The enemy ranks are thick and quite trigger happy—and they seem to have plenty of ammo to feed into their weapons.

At the start of The Island stage, you're sent trudging through a stormy battlefield that's wet with heavy rains and flattened by soldiers' boots and tank treads. It seems that every step of the way, you’ll find yourself ringed by Germans with fire-spitting rifles, and the only way out is to get to any form of cover—from your tanks to natural formations of trees and rocks—popping up occasionally to fire on the well-hidden foes. It’ll also be important to keep your ammo supply up (either by finding compatible supplies for your weapon or by switching to a gun when you happen upon a shooter who, uh, won’t be needing his anymore) before you get to the next clump of gunners pointing their barrels in your direction.

In fact, I found it quite difficult at a few locations, being forced to hit the ground and lie prone behind some cover as a few bunkers with machine guns trained their fire toward me. Interestingly enough, dropping down behind cover gave me a chance to admire the level of detail Treyarch has given to the environment. It’s stunning to see individual blades of grass making up the turf, which adds heavily to the sense of realism. When you’re in a war, the last thing you want to find yourself doing is appreciating the two-inch-high sod, but it’s hard not to in CoD3.

I’ll also admit that the pursuit of success in The Island remained out of reach when I reached one section, a sloped area that offered a scattering of brush, crater-like indents and broken rock walls as cover—and what seemed like a broken ant farm with countless German soldiers pouring down, in addition to the previously mentioned machine-gun installations further impeding progress. I tried numerous paths to the top and found myself faced with depleted ammo and few clear opportunities to pick up enemy guns without being riddled with hot lead.

After trying—and failing often—to put a dent in the German line, we all put our controllers down when Activision and Treyarch said it was time to prepare for multiplayer action. There’s no way we’d miss the chance to try out the networked gameplay, especially if it was going to be anything close to what CoD2 offered. After all, nearly a year after its release, CoD2 is still a heavily played contest on Xbox Live.

Perhaps the most exciting feature is that CoD3 will support up to 24 players, and the large maps promise that matches of that size still won’t feel claustrophobic and offers plenty of opportunity to strategize. In the levels we played, there were multiple paths to the other team’s base, and you could run out in the open or cut through burned-out buildings if you wanted some cover. The use of vehicles is beneficial and comfortable, but they don’t offer you ultimate cover as you carve through enemy territory, so they aren’t unbalanced. Also, as the terrain is rarely smooth, it’s common to go careening off your desired path or sail into a ravine.




There’s also the consideration for what type of soldier you’ll be when you start. Picking from the classes obviously varies what weapons and skills you’ll have available to you. I enjoyed the Heavy Assault character (for the ability to plant an antipersonnel mine at a key location, such as, oh, right next to our flag), but the benefit of the Medic, who can revive a player and save him from going through the respawn process, broadens the game’s strategy beyond being a run-and-gun shooter on a massive scale.

In addition to the standard capture-the-flag and deathmatch modes, we played a new mode that has the two sides fighting over a number of control points on the map (a la Battlefield). The gameplay here rocked back and forth between the Allies and Axis, as one side gained control of the majority of points, then momentum changed to the other side.

Despite the size of the maps we competed upon, the action was still quite frantic—there wasn’t a lot of Splinter Cell-like sneaking around, and the number of players ensured that you face danger at nearly every turn.

Without a doubt, we were impressed with this peek at the game, which seems to contain both a large volume of single-player immersion and challenge; and often-chaotic multiplayer action on a grand scale. Best of all, there wasn’t any sign that Treyarch will let franchise fans down with a half-baked war game that only rehashes what came before it, which is refreshing.

Only a little while left to go, so keep your gun clean and check with TeamXbox for more on the game as we get closer to its November 7 release date.
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