The Call of Duty series has always gotten some serious playtime in my household. It's just the good combination of action and story line that keeps you going, with the occasional odd bit - such as tank driving - to keep things varied.
During the NFL Draft and the party we were having, the first commercial I'd seen for Call of Duty 4 came on - and the entire room full of beer-drinking guys got quiet. We even rewound the commercial and watched it again. It looked - great.
So, how'd it look in person?
I watched a good bit of it. The intensity of combat that the Call of Duty series is known for was right there. Chaotic, brutal firefights dominated through the Middle Eastern town that the players were in. M1A1 tanks moved in support of friendly troops. Grenades flew thick and fast.
One of my favorite bits was watching through night vision as the squad worked its way through a building, the scopes projecting the infrared targeting lasers at the enemy.
If you've played the previous Call of Duty games, you should be able to jump into this one. It's pretty much the same controls, even the same mechanics - you can still, for instance, see the grenade indicator, get blown up and are reminded "The grenade indicator shows when grenades are close" - the message my brother and I hate so much. I got to see a new one this time, though. "Cars that are on fire may explode." I was warned you'll probably see that warning more than a few times.
The game isn't based off any real war. It's basically the Americans and the British working together against a mixed foe of similar technological base. It's a world conflict, though the two sites mentioned to me were Russia and "a little" of the Middle East. Like previous Call of Duty games, it's a story-driven game.
But they've upped the ante. I watched as the main character manned a Javelin missile launcher and took out a number of enemy tanks. The Javelin fires into the air a missile \ which will attack the top of a tank, thus bypassing much of its armor. Each missile, in fact, costs $75,000!
You will also get to man the guns on an AC-130 Spectre gunship. That's a converted cargo plane that has 20mm cannons, Vulcan cannons and A HOWITZER.
The graphics have clearly gotten an upgrade, too - for instance, there are a lot more animations in the characters. We discussed whether or not PC and Xbox 360 players would be able to play each online - they won't be able to - but the person I was speaking with, a die-hard PC fan when it comes to first-person shooters, pointed out that they've used a new algorithm to improve diagonal speed on console controllers - something that will be handy when clearing staircases.
Call of Duty 4 will be out this fall.