After getting some hands on time with the Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat online multiplayer beta on the Xbox 360, PSU.com now has some new information to share with you, along with our impressions of the beta, the game’s multiplayer, and its online features.
The beta was rather small in size, clocking in at just under 1GB, but packed a lot of features. Four game modes including Team Deathmatch, Free-For-All, Team Objective and Team Tactical graced the online beta, the first three of which support up to 12 players online.
Team Deathmatch has a standard score based system with the objective to reach 750 points. 10 points per kill are awarded in this mode, with bonus points available for calling in air strikes or friendly helicopters.
Free For All is also very simple. It’s every man for himself as six to twelve players battle it out to get 300 points. In this mode, however, only 5 points are awarded for each kill.
Team Tactical is a mixture of Team Deathmatch and Team Objective, but for fewer players. The only online mode to not entertain twelve, Team Tactical puts players in a 2v2 or 3v3 conflict to reach 500 points.
Team Objective is for up to twelve players, and is focused on teamwork to capture flags in Domination, or destroy and defend certain key items in Search and Destroy. Domination will allow respawns, whereas Search and Destroy grants each player only one life per round.
During our trip to L.A. a week or two back, PSU had the unique opportunity to speak with developers who have been working on COD4 for nearly two years. When we asked them about game modes, they assured us that there will be more than those on the beta, and we even overheard talk of a game mode called Sabotage.
Apart from online game modes, there was also a full leaderboard setup and in working order. No word yet as to whether the PlayStation Network’s leaderboards will be identical, but what we saw was a nicely put together system with lots of cool tracking options. The leaderboards are broken into four categories: Score, Wins, Kills, and Accuracy.
The Score leaderboard keeps track of and compares your "score" to other players. Basically, throughout the online campaign, players score points by completing objectives, getting kills, calling in air strikes, etc. This board will take that score and rank you compared to everyone else.
This leaderboard keeps track of your wins and losses. This will tell you how many games you have won or lost, and give you a ratio.
This is the board that everyone is going to look at. This tracks how many kills and deaths you’ve had, and also gives you a ratio. Another nice feature here is the streak record. Got an amazing kill streak? Your highest one will be here for everyone to see.
Each bullet is tracked and recorded for accuracy information. This page will tell you how many hits and misses you have fired, as well as a percentage that gives you your accuracy rating.
Now, to get all these stats, you’ve got to get some guns. This is where Call of Duty 4 borrows from other great games, and improves on them. There are 5 different categories of Primary Weapons, four Side Arms, and three different types of grenades in the game.
Many of you have played Rainbow Six: Vegas by now and have seen how the FPS and RPG genres have met in the middle to provide the rank system. Call of Duty has added this feature and it really works out well. There are currently 11 available ranks in the beta, with more to be unlocked as the game’s release nears. During our stay in L.A., there were 20 ranks unlocked. The developers stated that there were going to be well over twenty. However, looking at the beta, the highest weapons shown unlock in the mid twenties. We will have to find out on that one for later.
Each time you "level" up, you unlock a new item, be it a new gun, camo, or perk. The leveling system is based on the points that you’ve earned by getting kills or completing objectives. There are also weapon specific objectives as well. For each weapon, there are three ranks of mastery, and three ranks of expertise. To master a weapon, simply kill using that weapon. To become an expert, you must get headshots with that gun. The three ranks are at 25, 75, and 150 kills. Each time a new level of mastery or expertise is achieved, a new camo or scope become available for that weapon and you get a nice points bonus.
All in all, each gun will get between three and four scopes, and four or five different camo styles.
There will also be challenges that aren’t tied to weapons. For example, using the sprint button to cover certain amounts of area will give bonuses as well.
Alongside these weapons upgrades, perks provide even more customization. There are three categories of perks. Each and every perk has a time and a place, and certain perks, when combined together, can add up to some deadly combinations.
The one perk I have to mention is Last Stand. This perk, when active, allows the player to fire his or her pistol for a few seconds after being killed. From a first hand perspective, this is just about the coolest feature hands down. There is nothing quite like shooting down the guy who just killed you, and perhaps even getting a second kill while you’re at it. This perk also has taught me to shoot every dead body one last time to ensure I don’t get a bullet on my way out.
There are three maps included in the beta, each having its strong points and weaknesses. I will say, however, that Infinity Ward made good decisions on the map selection. Each map was well balanced, and they also were made with weapon selection in mind.
All in all, the Call of Duty 4 multiplayer beta has certainly delivered. It will definitely fuel the hype for this game, as well as allow devs to flush out any bugs in the game (although I didn’t find any). Be sure to come back for updated impressions as the level cap gets raised. We’ll have detailed info on the PS3 version, and more on the multiplayer, very soon.