LEIPZIG, Germany--Activision and Infinity Ward have brought Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare to Germany in a big way. The companies showed off all three versions of the highly awaited first-person shooter at the Games Convention in Leipzig. While Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners are salivating at the thought of getting their hands on the game, PC gamers have plenty to look forward to, too. That's because the PC version looks spectacular, and the multiplayer is cutthroat and tense.
Activision had a LAN game going during its Call of Duty 4 party in the old airfield adjacent to the sprawling Leipziger Messe conventional center. While the gameplay and modes are pretty much identical to those of the console versions, the game obviously benefits from the superiority of the PC's high-end video cards and displays. It simply looks sharper and better.
The multiplayer in the PC game is essentially identical to the console games, so the details in our recent multiplayer preview remain the same. Still, it's worth noting that Call of Duty 4 has some of the most brutal infantry combat that we've seen in a shooter to date. The environments really do capture the sense that you're battling it out in a gutted city or in fallow farmland. There's so much intricate detail to each level, as well as plenty of secrets and choke points to learn.
What's also fun is that the game rewards kill streaks. Get three kills without dying and you can call in an aerial drone that gives your team the position of enemy soldiers for 30 seconds. Rack up a couple more kills without dying and you can call in an air strike that can wipe out pockets of enemy units. And the air strikes are just awesome. All of a sudden you hear the incredibly loud roar of fighter bombers screaming 50 feet overhead, followed by the explosion of their ordnance.
The animation in the PC version is both smooth and incredibly lifelike. It's something you notice particularly during the kill cam moments after you're killed, and you get to see a flashback that shows you the perspective of your killer. We got nailed while reloading once, and watching the motion in third-person shows you just how Infinity Ward has nailed all the tiny little details of human movement.
At this point we must admit that we're a bit torn between the PC and console. We love the precision of the mouse/keyboard controls of the PC game. On the other hand, the Xbox 360 version will have built-in voice chat thanks to Xbox Live, and you can rack up achievements. Still, we'll have until November 5 to make up our minds, since that's when Call of Duty 4 will ship.