We meet with SCi to check out the E3 demo of this policed-themed first-person shooter.
During our visit to SCi's E3 booth this morning we were able to get our first look at the PlayStation 2 version of Roll Call. Currently being developed by ex-Argonaut team Rocksteady, Roll Call is a first-person shooter set in a New York-style environment named Franklin City. You'll assume the role of a cop named Mason, who has been enlisted to T-Zero--a zero-tolerance, elite police force charged with taking the city back from the gangs that are turning it into a warzone. Since you're a cop, you'll be encouraged to bring gang members to justice rather than kill them, but your priority is essentially to reclaim the streets by any means necessary.
The level started as Mason stepped out of a police van and right into the middle of a fight between cops and gang members. Initially armed only with a pistol and tazer, Mason was up against bad guys armed with meat cleavers, Molotov cocktails, and various firearms--all of which we were able to retrieve and put to good use when their original owners were facedown in the snow. Once the initial skirmish was under control, Mason received a message over the dispatch radio telling him to report to the police station, which is where, after dealing with a few extra punks in the station's parking lot, we got our first look at one of the game's most unique features.
At the police station's armory, Mason picked up a riot shield that, according to the SCi representative showing us Roll Call, will remain with you for the duration of the game. You'll be able to hide behind your riot shield at any time, but the more often you use it, the more damage it will take--eventually rendering it extremely difficult to see through. The riot shield will benefit from some repairs in between levels so that you never have to start a mission not able to see through it, but it'll retain many of its scars, scorch marks, and such. The riot shield makes it almost impossible for enemies to hit you from the front, incidentally, but you'll still take damage from other directions, and some enemies will be able to knock your shield away from you momentarily, making you vulnerable to their attacks.
One of Roll Call's other interesting features will be your interaction with the emergency services as you progress through the game. We were told that you'll have up to three other characters working with you simultaneously in the finished game, but during our demo we only ever saw one at a time, including a fireman and a female paramedic. Both characters made a point of telling us where we should go next in the level and were then happy to take orders from us as we helped them out. The fireman, for example, could be told to break open doors, take cover, or put out fires that were making our progress through certain areas difficult. When she wasn't busy tending to his colleagues, the paramedic would offer to heal Mason every now and then. Both of the emergency-services characters also attracted attention from enemies that might otherwise have focused exclusively on pumping Mason full of lead, but since we were required to keep them alive, it didn't necessarily make things any easier.
The last portion of the level that we were shown saw Mason attempting to deal with a hostage situation. A gang member was holding a police officer hostage and was doing a great job of using him as a human shield. Mason's own shield was badly damaged at this point, so it was actually quite difficult to see through it when looking for any kind of shot at the bad guy. The opportunity came when, after unloading a clip full of bullets in our direction, the bad guy had to reload--briefly pushing his human shield to the side as he did so. One headshot later the situation was sorted out, Mason was congratulated by his colleagues on a job well done, and our demo came to an end.
Roll Call is currently scheduled for release sometime in 2006, and we can report that the game is looking really promising. Even the placeholder visuals that were pointed out to us in certain areas looked decent, and we really did get the feeling that the crime war in Franklin City was raging in every location that we visited--before, during, and after our own time there.
We'll bring you more information on Roll Call as soon as it becomes available.
- Release Date: Jun 13, 2006 (US)
- ESRB: MTitles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older.