Cold Winter E3 2004 Preshow Hands-On Impressions

We got some quality time in with Vivendi's 2005 tactical shooter at a Vivendi pre-E3 event. Get all the gory details.

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If you're having trouble trying to remember when Cold Winter, the upcoming mature-themed first-person shooter from Vivendi Universal and British developer Swordfish Studios, is slated for release, just look to the title. Due out early next year, Cold Winter is seeking to bring some visceral shooting action to PS2 owners, all in the guise of a tactical shooter set in the real world.

The premise of the game involves you, as a British operative, tracking down the Grey Wings, a powerful military cult bent on cleansing the world in the way in which only nuclear weapons can. This objective will necessarily involve shooting lots and lots of bad guys and, in this particular game's case, causing them to bleed profusely. We got to play around with a pistol as well as an AK-47 assault rifle, the latter of which is famous for its ability to cause horrific damage to the human body--and, indeed, we found that Cold Winter doesn't hesitate to show enemies getting their limbs blown off and other such grisly scenes, which are portrayed with stark realism rather than over-the-top glitz. We were also able to use our ranged weapons as deadly bludgeons, including our bare fists, though the build of the game we played had some collision detection issues, preventing us from getting a good feel for the melee combat. Additionally, we got to try out some frag grenades, flash bang grenades, and Molotov cocktails--always a treat.

The world of Cold Winter promises to be highly interactive and realistic, in general. Go on and flush that toilet if you like, or knock over those boxes and use them as cover, or watch as an enemy's helmet goes flying off before your next shot knocks him dead. "Everything is interactive," assured a Vivendi representative demoing the game. The artificial intelligence will reportedly be quite advanced, as well. Enemies will operate in squads, who'll receive orders from commanding officers. If these guys are killed, their brethren may fall into disarray. Enemies will also use cover, give each other ammo, and otherwise put up a realistic fight.

Cold Winter will feature a variety of objective-based missions, which will mostly have you going at it alone against the enemy, but there will be some puzzle solving and some friendly characters along the way to keep things interesting. Additionally, split-screen multiplayer and online multiplayer features are apparently being planned for the game, though we couldn't get any more-specific details than that.

Cold Winter is still pretty early in development and looked it from the build we played at the Vivendi event. However, it seems to have a good premise, and we think it may be off to a good start with the team's priority on figuring out how to give the shooting action itself an intense and visceral feel. Since it's a 2005 game, Cold Winter won't be the emphasis of Vivendi's E3 lineup, but we still hope to bring you additional details on this game as soon as we're able.

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