Delta Force: Black Hawk Down Hands-On Impressions - E3 2004

We sit down with the upcoming Xbox version of Black Hawk Down at E3 2004.

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The upcoming Xbox version of Delta Force: Black Hawk Down was on hand at E3 2004. Though the game will be a port of the original PC version, development and production are being handled by the UK-based studio Climax. The Xbox version of the game was in a pre-alpha state, yet it was already extremely playable and ran at a brisk frame rate. The current version of the game controls similarly to Halo (the left thumbstick moves, while the right thumbstick aims), though at this time there was no aiming assistance, which made precise aiming difficult. In the final version of the game, the single-player campaign (which will consist of the original game's 16 missions) will have an optional aim-assist feature, though this will be disabled in multiplayer. Black Hawk Down's multiplayer options will include split-screen co-op play for up to four players. NovaLogic stated that "there is no reason why" the Xbox Live version of the game won't be able to support as many as 16 players online using "multicast"--which distributes the content over the Xbox Live network, rather than requiring a single Xbox to host everything and act as a bottleneck.

We were able to play through a single-player mission early in the game that required us to hop onto the wing of a Little Bird helicopter (armed with miniguns on either side) to defend a UN convoy from Somali insurgents who were hiding on the rooftops of a ruined city and driving through the streets on technicals (jeeps with a machine gun mounted in the back). The game didn't look quite as crisp as the original PC game running at a resolution of 1600x1200 on a high-end graphics card, but this game is for the Xbox, and it was also a very early version. Like with the original PC version of the game, you'll receive backup in several missions from computer-controlled teammates who will provide covering fire (and who may cause you to lose a mission if you accidentally shoot them down). According to a Climax representative, the Xbox game's artificial intelligence has been optimized to work within the game's environments. Then again, the original Black Hawk Down wasn't an incredibly hard-core, orthodox team-based shooter; it was surprisingly accessible, and the Xbox version of the game seems like it will also be comparably easy to pick up and play. Delta Force: Black Hawk Down for the Xbox is scheduled to ship later this year.

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