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Previews

CoD4: Variety Map Pack

Hands-on: Infinity Ward talks us through the new maps

It was fewer than 24 hours after we'd been standing in a car park for Sony's Gran Turismo 5 Prologue launch event that we found ourselves again loitering in a car park. People will begin to talk. This time it was for Activision's unveiling of the new Call of Duty 4 maps.

CVG jumped onto one of several LAN-connected Xbox 360s to shoot the faces of other attendees in the four new battlegrounds expected to arrive on Xbox Live for download tomorrow.

The four maps (Creek, Broadcast, Killhouse and Chinatown) came as a result of community feedback, programmer Jon Shiring told us: "We got a lot of feedback from the community, and we try to make them all happy."

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Creek, he explained, tries to encompass as much of that feedback as possible. The map itself is absolutely huge - an outdoor map with grassy areas, houses and tree-filled forest land connected by a dry creek bed that runs around the outside of the map.

It's clearly a map for larger games and there are plenty of places to set up camp and wait for players to wander into the open. At the same time, the landscape is vertical and intricate enough for duck-and-dive shoot outs.

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Broadcast, on the other hand, was a little more familiar - it takes a part of the single-player level 'Charlie don't Surf', where you have that epic firefight in a TV studio.

"We brought that over to multiplayer because people said that it was such a memorable moment from the single-player game," said Shiring. "We tweaked it a lot, so now there are some cool new outdoor and indoor areas."

This map will offer a balance of close-quarters combat in the studio area and more spacious fighting outdoors. We also found that a lot of the action took place in the outdoor section.

Players would camp on rooftops and pick off anyone who ran around the cars. Others took control of a huge reception-like lobby, hiding behind the reception desks and looking out through the glass-faced building. Cowards, we'd call them...

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Killhouse is just mental. A rearrangement of the single-player training level, it provides fights at such close quarters you can almost see the terror in the pupils of your enemy's eyes as you spray bullets everywhere.

The all-revealing Kill-Cam ensures that any campers won't be able to stay in one place for long.

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If you're a long-time fan of CoD's multiplayer, you may remember the Carentan map from the first two games. If you do, you will love the Chinatown map, which is essentially a re-skinned version of that classic. Shiring told us Carentan was easily one of the most popular maps.

"A lot of people in the community wanted to revisit one of the maps from our other games so we chose Carentan and spent months of artist time decking it out," explained Shiring. "It's the same layout but it's now Chinatown outside of San Francisco."

It's a street map, rather similar in ways to the Crash map currently in the game. Streets lined with buildings makes this map a camper's dream, with loads of upper-level windows to shoot from.

Infinity Ward has plenty of ideas for future content. "When we make these games, we cut a lot of stuff if we don't think its absolutely perfect and ready to ship, so we always start with a million ideas and whittle it down to as many as we can fit in and ship, so everyone's filled with ideas," the programmer told us.

As we already told you, Shiring said that the Variety Map Pack will arrive on PS3 "around three weeks" after the Xbox 360 version. "It's just the way it worked out," he said. "We're working as hard as we can to try to get it out there."

Get those MS Points and PSN accounts topped up ready. Is six quid really to much to ask? It's not even a round in the pub (London prices, anyway).

The verdict

Infinity ward has already advised you take the day off just to play these new maps and we agree. A great mix of open areas and closed in battles, new scenery and rehashed favourites. Well worth the points.

Format
Xbox 360
Developer
Infinity Ward
Publisher
Activision
Genre
FPS

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