Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour

Activision has yet to bring the traditional Call of Duty experience to mobile, and thankfully, Gameloft will seek to fill the void with its impressive first-person shooter, Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour. The sequel to the immensely successful franchise, this ambitious title appears to up the ante with a variety of new features, both in the single and multiplayer campaigns. Many unanswered questions remain, including overall performance with so much happening on-screen at once, but thus far, there's a lot to like, starting with the plot.

From what we've heard, the all-new story revolves around U.S. President Burke's kidnapping in Hawaii, where the commander in chief gets abducted from the C3 Conference. As you've probably guessed, this involves assuming the role of an American soldier charged with his rescue, and you're half right. In an interesting twist, Gameloft divided the campaign into two unique sections, one starring the aforementioned hero, the other villain Edward Paige, a highly trained Green Beret whose anti-American views landed him on the CIA's black list. How these two characters play off each other, if at all, has yet to be revealed.

To that end, there seems to be a plethora of different environments and set pieces, from a tropical "storm the beach" style romp to a thrilling ride aboard an attack chopper as it crosses a mountain range. No matter where you are, something cool should take place at all times, says the publisher.

In regards to gameplay, you can expect motion-captured animations, ragdoll physics and semi destructible environments, all of which should play towards producing a somewhat unique experience each time you play. On top of that, a new attachment system offers thousands of possible combinations, and the developers are busy making tweaks behind the scenes to ensure one combo doesn't overpower the rest.

Weapons-wise, we like what we've seen so far, with each gun possessing different stats across six categories: Damage, Rate of Fire, Range, Accuracy, Handling and Mobility. On the Assault Rifle side, you'll find the Special Ops Combat SOCARS A1, along with the Russian-made KR-200, among others. When it comes to shotguns, there's the semi-automatic CT-1410 and pump-action ROSARMS R780. If you prefer Sniper Rifles, the game comes with the bolt action X6 .338, and
Semi-automatic E24 SASR. Handguns, meanwhile, include a Magnum revolver by the name of Black Mamba, and burst firing SCHOC 33. Last but certainly not least, we have Submachine Guns, like the light-weight JOLT-7 MP.

There's more, of course. The always reliable Frag Grenade, Flashbang and Smoke Grenade made it onto the list of deadly toys, but so did Throwing Knives. There's even a Support category of equipment, like an Auto Turret that has a range of 20 meters, a Ground Drone, Hover Drone and a Bomber. That said, we expect Support to play a big role in multiplayer.

Speaking of which, get ready for Specializations. Now you can choose which type of soldier you want to be. Among the choices? Intervention (+25 XP and credits for kill assists), Stealth (+50 XP and credits for headshot and melee kills), Front Line (+50 XP and credits for kills with explosives) and Support (+75 XP and credits for achieving objectives, such as flag and zone captures).

As for maps, expect to visit a bunch of unique locations, from a Hawaiian paradise to rooftops in Barcelona and an office building in Seattle. Hopefully, each map comes with a design that drastically alters a person's/team's strategy.

Regardless, there will be plenty of eye candy. Given the series' evolution, it should go without saying this will be the prettiest Modern Combat yet, with massive explosions, smoke billowing into the blue sky, palm trees moving with the wind, clean-looking water, detailed character models and other visually-stimulating things.

At the same time, we still don't know much about the modes and what Gameloft calls the Tactical Movement System. On that note, we look forward to learning more about Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour leading up to its late 2012 release.