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E3 2011: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 First Impressions

Rob, Kyle and Jenner give their impressions after their hands-on time with Modern Warfare 3
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the juggernaut followup to the highly successful 2009 prequel Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The game takes place immediately following MW2, after the initial attack by the Russians on Washington D.C. New York, along with other cities and even countries, is under the threat of military attacks, and the whole world stands on the brink of World War III. Following the traditional system of playing as multiple characters from multiple perspectives, different soldiers from around the world must work together to save their respective home countries and prevent the outbreak of a global war.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Along with the single player campaign, MW3 will also feature the return of the co-op spec ops mode and the mega popular online multiplayer mode.

The portion we got to play was the new cooperative spec ops mode called survival mode. In this mode, two players team up to take on increasingly difficult hordes of enemies. Along the way, both players accumulate points for upgrading weapons to take on the tougher and more numerous foes. The maps for this mode will be the same maps used in multiplayer. The map we played on was a map called Dome, a sand-filled, abandoned research facility.

Call of Duty MW3 is set to launch this Nov. 8 for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.


What new feature did you like the best?

Kyle: Honestly, even though the game mode we were playing was a new one, nothing felt entirely different in game play. In fact, the ability to dive from Black Ops was not possible in the version I was playing. The movement of the characters themselves also seems to be slightly slower and have a bit more weight and heft to them. Other than that, nothing really stood out as anything new. Even the mode we played on, although being touted as "new," seemed to play like a COD zombies mode without zombies.

Robert: Obviously we played the new spec ops mode. It was very fun and plays a lot like all of the other wave-based modes in other shooters, such as Gears of War's horde mode (which, coincidentally in Gears of War 3, also uses cash to purchase upgrades for your mission). My teammate and I made it to wave 11, which was further than either Kyle or Jenner got in their play throughs (take that, suckers!).

Jenner: For the record, my partner’s in-game name was Shepard, and my character was Makarov. (Most likely the same for Robert and Kyle.) However, both in-game characters were generic soldiers, so my guess is these were only made-up gamer tags. Regardless, this gives me a good inclination we will be seeing Makarov again in the campaign and finally get to put a bullet in his head. I was told that spec ops was getting its separate career and stat tracking (alongside multiplayer), which means they’ll be giving much more attention to spec ops this time around. (Unfortunately, we never got to see what else spec ops has to offer.) I was also told the waves are infinite -- a heads-up for anyone who wants to try and beat this mode. As I said in the Black Ops review, while the return of the non-linear gameplay of Nazi zombies was a great comeback, the limited amount of maps (now only three, I believe) left me yearning for more variety. Technically, this is a bit of the same, and it might be an answer to Treyarch’s Black Ops zombies, but let’s just hope there are more maps. The main differences I’ve seen is that you can share your money with others, and the armories in the game modes offer all weapons, not just a single preset weapon. Also, C4 carrying soldiers and dogs, great…


What are you hoping to see?

Kyle: To me, COD was always a series that was fun to play despite glaring balance issues in multiplayer and an all-to-short and easy single player. All you would have to do make a longer, more involving single player while keeping the explosion-filled action and pacing that the campaigns are known for along with a fun and fast-paced multiplayer that is constantly observed and tweaked for balance issues, and you would easily have my favorite COD title in the series. Easy, right?

Robert: I want to see a bug-free and balanced release, most of all. Modern Warfare 2 became known for various bugs and balancing issues, which Black Ops never truly shook off. Blizzard puts enormous amounts of time into balancing its Starcraft games, so I would hope that Activision would be able to draw on that experience to put out a Modern Warfare game that is, by far, the most polished shooter the studio has ever produced.

Jenner: More details in spec ops. I’m sure survival can’t be all there is. But mostly, I’m also hoping to see more details on the game’s multiplayer in the near future. In all honesty, I’m not expecting too much to be different, but I am hoping for a few new twists. I’m hoping they will keep the bots in (as well as make them capable of doing more modes other than just DM and TDM) -- they make for great times when you’re with friends in the same room. Also, like the others mentioned, I’m hoping for more of a better weapon balance than the last MW. When it was time to go to the armory in the demo, my partner recommended the ACR (which was most likely the gun I would have gone for anyway), and it's just as ridiculously accurate and deadly as before. And I can bet two to one C4 carrying dogs is going to be a killstreak, I just know it.


Overall thoughts?

Kyle: From what I played everything seemed very similar to the others in the series. Nothing stood out as broken or wrong, but nothing stood out as attention grabbing or compelling either.

Robert: Spec ops was a fun mode to play in, and it was more of the same in terms of Modern Warfare quality. Hopefully the game will continue to be polished before release.

Jenner: I seem to be a bit more optimistic than the other guys, but here’s my reasons: For me, the COD series (probably starting with the first Modern Warfare) has always been the best at, for lack of a better term, being standard. COD doesn't add any complex game play designs (not game modes) such as a cover system, recharging shields (technically it does, but it’s a lot less health overall), players that can withstand a barrage of bullets before dying, or super fast moving players who require most guns shooting where the target is going to be instead of where they are. These game mechanics can drastically change how a game feels. Do I like the above mentioned game mechanics? Of course I do. I just don’t feel COD needs them; it wouldn’t be COD if it did. That’s why there are other games.


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