E3 2011: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Modern Warfare 3's campaign continues the franchise's penchant for unbelievable Hollywood-inspired action. Co-op survival mode extends the game's reliable multiplayer in a new, but not inspired, way.

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QUICKTAKE: The Call of Duty franchise is such a known quality that it becomes difficult to find new words to describe it. Like its many annual predecessors, Modern Warfare 3 continues the franchise's penchant for Hollywood-inspired action, amping it up to new levels of astounding unbelievability. New sequences shown at E3 remind us why the franchise is a blockbuster -- sometimes literally -- while new multiplayer provides reliable, but not particularly inspired, fun. THE DEMO: Activision presented two demos for Modern Warfare 3. The first, a non-playable demonstration of the single player campaign, introduced players to some of the explosive sequences set on the game's global stage: New York and London. While the New York level was previously shown at the Microsoft conference, the London level surprised us with an absurd chase through the Underground. You chase a rampaging subway car, hijacked by terrorists, while avoiding oncoming trains, only to derail it in a destructive sequence that would make Michael Bay jealous. The second demo offered hands-on time with the game's new cooperative Survival mode -- essentially, Call of Duty's take on Horde mode. DETAILS: Here's a sure-fire way to ensure you'll enjoy the Modern Warfare 3 campaign: don't ask any questions. Riding a Jeep, chasing after a speeding train in London's Underground, there were all sorts of questions that came into mind. For example: why hasn't train service stopped since the obvious intrusion in the system? Certainly, the computer-controlled driver wouldn't need to make such daring hairpin turns to avoid crashing into an oncoming train if someone had called this in. A few minutes in, as you race past a crowded station filled with civilians, I couldn't help but think "why are these people still here? Shouldn't they have evacuated long ago?" And then more thoughts crossed my mind. "If New York City was destroyed, how is the global economy still running? How are people on the Tube, acting as if nothing happened?" These were, of course, the wrong questions to be asking. I should've just turned off my brain and enjoyed the spectacle that was playing out in front of my eyes. As the gunner jumps out of cover and starts firing into the speeding train, I should've enjoyed the cacophony of gun fire and clanking metal playing through the demo room's surround sound system. As the train gets derailed and tumbles through cement pillar after cement pillar, I shouldn't have questioned the structural stability of the tunnel. Instead, I should've just accepted the fact that what I saw was absolutely awe-some.

Don't think. Ever.

Activision wouldn't show off the game's competitive multiplayer mode, instead giving us the opportunity to see more of the upcoming Call of Duty Elite subscription service. I chose to play the new Spec Ops mode, Survival, instead. It is a very traditional Horde mode that brings in progressively more difficult waves of enemies over time. While in the first round, you face a small handful of shotgun-equipped baddies, the later rounds introduce soldiers with better load outs, dogs, poison gas, helicopters, and the heavily-armored Juggernaut soldier. When dynamite-strapped dogs chew on your face, you know you're in trouble. I definitely had fun playing with another person. We got to round 20, at around 30 minutes of gameplay, before we were both gunned down by a mob of soldiers. What makes Survival so much fun is that the core gameplay of Call of Duty still remains fun, regardless of how absurd the campaign may become. I enjoyed the Call of Duty-isms added to Survival: for example, a separate XP tree that allows you to unlock better weapons specifically for use in co-op. There's also an in-match store you can access that allows you to buy more ammo, new weapons and attachments, and other perks using money you earn throughout the rounds. The money encourages skillful play, rewarding bonuses based on headshots, killstreaks and killing many enemies in a short period of time. You can spend that money to buy turrets, mines, grenades, and even an AI-controlled squad of bodyguards. Given how quickly the challenge ramps up, money is absolutely invaluable in Survival. While straightforward, Modern Warfare 3's Survival mode is intelligently designed. Once again, the addictive XP system, and rewarding in-game challenges, made me want to play even more. Apparently, the record for E3 so far was reaching wave 24. That's a benchmark I know I want to beat. Watch the Shacknews E3 2011 page to follow all our coverage of this year's show. You can also subscribe to it with your favorite RSS reader.
From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 9, 2011 9:50 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, E3 2011: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

    Modern Warfare 3's campaign continues the franchise's penchant for unbelievable Hollywood-inspired action. Co-op survival mode extends the game's reliable multiplayer in a new, but not inspired, way.

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      June 9, 2011 9:53 AM

      I don't need to read a single thing about this game to know exactly what it'll be.

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      June 9, 2011 9:56 AM

      I'm sure the SP campaign will be fun, but the video they showed was really boring compared to that tank video in BF3.

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      June 9, 2011 10:02 AM

      I really hope they have a decent amount of SP game time. If not I will pass on this one also. Sick and tired of these short ass campaigns.

      PS: Homefront sucks ass

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        June 9, 2011 10:16 AM

        Homefront was what, 3 hours? Black Ops was 6 hours with QTEs, and chock full of setpieces so you'd get bored with most of the gameplay on repeated playthroughs.

        CoD4 was probably 7 hours, but the repeatability of the more "free-form" maps (Safehouse, War Pig) makes it real fun to try a different path through the large "corridor", as opposed to the tight waypointed railshooter-fests of CoD:WaW and Black Ops.

        I never played MW2, but it did solidify the "show the waypoint 100% of the time, and make it huge and annoying!" style that was directly adopted in Black Ops. And while a "No Russian" moment is very marketable for shock value, it has zero replayability once you've seen it the first time.

        I'd like to see the "granularity" of the areas in which the player can freely move around before the next "locked-in checkpoint" get bigger than they have been for the past few CoD games. Some of my favorite sections are the ones where you have a ton of space to maneuver around buildings and burned out vehicles to decide how YOU want to get to the next major objective, instead of reverting to "chest-high-walls" mode and mindlessly going on a railshooter roller-coaster. But that doesn't "sell", that doesn't "pop" on trailer videos, so it's been shoved off to the side in this franchise, which is disappointing.

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          June 9, 2011 11:25 AM

          Yeah I got 3 hours out of Homefront, the last CoD game I really enjoyed was 4 and even that was short (can't remember exact hours but it wasn't long) I'm not asking for anything epic like 40 plus hours but come on get close to or more then 10 hours AT LEAST. MW2 and Black ops (I received as gifts) were a joke if you were looking for SP length which I do because I don't care for MP anymore unless its coop.

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      June 9, 2011 10:07 AM

      damn this really blows BF3 out of the water.. can't wait!

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      June 9, 2011 10:48 AM

      Another question you could have asked is where exactly on the London Underground is that large chamber with all the tracks and pillars? I've lived in London for most of my life and I'm pretty sure there's nowhere like that on the the underground. It's just individual tunnels, one tunnel per track. Occasionally you might see 2 tracks together but only for very short stretches. There aren't any big caverns. It might seem a minor point but to people who use the tube that section really stands out as being nothing like reality.

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        June 9, 2011 12:16 PM

        It's probably modeled off of the NYC subway system, or you know, it's probably just fake and modeled that way to make the game play better, given that most cities are afraid to have any of their infrastructure modeled for use in a video game --- thanks a lot Bin Laden.

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      June 9, 2011 12:30 PM

      Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 8 - Godzilla Wars

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      June 9, 2011 12:34 PM

      i think that the demo they showed in e3 was really boring, it felt like we've been there before. Same sounds, same graphics, same action except for different environment. They really need to change something in the game and maybe stop the annual release

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      June 9, 2011 12:44 PM

      Uninspired?

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      June 9, 2011 1:35 PM

      FWIW, you use cement, gravel, sand, and water to create concrete. You then use concrete to make the "pillars" aka columns.

      Thank you very much.

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      June 9, 2011 3:35 PM

      Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (the first one) was really enjoyable.

      It's all been downhill from there for PC players of the franchise. I ALMOST bought Modern Warfare 2 when it came out. I barely can summon the will to watch this iteration's trailer.

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