Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 First Look Preview -- New York and London Under SiegeBy Kevin Kelly - Posted Jun 10, 2011
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 probably needs to perform an internal sensor sweep, because it's clear that there is a mole somewhere in the squad giving up the secrets of the game. Despite the fact that this was one of the worst-kept secrets in the gaming industry, it surprised virtually no one that Activision was working on a brand-new entry in the Modern Warfare series. The franchise practically fire hoses money, and they aren't turning off that tap anytime soon.
Which is also why CoD: MW3 looks exactly like Modern Warfare 2. In fact, besides some updates character textures, and additional weapons, it's very nearly Modern Warfare 2.5, as you're picking up right where the last game left off, and continuing your globe-trotting and gun fighting. They've added some new tricks, but from what we saw at our first eyes-on look at the game, you're getting exactly what you would expect from this franchise. But who can blame them for returning to the roots of one of their tent poles?
Gameplay video surfaced recently, giving gamers their first glimpse of what the title would have to offer. As expected, there's a lot of pomp and bombast in this clip, showing explosive encounters around the world, which is what Activision hopes to hammer home with this title. Near the end of the video, WW3 clever flips the first w to become MW3, indicating that this is truly a conflict of global proportions. With Russia invading the United States in Modern Warfare 2, this direct sequel capitalizes on that by showing the struggle on our own shores again, as well as racking up frequent flyer miles to destinations around the globe.
Robert Bowling from Infinity Ward and Glen Schofield from Sledgehammer Games, the newly tapped studio that is working on the franchise, showed off two different levels to underscore the worldly ambitions of the game, taking us from Manhattan to London. In New York, you join Delta Squad as they try and route the Russians, who are embedded and occupying the city, taking you to familiar landmarks like Wall Street and both the interior and exterior of the New York Stock Exchange.
During a prolonged street battle where you'll be ducking in and out of buildings and climbing to the roof of the NYSE with your squad, we saw glimpses of a few of the additions coming to the game. The main characters' gun was mounted with an EOTech flip scope that can change from a zoomed scope to a red-dot sight just by flipping the large scope to the side. That's an authentic touch for players who like to both scope and run and gun.
Other new items included the 9 Bang grenade, which is a sort of flashbang on steroids as it delivers nine flash and bang elements wherever you drop the grenade. Also new was a Reaper Drone that you could deploy, giving you a bird's-eye view of the arena and letting you drop death from above on groups of enemies wielding helicopter-unfriendly RPGs. Both items came in handy as the squad battled to the roof, detonated explosives on a broadcast tower, and jumped into a waiting chopper.
But as you try and flee the scene, your chopper comes under attack from some formidable gunships, and you have to man a mini-gun to try and take them out. But where CoD can excel at showing damage to enemy soldiers (just watch the Killcam a few times in multiplayer; it may not be entirely accurate, but it's spectacular), there was no realistic trail of damage across the enemies we were firing upon. But the A.I. in both our chopper and the enemy birds did use a towering skyscraper as cover, and our ship took a lot of fire while downing the foes.
The scene then shifted to Canary Wharf in London, where your team is sent on a covert mission into a dark dock, where you're supported by air units above while you stealth in and take out sentries throughout scattered warehouses and buildings. From time to time, air support will drop in to rake fire across enemy strongholds in moments that looked slightly scripted. Enemies would begin to pour steadily out of one doorway, but a ship would drop in to take them out. Not that it's not appreciated. The entire level was a mixture of stealth and run and gun, but quickly shifted as you realize the entire setup is a trap.
The battle then shifts to the tube system below London, where the battle ends up derailing a subway car, which results in a spectacular explosion. Although one strange thing about that subway: it oddly barrels through subway stations with civilians lining the tracks who look shocked as you race past with guns blazing. Are you going to take the train while a large-scale battle is playing out in your city? Personally, I'd rather walk. Especially when you see that crash and wonder how anyone could possibly survive.
Bowling said the campaign is all about "cinematic intensity," and that the game is "locked in" at 60 frames per second. They're bringing Spec Ops back into the game, which was a popular co-op addition in Modern Warfare 2, and new multiplayer game modes that they'll be talking about at a later date. It will truly be interesting to see what happens when this goes head to head with EA's Battlefield 3 later this year. But don't shed a tear for Activision. While it does look like more of the same, that's exactly what Modern Warfare fans (and I include myself in that bunch) expect from the game. You don't rebuild a trilogy entirely in the last installment. Based on the little bit we've seen thus far, it seems gamers will be quite happy blasting their way through this title.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 will be released on November 8, 2011 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and the PC.