Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Multiplayer Impressions -- New Weapons, Strike Packages, And More!By G4 Staff - Posted Sep 02, 2011
Starting today, Call of Duty lovers from all over the country are pouring into Los Angeles for Activision’s COD extravaganza in celebration of the little heard of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Call of Duty XP officially kicks off today, but last night, members of the press were invited to a pre-XP event filled with news, announcements, and most importantly plenty of hands-on time with MW3’s multiplayer to check out a new Spec Ops map and a new mode called Kill Confirmed. Following a few hours of friendly fragging, a few of our editors hunkered down in a bombed out bunker to record their initial impressions. This is their story.
Kevin Kelly -- Unwilling To Sleep When There Are Games To Be Played
I can already picture the comments on this post hammering out in the thread below, where people will be coming in to say "OMFG Call of Duty sucks! Battlefield rules!" But, I like to live in a world where both games can be awesome, and can coexist peacefully (in war) together. Am I right? Although with that credo in mind, holy crap. Modern Warfare 3 is pretty freakin' amazing.
Right after our opening presentation was finished, there was a pell mell rush for the machines so we could start getting our multiplayer on. Thankfully, there were more than enough stations present, so no one was jostling for the right to man a gun and start killing. The first match I jumped into was a Team Deathmatch on Underground, which is a medium to small map located in a tube station in London. It's halfway under construction, and the map offers up a layout that is part outdoors, part inside offices, and part in suspended walkways. It's a great mixture of different areas, and as the top of the station is all glass, running inside doesn't offer much protection. Our team won handily, and between matches I tinkered with my Assault class Strike Packages, figuring out exactly what I wanted to bring to the table.
- NEWS: COD XP, Modern Warfare 3 News Wrap-Up -- No More Killstreaks, New Death Streaks, Kill Confirmed, And More
Create A Class feels more robust with the Strike Packages and the classes, and where I haven't dived into the Killsteaks menu in Call of Duty: Black Ops or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in a long time, I can see myself constantly tuning and adjusting on the fly to change things up between matches. I also changed my main weapon and added the Hybrid Sight, which gives you a 4x scope that can fold over the the side and reveal a plain red dot sight. You just thumb left on the d-pad to activate this, and it was definitely my most favorite attachment. You can also choose a weapon proficiency that allows you to add two attachments, which almost gives you three with that Hybrid Sight attached.
The first match of Kill Confirmed I jumped into was in a map called Village, which is a sprawling level around some slums in a third world country, with a cave system on the back part of the playable area. While it took some getting used to, this game mode quickly became one of our favorites. Mostly because the score can change wildly at a moment's notice. In normal Team Deathmatch when you get incredibly far behind, you just know you have no shot at winning.
Here, we were extremely far behind, but then we suddenly came back, and it was a neck and neck race down to the wire until our team won by one point. Picking up those dogtags (and also denying kills when your friends go down) is extremely important, and you realize how much of a target those tags become during the game. Sometimes, you just know you'll get shot as you rush for some, but you're desperate for the points and hope that your teammate will snatch your tags up and deny them the kill.
Watching the higher level Strike Package rewards unfold on the battlefield was terrific, and when one of your teammates becomes the Juggernaut, it's like Superman joins your team. He'll get hammered quickly and won't last forever, but if you can box your enemies into a corner with it while you provide support fire, it can be a beautiful thing. Also devious and clever was the Intelligent Munitions System, or I.M.S., which is a device that can tell if you're friend or foe, and will attack you automatically. I had no idea what this thing was when I first saw it, so I ran up to it like an idiot, and watched in wonder as a grenade flipped out of it, directly into my face. Man down. These should come in very handy in close quarters.
- VIDEO: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Multiplayer Map Guide: Check Out The Arkaden, Dome, Resistance, Underground, and Village Maps
Also incredibly devious was the Trapped Care Package, which looks exactly like a care package, except it blows up in your face. I found what looked like an enemy AC-130 care package that was unguarded, so imagine my glee as I started capturing the thing. The bar was almost full, and I was ready to rain fire down when the thing exploded and killed me. Extremely uncool and cool, both at the same time. I'm going to start using this thing whenever I can.
I could go on for another hour about everything we saw, but hey. I wasn't the only person who played the game. Check out what other G4ians had to say. Suffice it to say that as a Call of Duty fan, the game feels extremely tight, and is tons of fun.
Dana Vinson -- Most Likely To Turn Down Being On The Cover Of A Box of Wheaties
Sure, everyone appreciates the impressive Campaign offerings Modern Warfare has brought to the table year after year, but multiplayer is really the crown jewel of the series. Knowing this, Activision gave us a sneak preview of the new multiplayer features in Modern Warfare 3 at the preview night for CoD XP. CoD XP is Activision's attempt to connect with the Call of Duty community in a new way, and the fan festival is shaping up to a be a massive tribute to the popularity of the series. With over 1,200 stations in an airport hanger (the same one where Howard Hughes built the Spruce Goose), fans from all over will get a chance to go hands on with the new multiplayer features of MW3 for the first time.
While I played a bit online when Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops were released, I am far from being an expert; however, it was good to get back in the swing of getting totally handled in Team Deathmatch. With all the new maps and modes to explore, I think the thing that stood out the most for me was the new Kill Confirmed mode. In Kill Confirmed, dog tags appear over bodies after they're down. In order to gain points for your team, you have to retrieve those tags. They also appear over your body when you're shot. If your teammates claim the tags before the person who brought you down does, then it's a "Kill Denied" and your team gets the points.
What seems to be a small change really alters the gameplay strategy in a lot of interesting ways. For instance, my team and I found that it was much easier to travel in a group and take down targets as they came. That way when we went to claim tags, there were other teammates there to cover. Since the tags appear for everyone in the area, they become bullet beacons. If you try and lone wolf it, nine times out of 10, you'll find tags over your own head instead of claiming them. With the addition of proper Clans via Elite, game tweaks that focus on making it more team based are definitely welcome. Kill Confirmed may not seem like a drastic change, but it's a refreshing take and definitely a mode you'll want to test drive when the game comes out. And when the game does come out, look for me online. I'll be the one getting shot in the face. A lot.
Eric Eckstein -- Arkham Horror Investigator
There's a reason why Modern Warfare 3 is going to be the biggest game of the year, and it's not just because it has the words "Call of Duty" before it. After playing MW3 multiplayer, it's clear that Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games have evolved their already exceptionally-tuned MP game to perfection. If you hate Call of Duty multiplayer, what's changed isn't going to win you over, but if you like or love it, you'll be pleased.
I was happy to see the redesigning of killstreaks into Strike Packages. Now, if I want to play in a Support role, I can do so and have my kills carry over to reach higher levels. At CoD XP, I had two go-to favorites: the Trapped Air Drop and the Juggernaut Armor. The Trapped Air Drop is what it sounds like, a care package that you call in but when the enemy opens it, it explodes. It's absolutely brilliant and currently achievable with a low kill streak count. The Juggernaut Armor takes a bit more, currently 18 kills, but after calling it in and donning it, you'll basically be one tough SOB. Perfect for Domination maps, I just aimed my shield at players and absorbed damage while pushing forward. A couple melee bashes and whomever was in front of me was toast. I also messed around with the Remote Turret, which allows you to deploy a Sentry Turret that you can activate from afar. So if you set up a turret across the map, and then hide and snipe, you can activate it and control it remotely to kill guys somewhere else.
While Domination, CTF, and Team Deathmatch were fun, I was really impressed by the new Kill Confirmed game mode. In KC, you need to collect dog tags of the enemies your team kills for it to count, and you can retrieve the tags of your downed allies before they snag them for points as well. This allows for a lot of strategy (i.e. leaving dog tags in the open and sniping guys who run in for some "easy points"). It's also a game mode that rewards teamwork, with players moving in to grab tags while being covered by their comrades.
I also played a new Spec Ops Survival map, Paris, which debuted at Gamescom. I had played Dome at E3, so was no stranger to the Survival mechanic, but Paris offered a tighter map with easier chokepoints. The AI isn't the smartest, but it's competent enough that, once they come armed with AK-47s and body armor, it becomes a little tough. My teammate, Adam Rosenberg, and I held out for 21 rounds in our best match, but it required a deft mix of buying equipment (Claymores, Body Armor, Sentry Guns), Air Support (friendly soldiers are always your best defense; the Riot Squad with shields is even better!) and ammoing up. Between offing suicide bombers, dogs, and Juggernauts, Modern Warfare 3's Survival mode easily became one of the most addicting game types.
Clearly, I'm a Call of Duty fan boy. I really enjoy the games and how they play, but I was lukewarm on the third iteration when I saw the first demo in May. Now after the E3 demo and this multiplayer reveal, I'm back on the Modern Warfare 3 train. If only I could have swiped a Xbox 360 copy on my way out the door...it's going to be a long march to November 8.
Donell Tucker -- Video Mixmaster Supreme
Despite being tied to my capture station most of the night, I was able to break free long enough to get some hands on time with MW3, and my first thoughts about my playthrough was that it felt very similar to Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer...but better. MW2 fans will immediately notice that the game has been balanced by taking out the whole Killstreak system and replacing it with what they call, Strike Packages. Basically, instead of players just going for the kills and not playing as a true teammate, this new feature gives players who help support their teammates (by capturing a flag or supplying support items) points to activate UAVs or other support packages.
Out of all the multiplayer game modes, I really enjoyed playing the new mode, Kill Confirmed, because in this mode, you had to eliminate your opponents and collect their dog tags in order to obtain points and "confirm the kill" for your team. In that mode, I got myself a Riot Shield and moved around the map collecting dog tags to gain points. You can use that strategy when you get a chance to play that mode in multiplayer, and you're welcome. Other than that, the multiplayer felt just as fun as it did in MW2, but balancing the game mechanics for multiplayer will definitely give noobs (like me) a fighting chance when playing match after match after match.
Note: Donell spent most of the evening capturing the video that we'll be serving up to you, so send him your thanks!