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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Preview

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Preview

Platform: Xbox 360
Category: First Person Shooter

While in Los Angeles at the Call of Duty XP event, myself along with a glut of other media outlets were treated to a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Multiplayer Preview event just before the start of the XP madness. The event took place Thursday evening (September 1st, 2011) at the Call of Duty XP compound. Before we all got a chance to get some hands-on time with the game we were treated to a briefing which ran over all the new things we can expect with the Multiplayer aspect of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

The briefing outlined all the reasons why the development teams and Activision believe Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (which hits shelves worldwide on November 8th) will deliver the best CoD experience to date. They promise a deeper experience and a multiplayer experience that will raise the bar by focusing on fast-paced, gun-on-gun combat, along with innovative new features that support and enhance different styles of play. Epic realism, ultimate adrenaline rush, easy to play but hard to master and 60 frames per second are the four principles the development teams have maintained since the start of the franchise. This explains why Call of Duty remains an immersive and smooth experience year after year.

This years CoD multiplayer experience is focused on getting new comers back into the game and enjoying. In years past, new CoD online gamers often spend a lot of time getting their butt kicked. MW3 promises to re-focus on gun gameplay and balancing the playing field. The developers have made efforts to balance nearly every element in the game. The commando perk is gone along with the last stands perk. Instead MW3 has introduced Strike Packages.

In fact, the single biggest thing we can expect in MW3 Multiplayer is the Strike Packages. Killstreaks have been redesigned to reward different play styles and skill levels through unique Strike Packages. Completing game mode objectives now count towards your Pointstreak progression. For the first time ever, kills are not the only way to earn Pointstreaks. There are three strike packages in the game: Assault, Support and Specialists. With the Assault Strike Package, pointstreaks within this package chain are designed for more direct damage (Predator, helicopter, etc), just like in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Your streak resets on death with the Assault package. Support Strike Package pointstreaks do not chain but streaks do not reset on death. Streaks are more support oriented (UAV, Counter UAV, SAM turret, etc). Finally, Specialist Strike Package are designed for the expert players. Rewards come in the form of additional perks. A player activates additional Perks as they progress in a Pointsreak. These perks last until death.

‘Balance’ was a key theme throughout the presentation as the developers want to not only keep the maps as balanced as possible but they want to make the game more enjoyable for the casual and new CoD online games. The ability to keep kill streaks even after you die is one way of balancing the playing field. Make no doubt about it the hardcore CoD gamers will continue to rack kills, but new comers should be able to produce more kills a little better than before.

For those that enjoy certain guns in the game, these guns will now become more comfortable and perform better for you the more you use them. In short, MW3 evolves your gun progression and features more than 40 of the most high-speed weapons that are either in-use or being field-tested by special forces. The new weapon progression is designed to improve specific weapon leveling unlocks (attachments, reticules, and camos) and Weapon Proficiencies. Weapon Proficiencies allow players to specialize their weapons with new attributes (some unique to weapon classes).

MW 3 will also feature a couple more game modes on top of the already extensive list of modes. Fan favorite game modes return such as Free-for-All, Team Death Match, and Domination but MW 3 will feature Kill Confirmed mode and Team Defender. Kill Confirmed mode is all about collecting dog tags from killed players. Once you kill a player you then have to run over to the virtual dog tags floating in the air and confirm they are dead. You can also deny the kill if you managed to get to your team mates dog tag before the enemy confirms the kill. Grabbing these dog tags also earns you XP. This mode certainly adds a new level of strategy to the game. It is just as important to get the kill as it is to confirm the kill in this mode. Team Defender is also a new mode where you grab the flag and protect the flag carrier to increase your team’s score. It is a variant to previous game modes we have played but a nice little addition nonetheless.

Modern Warfare 3 will support dedicated servers from the first day the game launches. Players will be able to browse, filter, favorite, and join MW3 dedicated servers of their choice. Players will be able to setup their own server and administer their MW3 dedicated servers with direct control over features such as game rules, setup and ban lists. This should hopefully, knock on wood, result in less party drops which has certainly been an issue in the big party games I have played on the West Coast.

Special Ops makes its return in Modern Warfare 3 with a bunch of additions. Survival Mode makes it first appearance in the series and is much like Gears of War’s Horde mode where you face waves of attacking enemies. All 16 multiplayer maps will be available to play on this mode which is very cool and great for those who want to become accustomed to the maps before they jump into advesarial mode. Mission Mode returns allowing players to team up with a friend locally or online for 16 new time-trial and objective-based missions. An independent rank progression system within Special Ops which spans both Mission and Survival based on the rank progression players encounter in multiplayer.

One thing I noticed when playing the multiplayer game was the new animations. Character animations have been improved and the character movements are more life-like than ever before. Once again the multiplayer maps look incredible. I also noticed the verticality in each level. In each map you will be looking up, and down and around every corner. You never get too comfortable as enemies could be located at every corner or at every perch. Flat maps seem to be non existent in MW3.

In terms of other additions, MW3 will also feature a new prestige shop for emblems, and other items. There will also be in-game loyalty rewards for those who have played previous Call of Duty games.

Call of Duty Elite was also all the buzz at show. Everyone will have access to the core, for lack of a better word, elite experience. Elite will include Facebook integration where you can invite friends to a game through Facebook. You can also join groups such as a snipers group, music fan groups, shotgun fanatic groups, etc. Yes there is even a campers group. The community of Call of Duty has never been so well defined. There will also be a mobile app so you can stay close to your community where ever you go or just admire you stats or kill videos. Everyone gets Elite right out of the box. The free service gets you quite a bit but the paid service has some sizable benefits.

For those that pick up the premium package for 50 bucks you will get all the DLC and you get it early. So you save 10 bucks and get all the maps early. Every month you will get a couple of maps or at least that is what it appears you will get. You also get 8X more video capacity
for saving all your favorite kills or best online moments. You can also win prizes being a premium elite member and have access to analysis which will give you tips on how to improve your game. Clans can also level up their clans by competing in tournaments.

The multiplayer CoD game in MW3 plays very much like previous CoD games as it remains as smooth as ever. Maps such as ‘Underground’ features a tremendous amount of detail. Underground takes place in an abandoned London subway station. There are also surrounding streets where the fire fights also take place. There are platforms to travel across and some tight quarters for up close battles. The billboards present throughout the platform areas are simply stunning. The level of details is incredible with this map. Everything from Double-Decker bus to the London Ambulance, MW3’s multiplayer game looks like a visually stunning experience. And did I mention it is enjoyable? Given I played against some very good players in the past couple of days, I was still able to hold my own and the CoD is just as fun as ever. The online gameplay stays true to the franchise recipe for success. It is fast, a rush and addicting as heck. There is no question MW3 will be the deepest multiplayer experience to date as the choices and options are endless. Will it feel like the same old for many? Yes it will; but hey if it aint broke…..


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