Gamescom 2011: Hands-on with Modern Warfare 3

So Activision has this little game coming out on 8 November 2011; it’s called Modern Warfare 3. You might have heard of it. During Gamescom 2011 I got the chance to play two rounds of multiplayer with different partners: a round of Spec Ops and a round of the new Survival Mode.

Both rounds were played on networked consoles so none of that split-screen nonsense. We each had headphones with microphones for voice-chat; too bad my German wasn’t up to scratch because my second partner’s English was a little rusty. Regardless, we somehow managed to last ten waves in Survival and I still maintain that the only phrase you really need to know when visiting Cologne is “ein Kölsch bitte.”

The Spec Ops mission that we played through was called Invisible Threat. I was tasked with clearing a number of IEDs from a section of road that was littered with debris and abandoned cars. Flanking each side of the road were tall office buildings and burnt out rooms. My partner sat on top of one of the buildings; I didn’t actually see him at all throughout the round, but he spotted the IEDs which then appeared on my HUD. He also provided covering sniper fire and was able to call in missile strikes when things started to get too hairy.

The mission was pretty intense as I ran from cover to cover, firing at the continuous waves of enemies streaming onto the street. Were it not for the plethora of headshots my partner was pulling off, I would have been killed in an instant. Disarming IEDs was as simple as finding them and holding down a button, which left me vulnerable for about eight seconds.

As mentioned earlier, Modern Warfare 3 will feature a new multiplayer mode called Survival Mode. Think World at War and Black Ops zombie mode just without the zombies and without having to continually replace barricades.

I played through ten waves of Survival Mode on a map called Paris Map, which featured tight cobbled streets with numerous buildings and stairways. Gun fights were close quartered and vicious. You begin Survival Mode with a hand gun but you can pick up weapons that are dropped by enemies. As is the norm in this sort of multiplayer mode, subsequent waves get harder and harder; at one point we were up against two helicopter gunships, which was tough as hell but a lot of fun.

Each kill nets you cash which can then be spent on new weapons and helpful odds and ends like sentry guns. Enemies spawn in groups at different locations on the map. Fortunately you can see them on your mini map, but it’s disconcerting as hell seeing dozens of red dots all converging on your position from every angle. Even worse is when those dots are heralded by the ominous sound of attack dogs barking as they approach. There were some definite butt-clenching moments during my hands-on time with this mode, and I look forward to getting straight back into it in November.

My hands-on time with these two multiplayer modes left me eager for more. I’ve always been more inclined towards co-operative multiplayer games rather than the larger competitive ones. It’s good to see that Modern Warfare 3 will continue the Spec Ops game mode that initially appeared in the previous title, but the addition of Survival Mode is the cherry on top.