|System: PS3, PC, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games|
|Release: November 8, 2011|
|Players: 1 - 2+ Online|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
It's no exaggeration to say that the Call of Duty series has become a signature franchise for this console generation. It has sold the most units, is almost synonymous with online gaming, and has garnered a following that can't be rivaled with anything else we've seen thus far. With that in mind, we look to the third iteration of Call of Duty's Modern Warfare series to bring us a cinematic style of gameplay that will hopefully move the series forward with amazing gameplay, visuals, and, of course, an unforgettable multiplayer experience.
We recently got the chance to preview some early gameplay footage behind closed doors at a press-only Activision event, and we can definitely say that from what we've seen, Modern Warfare 3 is going to live by the mantra "Bigger is Better".
The Modern Warfare series has always taken place on a global scale, and this trend is certainly continuing in Modern Warfare 3. We were able to watch a playthrough of two early levels—one in the United States, and one in England—and were told that there would be many more locations revealed at a later date. If you want to do some virtual globetrotting, it looks like Modern Warfare 3 will help you do just that. The game takes place directly after Modern Warfare 2, and the gameplay we saw in the American location takes place very early in the game's timeline. It's pretty intense. The player's objective is to get across the streets of New York and into the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. However, with the city burning around you, it's easier said than done.
The landscape we saw was extremely detailed, giving us an absolutely beautiful view of war-torn America. As the player was dropped into battle, the action picked up immediately. Enemies came from behind nearly every corner, and the player had to keep alert at all times. The game's pacing is impeccable. Even though there's rarely a moment where the action lets up, it doesn't just feel like you are moving from firefight to firefight. There's some real content in between battles, and everything flows in an intelligent manner. After getting through several moderate action pieces and firefights, we saw a scripted event that involved taking a helicopter ride. But as Modern Warfare 3 is set to do everything bigger, this wasn't going to be just an ordinary chopper ride. Both friendly and enemy choppers crashed around the landscape, and there were so many explosions you might think this was a Michael Bay film.
The next area we saw was London. Unlike the scene we saw in New York, London was covered in darkness and there were a lot more possibilities for stealth gameplay than there was in the first stage. Of course, that went out the window as our team fought their way down into London's famous Underground, getting into an amazing chase involving a pickup truck and several Underground trains. The animation was fast, and the action was relentless. Keeping the pace frantic seemed to be a big goal for the Modern Warfare 3 team (which includes Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Studios) and from what we've seen, that is one goal that is certainly going to be accomplished in Modern Warfare 3.
Unfortunately, we didn't see much else at the event, and we weren't able to pick up a controller to play the thing ourselves. However, we did learn quite a bit about the single-player campaign just by looking at these few stages. First up, the main shooting mechanics haven't changed. Why mess with a formula that works? Secondly, all these rumors about an outdated engine and sub-par visuals were completely false. The screens we saw the game on were ridiculously large, and the detail we saw in the visuals was impeccable. Animations and framerate all stayed consistent throughout, and there were no breaks in between combat and triggered events.
From what we've seen, it looks like Modern Warfare 3 is firing on all cylinders and is poised to break its own records when it releases this November. We actually know a bit more about Modern Warfare 3 (specifically, the multiplayer aspect) but we're going to have to keep our secrets for just a little bit longer, so make sure to check back once E3 rolls around for the latest news on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer