Call of Duty is possibly the biggest video game franchise ever. For all the Marios and Halos in the world, nothing can quite compare to the frenzy that occurs when a new Call of Duty title hits the shelves. It should be no big surprise that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is already set to be one of the most anticipated titles of the year. While the big info about Modern Warfare 3 is still under wraps for the moment, Activision gave us a sneak peak at what the game will offer. We didn't see anything dramatically surprising, but Modern Warfare 3 looks to deliver exactly what it promises: more of the same exciting Call of Duty action.
Our look at Modern Warfare 3 begins in a downed chopper on the streets of New York City. You're a member of Delta Team and are one of the many soldiers caught in the war for the city. Russian troops have invaded, and it's up to you to stop them. The first few moments of the demo are pretty striking. Modern Warfare 3 doesn't shy away from busy battles; a fight in the middle of battle-damaged New York City is definitely a striking visual. The buildings and streets show the signs of heavy battle, and jeeps, tanks and other vehicles are parked haphazardly around the area. The sounds of gunfire echo almost constantly in the background, and it's clear that Delta Team is merely one part of a much larger fight.
The battle begins on the streets, with the player slowly advancing against what seems like an unending swarm of Russian troops. The goal is to get to Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange, but it's more difficult than it sounds. The city paths are blocked off by numerous Russian soldiers, and they're supported by heavy artillery. The fighting eventually moves to a crumbling building, where the collapsing floors provide convenient shortcuts past the Russian defenses. There are fewer soldiers inside, and Delta Team can make use of the terrain in battle. For example, you can throw a flashbang grenade through a closed door and force your way inside while the enemy is dazed, allowing you to get the drop on the enemies without a fight.
Eventually, the fighting moves through a ruined store and out to Wall Street. Helicopters fly overhead, and the battle seems to be getting more intense as we finally found our goal. There's a radio jammer on the roof of the stock exchange, and it's preventing the use of more advanced weapons and technology. If it can be taken out, the tide of the battle may change. Along the way, you'll also spot the occasional television showing news reports from outside of New York City. It's clear that the situation is bad, as reporters are referring to the fight as "America's Last Stand."
The player then actually goes through the stock exchange and gets into a pitched firefight with a group of soldiers. The stock exchange is a shell of its former self, with shattered monitors and discarded paper littering the once-busy room. On the rooftop, the soldiers discover the source of the electronic interference that is blocking most of their advanced weaponry: a radar-like jamming device guarded by a crack team of soldiers. The firefight continues, with the soldiers dropping enemies left and right until the player can plant some explosives on the jamming device. One dramatic boom later, and the interference dries up.
This is where things start to get really fun. Now that the jamming device has been destroyed, players have access to a Reaper drone, which is a high-tech guided missile that can be used with a portable computer. Activating it gives the player an overhead view of the fight, complete with glowing red crosshairs for each nearby enemy. With the touch of a button, the camera begins to zoom in … and in … and it becomes apparent that the drone is rocketing to the nearest cluster of enemies. The camera cuts out, and there's a loud explosion, and suddenly half the attacking enemies are dead. A second Reaper drone later, and the rooftops are cleared, allowing a helicopter to come in and pick up the Deltas.
The fight doesn't end there, though. As soon as he gets into the chopper, the player takes control of a mounted Gatling gun and takes to the air to rain death and destruction upon the hapless foes below. That's how it goes until one of the Russian attack choppers comes at you. From there, the battle turns into a frantic aerial dogfight over the streets of New York. The fight finally ends with both choppers firing at each other through the skeletal structure of a half-finished building. The player manages to down the enemy chopper, although his own helicopter takes a hit and spins wildly out of control. It's only a few moments before things settle down and the stage ends.
The second part of the demo takes place in London. This time, players are thrust into the role of Marcus Burns, a member of the SAS. Burns and his squad are sent after a group of enemies holed up in Canary Wharf in London. Their mission begins with a quiet infiltration. Marcus and the others are armed with silenced weapons and move through the London streets with dangerous efficiency. Several of the enemies fall to the player, but others are silently sniped before you can even draw a bead on them, a brief flash of red laser sight dots the only warning they have a moment before their untimely demise. It's a surprisingly intense sequence, if just for how quickly it goes by. It only takes the soldiers a few moments to wipe out most of the opposition.
Unfortunately, it can't last. Despite the stealthy infiltration, Marcus and his teammates are eventually spotted, and the firefight breaks out in earnest. Most of this sequence is a pretty straightforward Call of Duty set piece, with enemies pouring out from every nook and cranny to stop your assault. Things really get dramatic when several bad guys try to flee from the scene. The player hops into the backseat of a nearby truck while one of the AI partners takes control of it and zooms after them. After a moment, the chase ends up in an underground subway. Marcus has to shoot down bad guys in other trucks while speeding subway cars pass narrowly on every side. After a few intense moments, the truck crashes, and the second part of the demo ends.
Most of the information about Modern Warfare 3 is still under wraps. The few bits of available information are rather expected. The focus of Modern Warfare 3 is on epic scale and urban combat. Since America and other countries are embroiled in a massive war, the scale of the game is set to reflect that, and the battle for New York is a great example. While Call of Duty has certainly had some impressive set pieces before, there's certainly something dramatic about seeing battles break out in familiar sights like the NYSE. There's a lot of effort being put into making sure the game looks as good as possible. We're told the game is locked at 60 FPS, and they won't compromise on that. Also confirmed is that the game will feature single-player, SpecOps and multiplayer game modes, although the details on those are still forthcoming.
From what we've seen, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 certainly looks amazing. Part of that is due to the 60 FPS visuals, which look top-notch, but it's also because of excellent set piece design. The destruction of New York City is a common sight in video games, but Modern Warfare 3 manages to make it exciting and thrilling all over again. The subway chase may have been on rails, but it was still thrilling to watch. Infinity Ward and Activision seem to realize that there are a lot of expectations riding on the latest addition to the franchise, and they're looking to make it the best one to date.
More articles about Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3