Call of Duty XP is opening up to the public in Los Angeles, and despite the dizzying number of events and attractions, the real star of the show is the chance for fans to get their hands on Modern Warfare 3's competitive multiplayer mode. If you're not in town for the festivities, though, fear not: We already have a thorough video demo courtesy of executive producer Mark Rubin, and we have the chance to play the game for ourselves. So take a look at the video below, and read on for some news on what's new, what has changed, and what's gone in Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer.
Microsoft opened up its 2010 E3 press conference with a bang; multiple explosions, in fact, thanks to a look at a demo of Treyarch's upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops. The two-part demo gave us a taste of the dramatic swings in mood and action for Black Ops, which puts the action on so-called military "deniable ops."
The demo level took place in what looked to be a South Asian jungle, and the opening portion featured some tunnel action--with the player crawling through a series of claustrophobia-inducing tunnels and encountering a series of close-quarters encounters along the way. Eventually, the soldiers made their way out of the tunnels and encountered an open encampment, full of enemy soldiers and heavy equipment like tanks and, most importantly, a Hind helicopter.
After popping a few grenades to create some destruction (and distraction), the player ran down into the clearing, dealt with the remaining enemies, and headed off to commandeer the Hind. You and your copilot take off and are greeted by the gorgeous jungle environments. Unfortunately, you've got no time to enjoy the scenery because you'll be beset by enemy fire as you wind your way around a river bed. The Hind is armed with missiles and a wicked machine gun cannon on its nose, and you'll put both to good use in your escape, taking out bridges, antiaircraft positions, enemy helicopters, and, finally, what looks to be an oil pipeline.
To say the least, the resulting explosions from all this rampant destruction were visually impressive, as were some of the close calls the helicopter managed during enemy missile strikes. The mix of gritty in-your-face combat on the ground and exciting action sequences in the air also made an impression, and we can't wait to get our hands on Black Ops later this week to see how Treyarch's latest game is coming along.
As one of the most critically acclaimed shooters of all time, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is a prime example of a tough act to follow. Yet, amidst a raging storm of anticipation and expectation, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has done it. The new campaign is chock-full of intense action and dramatic moments, and though it is more muddled than its predecessor (in more ways than one), it's still an absolute blast. The new Special Ops mode allows you to experience some campaign-inspired thrills with a friend and it's an engaging challenge to coordinate your maneuvers and tackle the varied objectives. Last but not least, the competitive multiplayer that took the online shooter community by storm two years ago is back and better than ever. Though the addictive action remains the same at its core, there are a host of new elements that make it more accessible, more strategic, and more rewarding. This all adds up to a thoroughly excellent package that is sure to thrill shooter fans and deprive them of sleep for months to come.
The campaign picks up where its predecessor left off, and there's a new violent ultranationalist terrorist on the scene. Once again, you play as a few different soldiers who are part of the effort to make the world a safer place. Your missions take you around the world to a number of exotic locations and engage you in a variety of different conflicts, ranging from stealthy and silenced to crowded and cacophonous. The action is smooth and exhilarating, thanks to sharp shooting and movement mechanics that allow you to be as quick and deadly as your skills permit. Environments are well-designed and detailed, though many textures don't look particularly good upon close inspection. Modern Warfare 2 isn't a beautiful game, but it looks great in action. The diverse levels not only provide varied sights, but they are cleverly designed to allow the action to flow at an exciting pace. Opportunities for cover and flanking present themselves naturally, allowing you to move through the battlefield in a variety of fluid ways. The aggressive enemy AI will keep you on your toes, and success is hard-earned and satisfying.
Modern Warfare 2's campaign, like that of its predecessor, is quite short, and you'll likely finish it in about five hours. Though it is disappointing that there isn't more of it, what you do get is a relentless barrage of tight combat and thrilling set pieces. In one early level, you man the turret of a Humvee patrolling the claustrophobic streets of a Middle Eastern city. Enemies seem to be behind every corner, but you are ordered not to fire until fired upon. The tension builds, and once you are engaged by the enemy, all hell breaks loose. After a hectic (and unsuccessful) flight from danger, you end up fighting door-to-door in the streets and ruined buildings. This frantic combat ratchets up when you head to the slums of Rio de Janeiro, and reaches a whole new level when you find yourself engaged in similarly intense firefights on the grassy lawns and paved driveways of suburban America. The fight on the homefront has some very cool moments, but it doesn't mean you're done adventuring abroad. A dramatic prison rescue, a marine infiltration, and a snowmobile chase are just some of the other exhilarating moments that make this campaign so enjoyable.
Though completing the campaign is an intensely satisfying and exciting endeavor, you may not feel very triumphant when all is said and done. Modern Warfare 2 features some dark plot turns, and your missions sometimes have drastic unintended consequences. In one mission in particular, you infiltrate a terrorist cell and are called upon to do the kind of things that terrorists do. What follows is a neutered attempt at portraying the grim reality of terrorism, and concessions are put in place here and elsewhere to keep the plot from getting too dark. Despite these limits, the scene in question is undeniably disturbing and it undermines your sense of having the moral high ground. The game gives you the option to skip this particular level entirely, but the shocking consequences of this grim mission ripple throughout the game, making it difficult to feel like a hero. Subsequent developments further muddle your overall objective, and it doesn't help that many of the subtleties and connecting threads are mumbled during voice-overs between missions. The plot ends up being a bit disorienting, and you may get the feeling that, rather than being the tip of the spear, you are just along for the ride.
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