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Modern Warfare 3 Multiplayer Preview

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Posted by: Robert Workman

Last night, during the calm before what will eventually be the storm, Activision hosted a media event for certain attendees for Modern Warfare 3. Though the campaign wasn’t available to play, we did get a chance to go for a ride in Spec Ops and multiplayer – and came away thoroughly entertained.

The gameplay is incredibly intense – which is expected from a Modern Warfare style of game. As we played through our sessions, they didn’t come up short on any level of excitement. The pure thrill of competition remains, whether it’s fragging someone unexpectedly as they come running up the hill or working alongside a friend as soldiers and bomb dogs (yes, BOMB DOGS) rampantly try to kill you from all directions. Sledgehammer Games and Infinity Ward continue to make good on their part in this department.

What’s new? Plenty. First off, a new perk called Kill Confirmed adds a challenging new perk to the match. When soldiers die on the battlefield, they leave behind a set of dog tags, and both teams can set out to collect them over the course of each match. If you collect the dog tags for your teammates, the opponents are denied the credit for the kill. If you pick up opponents’ dog tags, you confirm the kill and score more points for your team. It’s interesting, but we could easily see players setting up traps around the dog tags, as we learned by walking right into gunfire as we went to go retrieve them during one stage. No matter – it’s a great new addition.

Another huge, new addition to the multiplayer is the Strike Package. Three are available to choose from, each with their own advantages in combat. You’ve got Assault, which is more about big combat and action; Support, which offers its own fair share of aggression but forces you to focus with your teammates, rather than going all gung-ho; and Specialist, which gives you access to huge perks, but forces you to fight on your own. Out of all these, we’re really liking Specialist the most, as you can unlock all six perks at once, making yourself quite a force in battle. You’ll need to rack up eight kills in order to get to this point, but experienced players should have no problem reaching this point. The only downside is that you need to start all over again when you get killed. Luckily, your kill streak can remain intact once you’re killed – a huge plus if you’re trying to build up the body count.

Along with these match types and additions, you’ll also have the ability to customize your private matches however you please. Activision showed off a number of options you can turn on and off over the course of the match. What’s more, you can also share these match type settings with others online, and see what they think of your set of rules.

Last but definitely not least, there’s Weapon Proficiency, in which you can level up your weapons in the game and make them more powerful. This is a first for Modern Warfare, and will definitely pick up the heat of battle.

As for the maps, we only saw a small handful of what’s being offered in the game, but they’re quite entertaining. The first takes place in a torn-apart shopping mall, with two bombs placed in the center of it, one above and one below. We played in a match against those trying to set off these bombs, and found ourselves in tight corners and wide-open spaces taking down enemies. The second is a village with dusty corridors, ramshackled buildings and plenty of opportunities to frag both above and below. One particular “hot spot” is a cave where you can easily camp out and take down enemies without being seen (unless they get you from behind, of course). These maps are expertly designed (duh, Infinity Ward) and continue the trend of Modern Warfare greatness.

The graphics look very good at this point in development. The game continues the trend of fast, realistic movement, going at a rampant 60 frames per second without any sort of error. Soldiers look awesome, especially when they clump over following a headshot. The sound is equally impressive, with lots of gunfire and player chatter to keep us busy. During one hilarious point of the evening, we found ourselves yelling in headsets during a match, only to come up with a contest regarding who could say Darth Vader’s “noooooo” better – I lost, go figure.

As for Spec Ops, it’s quite thrilling. Each new wave that we came across turned into a bigger nightmare we tried to survive, but luckily we still had access to a weapons locker as well as other goods to stay alive. An assault rifle is ideal here, and having a few grenades on hand doesn’t hurt either. The AI is somewhat aggressive, even though we prefer taking on real folks in combat. You and your friends are sure to like this mode when it comes out.

Modern Warfare 3 is definitely taking shape when it comes to its multiplayer and Spec Ops co-op components. The rock solid presentation will wow you, and the gameplay and new additions should keep you busy for months at a time. We’ll see how the final game – and the campaign – fares when the game ships November 8. Be prepared for battle.

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