previews\ Jun 3, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 - 360 - Preview

E3 2009 PreviewE3 2008 GameZone Previews

Infinity Ward has done it again … amazingly so. Just when you start thinking that the latest iteration in the Call of Duty general franchise can’t look any better, Infinity Ward proves that idea to be totally wrong.

Activision was showing off Modern Warfare 2, the sequel to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, during the Electronic Entertainment Exposition in Los Angeles with a special media viewing behind closed doors. There was no trailer, just a level called ‘Cliffhanger’ that was demonstrated by IW’s Robert Bowling. In a word – wow!

Modern Warfare 2 resets the visceral bar, with fantastic facial animations, and NPC animations that are a combination of motion capture and hand animated but are smooth, lifelike and fast.

The environment details almost stole the demonstration. In the Cliffhanger setting, players start off on the face of a mountain and do a little scaling up the icy side of a wall using picks. As each pick buries the end into the ice, you see the cracks; move too slow and the ice breaks loose and your character (‘Roach’) will fall. The missions were given by the senior enlisted man on the mission, your partner. Essentially Roach and MacTavish were to penetrate a mountain-top airbase and blow up the fuel depot. While on the top of the mountain, a bit of a snow flurry moves in, which really highlighted the newest technology applied to the game – streaming textures.

Modern Warfare 2 Xbox 360 screenshots

Of course, no CoD mission is easy and the assault soon turns into a running gun battle. Bowling deftly picked off a would-be attacker coming at Roach on a snowmobile. The snowmobile, once its driver was killed, did not merely slow down and stop, but careened wildly, striking and killing Roach.

Oh well, there is the auto-save respawn point …

The snowmobile avoided, Roach and MacTavish slide down a hill, still pursued by foot soldiers and snowmobile-driving soldiers. A couple of the snowmobile drivers are picked off and the snowmobiles are appropriated by the good guys for their escape.

With the roar of the snowmobile engines filling the air, the flight to freedom was on; but, of course, not without challenge. Roach was driving with his right hand and shooting his pistol at attackers (also on snowmobiles) with his left – all while avoiding the attacks from helicopters and the trees that dotted the escape path.

It was truly an amazing moment in the level and for the series on a whole. The world is larger in Modern Warfare 2, and the entire game runs at 60 frames per second.

Modern Warfare 2 will release on the 360, PC and PS3 on November 10th.


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