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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – E3 Impressions

June 9, 2011 Written by Jonathan Leack

Call of Duty has been the product of choice for millions of holiday shoppers for the past few years, and Modern Warfare 3 is the next in line. It was officially announced only weeks ago, and now we’ve had our chance to really see if it has anything new in store during a behind-closed-doors demonstration.

Just as with the improvements to the last Modern Warfare iteration, this time around the set pieces are larger than before. New York was the location of choice for the demonstration, and was shown in full authority. Soldiers boarded a Russian sub, blew it up and then escaped to a the nearly destroyed New York City. Action sequences have upped the ante, with explosions at every corner, and appeared as fluid as in the previous release. The underwater portion of the demo was something new for the series, and provided a strong, albeit lengthy, introduction to what became an intense operation.

The developer then showed a new mission, ‘Mind the Gap’, set in London. ‘Mind the Gap’ starts in a UAV drone high above the enemy facility with a clear view of the terrain and the odds. Then, we were shown a special-ops team that must infiltrate an enemy base. Combat was more open ended than the first level, but was still much more closed than other shooters.

Modern Warfare 3’s visuals, from animations to style, were extremely similar to the previous release, not showing a huge leap in graphics. The chaotic feel of firefights and action sequences are amplified by thundering audio and exaggerated effects. On-rail moments are back, and are also intensified. Levels are obviously linear, with the game funnelling you from one set piece to the next. Imagine a train shooting off of the tracks in an underground passageway, taking out dozens of pillars as you avoided its devastation, and you have yourself one of several impressive moments shown in the trailer.

As with the presentation, gameplay derives directly from previous Modern Warfare releases. Sights are still much preferred over hip-firing, and the range of weapons is varied. This is a modern setting, so much of the arsenal is back from previous releases, but there are a few new goodies as well. Picking off enemies with gunfire and grenades is still as easy as ever, and the moderate aim-assist ensures you’ll be able to take out dozens of combat-equipped enemies at a time.

The tale here is that the game shouldn’t stray far at all from the proven formula of the Modern Warfare series. Unless major changes take place before release, this will be what many expect: a smooth, polished shooter that doesn’t try too hard to innovate, but builds in size. As usual, it’ll give you enough reasons to play through the campaign before you hop online and squad up with your friends when it releases this November.