It's fair to say that Modern Warfare 3 is getting its fair share of coverage this autumn, with the recent Call of Duty XP event in Los Angeles attracting hordes of fans and masses of internet coverage as well as the TV and online advertisements being plastered across all manner of screens for a global audience. Given the backlash from the gaming community surrounding the Call of Duty franchise and Activision's perceived unwillingness to innovate within the series, coupled with the threat this year of Battlefield 3's impending release, it's fair to say that a lot is riding on this iteration of the Modern Warfare series being the best yet.
One of the key features being promoted for Modern Warfare 3 is the re-appearance of Spec Ops, the co-operative mission-based mode designed to fill the gap left by the hugely successful zombies maps. While MW2 based the objectives solely around elimination of enemies, the third instalment introduces survival-based gameplay which plays just as though the zombies from Black Ops were given an adrenaline boost and a pile of assault rifles. I got a chance to get my hands on this new mode at GAMEfest, and came away mightily impressed.
I was playing alongside a friendly Activision promo staff member who; after ascertaining that I was a fairly experienced COD player, guided me through the initial rounds, how to purchase weapons and ammo (which works on a currency system very similar to zombies) and also how the enemies upgraded after each round. Since the controls are identical to MW2 the game will prove easy to pick up and play for the majority of gamers, and we were soon ploughing through wave after wave of advancing militia, enemy troops and dogs with C4 strapped to them. The action was fast-paced and frantic, and it certainly made a welcome change of pace.
I didn't get much of a chance to look at the graphics, but what I saw was very similar to Modern Warfare 2 with fairly identical character models and textures. Activision have confirmed that the game will be locked at 60 frames-per-second so at least the action and gunplay will be smooth, and the explosions and gunfire audio was extremely loud and atmospheric. If you're a fan of the COD style then you'll feel right at home, but those hoping for a direct comparison to the now-infamous Battlefield 3 trailers may be disappointed.
But my experience of Spec Ops was extremely fun, and the full version will feature objective, elimination and survival modes all available in co-operative, and will no doubt form a key pillar to the Modern Warfare 3 experience when it launches across multiple platforms on November 8th.