Gamescom 2011: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Spec Ops Survival Preview

We fend off killer dogs and suicide bombers in this new wave-based twist on Modern Warfare co-op.

You know you've got something big on your hands when you're expecting three-hour lines for fans to play your game on the show floor. And, that's just what Activision has forecasted for the Modern Warfare 3 demo that the publisher has brought to Gamescom 2011. Fortunately, we had a chance to skip the inevitable chaos and jump into a hands-on demo of the game's new Spec Ops Survival mode before the doors open to the public tomorrow.

Spec Ops Survival is the follow-up to the similarly titled Spec Ops cooperative mode that was first introduced in Modern Warfare 2. Whereas that mode was all about two players teaming up in a series of objective-based missions, Survival uses the familiar framework of the wave-based enemy assaults seen in the likes of Gears of War's Horde mode and Halo's Firefight. The only objective for you and your teammate is to survive a potentially infinite number of enemy waves, all while earning cash and experience to upgrade your firepower.

We got to play on the Paris map, which was a medium-sized chunk of urban devastation where alleyways, bridges, and demolished houses made for some interesting routes throughout the map. Of course, you don't have to go anywhere--you just have to survive. The twist, as you might have guessed, is that the waves of enemies ramp up in difficulty and sheer ridiculousness the longer you survive. While you start against a small handful of on-foot soldiers, you eventually have to deal with attack dogs strapped with C4, heavily armored juggernauts, and even attack choppers.

The game balances this ramped-up difficulty level with a currency system that lets you buy and upgrade new equipment at a handful of crates scattered around the map. The strategy comes down to whether you want to spend a little bit of cash refilling your weapons and grenades or save up for something bigger like a grenade-launching sentry turret or an additional flak jacket to boost your armor against the impending onslaught of enemies.

We had an absolute blast with the 13 rounds of Survival that we managed to stay alive through. Yes, the waves-of-enemies framework is something that's been seen in tons of games before, but we were immediately impressed with just how well Modern Warfare's trademarks have been implemented. The breakneck pacing, the persistent unlocks, and the variety of weaponry all manage to work wonderfully even as you're staying in place, which is more or less the exact opposite of how things tend to go in the quickly moving Modern Warfare campaigns.

Some of the highlights from our time with the game included hiding under a bridge while coordinating with our teammate who was going to lure out the chopper and shoot it; the sheer level of terror that came about when we heard the escalating bark of attack dogs but couldn't see where they were coming from; and frantically running up to a second-floor balcony to unload our shotgun against the juggernaut that was too slow to match our pace. The whole formula works very well, especially when you factor in the strategy of deciding which upgrades you want to buy during the fleeting seconds between rounds.

Besides the Survival Spec Ops (which has a full leveling and unlock system separately tuned from the one found in competitive multiplayer), we had a chance to play through one of the new missions in the standard Spec Ops mode. This was an asymmetrical mission set in Berlin where our teammate was in a building sniping enemies while we were slowly lumbering through the streets defusing IEDs in a heavy juggernaut suit. This one surprised us with just how enemies were thrown our way, but we managed to take our time and fire away at them enough to find all the IEDs on the road. Initially, we made the mistake of trying to do everything ourselves, which got us killed pretty quickly. It wasn't until we let our sniper teammate handle the heavy lifting that we found success.

And that just about did it for what Activision had on display for Modern Warfare 3. Call of Duty: XP, the new convention dedicated to the blockbuster shooter franchise, is just around the corner, so you can expect to hear even more about Modern Warfare 3 before too long. Expect to see the final product released on store shelves this November.

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Discussion

247 comments
dalua360
dalua360

OH look, MW3 is everywhere here on Gamespot. Activision must have bought this website! And even after that HUGE amount of money spent on marketing, BF3 will be the best game! Pathetic !

Elite_Baller
Elite_Baller

I hate to say it but Call of Duty is beginning to be like the Madden franchise..... A recycled game year after year......

LittleChatelain
LittleChatelain

So you fight an endless stream of dumb enemies? Isn't that the campaign?

trivolution
trivolution

The more you place reactions, the more it is improved. They're just using your opinions that's why the game comes out great due to vast improvements.

CincoToes
CincoToes

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

CincoToes
CincoToes

So now they have explosive dogs? Call that the straw that broke the camel's back, I'm getting BF3 instead.

wooten9000
wooten9000

A query for the educated: is that a radome in the background? Either that or they're at disney world.

jsly268
jsly268

@Lastbullet777 Reaally...

Lastbullet777
Lastbullet777

modern warfare 3 will be the greatest game ever made in the history of videogames, it will be a step forward for mankind...

dstv
dstv

this game is awesome i am not trolling

MERGATROYDER
MERGATROYDER

Game looks good. BF:3 is an entirely different type of FPS and that's why I'll be purchasing both titles.

Psych0tr0n
Psych0tr0n

I played the alpha and it is sweet! It is much better than BO and MW2.

Chrypt22
Chrypt22

@Evilbunz Yes, I was speaking more from a PC point of view. MW3 console vs BF3 console.. hard to say since it is really two different play styles. I really don't think that PC games and cosnsole game should be treated equally since the PC is such a far superior platform on every level. Sure, there is more investment needed into maintaining a PC, but it pays off with gameplay experience... hence the 64 players in BF3. I don't beleive that the console players are getting the short end of the stick because their hardware cannot handle 64 players. It coems down to a physical capability of the hardware. Why should PC players have to deal with less because someone prefers consoles over PC. At the same time, console gamers are not really suffering because of the capability fo the hardware. I am not for equality across platforms, if you pay the extra money for a better system then that should be reflected in the games that come out. A few examples of this are, RAGE, BF3, Deus Ex 3 which are all taking advantage of DX11 capabilities. So its not consoles getting screwed, they have a lesser system so they get a lesser game, its just the way it is until consoles figure out a way to keep up with current standards which it is lacking 6 years behind or more.

schlagermeister
schlagermeister

This looks great and all, but I just wish the games was slowed down, at least a tiny bit. It all looks like it's in fast-forward.... :/

hitboy806
hitboy806

Modern warfare 3, arkham city, skyrim, resistance 3, spacemarine, battlefield 3, the baconing, far cry 3 and uncharted 3! My wallet cant handle it all !

ThAdEa82
ThAdEa82

@taidalwave - board to you: ...gtfo.

ThAdEa82
ThAdEa82

@netter99 - spec ops was a nice addition. I dont know what you are talking about

netter99
netter99

I agree chemical-mix, well said. the modern warfare series just seemed to be the same thing every year. Even when the put spec ops mode in it was not that fun because it was just co op campaign.

Blayzino
Blayzino

SPEC-OPS! :D I loved this on modern warfare 2! so0o0o0o funnnn

Chemical-mix
Chemical-mix

Looks like AV and IW they are beginning to learn that you simply cannot continue to repackage the same stuff year after year anymore. It's good to see these additional modes, though BF3 will be my FPS of choice.

ziadpayne
ziadpayne

FC Barcelona is the best. MESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSI Real Madrid go home and practice to be able to even play with Barca next time LOL. ( Spanish Super Cup Barce 3 - Real Madrid 2 ) Messi teached Christiano Ronaldo how to play .

Defy_The_Fallen
Defy_The_Fallen

I'm going to get tonnes more playtime out of skyrim, but I've preordered Mw3 and BF3, both of which I can't wait for!

vaibhavp
vaibhavp

this game has been found to be guilty of not innovating despite of huge sales... thats why people come here and praise battlefield say crap about this game ...

Vaultboy-101
Vaultboy-101

If COD was a type of plane it would be a Kamikaze. Keeps plummeting down until it crashes into the ground.

DoggyTV
DoggyTV

Totally right @walmongerer

walmongerer
walmongerer

First of all, I'm not a CoD fan. I've never played the Battlefield games except Bad Company 2. I loved that experience. Then Medal of Honour came around and I've been playing that solidly ever since. I did get MW2 and BlackOps but traded them in because they felt hollow and crap. I will definitely get BF3 (pre ordered it months ago) and to be honest I'm liking the look of MW3 and thinking of getting it. I thought the same about BO though and that was a terrible disappointment. We'll see, depends on how BF3 holds my attention...

Nano1124
Nano1124

I already know what to expect in MW3. Killstreaks, perks, point and shoot, dying within seconds of spawing. I also know what type of killstreaks they have too, UAV, predator missle, some sort of helicopter(maybe 2 types),airstrikes(also maybe 2 types) and some other sh**. I also can expect little kids, screaming, campers and other shi*. Does this sound familar? It shouldn't cause this is new sh**(sarcasm). It's been the same since , what COD4? This sh** needs to change. I's getting stale. Don't get me wrong I am a bit of a fanboy of COD(played since 4) but Battlefield blew me away. It's just that it needs something new. :/

lullabysuicide
lullabysuicide

You have to admit that it does sound a lot like zombies; however since this isn't replacing the other spec ops mode and is simply an addition, I can't see anything whatsoever wrong with it. Oh and for the record: Arkham City > MW3 + BF3 :P

BigStik
BigStik

This actually sounds like fun. :3

laxkeep999
laxkeep999

I only want BF3 to rape COD so that COD actually changes and then I can actually go out and buy COD without feeling like I've just bought the first Modern Warfare again. I'm not gonna lie, I think BF3 looks fantastic and the gameplay I've seen looks amazing. I think the problem with COD is that they now have so many different studios working on the game that nobody can really go ahead with an innovative idea or direction and so it just gets stuck being a bit of a rehash.. It's only business. I mean, if you can spend $2m on development to get $1bn in sales.. why would you want to spend $20m on development to get the same amount in sales? The same goes for this subscription-based ranking system (which hasn't had that much publicity considering it's brand new) which I hope crashes and burns.. What I'm trying to say is that COD will only change when something knocks it off its perch.. I hope BF3 does that, and then I can confidently buy another of Activision's products. The worrying thing is that a lot of people probably don't want COD to change.. That's sad for me!

taidalwave
taidalwave

Me- Yay good preview lets see what people think . A- the graphics looks like MW2. . B- BF3 is better . C- I hate CoD . ME- oh i forgot how stupid people are .

xmanoox
xmanoox

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

ninja_hoku
ninja_hoku

@jlm2k5 yeah I get that, I'd like an updated graphics engine and stuff too.. but given the circumstance, I really just think the timeframe that Sledgehammer Studio's and what's left of Infinity Ward was given just wasn't enough to put together anything new and because Sledgehammer was really new to it, they probably didn't want to botch whatever the Infinity Ward in it's prime had already put together. Besides if they made too many changes then people would still be unhappy if they ended up not liking the changes. So they basically decided to play it safe-ish and risk losing fans of the series by sticking to what they already got imo

Bahamutmega
Bahamutmega

I'd like to add that this is an article for MW3. If you're a BF 3 fan and prefer it over MW3 that's cool, but you're wasting everyone's time posting about it here. Try the system wars forum or search the threads.

ziproy
ziproy

So they took Nazi zombies and put Spec Ops on it?? SpecOps was the best part of MW2 and zombies was the best part of Blops and now both are ruined

beastisign
beastisign

BF3 all the way... might get MW3 for PC though, I NEED something decent, and up to date, with online multiplayer.

Bahamutmega
Bahamutmega

I'm grabbing this game but not so much because I think it's the best or there is nothing else out there. ( Cause there is) I'm buying it because it will sell, just like MW2 and black ops, all my friends on the list will have it and so will my friends I know in person. I usually don't enjoy the popular games but this game is geared towards the online experience. And I prefer playing with people I know than a bunch of anonymous clowns teabagging everyone they kill.

lm316
lm316

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

lm316
lm316

CoD looks boringggggg... no more CoD for me, BF3 for Me!!!

blairstheman
blairstheman

I bought BFBC2, played the crap out of it, then played some more. i sold it and bought black ops, and played it to the ground. honestly they both really good games, i personally prefer bfbc2 (borrowed it from my cuz). i think ill do the same with these two games, buy the one i want more (BF3), play it til my eyes bleed, then down the road buy MW3 and give it a good run. i think like before ill find though they have different gameplay feelin, they are both very good games.

dstv
dstv

@auron01 if i do buy this game .....it will be used ....very used ....i don't want to support activision in any way and ever since zampella and west left the cod games have been on a downward slope

kwanzudood
kwanzudood

Buying BF3 new, but waiting to buy MW3 used.

AkAunknown
AkAunknown

@jeffbordonaro I'm merely pointing out visual observations of what's been shown so far. All the environments shown, have a washed out effect and lack a vibrant, refined, crisp image. It's not because Dice don't want to do this, it's because there just isn't any way to fit everything in the game the way they'd like to. It's a Pick-and-Choose situation for the developers and I prefer fluid gameplay (MW3) for online play, to toned down and slowed down gameplay that allows for destructible environments. I'm a fan of all AAA titles regardless of their franchise, which is why I have both pre ordered. Oh and "Fanboy" is played out son. It reminds me of what the Stereotype of a Gamer was back in the late 90's. Let's move on...

auron01
auron01

@dstv we all know whats gonna happen. A couple months after these game come out and no one is releasing anything else for months on end. we'll end up caving into whatever game you didn't buy in the first place. but i agree with you about the overpriced maps. Effin activision.

bumbum1991
bumbum1991

Good job on MW3, I'll consider buy it on the 1st day. Hell yeah!

dstv
dstv

@auron01 because we already own MW2 ....if they won't use the $1 billion they get EVERY year from making cod to fix the outdated engine then why should people continue t give them money ....although i could get bot , i'd rather just get the game i know is worth the $60 ....and oh btw they're removing content from the final version of the game as we speak to sell it as DLC .....get ready for 4+ overpriced "map packs" that should have been in the game from the start ...in short BF3 is worth the money while MW3 is just activisions way of cashing in on a dying franchise

rockbandmatthew
rockbandmatthew

Anyone else think this sounds like zombies. Survive rounds of enemy waves (zombie waves) Receive cash (points) to buy things Can buy a turret (pretty sure that's in zombies Can buy flak jacket (sounds like a perk) Attack dogs (dog round on kino) Yes they are adding something new, but i think they should've left the zombie concept to Treyarch.