E3 2011: 'Modern Warfare 3' Single Player Preview

As part of the Microsoft Press Conference, Infinity Ward showed their first level for Modern Warfare 3 that demonstrated how the game plans to deliver that same Call of Duty experience, but on a grander scale. While the demo was compelling, seeing it amidst a ton of other announcements wasn’t exactly ideal.

We got a live demo of the game featuring two levels in the game — one that was previously demoed during the Press Conference and a new level that was briefly teased in the game’s first trailer.

The first level, titled ‘Hunter Killer’ is the same level seen during the Microsoft Press Conference that is set on Manhattan Harbor. As the player progresses through the level they will experience all of the Modern Warfare staples: from small-scale close combat to much wider vehicle-based scenarios.

There isn’t much new to say about the ‘Hunter Killer’ level besides the fact that it absolutely shows off Sledgehammer Games and Infinity Ward’s new dedication to making Modern Warfare 3 feel more intense and much more epic.

This is, of course, Modern Warfare 3 after all; so don’t expect anything truly revolutionary, just a silky smooth 60 frames-per-second experience. The engine might not be new, but it’s been honed to the point that the game is virtually issue free.

After seeing ‘Hunter Killer,’ the developer moved on to a new mission ‘Mind the Gap’ that is set in London. Similar to a level featured in Black Ops, ‘Mind the Gap’ starts the player first in a UAV drone high above an enemy facility with a clear view of the terrain and the odds.

From there you are dropped into control of a special-ops team that is tasked with infiltrating an enemy base in the hopes of recovering precious cargo. Combat, versus what was seen in the first level, definitely opens up — with enemies attacking from various vantage points — but, once again, it felt familiar.

As the demo progressed through the level though, they moved onto a sequence, seen in the trailer, where the player is in the back of a pick-up truck in hot pursuit of a subway train, and it’s here that the biggest wow moments of Modern Warfare 3 reveal themselves. By blending the traditional Call Of Duty gameplay with those scripted events that are, at times, extremely thrilling, Modern Warfare 3 once again cranks the intensity meter to 11. Subway cars and trucks are colliding, explosions are surrounding you, and the demo culminates in the player being flung from the truck bed with no acknowledgment of survival.

Modern Warfare 3 E3 Demo Impressions - Hunter Killer Level

Both levels had their moments, and they also had a few points that were a bit typical — nothing to write home about so to speak. Also, being unable to get hands-on with the single player helped keep talk of just how much interactivity takes place during these levels to a minimum.

All in all there was nothing much new on display for Modern Warfare 3, at least as far as this live demo was concerned. Core gameplay looks like it hasn’t undergone any major overhauls, and the story threads hinted by rumors were nowhere to be found.

The only real thing that can be said about Modern Warfare 3 that demonstrated Infinity Ward has learned from their past experiences is the game’s scale. By taking the player across notable landmarks, like New York’s coastline, the warfare feels real. It’s just unfortunate that the series hasn’t evolved as much as some gamers would like.

Are you still interested in Modern Warfare 3, despite a lack of innovation with gameplay? Where do you think the core gameplay of the series’ strengths lie?

Modern Warfare 3 releases November 8, 2011 on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.