Modern Warfare 3 at E3 2011

Exclusive Hands-On Survival Mode

June 7, 2011 by

Our first day at E3 ended with a bang as we were treated to an exclusive session with Activision behind closed doors. After a special presentation that revealed more details on Call of Duty: Elite (our article here), I sat down with Activision’s Ben Brinkman to play some cooperative Survival Mode, a new addition to the Spec Ops section of this fall’s highly anticipated Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

The previous two Call of Duty games developed by Treyarch (World at War and Black Ops) have included the wildly popular Zombies mode, and with Gears of War having its own similar Horde mode and Halo‘s Firefight mode, it’s no wonder that Infinity Ward incorporated Survival mode. From the beginning, Ben told me that Survival mode was all about resource management. I scoffed silently inside, thinking it would actually be more about actual shooting and skillz that killz, but I’d later realize Ben was right because I completely ran out of ammo a couple of times. Tip: Buy ammo between EVERY wave.

Speaking of which, something about Modern Warfare 3‘s Survival mode that’s different than other games’ similar modes, including Treyarch’s Zombies mode, is the existence of various stations where you can stock up on supplies. Unlike in Zombies mode, in which different weapons are scattered all over the map, Survival mode has one station where you can refill ammo or get a new gun after earning money for scoring kills. In another part of the map will be a separate station where you can buy equipment like claymores and autoturrets. Finally, there’s also a third station where you can call in special support services like predators and extra Delta squad members.

You start with a pistol against an initial wave of shotty-welding grunts, but later waves send dogs, gas soldiers, C4 soldiers, choppers, and those dreaded juggernauts from Modern Warfare 2 at you. One wave we had even had two juggernauts, one of which had a freaking riot shield. Of course, these types of cooperative modes encourage teamwork and communication for optimal success, so we took down the riot shielded juggernaut after some bait and flanking. Afterwards, I grabbed the shield and proceeded to repeatedly battering ram the remaining juggernaut with it; I’m not sure why I did that, but it worked and it might’ve had something to do with my earlier unsuccessful (and stupid) knife attempts on a juggernaut.

Normally, you’d fight endless waves of increasingly difficult enemies, but Ben was under orders to cut our session after Wave 15. Modern Warfare 3‘s new Survival mode is familiar territory for most gamers, which will only fuel those critical of the series that each iteration is, like Shepherd quipped in Modern Warfare 2, “S.S.D.D.”, but at least Survival mode is undeniably a surefire guarantee of FPS co-op fun.