The console shooter wars are about to heat up. Right on the heels of Battlefield 3, the giant of the first-person shooter genre, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, is ready to deploy Nov. 8.
Though these studios include single-player campaigns, they are becoming more and more of an afterthought. When Battlefield 3 developers were criticized for their singe-player game being expendable, they defended it by saying it served as a good training tool for the multiplayer. Multiplayer is what holds players' attention long after all the achievements have all been unlocked and the story is complete.
The new Modern Warfare offers some very familiar gameplay mechanics in its multiplayer mode with some tweaks and a new game mode to make the experience more unique to each player's style.
Perks are back from previous installments. They are customizable character mods that allow gamers to pump up different stats; you can choose to do more damage, run faster or be invisible to enemy air support. There are three tiers of 5 perks to unlock with a total of 15 perks in the game. Also each perk is upgradable to pro status with additional abilities when players accomplish certain goals.
One of the biggest mechanics changes is to the Kill Streak system. The system rewards players for getting a number of kills without dying--The more kills players racked up the more rewards they would receive. They are now called Strike Packages and players can choose between three different options to suit their gameplay style.
For the Rambo types there is the Assault package, which grants players similar benefits from previous CoD games; there is the UAV that reveals the other team's location. The Assault can also have care packages dropped with extra ammo. They can even call in airstrikes or helicopters to soften up the enemy.
For team players there is the Support package. They can drop ballistic vests to help shore up allies' defenses or they can jam enemies' UAVs. They can even drop booby-trapped care packages that will prove to be a nasty surprise for the other team. The interesting thing about the Support package is its kill streaks don't reset after death, allowing players to keep progressing through the kill streaks rewards without setbacks.
The last package is the Specialist, which gives players additional perks through their Kill Streaks. The player gets to customize how their perk rewards progress turning them into a one-man army after a good Kill Streak.
The game also introduces Weapons Proficiencies. As players find their favorite weapons and play with them, they will get unlockable proficiencies that allow them to reduce gun recoil or make the weapons do more damage.
A new mode makes its way into the multiplayer game called Kill Confirmed. After a player has downed an enemy they can get close and pick up their dog tags for extra points. Teammates can also grab tags after their friends die to deny opponents from scoring more.
The mode encourages players to get more into the action rather than sit on a roof and camp out. It will also make it so gamers will want to team up more to deny the other team those sweet extra points.
The War is On
Earlier this year Gears of War 3 became the best-selling game of 2011, but that title was quickly captured by Battlefield 3. Modern Warfare 3 is poised to knock the reigning champ off the throne. It's just a matter of days before the next COD launches and it's on the top of Nielsen's most wanted holiday games. We'll see who sits on the top of the charts when the smoke settles next week.