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Modern Warfare 3 Spec Ops preview: Walk slowly and carry a big gun


At first, I felt odd when I walked away from a hands-on co-op session of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 earlier today at Gamescom. My colleague Alexander and I had just spent the past 20 minutes carefully defusing IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices, for those of you who don't watch US broadcast news) and murdering potential assailants in a Berlin Spec Ops map, part of a mission named "Invisible Threat." Between laughs, furious button presses, and the occasional expletive, I realized we were having a lot of fun -- far more fun than two grizzled Battlefield vets expected to have with a Call of Duty title, anyway.

And soon after our play session, I understood why. That feeling I couldn't place was nostalgia, subtly reminding me that, yes, at one point I used to really enjoy Infinity Ward-developed shooters. As I carefully sniped oncoming baddies, Alex -- dressed in a "Juggernaut" bomb suit, a first for the series -- slowly lumbered around, dodging bullets/missiles/helicopters/tanks (seriously) while I assisted from above. Moreover, his ability to locate the remaining IEDs was based on me tossing up a UAV and spotting them from above, all the while dodging bullets/rockets myself. Of course, that meant I got to regularly drop missiles from said UAV onto the aforementioned waves of antagonists. Points!

Somewhere in there, it all clicked. I was back in college, shouting at my roommate to cover my back before we got clipped, frantically popping enemy after enemy, hoping to hold off the never-ending wave for just another few moments so we could complete the mission.

As you might imagine, wearing a bomb suit is tough. It's hot, it's big, and it's really cumbersome. So when Alex was moving from bomb to bomb, he wasn't exactly moving at breakneck speed. Thankfully, my unusually heavy-clipped sniper rifle was more than happy to explode loads of enemies like so many cherry tomatoes. I'd call out his next objective and clear a path as he lumbered along, occasionally taking out foes on his own -- albeit in a limited capacity.

The satisfaction of working together tactically brought me back to the good ol' days, when Modern Warfare 2 had just come out, before I'd become soured on the bizarre campaign and ... less-than-wonderful multiplayer. It reminded me that Infinity Ward is capable of making a great co-operative section in its shooters, and that I shouldn't be so quick to write off the Modern Warfare series. And while I don't doubt that my favor will remain with the Battlefield series this holiday (as will Alex's), it wouldn't surprise me at all if that old itch for buddy co-op in a Call of Duty title returns come November.

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