E3 2011: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Preview

By Jordan Douglas on June 15, 2011, 4:43PM EDT

Call of Duty is the biggest franchise in gaming, impressively able to sustain momentum and relevance with annual iterations released each fall. So far, this determined drive to put out a physical product hasn't significantly impacted quality, but will that change? Will Modern Warfare 3 break the streak? All signs point toward no. Activision has several full teams, placing Sledgehammer in a co-leadership position with the remnants of Infinity Ward, working tirelessly to make 2011 the series' biggest outing yet. The results show a game that looks every bit as polished and action-packed as you'd from a Call of Duty game.

Our sneak peak into Modern Warfare 3's campaign begun with footage previously showcased during the Microsoft E3 press conference. Delta Force operatives took to the seas to discretely disable an enemy submarine. The team skillfully avoided detection and approached the sub to plant explosive charges alongside its hull. After the fireworks were over, it was time for the bullets to fly. Climbing onto the crippled beast, Delta initiated a frantic firefight throughout the sub with the ultimate goal of launching several missiles on board. Once that was accomplished, a prompt seaside getaway was in order, cueing one of Call of Duty's staple cinematic on-rails sequences, which showed the team narrowly weaving through a series of exploding ships and debris.

The second part of the demo shifted the spotlight from Delta Force in New York to SAS operatives in London. The mission this time was to investigate a mysterious group of "charity" shipments. Fan favourites Captain John "Soap" MacTavish and Captain John Price made a return, alongside a new SAS operative named Marcus Burns. The initially quite mission through the streets of London inevitably took a turn for the apocalyptic, as the team chased the Russians and their package into the train system. Naturally, this sequence was on-rails and ramped the action up to eleven. The demo closed with several trains careening off the tracks, rolling over and destroying everything in their path - a fitting conclusion to a Call of Duty presentation.

Modern Warfare 3 appears to be living up to expectations. Whether that's a good or bad thing in your mind is another question. The polished levels and epic set-pieces were all present and accounted for. It certainly looks impressive enough, but one wonders when Call of Duty will begin to show signs of dramatic decline without any true innovation. Either way, Modern Warfare 3 will likely sell astonishing amounts when it hits store shelves this November on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

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