Modern Warfare 3: Blowing Up Wall Street and Hands-On with Spec Ops

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So far Activision’s only shown a handful of single-player levels from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, one of this year’s most anticipated games. I talked about two levels from the solo campaign–”Hunter Killer” and “Mind the Gap”– in my E3 2011 coverage and a comparison between Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, and recently got the chance to watch a third in action.

Modern Warfare 3‘s being co-developed by three separate studios: Infinity Ward (who originated the Modern Warfare branch of COD), Sledgehammer Games and Raven. Sledgehammer’s Glen Schofield and Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling recently visited New York to show off progress from the in-development game.

The “Black Tuesday” level starts a few hours after Modern Warfare 2 and shows just how significant the Russian incursion on American soil has been.  The mission takes place in downtown Manhattan’s financial district, with players controlling a new team of Spec Ops guys called Delta Force.

The team’s codenames are Sandman, Grinch, Truck and Frost, with players controlling the latter. According to Schofield, “If you remember what happened with Washington [in MW2], that’s continued to the point where the East Coast of the United States has been decimated, including Manhattan.”

He elaborates, saying, “The Russians have overtaken Manhattan and this mission represents the sort of last effort to push them.”

The Russians are specifically trying to attack the allies’ communication system and the Delta Squad team needs to take down the enemy scrambling hardware—housed for some reason at the New York Stock Exchange—so that they can get communications back up for the rest of the friendly squads throughout New York and Europe.

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As the level starts, you see Delta Force’s vehicle being taken down mid-transport and crashing. The assault team coolly takes this in stride and begins to wind their way through lower Manhattan’s streets, which are eerily deserted. At one point, right after watching enemy tanks roll by in eerily quiet fashion, they’re joined by an armored assault vehicle to help them break through an enemy cordon. A few firefights in, Russian attack choppers fire a volley of rounds at an office building, sending an impressive shower of glass shards raining down on Frost and crew. Delta scrambles into an office building where they’re met by more Russian soldiers. One of MW3‘s new weapons is the XM-25 a laser-targeting firearm that lets you tag bad guys behind cover. It shoots a high-arcing payload that bursts into a shower of explosives, making for a quick way to thin out clumps of enemies, as long as they’re not being protected by anything overhead.

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