Every time Game Industry News has the opportunity to play an open beta for a Call of Duty title, we try to make a team event of it. Besides being a lot of fun, it gives readers different perspectives from both shooter and non-shooter gamers. We also try and look at each new COD title on as many platforms as possible.
The newest title in the perennial Call of Duty franchise is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, which is a direct sequel to COD Modern Warfare II. The previous game was a best seller and was extremely entertaining to play whether in multiplayer mode, which it was clearly optimized for, or when tackling the plot-twisting and action-packed single player campaign. Modern Warfare II ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, and it will be up to Captain Price and Task Force 141 to finish the fight in the upcoming Modern Warfare III.
Activision offered two weekends of beta play this time. The first was a bit more limited in terms of players while the second weekend opened things up to more people and helped to stress test the servers for the pending multiplayer combat. We had two GiN team members participate in both rounds of play.
The first player up was GiN columnist and reviewer Michael Blaker, who went into Modern Warfare III with a PlayStation 5. Blaker is a real expert in multiplayer shooters and was the reviewer for the multiplayer side of Modern Warfare II. Director of Media Development Neal Sayatovich also participated in the beta using a PlayStation 4 to make sure that the title was still playable using the older generation console (it was).
Michael Blaker’s Impressions
Hey all, I’m back with a look at the beta for one of the biggest titles releasing this year. It’s the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III multiplayer beta.
Gameplay: Not surprisingly, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III plays a lot like Modern Warfare II right out of the gate, which should be no surprise since Modern Warfare II only released about a year ago, but there are some changes that are noteworthy.
For example, players can now use something called Tactical Stance, or Tac-Stance, where the player’s character holds their weapon at a tilt, but not completely horizontally, which lets players see more details in the battlefield without the gun being completely in the way. The downside is a loss of accuracy due to a more spread out shot firing pattern, but it might be something players can use occasionally with the right gun configurations. Slide canceling, another gameplay trick where the player slides to reset their tactical sprint mode is also back, and those that master it will certainly have a better experience.
There are also new weapons and gear for players to use, with an overhaul of the perk system which is implemented fully at the beginning of a match with the various bulletproof vests that players will unlock determining which perks you can gain since they are now separated by equipment slots. It’s an interesting change, but the fact that one of the vests removes the boot slot, which can improve various movement perks from increased speed to removing sounds from footsteps completely, feels a bit odd. Maybe that will change in the full release, but overall there are more choices which should make players pretty happy.
Otherwise, each player gets three (or sometimes four) perks to select. For example, gloves allow for faster reloads, scavenging ammo from enemies, or the ability to reload while sprinting. Boots are for movement, and there’s one that increases the speed to climb, and another that improves slide distance, speed, and crouch move speed. Finally, there’s a head slot for things like a ghillie suit to hide from killstreaks or UAV radar sweeps, and thermal vision on a headband that allows players to reduce the volume of combat noise to improve their ability to pick up footsteps and gunshots more easily. Personally, I usually pick the headset to lower the killstreak requirement by one, but when I really want to play as a sniper, I take the ghillie suit. Overall, there are lots of great choices.
While it’s not present in the beta, players will apparently be able to transfer their guns, operator skins, camos, and levels from Modern Warfare II to Modern Warfare III. I personally can’t wait to take my souped up XMR sniper rifle to Invasion mode, which was my favorite mode from Modern Warfare II, and start shooting at other players from way across the map.
Art: The art is pretty much the same as before, which is not a complaint because it looks great on the PlayStation 5, but there are some visual fidelity improvements. Maybe there will be more added effects when the full version launches. For example, I can’t wait to compare my favorite guns from the last game in Modern Warfare III. But in general, it looked great before and still does.
Music: It’s hard to really take in the soundtrack when you’re in the midst of a giant cluster of fighting in multiplayer. What I was able to catch of the music was fine, but nobody plays COD for the soundtrack. Still, it’s there and adds to the atmosphere.
Overall: So, is Modern Warfare III looking to be a worthy successor to last year’s game? Yes, absolutely. Even though it doesn’t change too much, I’m not too upset about that given the fact that I’ll be able to use the guns I earned in Modern Warfare II to continue terrorizing players in Modern Warfare III.
Neal Sayatovich’s Impressions
I always enjoy digging into the Call of Duty multiplayer betas when they launch. This time around I was assigned to play the beta for Modern Warfare III using a PlayStation 4, to see how it performed using the older console hardware. Overall, there were no issues at all during the second beta, and only some minor ones on the first weekend. It seems like Modern Warfare III will play just fine with so-called last generation consoles.
Once I got into the beta, I was impressed with how the various levels were presented from a graphics perspective. Many of these levels, especially ones I can remember from the previous title, were very well rendered. I was also happy to see Rust appear as a playable level, as that is my favorite.
The beta started out a little rough with major lag, which was not unexpected as the backend got spun up. My character was violently lurching toward my destination. Then I would pull up my sights just to lurch three feet to the side when I opened fire. As challenging as that was, everything was pretty much smoothed out on the second day of the first beta, and I experienced no other issues.
The gunplay is really well done in Modern Warfare III. The light machine guns, my go-to weapon group, had a nice kick to them, and the rifles had the right amount of pull and kick when firing. One nitpick I had was that the ID tags floating above each player’s head were really small, which led to a laughable number of friendly fire incidents on my teams. It was also frustrating with everyone running around speed sliding. It was already hard to hit people before they were just constantly going to ground. I guess my reflexes need more training each time a new beta comes out.
Overall, the experience was a good one despite seeing my K/D numbers dropping from the last game. The levels were well laid out and made the gameplay interesting. Michael Blaker covered pretty much everything important with his beta review, and he was really a superstar when it came to the combat.
For my impression as a more casual player, I had a really nice time. It seems like whether you are really into shooters or just casually enjoy them, that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III will have something good to offer everybody. And also, don’t forget that when the full title launches, there will be another single player campaign to enjoy as well – and I am really looking forward to that given how great Modern Warfare II was to experience and play.