Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Spec Ops hands-on preview

Hands-on: Survival mode that offers co-op CoD chaos

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We've seen the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 trailers and now we get to have some hands-on time with the new modes from CoD. It's the return of Spec Ops, but with something rather special added; a spartan-esque Survival mode. Here's what we made of it.

Spec Ops mode was the sleeper hit of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Sandwiched between the superb multiplayer and a campaign that made every season of 24 look plausible, Spec Ops was a chocolate box of activity for gamers. It was a collection of mini-missions, which were as addictive as they were compelling. It was also proof that Infinity Ward could stamp any kind of game – be it tower defence, run-and-gun or even arcade racing - onto their excellent first person shooter engine.

Now survival mode is back for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and we got some play time with it, to find out if it's a welcome return for Spec Ops.

Spec Ops: What's new?

For Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Spec Ops has been expanded. Infinity Ward has been guarded in the make up and composition contained in MW3’s Spec Ops, probably because like MW2, they’ll dovetail out of the main campaign. What they have been prepared to show off is a part of Spec Ops called Survival mode.

Survival mode is essentially Infinity Ward’s take on the Horde mode from Gears Of War 2, in as much as players are plonked down in a map, chucked a couple of weapons and then have to survive wave after wave of enemies.


Like Horde, Survival is a co-op affair in which players work together, defending choke points in a map and restocking ammo and weapons during the lull between waves. The difficulty of opponents also increases with each wave. Unlike the Horde from GOW2, however, players are able to pick up special attacks and deployable ordinance between waves. They also earn cash from each kill, which they can spend at ordinance stores in the map on items like gun turrets, modifications for their guns or AI reinforcements.

No way out..

Oh, and there’s no end to the punishment; unlike Horde, which players conquer after 50 waves of enemies, the foes keep coming in Survival until the players are brought down. Death is only way out.

And Lord knows the AI won’t make it easy for the players. Initially, shotgun-wielding cannon-fodder pitch up, their attacks so chaotic, the players don’t even need to fortify their positions. By the seventh or eighth wave, however, if they haven’t identified the map’s choke-points, upgraded their guns and ammo and deployed a couple of gun turrets, players will find William Hill odds on them are dropping sharply. Survival hurls a world of pain at them; flack-jacketed troops, Gatling gun-wielding giants, suicide bombers – even suicide bombing dogs - try to take them down.

Does it work?

Before that happens, however, there’s a lot of fun to be had. There’s a lovely, chaotic energy to Survival mode. Perhaps it’s because the player knows they’re in an unwinnable situation right from the start. Once the realisation sets in that the players are on the losing side – and this doesn’t take long – the dynamic of the match becomes one of bloody-mindedness versus inevitability.

Each wave ups the ante on the last – and as the difficulty rises, so does the palpable sense of last-stand desperation. Survival can’t lay claim to being entirely groundbreaking, but what it lacks in originality it more than makes up for in white-knuckled thrills.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 video

Source: T3 Video