Modern Warfare 3’s latest content drops shuffle down the pipes of Xbox 360 Premium Elite members tomorrow, offering up three brand new pieces of downloadable content that could be CoD’s strongest yet.
We’ve seen all three in action. Here’s what we think:
Arguably Modern Warfare 3’s strongest map to date, Black Box sees players fighting amongst the crash site of a downed Air Force One and the surrounding suburban area.
Playable in both the game’s multiplayer mode and Spec Ops Survival, Black Box combines tight interior crevices with vast open areas to ensure that it caters to different types of Call of Duty players, balancing the two superbly thanks to some wonderful design.
The Presidential airliner’s destroyed fuselage provides close quarters combat that favours shotguns and all-out assaults, while the balconies and raised cover points offered by the surrounding buildings provide the perfect vantage point for snipers hoping to pick off targets fighting amongst the twisted metal.
There’s one building in particular offers up a perfect view of the battlefield, but it’s difficult to defend; the building’s relative open plan design and big open windows making snipers incredibly visible to other players – IW’s way of making sure the map doesn’t turn into a camping hot zone.
Our time spent with it was brief, but Black Box certainly looks to be an excellent map both in spectacle and design, and one that has potential to be remembered as one of Call of Duty’s best.
BLACK ICE: Spec Ops
That’s your lot for new multiplayer maps in this month’s Content Drop, with the rest of the pack made up of two bite-sized two-player Spec Ops missions.
Offering a nod back to Modern Warfare 2’s Cliffhanger level, Black Ice opens with an intense snowmobile chase that sees a pair of players assaulting one of Makarov’s hidden weapon facilities in Siberia.
One player drives while the other shoots; the driver weaving between buildings and navigating jumps as the other shoots down enemies on their tail. There’s a distinct whiff of James Bond about it; a quick get-in/get-out mission that eventually sees players charging the base, initiating a self-destruct sequence and escaping via helicopter – showcasing the results of your exploits in an explosive fireworks show.
At around 10 minutes long Black Ice isn’t the lengthiest Spec Ops mission we’ve seen from MW3, but it’s certainly one of the most intense. It also features Soap and Captain Price, which should lead to some interesting discussions over where exactly in the Modern Warfare timeline the mission slots in…
NEGOTIATOR: Spec Ops
On the other end of the spectrum is Negotiator, a mission set in Himachal Pradesh, India that tasks players with rescuing hostages taken by Makarov’s forces.
Requiring speed and precision, Black Ice is entirely different to anything you’ll have seen before in Call of Duty’s Spec Ops missions, requiring players to learn the map inside out and memorise the position of the 30 hostages, before speeding through to take down their takers.
Again there’s a twist: the mission opens with one player taken hostage themselves before being set free by their partner moments later. The sequence is brief, but it’s one of those powerfully atmospheric scene-setters that Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games have become known for.
The rest of the level sees players breaching multiple rooms and moving from building to building as they hunt for hostages. Success is determined by the number they save, and like Black Ice it’s intense, but for utterly different reasons.
Modern Warfare 3 Content Drop 3 launches for free tomorrow, March 13th, to Xbox 360 Premium Call of Duty Elite members. Non-Premium Elite Xbox Live subscribers can download it as part of ‘Modern Warfare 3’s Content Collection 1’, available from March 20th for 1200 Microsoft Points. Dates for a PlayStation 3 and PC release are still to be confirmed.
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