Activision and Infinity Ward showed off the multiplayer part of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 today ahead of the open beta, which starts tomorrow.
A multiplayer feature the developers showed off was swimming and Aquatic Combat. Instead of dying when you hit the water like in previous games, the action now takes place above, on and in water. Different elements will be present such as currents and waves, and the water can be clean, cloudy, polluted or have debris.
In the open beta, maps with water will showcase these improvements, and you can use water as a sneak or escape mechanism. You can even change stance or sprint and look down to dive underwater. If you shoot underwater with a sidearm and certain equipment, the weapon’s projectile will be affected by the increased density, so you may need to change your aim. You also have to pay special attention to tactical items, and you may have to try entirely new strategies when attacking boats, underwater enemies, or when avoiding or deploying an explosive.
The multiplayer part of Modern Warfare 2 also has additional traversal mechanics. For example, you can slide or dive to the floor and even use the Ledge Hang which allows you to peek from a mantel and look around. The developers are also testing the ability to pull up a gun and engage from a Ledge Hang.
Multiplayer will also feature more action-oriented maneuvers on the new vehicles. Expect a variety of tactical advancements, including the ability to lean out of windows and shoot or slash at a vehicle roof, destroy various sections of vehicles and even blow out tires.
Speaking of vehicles, you can use several ground, air and water vehicles, depending on the game mode and map. Nine of them are land-based and range from a Hatchback car to a Heavy Tank. Off-road vehicles have made a comeback and there are new utility vehicles, tactical vehicles, SUVs and trucks back. There are also two tanks and an armored personnel carrier.
If you like flying, there’s the Light Helo as well as a new Heavy Chopper that acts a bit like an Airborne Cargo Truck in terms of carrying capacity. If you’re on the water, you can ride narrower waterways in the rigid inflatable boat, or use the armored patrol boat that has an armored hull and a mounted .50 caliber machine gun.
In multiplayer, tactical gear and field upgrades have more unique options than before. It’s the tactical camera that allows you to monitor an area and when an enemy passes by, it emits a warning sound. There’s also the Shock Stick, which sticks to surfaces and then emits a burst of electricity that damages enemies, destroys equipment, and messes with vehicles.
Another piece of tactical equipment is the drill charge that you lift onto the outside of a building. It will drill a hole and when the drill is through, it fires a grenade that deals splash damage. Another is DDoS. This attack lets you know if there is equipment or vehicles in your visual vicinity. If so, it will temporarily disable them, and it also disrupts nearby enemy sensors.
There are also Perk Packs which consist of four perks – two base, plus two more known as Bonus and Ultimate. All are earned during a multiplayer match, usually at four and eight minutes in non-round-based modes. Kills, assists, objective and tactical games can unlock these faster. You can even edit your Perk Pack in Loadout.
And the one that sounds the funnest, at least to us, is the inflatable decoy. This polymer doll inflates after you throw it and can also act as a proximity mine.
With Modern Warfare 2, the Gunsmith weapon customization system will see new improvements, with the biggest change being the Weapons Platform. Instead of being in a separate family this time, weapons come in Platforms. This gives you full control over the weapons you bring into battle.
How it works is that you will rank up to receive each base weapon platform. The first weapon unlocked on a platform is known by the recipient which is an attachment. Unlock more receivers as you progress and you’ll gain access to more weapons on one platform.
Changing a receiver will change the weapon, so it will be considered a new one when building a Loadout, but it will remain within the same weapon platform. You can change the receiver to build a weapon with different functions, such as an automatic rifle, light machine gun, battle rifle or machine gun.
After selecting your weapon of choice you will begin to level it and the platform up, enhancing it via two different attachments. These are weapon platform accessories which are implements that can only be used within the weapon platform, such as barrels, magazines, stocks and rear grips. Then there are universal attachments that can be used across all weapon platforms, and examples include muzzles, undercuts, ammunition, lasers and optics.
If you unlock a Universal Gear, it becomes usable across all of Gunsmith and only needs to be unlocked once.
The game will also include Weapon Vaults. The FJX Cinder Weapon Vault will be free to use in the open beta and full game for those who pre-order the Vault Edition of Modern Warfare 2. It is a completely unlocked weapon platform.
Owning a weapon vault means having all attachments from a corresponding weapon platform ready to go. This is the “Ultimate Weapon Blueprint” as it instantly unlocks dozens of platform-based attachments. You can access instant customization with a collection of weapon platform-specific attachments, and each attachment inside a weapon vault has a specific cosmetic appearance.
The open beta will feature two types of multiplayer maps that you can play: Battle Maps with up to 32v32, and Core Maps which are 6v6.
Battle Maps were created for Ground War modes with multiple teams of players per team. Here, every building can be explored, vehicles can be driven, and different playstyles are available within a single battle map. AI combatants will appear on Ground War maps in the new invasion mode, which Infinity Ward hopes will provide players with a game that is both “chaotic and satisfying.”
Core Maps are where special Task Forces are deployed, all tailored exclusively for 6v6 game modes. They are slightly smaller and more simple in design than previous multiplayer maps. There is the Valderas Museum in Spain, the Farm 18 training facility and the small market place Mercado Las Almas. Additional maps will be made available at launch and across each season.
Multiplayer also has other modes like Team Deathmatch and Domination, but there are three brand new modes planned during the open beta. One is Knockout, which has you trying to eliminate your opponent or hold the pack to win. There are no respawns and teammates can revive each other. There is also Prisoner Rescue, which puts breach and siege gameplay at the center, and Invasion for Ground War which is a massive Deathmatch set over large maps.
You can also enjoy the game from a new perspective. Across multiplayer and specific modes in Modern Warfare 2, there will be clearly defined “third person” playlists. For the open beta, the intention is to keep third-person and first-person playlists separate, but feedback and gameplay may change this plan.
In this mode, the camera is set a few feet back over the operator’s right shoulder. This gives you more perspective on your general surroundings, in exchange for less depth of field in front of you. You can switch shoulders to help you when peeking around corners. Zooming happens automatically when the camera moves, and the camera stops before it collides with objects you are close to. The crosshairs are automatically placed in the center of the screen, along with an “X” when the camera is angled behind an object. When aiming down sights, the perspective switches to a first-person view, allowing for more accurate firing.
When Modern Warfare 2 is released, the firing range will become available. This is an offline test site with three firing ranges, ledges for sheathing and several targets at different distances.
Once you’ve finished the main campaign of the game, you can play Special Ops with another player in a cooperative experience that allows you to explore large hot zones for more branching operations.
Later this year, you can enjoy Raids, a three-player cooperative engagement that requires teamwork and strategic, puzzle-solving battles between battles.
For PlayStation users who pre-order the game through the PlayStation Store, the exclusive Operator Hiro “Oni” Watanabe will be made available at launch. The operator carries a high-level weapons plan.
And finally, for those who like a bit of fair play, Ricochet Anti-Cheat, and its PC kernel-level driver, will be available on day one for both Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0.
While today’s Modern Warfare 2 showcase focused on multiplayer, don’t forget that it also has a campaign you can play up to a week early if you pre-order the game digitally.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 launches for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S on October 28.