PR teams are paid to be enthusiastic about their products, but it's usually easy to notice when they're just going through the motions. Something seemed different about Modern Warfare 3's promotional team, however -- they seemed to genuinely believe in their product. So it was that after explaining Modern Warfare 3's new Spec Ops Survival Mode and asking me not to tell anyone that he'd referred to it as being "a bit like Horde mode" (sorry, but it, well, is) one of Activision's representatives blurted out that it was "like adrenaline-soaked crack, and that you can quote me on."
I was skeptical, of course, but willing to give it the benefit of the doubt until I'd at least tried it out for myself. I'll happily admit I've never been the biggest fan of Call of Duty, but I do have a soft spot for high score competitions -- Score Attack mode in Halo Reach was my most-played mode, for example, and the leaderboard warfare that ensued between my friends and I upon Geometry Wars 2's release became the stuff of legend.
I sat down with one of the team from Sledgehammer and we entered our theater of war -- a city streets map featuring a marketplace, a few stairwells, some abandoned vehicles and what would become our stronghold -- an easily defensible bridge with just two ways in. We moved into position and waited for the enemies to arrive.
Before long, they were upon us. Beginning with simple soldiers and gradually introducing suicide bombers, attack dogs, helicopters and the immensely powerful Juggernaut, clad in an armored bomb-disposal suit, the waves gradually increased in difficulty at a good pace. Theoretically the game can go on forever, with waves of enemies getting more and more numerous the longer you last, though the highest score among the team at Gamescom was wave 28.
Between waves, you can visit the three "stores" scattered across the map and equip yourself with new weapons, refill your ammunition, gain equipment (including machine gun and grenade launcher turrets -- be sure to stay out of the way of the latter in particular) and call in air support. Said air support can even include your very own AI controlled Delta Squad who will assist you and your co-op buddy until they get killed, helping to even the odds in your favor somewhat.
But was it truly like "adrenaline-soaked crack?" Difficult to say, as I only had the time to play one map -- though I enjoyed what I played and could have happily played more. Unlike Black Ops' zombies mode, which was thematically inconsistent with the rest of the game, Modern Warfare 3's Spec Ops modes are much more in line with the other content, making the package feel like more of a cohesive whole. If the in-game rewards are paced as well as the last few Call of Duty's multiplayer modes, then this could be a mode which finds itself getting a lot of play time.
Now if you'll excuse me, maybe I will just have one more try...
This article originally appeared on GamePro.com as Gamescom: Modern Warfare 3's Spec Ops Survival is 'Like Adrenaline-Soaked Crack'