Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
At E3 we were treated to the early 'Cliffhanger' sequence from Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Squeezing into a booth to the rear of Activision's GamesCom business centre, I'm introduced by my Activision guide to a new area of the game - beyond the singleplayer or indeed the all important multiplayer modes.
A Special Ops mission is on display, these levels designed to be taken as non-narrative bonus sequences outside of the FPS extravaganza's main story. This particular stage is described as a "Break and Clear" level, and this extra content can be tackled alone or in co-op mode.
Potentially inspired by the hugely successful 'Mile High Club' play from the original game - these levels will no doubt go some way to assuaging those that felt the first Modern Warfare lacked somewhat in terms of singleplayer longevity. The length of the main story may be unknown (it could potentially be just as brief as the first title's), but these Special Ops missions will flesh things out for those demanding more off-line action.
The mission we're viewing is set in an epic warehouse-like environ, that appears to be overrun with hostile foes. We're equipped with a rather swish looking riot shield, which is already taking a battering as hails of bullets rain down from the gantries overhead. This setting is a far cry from the frequent corridors of Modern Warfare 1, and the sense of scale is palpable in the architecture that soars above, and in the unpredictable enemies that seem to be sneaking from every possible angle.
As we work our way through the structure, clearing area-by-area, it becomes apparent from the outset that Modern Warfare 2 is a lot more interactive, walls cracking and crumbling under heavy fire from both sides, life-saving cover disappearing during intense fire fights. The atmosphere is palpable, blood splattering onto your vision, and indeed the riot shield, as the action intensifies.
Early on in the level and we witness a little slow-motion instance, movement growing sluggish as our hero is attacked from close-quarters. During brief pauses for breath in the action, the tension doesn't slip away either, rather it is only heightened by the sniper lasers that sweep the room as the debris and smoke settle from the previous encounters.
Even though the segment we watched through wasn't part of the singleplayer campaign, it gave us a further tantalising teaser of the high standard Infinity Ward seem intent on setting when it comes to off-line action - especially where the building and control of pace and flow is concerned.
With five Special Ops categories presently on the cards and missions being unlocked as you dispense with these extras one by one, we're eager to see more of this intriguing part of what must be this winter's biggest release. Now if Infinity Ward would just reveal their crucial multiplayer plans, we'd all be able to relax and wait for the darker evenings to roll around.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will be released for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 come November.