When it comes to "Call of Duty," most players should have a very deep impression of this classic IP. Since the release of the first installment in 2003, there have been as many as 19 titles in the series, with numerous iconic moments that players find hard to forget. Now, in October 2023, the 20th installment in the series, "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III 2023," had a brief open beta test and is set to be officially released in November.
In this test, as only the multiplayer mode was made available, this evaluation will primarily focus on the changes to the multiplayer mode. It's worth mentioning that, as per the information officially disclosed thus far, in addition to the multiplayer mode, there will also be a campaign mode and an all-new Zombies mode.
In the campaign mode, players will join forces with Captain Price and Task Force 141 to face the ultimate threat, "Vladimir Makarov." As an extremist nationalist war criminal, he is extending his reach worldwide, and Task Force 141 will be confronted with an unprecedented and dangerous battle. Apart from the classic movie-level Call of Duty campaign missions, this installment introduces open-ended combat missions for the first time, providing players with more freedom to choose their equipment and mission paths.
The all-new Zombies mode adopts an open-world approach, where players will cooperate with other teams to survive in the largest-scale Zombies map in the history of the Call of Duty series and face off against a massive army of zombies. Treyarch will tell a brand-new zombie story in this installment, with mission details and core zombie features to be unveiled after the official release.
Multiplayer Mode - Classic Map Alterations
Turning to the multiplayer mode, the maps in this test should be familiar to seasoned players, with locations like the slums, oil refinery, and skyscrapers that have appeared in previous generations. These maps have been reintroduced with some minor adjustments. Additionally, it's officially revealed that this installment will reimagine 16 classic maps from earlier generations. There are also over 12 brand-new standard 6v6 maps to provide continued engagement for the game's future seasons.
In terms of visuals and environment, this installment's maps feature a darker color tone, increasing the difficulty of identification, requiring players to be more focused in observing and determining friend from foe. Furthermore, footsteps have become fainter, making it harder to leave audio clues, enabling players to engage in stealthy actions more effectively.
Flexible Mobility Returns with Increased Limitations for Balance
To highlight the game's tactical nature, there has been a significant reduction in character mobility compared to previous titles, which had a slower combat pace. This installment brings back actions like slide-canceling to enhance mobility. However, slide-canceling has undergone some changes. Now, there's a brief recovery period after sliding, during which players cannot sprint to gain speed and can't perform a secondary slide. This change strikes a balance between extreme agility and a slower pace.
Additionally, slide-canceling has been simplified, as it now only requires pressing the C key to slide and then pressing the spacebar to cancel. Players no longer need to worry about excessive wear and tear on the C key. During the slide-cancel action, players can aim, allowing them to catch opponents off guard while sliding.
New "Tactical Stance" and Specific Equipment Replaces Abstract Abilities
To enrich the player's combat experience, the game introduces a new mechanic called "Tactical Stance." It falls between precise aiming and hip-firing. When blind-firing, it has a smaller spread than hip-firing, and aiming and movement speeds are faster than aiming down sights. This allows players to flexibly choose the most suitable stance based on the combat situation to leverage their skills.
In terms of abilities, the game transforms abstract abilities into specific equipment, such as tactical vests, gloves, boots, etc., each with different attributes. For instance, an Engineer Vest cannot carry lethal equipment but can carry two tactical equipment and additional field gear. The Marksman Vest cannot equip footwear attachments, while the Demolition Vest can carry two lethal equipment. Furthermore, these equipment items can be combined to create set bonuses, encouraging players to carefully consider their gear combinations to enhance their combat capabilities.
Increased TTK Time for More Freedom in Choice
In addition to these adjustments, the game has made some changes in other areas. Player health has been increased to 150, resulting in longer time-to-kill (TTK). This means players need to invest more ammunition to defeat enemies and have more opportunities to counterattack when ambushed. Weapon recoil has also been reduced, making it easier for new players to accurately hit their targets. Furthermore, players can cancel reloads in this installment. However, in the event of an empty magazine, it will revert to the segmented reloading action from Call of Duty 19 to avoid accidentally triggering reload cancellations when there is an empty magazine.
These changes in the game can be described as small adjustments that lead to significant effects. By focusing on increased mobility and tactical strategy, players are granted more freedom in their choices. Players will need to apply various tactics and equipment combinations to achieve victory. It is evident that compared to its predecessors, this game is significantly different and is not just a "large DLC" as some players have suggested, but rather a genuinely new installment in the series.