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Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer hands-on

We play Infinity Ward's latest build

Infinity Ward has finally lifted the curtain on Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer mode at an exclusive hands-on event in LA. Now we've had a chance to sit down with it here's a quick burst of facts that we've learned so far. More to come later...

NEW MAPS

A quick description of some of the new maps we've played...

Afghan: A rocky desert area with the ruin of a jumbo jet in the middle. We'd avoid hanging around here for too long as it's surrounded by some high cliffs and bunkers that snipers will love. We suspect most of the action will come at the top and bottom of the map where caves and ledges make everything a bit more intense.

Favela: A claustrophobic shanty town broadly divided into high-up rooftops and narrow ground level passageways.

Highrise: A more unusual urban setting, Highrise comprises of a half-finished highrise building with interior and exterior areas and a series of metal beams high above that can be used a sniper points. If you're clever it's possible to work your way from one side of the map to the other without being detected to launch a surprise attack from behind.

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PERKS

Perks are now upgradeable - each perk has its own 'challenge'. When you've completed it you unlock a pro-version of the perk.

There are obviously a whole load of new perks but so far we've seen:

Bling: This gives you the ability to use two attachments on a single weapon, ie. you can tote the red dot sight and the grenade launcher at the same time.

Scavenger: Using this you grab ammo from enemy corpses automatically, ensuring you never run out of grenades.

Commando: Rubbing in the humiliation of a melee kill even further, the Commando perk gives you longer range on your stabbing attacks.

KILL STREAKS

Fist-pumping when you unleash one, potentially devastating when someone unleashes one on you, kill-streaks are back, upgraded and renewed. As well as the unlockable AC130, already teased by Infinity Ward via a much-analysed YouTube video, these are your basic kill streaks:

Get 3 kills: UAV - So how's this different to the last UAV from CoD 4 you might well ask? Ah, well you see, you can shoot this little bugger down.

Get 4 kills: Counter UAV

Get 4 kills: Care Package - By calling in an airdrop with a smoke grenade, a random reward is jettisoned to you. We've seen it give out a simple ammo refill and an instant advanced kill streak. Which was nice.

Of course, these are open to rest of the players on the map too, and show up on their radars. The tactical side of this is they can be used as cannon-fodder magnets.

Get 5 kills: Sentry Gun

Get 5 kills: The Predator Missile - This fly by wire missile not only lays the smackdown on its targets but also gives you a brief aerial view of the battleground.

Get 6 kills: Precision airstrike

Get 7 kills: Attack helicopter

Get 11 kills: AC130

DEATH STREAKS

These are aimed at assisting less able players (read n00bs) and are the opposite of the Kill Streaks. If a player dies four times in a row without scoring a kill they are awarded a bonus (which has to be unlocked first). Here's the two we saw. (We died three times on PURPOSE, of course):

Copycat: This is the first you unlock and gives the player the chance to steal his killer's class for one round. Now they can see what it's like to have a good weapon.

Painkiller: Gives players an extra ten seconds of health after they respawn.

SECONDARY WEAPONS

You are no longer limited to a pistol as your secondary weapon. Available to you are a selection of machine pistols, shotguns and rocket launchers.

We can see this pleasing (spit) career snipers the most, as now they have a more powerful option if they get caught in close-quarters. Those rocket launchers come in useful for blowing UAVs AC130s and choppers out of the sky too.

ATTACHMENTS

These no longer refer to just red dot sights and scopes (which are still there), in MW2 attachments refer to 'skills' as well. The already revealed 'Akimbo' attachment for example allows a player to dual-wield weapons, and 'Rapid Fire' which is kind of self-explanatory. Suppression has also been made available on sniper rifles.

NEW SWAG

To up the ante in the war zone Infinity Ward has added a number of new weapons that you'll be able to use in your special grenade slot. We can see advanced players becoming experts with these very quickly so our advice is get in there early:

Semtex Sticky grenades (Anyone remember how good the sticky bombs were in TimeSplitters 2? No? Oh.)

A throwing knife (Getting killed by this is going to suck.)

A blast shield (Offers greater protection from explosions)

Tactical insertion (Sounds like it should be painful, but actually grants you the ability to chose your own respawn point. Useful for nobbling the person who just killed you from behind).

RIOT SHIELDS

By swapping out your primary weapon for a riot shield you can completely change your strategy. You're limited to using the riot shield as a defensive wall (it takes a fair few bullets) to distract and hold up an enemy but the advantage is you can can cave their heads in with it as well. If you swap to your secondary weapon the riot shield is hoisted onto your back to act as an ass protector.

Incidentally, using the riot shield in objective based matches like capture the flag still gets your team points, even if you are just using it as a distraction method rather than to kill enemies.

CALLSIGNS

Callsigns are a new way of rewarding players. Acting as a kind of big customizable plaque, they pop up when you get a kill or perform a specific action. Callsigns include a title, an insignia (not tied to your level), a background (there are loads of these to unlock) your gamertag and rank. More on these when we've explored them a bit.

HOST MIGRATION

This should stop those baby players quitting out and ruining the game for everyone else. Now games won't terminated if the host switches of their machine. A small, but fairly significant improvement.

We'll be back with more later.

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