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To say survival mode is easy would be a lie, but it doesn’t start off immediately massacring you at every corner. With tons of weapons, armor and maps, this mode is a seriously hearty shoot’em up. The player is pulled into the massacre under false pretenses, gleefully smiling all the while believing that the first few rounds are representative of all four difficulty tiers. The truth is they aren’t, not even close.
If you must stay in a designated area during a firefight, choose a good chokepoint, and there are a few on each map. On most of the maps you’ll find alleyways or stairs that can definitely be used to your advantage. Think smart and utilize the walls that can protect you rather than hiding behind the paper thin guard rails. Stay mobile and learn the maps. You’ll need that knowledge to play strategically.
TIP: On the Map titled “Mission” for example, where your weapons armory is located, there is actually a very convenient two-way L shaped alley. Plant a cheap Claymore or the family friendly Sentry Gun on one side and just watch the magic. Additionally, the mouth of one end of the L shape has a little room to hide in from Chopper fire.
Whereas the campaign will have more ammo than you know what to do with, the Survival mode does away with that scheme, requiring you to buy your ammo after each successive wave of enemies. More ammo now means less grenades and armor later. You can still go get more of anything you need while there is a lull in active combat, though there is the risk that you’ll exit the menus and get swarmed.
TIP: Make smart choices; stick with easy reloading semi-automatic weapons for the most part. One aspect of buying more ammunition is that it doesn’t matter what gun you have so just take the gun off one of the enemies and presto, no need to spend money on a new shiny gun. When you do decide to buy a new weapon, a good idea is to trade up to an assault rifle and a shotgun, perhaps the AA-12.
The melee function will be a welcome bonus that players should take quite seriously. Of the many weapon choices that are available to you even early on, it is the cheapest option. Some enemies will even require 2 melee attacks. Reminiscent of Halo, a shotgun to the chest followed by a melee attack will work perfectly well even when you get into the 3rd or 4th difficulty tier levels.
TIP: Melee is not suggested for the enemies who have strapped C4 to themselves, but the big red backpack is a huge giveaway. Instead, if you’ve achieved the sniper rifle, go for that option if you can. Regardless, keep your distance and use bottleneck chokepoints set away from your position if possible.
The announcement that armed Helicopters are gunning for you will send a chill through your veins but the battle isn’t over yet. There is some lag between when you pop up and when they start shooting at you, so time it right and make sure not to miss. There are blind spots on the maps, look for them.
TIP: In the Underground Map, you’ll be able to hide inside the main subway station with the glass above providing limited protection. Next to the lockers under the stairs, on the side with the Weapons Armory is a two by two alcove that may not look like it provides much protection, but is actually the perfect spot to fight off the Helicopters. An RPG or Air Strike is an option but is ultimately less satisfying.
WARNING: The above strategy only works for that level because once you move past the first four maps, the difficulty level changes, so hiding alone will not be enough since at the ‘regular’ and above difficulty tiers has hunters who come into your hiding spot to destroy you.
Lastly, Choppers also drop the dreaded Juggernaut. Armor reinforced and the hardest to kill, you’ll need every ounce of mobility and gaming prowess that you possess to take out this giant of a hunter. A bloodhound on two legs, this is Call of Duty’s answer to how they would put T-1000, The Terminator, inside of their game.
The heavier the weapon to shoot him with, the better your chances, since you’ll likely exhaust almost all your resources destroying him. One suggested strategy, if you can use it, is to call the assistance of the Delta or Riot Squad guys, but it isn’t cheap.
TIP: You’ll want explosives on hand for him; do so just as juggernaut lands out of the helicopter or when he is chasing you. A straight chase won’t work so jumping off one of the upper levels restricts his movement and give you time to get away and plant the explosive. In the Lockdown Map on the ‘Insane’ Tier difficulty, there is a second story room that directly overlooks the Weapons Armory that makes a great chokepoint.
Once you shoot everyone else but hopefully spot the Juggernaut in the chaos, jump out the window after setting tons of explosives inside the room. Mention Survival Mode of any kind to any recent gamer and they will conjure up all manner of mammal or even fauna that have chased a player around in a First Person shooter.
A manic desperation permeates your mind as you calculate your chances of making it to the next round in the Spec Ops mode. The Flood from the Halo series campaign mode comes to mind with its survive or die attitude. Throughout “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3″, the benchmark has been set high enough that all previous iterations of Survival mode look like a demo in comparison. Good luck, you’ll need it.