Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare took my breath away, Modern Warfare 2 built on that and I was quite impressed with how most of its action sequences rivalled those featured in Hollywood blockbusters, then I treated myself to Modern Warfare 3 at Christmas and was spectacularly underwhelmed by its repetitive nature. Once I'd mindlessly plodded through the single player and checked out the multiplayer I was about ready to call it a day, that is until my brother wandered into my room attracted by the sound of gunfire and asked if I'd checked out the Survival mode yet. I had not. Quickly I scrolled through the menus into the co-op section and within minutes we were both sat side by side whilst being deployed into a calm urban setting. This was the quiet before the storm!
This mode is essentially a work over of Black Ops' Zombie mode, only the undead have been replaced by groups of soldiers. When you start Survival mode for the first time it can quickly lull you into a false sense of security, the first few waves of enemy troops are incredibly easy, in fact you shouldn't even have to raise a gun to dispatch them, your trusty knife will take care of them efficiently enough and don't worry about taking any damage their shotgun blasts are the equivalent of somebody gently throwing a handful of gravel at you. At this point you may well be laughing at those you've left lifelessly lying on the floor. Unfortunately things won't stay this way for long, each round becomes more and more of a challenge, the hostile forces become better equipped, helicopters'll be sent to take you out from above, and eventually you'll come face to face with the dreaded juggernauts.
The trick to Survival mode, other than finding people who are actually competent at playing the game, is to level up quickly so you can gain access to as much kit as possible, whilst also sitting back and thinking tactically about the situation you're in. Predator missiles provide you with a pretty good way of instantly getting rid of juggernauts, or large group of soldiers that have pinned you down. However, you'll quickly trade these in once you unlock the delta squad and riot troops, both of which provide you with excellent support for a fairly large period of time and for AI controlled characters there not bad, unless of course you find them blocking your entrance or exit into buildings, which can be all that separates you from life and death in some situations. Claymores turn city streets and stairs into explosive death traps, particularly when you set them at choke points. One of the most useful devices for cutting your enemies to pieces, or blowing them limb for limb, are the sentry guns, provided that you plonk them down somewhere that doesn't allows your enemies to creep up behind them. Finally, weapons can be modified as you see fit, and I shouldn't have to explain to seasoned first person shooter veterans why it's important to replenish your body armour. If you can set all these things up in between rounds, then you can create areas that are almost impenetrable, just be careful when you're walking around in later rounds otherwise you'll fall foul of hostile claymores instead of laying your own traps.
There are of course many ways to keep yourself alive and discovering which ones work best for the way that you play the game is half the fun, especially when you start racking up points and beating your personal bests. Whilst Survival mode fits in with Modern Warfare 3's incredibly repetitive nature, it's the only part of the game that I thoroughly enjoyed and felt deserved spending any prolonged periods of time playing through. Joining somebody online is all good and well, but I think this one's really all about local co-op, seeing as you and whoever your playing with can trade high fives at the end of every wave. Also, once you unlock the support troops, I think that Survival mode provides you with a decent alternative to some of the team based multiplayer modes. Well, I think that just about wraps up everything I want to say about this one, other than to mention that it was probably my favourite part of Christmas gaming wise. If you want to add anything, or let us know about your experiences of this magnificent mode, then please feel free to jot down your thoughts below.