Modern Warfare 3 campaign Open Combat missions explained

Liam Mackay
Modern Warfare 3 solider patrolling

Modern Warfare 3 introduces a fresh twist on the classic campaign mode with its Open Combat missions. With the campaign available on November 2 through early access, here’s a comprehensive look at what you need to know about the Open Combat missions.

Players who pre-order Modern Warfare 3 can get early access to the full campaign, allowing them to delve into the main storyline before the official November 10 release. This early access also grants them rewards along the way, preparing them for the multiplayer and Zombies modes.

Traditionally, Call of Duty’s campaign missions have stuck to a linear structure, guiding players through combat scenarios from point A to point B, often facing waves of enemies.

However, Modern Warfare 2 introduced a departure from this pattern with the Recon by Fire mission, allowing players the freedom to navigate an open expanse, engage targets from a distance, and evade patrols.

Modern Warfare 3 introduces Open Combat missions that further expand on this gameplay style. Here’s everything we know about Open Combat missions in MW3 so far.

What are Open Combat missions in Modern Warfare 3?

Modern Warfare 3‘s Open Combat missions are semi-open world levels taking place in a large area that “redefine player’s agency, offering an unparalleled degree of freedom and greatly expanding the playable area.”

According to Robert Pitts, Associate Director of Level Design at SHG, Open Combat missions are intentionally dispersed throughout the campaign to “create a seamless intertwined experience,” between them and the traditional cinematic missions.

These missions take players to open areas such as the countryside, an apartment complex, and an industrial park – including specific areas of Verdansk. While you begin with a set loadout, you’re free to pick up items from around the open world to build the arsenal that best suits your playstyle.

Following the non-linear structure, players can choose numerous angles to approach them. Here’s a list of some examples in which players can approach missions based on their preferred playstyle:

  • Stealth: Remaining off the radar and avoiding attracting enemies’ attention by firing unsuppressed weapons or using close-range takedowns.
  • Guns a-Blazing: Engage in a full-fledged, unrestrained assault with a multiplayer-style approach and a “Weapons Free” mentality.
  • Using Your Loadout: New to campaign missions, additional equipment will be available, such as Field Upgrades, Self-Revive Kits, and Equipment pieces, allowing you to create a personalized strategy.
  • Picking up Enemy Ordnance: Use all kinds of weaponry, including guns and equipment dropped by enemies.
  • Scavenging for More: In campaign missions, players can now “find loose loadout items, boxes, or even the ability to swap to another loadout mid-mission via a special loadout crate.”
  • On Foot: Use the traditional movement strategy featuring boots-on-the-ground combat.
  • Parachuting, Parkour, and More: Employ a more dynamic mode to approach missions, with “plenty of verticality and unconventional movement options.”
  • In Water: Continuing its introduction in MW2, players are free to dive and swim, using it as a stealth strategy or an alternate path to an objective.
  • Vehicles: Players will have different options for vehicles, both to transport from one place to another without exposing themselves, or as a noisy strategy to attract enemies.
  • Killstreaks and Interactable Items: Players will have different killstreaks available to use, as well as items to throw at enemies like flammable gas canisters.

Additionally, CoD confirmed that while playing Open Combat missions players will be able to seek new weapons, Armor Plates, and other items, which will come in handy if you decide to replay any OCM, as your loadout can be customizable “based on the weapons and items you’ve found in previous playthroughs.”

All Modern Warfare 3 campaign Open Combat missions so far

With Sledgehammer Games confirming that half of the levels in the campaign will be Open Combat missions, here are a couple we know of so far:

Gora Dam

Modern Warfare 3 Gora Dam location
Modern Warfare 3 features open combat areas from locations around the world.

This Open Combat mission takes place in Verdansk’s Gora Dam where players will take control of Simon ‘Ghost’ Riley to defuse several bomb sites spread across the area. Armed with a fully equipped AR, a suppressed Sidearm, and binoculars, as well as both lethal and tactical grenades, players will be presented with a range of choices for tackling and successfully accomplishing the mission.

Downed airliner

The downed airliner Open Combat mission follows on from MW2’s post-credits scene.

Another Open Combat mission takes place in the aftermath of a downed aircraft, where Task Force 141 races to stop Makarov’s forces from pinning the blame on another nation. There are patrols and obstacles to dodge (or take on) and it uses a Groundhog Day-esque mechanic where failing will rewind time, letting you have another shot with the information you’ve acquired.

For more on Modern Warfare 3, be sure to check out our other guides:

How to get MGB Tactical Nuke Killstreak in Modern Warfare 3 | When is Ranked Play coming to Modern Warfare 3? | Can you slide cancel in Modern Warfare 3? | Modern Warfare 3 War mode explained | Modern Warfare 3 Zombies Zones explained | Modern Warfare 3 Cutthroat game mode explained | Modern Warfare 3 PC requirements | Does Modern Warfare 3 campaign have co-op? | Does Modern Warfare 3 have Hardcore mode? 

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