Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 Review

By litepink, 5 years ago
After great anticipation, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games' Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is finally here, and much like its predecessors, it keeps dedicated Call of Duty fans coming back for more. But can it grab the attention of the skeptics who believe the series has grown stale? We divulge into all that MW3 has to offer in order to answer just that.

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Campaign - Short but oh so sweet
The campaign starts out right where we left off in Modern Warfare 2, literally. After a brief moment with your old pals "Soap" MacTavish and Captain John Price, you're thrown right into the heat of battle in New York as Sgt. Derek "Frost" Westbrook of the Delta Force Team. There's no shooting or sprinting tutorial here, bullets are flying over your head from the get-go as the city of New York is crumbling under Russian invasion. This sets the stage for the entire game, as there isn't really much lull in the action throughout.

The campaigns in the Call of Duty series are often compared to a Michael Bay film, and that's a fair assessment of what you get. I went through the story in one sitting, a testament to the game's length but also to its intensity. I never felt bored as the pacing was phenomenal from one level to the next. The locales in this game were fascinating, often taking place in the streets of a major metropolis such as New York, Paris, or London. This didn't feel forced in any way, and as you see buildings and monuments crumble, you can't help but ask "What if?". You don't see as much of the typical modern war settings such as some desolate desert or a snowy base in the middle of nowhere. The action is raw, real, and close to home.

The game keeps you on a very linear path, which works quite well. The gunfights are fierce, but are broken up nicely with controlling vehicles, mounted machine guns, and old favorites like being a gunner in an AC-130. This may sound like they are borrowing too much from previous iterations, but all these alternate action sequences have a twist to them so they feel fresh. Your campaign run will only clock in around 4-5 hours on the Regular difficulty, but you'll find that it's breathtaking throughout. You'll have no problems going through it again to collect intel or playing it once more on Veteran.

Multiplayer - Balanced as ever, while playing it safe
The competitive multiplayer is undoubtedly the focal point of any Call of Duty game, and Modern Warfare 3 is no different. If you would have been standing in line for a midnight release of the game you most likely would have overheard people talking about what loadout they are going to use in multiplayer over what's going to happen to Soap and Captain Price.

The multiplayer in MW3 doesn't reinvent the wheel, but some of the subtle changes and tweaks add up to another addicting multiplayer experience. One of the biggest changes is how the killstreaks work, now offering three different "Strike Packages" instead. The Assault strike package works just like killstreaks did in previous titles; streak together several kills in one life to earn rewards like Attack Helicopters and Reapers. The Specialist package allows you to gain extra Perks, but again, resets upon death. The Support strike package is the most ingenious one, rewarding players for not only kills, but assists and as well as team objectives like capturing flags. The rewards for this package are different too, and are mostly team-orientated like a UAV or a SAM turret.

This package rewards the player that puts their neck out on the line to try to capture an objective as your streak carries over through death. Often times, players in previous Call of Duty titles would hold back on helping the team to retain their killstreaks. Now, with the Support strike package, the game has a more team oriented feel, something that the series was lacking in the past. Matches are more balanced now with the different strike packages, and rarely do I see players with lopsided kill/death ratios. Never do I feel cheated when I win or lose a match, the fault or success is on your own shoulders.

There are new perks and weapons in MW3, and you may find that you'll return to an old favorite or find something new. You can now level up individual guns to progressively unlock Proficiencies like 'Kick' or 'Stability', which acts much like an extra gun attachment. Add this to your normal level progression for unlocking perks and the guns themselves and you have another aspect of the game that has you playing again and again. The sheer amount of customization for your loadout is phenomenal and makes it feel like it's truly your own. Challenges return for you to gain extra XP as well as titles and emblems for your playercard. Besides the addition of previous Prestige levels on your playercard, they don't feel much different at all and that was disappointing.

The new game types are something to talk about as well, Kill Confirmed and Team Defender are two tweaks on already existing game types that turn out to be some of the most addicting ones. If you're not a fan of those, there are tons of other game types to suit your style.

Despite all the praise for multiplayer and all the new additions, it doesn't seem drastically different. You could argue that the game is a best-selling blockbuster for a reason, so don't fix what isn't broken. Fundamentally though, it doesn't feel all that different. With that said, multiplayer is still an engrossing experience with a lot to offer.

Spec Ops - The icing on the cake
Spec Ops returns to Modern Warfare, but this time we have two varieties, the returning Missions, and the new Survival. The missions, like before, are a series of short challenges that you and/or a partner can run through at varying difficulties. A lot of the missions just feel like campaign levels, but with the ability to play with a friend. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the territory will often feel familiar. There are a few new surprises in the missions, but they will not feel radically different from what you've done already. However, going through them with a friend is a lot of fun, and will have you playing "just one more time" when you fail one on Veteran.

The Survival mode is new to MW3, but certainly not a new concept. You face endless waves of enemies and vehicles that get progressively harder and harder. Earn money to purchase new weapons, make upgrades, buy explosives, air support, and even CPU teammates. The methodical thinking behind spending money versus saving brings a bit of strategy to the game mode too, both welcome and nerve racking. Going through this with a friend is an absolute blast, something that this series needed. The Spec Ops mode has its own set up level progression to unlock new maps, weapons and the like, and gives you good incentive to continue playing.

Achievements - The same great list, third time around
If you've played other Modern Warfare titles, you'll know that they have no achievements for competitive multiplayer and are largely geared around the Veteran difficulty campaign. They have achievements for all types of skill levels though, with plenty for natural level progression. There are some level based objectives to spice up your campaign, as well collecting enemy intel again, with some Spec Ops achievements thrown in as well. The list is great and somewhat difficult, but far from masochistic. I would have liked to see more level specific tasks, but overall there isn't much to complain about here.

Final Verdict
Some may feel certain aspects of the game might not hold its own individually. However, you cannot deny that Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games brought it all together in one incredible package. While it may not win Game of the Year, it certainly is the blockbuster it was hyped up to be.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5