Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 Review
Tell them to get in the bloody queue.
The Call of Duty franchise is, by far, the most successful multiplayer shooter franchise going. Because of that, it’s easy to overlook the fact that this success is always anchored by fantastic single player campaigns. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the very picture of this philosophy. Activision’s developer tag-team are bringing us the gripping conclusion to the current Modern Warfare story wrapped in the multiplayer action you know and love, with a side of co-op. Industry analysts are predicting record sales, in the area of 12 million copies at launch, yet again and I’m inclined to side with all 12 million of you.
Modern Warfare 3’s single player campaign grabs ahold of you and doesn’t let go. Picking up from the moment Modern Warfare 2 ended, this story is short but very, very sweet. Clocking in at just over five hours on Normal difficulty, it won’t be the longest game you play this year but there is a lot more to this package so I think you’ll end up feeling like you got your money’s worth.
I don’t want to give away much of the story but, if you’ve played the other games in the series you’ll know that, Russian ultra-nationalists are waging, not only a global terrorism campaign but, a full-scale war. What may have looked like, in Modern Warfare 2, a few scattered assaults quickly becomes World War 3. I don’t use that term lightly, you’ll see what I mean in the very first level.
Modern Warfare 3 isn’t simply a new story pasted over the old, there are some obvious visual upgrades. This is the best looking Call of Duty game yet. It won’t quite equal some other games out there, in terms of visuals, but it’s definitely had some work done. Of course, we can’t forget the new gear you’ll get to play with. My favorite new addition had to be hybrid scopes. Some guns will be equipped with both a red-dot sight and an ACOG scope, for example, and you can cycle between them with the press of a button. This is such a simple concept but it makes a big difference.
I had a wonderful and wild ride with Modern Warfare 3’s campaign. The story and characters hold your interest better than those of any action movie. You simply will not have time to get bored as you jump between ground forces, drones, air support and vehicles. Rarely are there any extended run-and-gun sections. It’s really a shame it was over so quickly because this campaign was awesome. This story does what Call of Duty does best; glorifies the specific actions and events you are experiencing while showing you that, in war, no one wins.
Zombies are out, Special Ops is back in. Since Modern Warfare 3 is, again, forgoing a co-op campaign you’ll have to get your co-op fix from Special Ops. This mode is broken up into two sections, Mission Mode and Survival. The missions are two-player, short but fun, objectives based on gameplay pieces from the campaign. Much like Modern Warfare 2, these missions are a lot of fun and offer quite a bit of variety. Depending on your result you will be awarded from one to three stars, the more stars you collect the more missions you unlock. You will also be earning experience toward your co-op level, which will progress separately from your multiplayer level.
The second co-op mode is Survival. This plays much like it does in other shooters with you and a friend facing wave after wave of enemies while earning money for your kills. This money can be used to buy guns, gear and support from upgrade stations placed around each map. Gear costs money, but you will also be unlocking better gear for purchase as your level increases. Though it’s been done before, many times, Modern Warfare 3’s Survival was surprisingly fun and addictive.
Now, what you’ve all been waiting for; competitive multiplayer. You’ve already heard about Strike Packages, but that is not even close to all they have in store for you. Modern Warfare 3 offers the most extensive online experience in any Call of Duty game yet. The sheer amount of things to unlock and level up is astounding. First, you won’t be able to hit prestige until level 80. Second, each gun levels up as you get kills with it, unlocking scopes, accessories and camo for that specific gun. Third you have a ton of kill streak rewards, challenges, emblems and titles to unlock and lastly you’ll have access to the Prestige Store. Each time you Prestige you will be awarded a Token to spend here for things like keeping one gun unlocked when you roll over to prestige, etc. It’s going to be very hard to get bored with Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer.
For the most part, the game plays like the others in the series but the online connections seem to have stabilized. I didn’t try a playing with a large party, but network connectivity showed none of the issues that we’ve faced in past entries in the series. As I mentioned before, Strike Packages are the big change this time. You can choose Assault, which is the classic setup, unlocking nastier and nastier death machines with each kill. Or you can choose Support which offers support type rewards like UAVs and care packages. The bonus with Support is that your kill streaks don’t reset when you die. Lastly, you can choose specialist which adds extra perks to your character with each increase in kill streak.
Modern Warfare 3 still offers you everything you love about Call of Duty multiplayer, it just all looks and works much better. It’s going to be hard to put this one down.
Modern Warfare 3 has the usual Call of Duty achievements for clearing each mission and again on Veteran difficultly. There are a few in Survival Mode that will keep you around in there for a while, buying every item. Also, as usual, there are zero achievements for competitive multiplayer. This never fails to bother us, but there it is.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is anything but another sequel tacked on to the series. From the gripping campaign, to the addictive Special Ops mode, to the extensively improved multiplayer, Modern Warfare 3 leaves nothing out.