Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review

by Gaetano 'Xbot' Prestia Featured

28 Comments 22 Votes 4734 Views 08/11/2011 Back to Reviews

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past week or so, ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’, the year’s most talked about (and challenged) videogame, is now upon us. This third game in the ‘Modern Warfare’ series, which started with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in 2007 (see the trend?), is a refined arcade masterpiece. This addictive and aggressively competitive first-person shooter is as deep an online experience as there is on consoles, frustratingly so amidst a fascinatingly skilled hardcore community. ‘MW3’ certainly has its issues, unsurprisingly mostly carried over from previous Call of Duty games, but its explosive, heart-stopping action more than makes up for its hereditary problems.

What Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Got Right

Familiar and true multiplayer formula - I hate to have to do it but I have to bring up Battlefield 3. Best to get it out of the way. My intentions are actually in praise of the game, as Battlefield 3 has allowed me to value the satisfaction of team-based success in online shooters. I’ve been playing Modern Warfare 2 for 24 months and I still do the same things over and over again: aim to get the best killstreak and the best ratio. Getting some nice accolades was always a nice bonus. As I play Modern Warfare 3’s team modes -- having earlier spent a bit of time with Battlefield 3 -- I find myself more engaged in Call of Duty matches than I ever have been before. I’ve been a sucker for the ratio. Battlefield 3 showed me the light, but Modern Warfare 3 certainly brought me home.

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The problem is that Modern Warfare 3, like its predecessors, still aggressively rewards the individual as opposed to the team effort. It still feels like an individualistic experience, one molded around your own ability to ultimately unlock and achieve everything there is on offer. That’s where any direct comparisons with Battlefield 3 should probably end, because any attempt by Modern Warfare 3 to become more team-focused is trumpeted by its close-combat-dictating map design and modes. As much as any new additions are added to make this game seem more team-focused, it’s just meant to be fast, fun gunplay, and you’re meant to have the best score and the best kill-to-death ratio.

Thankfully for those that are looking for change, the multiplayer additions help refine the experience in a subtle but improving way. The core Modern Warfare online experience is there – it’s the same setup, modes and interface – with some new additions that give it a little bit of extra life at a time when so many seemed to be demanding change.

Its new ‘Packages’ system, designed to offer alternative ways to unlock and access killstreak rewards, offers team-centric Packages that reward contribution directly beneficial for your team, as opposed to an emphasis on your own achievements. Your rewards will be indicative of that, with tools that will help your team source the opponent on the battlefield. Alternatively you’ll be offered devastating rewards that may not help your team but will award you with the allusive, and often overrated, kills. There are now more options and incentives to work for your team as opposed to your ratio, which is a direct rectification of common criticism of previous Call of Duty games. It’s not a compulsory and forced implementation, and the freedom for those that do love the old ‘COD’ experience is there to play it the increasingly ‘old-school’ way.

As for the actual gameplay: its faster, intense and constant. Its quick nature makes complex tactics difficult and simply unnecessary, as the modes themselves are molded around fast action in condensed areas. You don’t have the space to organise elaborate plans, but you simply don’t need to: go into Modern Warfare 3 aggressive and ready for in-your-face action, or just don’t even bother with the game at all.

Alongside the multiplayer component are Spec Ops and Survival, two cooperative experiences focused on survival against waves of enemies. Survival is a surprisingly engaging and challenging addition, making for some addictive, but at-time frustratingly difficult, co-op action.

Maps are familiar but accessible and fun, with plenty of memorable designs and great bottlenecks, making for some explosive battles between teams. Developers Sledgehammer Games and Infinity Ward certainly haven’t taken any risks, but they have designed a well-rounded collection of environments perfectly suited to the gameplay.

Exciting campaign - I blasted through the campaign -- all six hours of it -- on my way to completing an entertaining, albeit quick, single-player campaign. I just can't think of a COD game with as many memorable moments. The big standout being a gravity defying slow-motion mid-air shootout on the Russian president's plane. It's silly, but oh so ridiculously awesome. It's mindless on purpose. You're supposed to be blown away by how utterly ridiculous it is. And that's why I love it. It has some great moments and is definitely worth a play through.

Looks great - Modern Warfare 3 sports an old engine but it certainly doesn’t seem dated. It runs at a stunning 60 frames per-second, making for crisp, clean and bright visuals that look fantastic in motion. Explosions are loud and fire effects imposing, while the occasional exploding wall or building make for a fantastic set piece in the midst of battle. The game also sports a familiar and deeply accessible interface, breaking up modes, classes, weapons and statistics up in a clean and detailed fashion. The game functions smoothly and looks crystal clean.

What Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Got Wrong

Being a little too familiar - It’s hard not to acknowledge Modern Warfare 3’s obvious inherited traits, carried down year after year from earlier games in the series. This game might be a slight refinement of 2009’s Modern Warfare 2, but it’s still essentially the same experience. The game certainly doesn’t return to the glory of Call of Duty 4, arguably the best in the ‘Modern Warfare’ series, mainly because it fails to brand itself as something truly unique for the Call of Duty name. That said, it doesn’t degrade the game’s worth for frequent players, it just makes it less appealing for those that haven’t liked COD games in the past.

Campaign enemy issues - The campaign certainly has its moments, but the experience is ultimately plagued by ‘monster closet syndrome’, with enemies often seemingly spawning relentlessly out of pockets, making for repetitive and boring gameplay. There is a decent balance between these generic ‘FPS’ issues and great missions, although it seems like an issue that could have been rectified by now, some six years since Call of Duty 2.

The Final Verdict

Modern Warfare 3 seems like the game everyone loves to hate, and yet everyone seems to be playing it. Funnily enough, this game will have one of the largest online communities across all platforms for the next 24 months, making it a must-have for anyone looking for competitive and fast online action. This game never attempts to offer realistic military combat, instead relying on a tried and true formula that still maintains its addictiveness and depth from over the years.

By Gaetano Prestia

Gameplay

9.0
The gunplay is accessible and fun across a tonne of weapons. There are plenty of different class options to help mold your online character, making for a very addictive and competitive online component. Campaign has its moments but is ultimately hampered by common issues.

Graphics

8.0
An old engine that still works wonders for one of the most popular videogames franchises of all time. Sleek and smooth at 60 frames per-second.

Sound

8.0
Sound effects are crisp and loud, alongside decent voice acting throughout the game’s campaign.

Value

9.0
Campaign is short at six-hours on Normal, but multiplayer has days worth of content.

Overall

9.0
Modern Warfare 3 may rely on an old formula, but the Call of Duty experience is still raring for action.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Platform: PS3 / Xbox / PC
 
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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review Comments

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Might wanna fix up the wording in the value part.

I'm finding the game to be great so far. I have pulled out alot more negatives then you though so far. Weird difficulty, pointless nature in co-op, short campaign. I know a CoD game suits a short campaign but I would still like a reason to go and play it again. This could be a bunch of mods/cheats or a different path
Good review. I agree with everything said.
Can't argue with that. :P
Atar
+
same old game meh
The game takes some getting used to.. Overall it is a great game with a tiny difference :D
yes tiny [Shifty]
i cant see for the life of me HOW you could give this a 9 when thats all you give an awesome game like Uncharted 3, yes this a fun game online but its only warfare 2 with new maps and few new perks and while i love the game the should just release a disk full of extra maps and be done as the campaign is just crap
I haven't played it yet but what they should do is bring out a COD multiplayer ONLY and sell it half the price.. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review
cura
+

Bayonetta said: i cant see for the life of me HOW you could give this a 9 when thats all you give an awesome game like Uncharted 3, yes this a fun game online but its only warfare 2 with new maps and few new perks and while i love the game the should just release a disk full of extra maps and be done as the campaign is just crap



reviews are opinions.

Bayonetta said: i cant see for the life of me HOW you could give this a 9 when thats all you give an awesome game like Uncharted 3, yes this a fun game online but its only warfare 2 with new maps and few new perks and while i love the game the should just release a disk full of extra maps and be done as the campaign is just crap



I have no idea how Uncharted 3 has anything to do with MW3.


And 9/10 is 90%. You're acting like I gave U3 a 0/10. If I'd reviewed it as an online FPS, as I did MW3, it would have gotten 0/10. Same goes vice-versa for MW3 as a third-person action game. I don't see the correlation and why they should be reviewed on the same scale?
I'm not happy with going back to unlocking weapons. I much preferred the Black Ops system were you bought them. It gave you the choice to get what you wanted, not unlock useless crap first.

Also, very minor, but I can't believe that custom classes aren't there from the beginning. I almost rage quit immediately due to the rubbish presets being combined with trying to learn the maps. Putting it at level 4 is pointless. Just causes unnecessary anger until then.

Marge said: Might wanna fix up the wording in the value part.
I'm finding the game to be great so far. I have pulled out alot more negatives then you though so far. Weird difficulty, pointless nature in co-op, short campaign. I know a CoD game suits a short campaign but I would still like a reason to go and play it again. This could be a bunch of mods/cheats or a different path



Thanks. Amended.


Ben said: I'm not happy with going back to unlocking weapons. I much preferred the Black Ops system were you bought them. It gave you the choice to get what you wanted, not unlock useless crap first.
Also, very minor, but I can't believe that custom classes aren't there from the beginning. I almost rage quit immediately due to the rubbish presets being combined with trying to learn the maps. Putting it at level 4 is pointless. Just causes unnecessary anger until then.



But the Black Ops system was a smokescreen. You could only afford the weapons you wanted at essentially the same time you'd unlock an equivalent weapon in a game like MW2. You still had to wait a long time to get the best weapons.

As for Custom Classes, I think it's good to reward and provide incentive as opposed to having everything available from the get-go. The default classes actually aren't too bad. And everyone struggles with maps when they first play it.
Not really unlocking the weapons that's the problem, but the attachments and perks. You could pretty much choose to skip some dud ones to get others faster.
Tano wanted to give it a 10, you can tell [MOG]

Kerosanak said: Tano wanted to give it a 10, you can tell



@Heller held me back.
LMA0
+
I dont like the maps.

Ben said: I'm not happy with going back to unlocking weapons. I much preferred the Black Ops system were you bought them. It gave you the choice to get what you wanted, not unlock useless crap first.
Also, very minor, but I can't believe that custom classes aren't there from the beginning. I almost rage quit immediately due to the rubbish presets being combined with trying to learn the maps. Putting it at level 4 is pointless. Just causes unnecessary anger until then.


agreeing with the 'unlock' frustration. The BF3 weapon matrix revolves around it as well. @_@
Initially I was not enjoying the campaign or the multiplayer, but after exploring it a bit more I found it to be really enjoyable.

LMA0 said: I dont like the maps.



Yeah, that's pretty much my only beef with it. Some of them are fairly good, but none of them stand out as classics.
MMGN COD: MW3 Review = 9 outta 10

MMGN BF3 Review = 8 outta 10

Call of Duty = The Best!!! *_*
I'm currently shooting my way through Paris, I stopped and looked at a street sign...I've walked down these streets in real life in Paris, I remember the names :O

Bayonetta said: i cant see for the life of me HOW you could give this a 9 when thats all you give an awesome game like Uncharted 3, yes this a fun game online but its only warfare 2 with new maps and few new perks and while i love the game the should just release a disk full of extra maps and be done as the campaign is just crap


The campaign is very good(but short). Probably my favourite campaign after WaW.

Third Person shooters are very different to FPS' and should be reviewed differently.

*harsh words censored*
Hmmm I guess the $ stays in my pocket for another game.
Who wants an expensive game of the same-old, with a lacking single player campaign.

Also, very minor, but I can't believe that custom classes aren't there from the beginning. I almost rage quit immediately due to the rubbish presets being combined with trying to learn the maps. Putting it at level 4 is pointless. Just causes unnecessary anger until then.



I'm fairly certain this is how it has been for some time, as far as I can remember.
First few levels you need to use the shitty pre-set classes, then you can construct your own.
Why you need to go through this each time you prestige however, is beyond me.
Re-skinning the same great game may work now, while we're in the same generation, but the issue is whenever the next generation rolls around; how will the fans react to a completely new engine, with possible a complete change of direction for the series?

And if that doesn't happen, how will people react to the same exact game, just with better graphics, that's going under a new console's name? It's a dilemma really. I highly doubt people will ever be as fascinated by a shooter as they were with CoD 4. :S

abujaffer said: Re-skinning the same great game may work now, while we're in the same generation, but the issue is whenever the next generation rolls around; how will the fans react to a completely new engine, with possible a complete change of direction for the series?
And if that doesn't happen, how will people react to the same exact game, just with better graphics, that's going under a new console's name? It's a dilemma really. I highly doubt people will ever be as fascinated by a shooter as they were with CoD 4.



I don't think the engine will change much. The gameplay is perfect for what it is. It achieves exactly what it sets out to. The mechanics don't need to change.

Any next generation game will need to look better, have dedicated servers and more features alongside the core gameplay.

That's all COD gamers ask for really.
After reading this review, so its just a rehash of MW2? -_-. My mates that have got it bragging how good it is. I guess there fans of the name. I wasn't planning on getting it anyway, unless it was better the COD4. Bafflefield 3 is still king!

cura said:

Bayonetta said: i cant see for the life of me HOW you could give this a 9 when thats all you give an awesome game like Uncharted 3, yes this a fun game online but its only warfare 2 with new maps and few new perks and while i love the game the should just release a disk full of extra maps and be done as the campaign is just crap


reviews are opinions.


well they shouldnt be they should be fair cos if you like this type of game your going to give rave reviews and this does not deserve that at all its only fun for a while online BF3 is way better

Bayonetta said:
well they shouldnt be


Wait, what?

How can reviews be anything but opinions?

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