Just one week after release, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is already the biggest entertainment launch in the world with $400 million dollars earned in just one day. Chances are you already went out and bought it so who cares about my review right? Still, I feel obligated to write about my experience with the game, especially after the 10 plus hours I clocked in.
Like many Call of Duty players, the campaign for this particular series is sort of what we play when our buddies aren’t online for some multiplayer action. I never particularly enjoyed the narrative of the Modern Warfare series, but did always enjoy playing through these crazy ‘Michael Bay’ style action sequences. If you have been following the series closely, Modern Warfare 3 starts off literally moments after the sequel. Price and Soap have survived their close encounter with Lt. General Shepherd, and the hunt is still on for Makarov. Modern Warfare 3 realizes World War 3 with full on battles in New York, London, and Paris. Featuring set pieces so grand they make the previous games look like strolls through the park.
The campaign’s biggest letdowns is the lack of cooperative play. Games are always better with friends, Infinity Ward of all people should know this. Despite the lack of coop, I started my campaign on Veteran difficulty and it wasn’t as difficult as the previous games. I always found the Veteran difficulty in this series to be way too hard, and unfair with the infinite enemy respawns. Veteran in Modern Warfare 3 does it right by offering the player a challenge but not one that will have you pulling your hair out in frustration. I can easily say that this is my personal favorite Call of Duty campaign since the original Modern Warfare.
Making its return are the cooperative Spec Ops Missions that were introduced in Modern Warfare 2. There are over a dozen of new missions which you and another friend can run through, earning stars based on your overall performance in that mission. Some of the missions are directly from the campaign and others give you a different perspective of a campaign mission. New to the series is Spec Ops Survival which is well….Survival Mode. The mode consists of you and a friend fighting off wave after wave of enemies. For each kill you gain cash that can be spent at different stations around the map to buy ammo, new weapons, equipment, and killstreak rewards. The overall Spec Ops mode features its own separate ranking system that will unlock weapons, missions, and killstreaks as you rank up. The Spec Ops Survival mode is a fun new addition to the series but the mode is limited to just two players, four players would have been better.
Last but not least is the addictive Multiplayer options. Now surely players are going to spend the majority of their time here and I can see why. I swore off Call of Duty but fell into the pre-release hype and have already clocked in more hours online in Modern Warfare 3 than I did with Black Ops, and I’ve been enjoying the hell out of it. But when I think of the multiplayer in the critical sense there is just so much that bugs me personally. How about the fact that not much has drastically changed to move the series forward. Even small stuff like the the HUD display and the voice that announces the gametype and winner of the match are exactly the same. There’s nothing wrong with familiarity, but when everything seems the same after 4 years it’s time to upgrade just a little.
This is not to say Modern Warfare doesn’t make a few adjustments to its multiplayer options. For one it added a new, fun mode called Kill Confirmed. The mode is essentially Team Deathmatch but after each kill you have to go up to your kill and pick up his dog tags in order for your team to get the point. Players on the opposing team can deny the kill by picking up their fallen comrades tags before you do. I didn’t play any objective based games in Modern Warfare before with the exception of Domination, but Kill Confirmed is not something I play often. Team Defender is another new mode with the objective being to grab a flag and hold it for as long as possible. This mode is also pretty cool but not one I see myself playing that often.
The gameplay itself is basically the same, as it really should be. I always found the fast pace action of Modern Warfare more fun than most first person shooters out there. Some of the changes in gameplay come in the different ways that the killstreaks are presented. Killstreaks are now broken down into three different categories; Assault, Support, and Specialist. The assault package offers killstreaks rewards that will kill the other team, support is for players who like to use UAV’s and help out their team with care packages, and specialist is a package that earns you more perks instead of killstreak rewards. Another slight change is that you now level up each of your guns. Using a particular gun will earn you a special perk for that gun, unlocks attachments, and earns you new camo colors. The new changes are that significant to make the game any better but it doesn’t ruin what already works.
The biggest gripe I had with Modern Warfare 3 is the lack of growth that the entire Call of Duty series has had since the original Modern Warfare. Despite going back to WW2 in ‘World At War’ and to Vietnam in ‘Black Ops’, the formula for this series has stayed the same. That’s not to say that the formula doesn’t work anymore. Modern Warfare 3 showcases some great moments during the campaign, even with that old engine. The series is just in need of a serious tune up.
Modern Warfare 3 doesn’t change much of anything. A few slight changes here and there but none that will significantly ruin the game for you if you love it or make it better if you already hate it. I tried to fight Modern Warfare 3 off, and I’m glad I gave in. Even though it’s offering the same experience since 2007, it’s offering an experience that no one else is. Purchasing Modern Warfare 3 justifies itself, especially after you see how many hours you clocked in online.
This review was based on a retail copy of the game for the Xbox 360 provided by Activision.