marshall109's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Xbox 360) review

One Last World War, For Old Times Sake.

Let's get one thing straight, if you are reading this you probably have played, if not owned, a Modern Warfare game, and with that in mind I'm not going to to do much of an introduction. Modern Warfare 3 is the third and seemingly final entry into Infinity Ward's modern military shooter franchise, with the single player story picking up directly where MW2 left off. In tow is the usual assortment of multiplayer and Cooperative Spec-Ops, each dressed up with the expected incremental upgrades to give a fresh feel to the game.

-Warning Mild Spoilers Ahead-

The single player experience in MW3 is a strange beast, with bursts of face-palmingly awkward moments and occasional pieces of equal excitement and greatness. The campaign is by no means bad, in fact it is pretty good, but the pacing is weird and the story is convoluted. The game kicks off with you playing as a member of Delta Force, fighting with the US Army in New York. These early levels are highlighted by chase sequences (one in a helicopter, the other in a raft), fighting your way through a Russian submarine, and working your way across a scarred New York. It is fast, fun, and it reminds you why these games have sold so many damn copies.

Then from there the Campaign slowly starts to wind down. There are moments of greatness such as playing as one of the Russian President's secret service agents, a beachhead invasion, and fighting in the streets of Hamburg. Unfortunately the story fails to deliver, seemingly over-encumbered by the silliness of its back story. I would argue that this was all done as an excuse to fight around the world and experience cool set pieces, but that isn't true. MW3 has only a few moments of impressive scale, but unfortunately the rest of the campaign feels narrow and extremely guided. About a third of the game involves you following someone, working your way through cramped corridors and narrow levels. Then, probably most shocking considering this is an Infinity Ward game, are the plethora of on rails sequences. Seriously, I hope you like turret missions cause you are gonna get them.

All in all that is my biggest complaint of MW3, everything just has a weird feeling of cramped and downsized scale. This seems like a massive dissapointment considering the game takes place during what is essentially World War 3, and the possibilities for creative, complex war zones is screaming at your face the entire time. Still, I have to give the game credit because it does wrap the story up in a way that left me surprised. For all it's silliness it is nice to finally see Price and Soap finish their mission, so in that regard the story does deliver.

The multiplayer returns with more experience meters and customization menus than you could shake a stick at. New weapons, perks, and equipment keep the progression fun, and the new weapon leveling means there is more potential for customizing a gun towards a certain style of play; such as sniping or stealth. Things like party chat in competitive modes has returned which is more than welcomed. If you play mostly with friends this will probably be your favorite Call of Duty yet, as the number of team-based game types is even greater. There is a lot of fun (and grinding) to be had in MW3's multiplayer and for that I will say it is the best yet.

At the end of the day Modern Warfare 3 is great. It's production values are high and there is a lot of content to be had, most of which is very good. Unfortunately the campaign feels stunted and repetitive, possibly even a bit rushed. Ultimately I think it boils down to the fact that pumping these games out five years in a row has started to produce a product that is by all accounts fine, even good, but it lacks the all important spark that made Call of Duty 4 truly great.

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