Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review
It should come as no shock that Modern Warfare 3 hasn’t strayed far from the formula established by its predecessors. What may shock you, however, is how much the entire campaign’s structure feels like Infinity Ward was going down a checklist of set-pieces and scenes that they felt they had to include.Many times during the campaign, I caught myself thinking, “They are clearly trying to evoke, dare I say retread, a particular mission from one of the last two games.” The problem is none of the levels in Modern Warfare 3 are as truly awesome or memorable as anything in the first two Modern Warfare games. Modern Warfare 3’s entire story feels more disjointed than a Michael Bay film, from start to finish. The scenes you play are a string of vignettes stitched together rather than a cohesive plot for the player to engage with. Every time a cut-scene happens in this game, I promise you, some character will deliver a line straight out of CSI: Miami. The only thing this game needs is sunglasses on every character.
The biggest problem I had with the campaign is just how spectacularly boring it was. Never before in a game have I been so overwhelmed by what was happening around me and at the same time under whelmed with what I was actually allowed to do. Run. Get behind cover. Shoot those guys. Turret sequence. Tap A. Boat Sequence. Tap the stick left. Despite massive explosions, huge battles and moments where the player is clearly supposed to be struck with horror at how terrifying war is, I was still very aware that I was playing a video game. Listen up PR guys, Modern Warfare 3’s campaign is not immersive. In fact, at times its outright boring. The only real moments of tension in the game occur when you are forced to stick to the shadows and act as though bullets are actually dangerous. As for the rest of game, you are basically Bruce Willis and Keanu Reeves combined and can waste an entire platoon of terrorists/communists/whatever with less effort than it would take to fist bump two of your bros.I started playing the campaign at 8:30pm and at 2am; I was watching the credits roll. Granted, I was playing on normal difficulty, but I also got up several times for lengthy breaks. It’s hard to say the campaign was too short, given its total lack of inspiration to do anything innovative, but I feel that 5 hours (and that’s being generous) is simply too short of a campaign to try to be passing off as a full retail game. (Campaign verdict: 5/10)
Clearly, Infinity Ward knows that their captive audience isn’t buying their games for the campaign, because the multiplayer is fantastic. The amount of polish you’ve come to expect from this series shines brighter than ever with this most recent entry. First off, let me get my only criticism of the multiplayer out of the way right now; a lot of the maps feel patched together from previous maps while, at the same time, being less memorable. My subjective criticism of the maps aside, the multiplayer is more fun than ever. The new mode, Kill Confirmed, is a great spin on Team Deathmatch in which you score by walking over the dog tag that drops from a kill. As simple as this sounds, it is a fantastic idea (although, not original) that rewards teams to cooperate and communicate. Team Defender mode is another fantastic addition. The idea behind it is simple enough; whichever team holds the flag gets double points for kills. What this boils down to in the game is that everyone on both teams quickly learns that you win games and get more points by sticking close to your teammates and communicating with your headsets. You might not be surprised at all to find out that when most of your teammates are working together in harmony, defending or retrieving a flag is much simpler and infinitely more fun. Especially compared to Team Deathmatch mode where everybody lone-wolfs it until a clan, who communicates, comes into the room and wipes the floor with everyone. Who would have thought that the headset that came with your 360 was good for anything other that performing your rendition of “Chocolate Rain” or yelling homophobic slurs? Apparently, Infinity Ward did, so kudos.
A significant change has also been made to the way killstreak rewards, now called “Strike Packages”, are doled out. Of course several new, fun gadgets have been added to the mix, but the biggest difference is your ability to choose from Assault or Support packages. Assault is the old-school way of getting kill rewards, when you die your kill reward counter resets to zero. When you choose Support, your kill reward counter will continue to rise for every kill you get in a game, no matter how much you die. The trade-off you make is that the rewards you get benefit your team more than you directly and are not nearly as powerful as the Assault packages. (Each path has a unique set of gadgets to unlock and use.) This warrants a mention because this makes the game way more fun for players who are not as good as the Mountain Dew-fueled sixteen year old who keeps tea-bagging you. Even if you get repeatedly wasted every time you spawn, if you manage to get 18 kills during the entire match, you too will know the awesome feeling of setting of an E.M.P. and blinding the other team or calling in the Escort Airdrop and hearing your teammates sing your praises as they collect glorious care packages, all the while safe as the sky hails bullets on any of your enemies foolish enough to get too close to your drop zone.Even after playing every single Call of Duty multiplayer since Call of Duty 4 for a diminishing number of hours with each successive game and not having high expectations for this one either, I was immediately hooked again. You can now level up weapons, equipment, and perks by using them more often and in specific ways. The challenges are now featured more prominently and are integrated seamlessly into the leveling up experience. In other words, the “carrot on a stick” method used to keep the player going has been replaced with “deep-fried Twinkie on a stick”. Immediately rewarding and always fun, the multiplayer is where the meat of the experience is with this title. The mind-boggling amount of customization you are allowed for your weapons, perks and equipment is staggering. More so than with any previous title, Modern Warfare 3 delivers exactly what everyone wanted, bad ass multiplayer you can spend hundreds of hours in. (Multiplayer verdict: 10/10)
Spec Ops mode returns with a few handfuls of unique missions/scenarios for you to play through with a co-op partner. By that, I mean only one co-op partner. The Spec Ops mode, Survival, which is essentially Gears of War’s Horde mode, is a welcome addition, but feels lacking compared to the amount of effort clearly put into the competitive multiplayer. Survival mode feels like a tacked on afterthought, albeit a really fun one. It seems like a good idea; just not executed with the amount of polish that Infinity Ward has clearly demonstrated it is capable of producing. (Spec Ops verdict: 8/10)
Modern Warfare 3 adds some great tweaks and a couple of fun modes to the famous Call of Duty formula making it the best entry in the series to date for Multiplayer, but if you’re coming to this game expecting the campaign to end the series with a bigger-than-ever bang, prepare to be disappointed.