At the risk of sabotaging my own review, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is a game that doesn’t really need to be reviewed; you should already know if you’re on board for another installment of the series. If you want more Call of Duty then Modern Warfare 3 fits the bill just fine, but if you’re otherwise getting a little tired of it all then you might be better off taking a break this year.
Part of me just wants to provide links to my previous Call of Duty reviews and be done with it, especially when it comes to detailing the campaign. I don’t feel like explaining myself for the third year in a row, so I’ll just give the short of it: I didn’t have any fun with Modern Warfare 3’s single player campaign. The reasons are the same as always; this is a highly scripted, barely interactive exercise in tedium that’s in some ways hard to even call a game. It’s easily the worst and most insignificant part of the entire package. Spec Ops, on the other hand, is a pretty decent cooperative mode. These bite sized missions do a good job at promoting teamwork, and offer a substantial amount of variety across numerous scenarios. A few of them can fall into the same trap as the campaign of being too scripted, but for the most part they’re a fun way to team up with a friend. The new Survival mode is similarly fun, even if this kind of wave based survival mode has been done better elsewhere. It may be pretty standard stuff at this point, but it’s never a bad thing to have more co-op options.
While it’s nice that it has some decent co-op modes, everyone knows that you really buy a Call of Duty game for its online multiplayer, and Modern Warfare 3 is no different. Everything that’s made the series so popular is back, starting with a super smooth frame rate and incredibly responsive controls. The constant progression also remains fully intact, with the way you gain experience to unlock new weapons, gadgets and killstreaks proving to be as addictive as ever. This kind of stuff is what defines Call of Duty at its core, and it’s all done as well as ever in Modern Warfare 3. Past these basics though, there’s not a lot of other noteworthy things to say. Sure, there are minor tweaks, such as some new killstreak systems or the way the game has crammed even more progress bars and meters into places you didn’t even know existed. But in the ways that really matter this is the same game we’ve seen annually since 2007. It rewards the same skill sets and delivers the same thrills, and simultaneously doesn’t break anything that wasn’t broken or fix anything that needed fixing (like the overpowed care packages or terrible respawns). It’s a cookie cutter sequel if there ever was one, made solely to feed the series’ countless fans; no more, no less.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is certainly a good multiplayer game, but it’s also not a new one. It’s so aggressively unambitious with where it tries to take the series (virtually nowhere) that there’s a good chance you’ll feel like you’ve played it before. If you want more Call of Duty, then by all means play Modern Warfare 3. Otherwise, don’t. That’s really all you need to know.
For additional information on my review style and scoring system, click here.