Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review
Call Of Duty has become ubiquitous. Tell your grandparents you want the new Modern Warfare for Christmas and they’ll probably know what you’re talking about. The series’ releases have mostly been well done, although since the series has been “annualized” many would argue that it’s headed towards stagnation. So the big question is: does Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 manage to shake things up enough? The answer is no, but it’s certainly a competent shooter.
Call of Duty is successful for a reason. The gameplay has been honed and sharpened to perfection, the single player is always jam packed with set-pieces and action, and the multiplayer is arguably among the best and most addictive ever created. The multiplayer is still as fun as ever, but there are only incremental changes this year.
If you were to hand the controls over to a casual fan, they could probably mistake Modern Warfare 3 for a map pack. The visuals have been spruced up a bit, but it’s nothing on the level of its main competition, Battlefield 3. There’s still plenty of bad textures and blocky models, but the lighting seems to have been improved. A few missions stand out graphically, such as a night time stealth mission and the final level, but they’re few and far between. The first mission throws you into a blown up New York City, and it immediately draws comparison to Crysis 2 (you even get the SCAR weapon), which was built on a drastically superior graphics engine. The water effects look great, however. I’m not one to usually go on about graphics, but this engine is really starting show its age, and with the kind of money these games make, Activision can afford to spend some money working on a new engine.
The set pieces are great, as usual. There’s the standard ‘get to the choppa!’ sequence, but scenes where you’re rappelling or using an SDV underwater stand out. You’ll fight through a desert storm, engage in a firefight between two derailing trains, parachute, and SPOILER! – get to equip some Juggernaut E.O.D. armor and cause some real mayhem. The first few levels might be a bit slow, but the action ramps up quite a bit near the end, and the narrative from Modern Warfare 2 is tied up nicely. You even get to play a short sequence from Modern Warfare 2’s “No Russian” level from another perspective, which was neat. The game tries to throw in another controversial level this time, but it’s very short and not as memorable as “No Russian”. I also enjoyed a level where you take control of an aircraft, and switch back and forth between the ground troops and air support. Overall, the game throws enough well done set-pieces your way to break up the gameplay and keep things from turning into a shooting gallery.
I still didn’t have much idea what the hell was going on for half the game, however, as the script was all over the place. It was basically a good excuse to travel all over the world (Paris! New York! Dubai!) and get the bad guy (Makarov). There’s a lot of generic ‘I won’t leave you behind!’ bromance, and the game tries to pull at your heartstrings with the deaths of soldiers. It doesn’t work that well, but it gives enough incentive to kill the Russian bastard. The game’s narrative seems to suffer from the developers shoving as much action into the story as possible, and attempting to one-up its predecessors.
The voice acting is pretty well done, and you’ll hear the voices of William Fichter, Timothy Olymphant and Idris Elba, although I didn’t recognize any of them while playing. The sound and music are basically indistinguishable from previous games, however.
The controls are as tight as ever, and though they shine in single player, they’re great in multiplayer. Unlike some other shooters, you’ll never feel as though you’ve lost a round due to sloppy controls. The more you play, the more killstreaks and perks you’ll unlock, and you’ll quickly delve into the ‘one more round!’ mentality. In this game, if your team loses a round, it’s more likely due to Assault Strike Package rewards, which can definitely be annoying. The new Kill Confirmed mode, where you need to kill your enemies and secure their dog tags, encourages teamwork and plays differently than your standard deathmatch.
All in all, Modern Warfare 3 met my expectations. Those expectations weren’t extremely high, based on how previous entries weren’t known for reinventing the wheel, but I expected a well crafted, fun, visceral gameplay experience, and I got it. There’s plenty here to keep you busy for months if you’re a fan. If you were a Call of Duty hater last year and the year before, there’s nothing here that will change your mind, but the remnants of Infinity Ward’s team have crafted a respectable release.