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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review

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On 11/23/2011 at 09:15 PM by Mike Wall

It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but that doesn’t stop it from offering one smooth ride.

This game is a must buy for all FPS fans.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 may just be their best game yet. While this game will by no means reinvent the genre it does provide a number of noticeable tweaks that help to refine the overall experience, while continuing to remain true to past iterations in the franchise.

Without question the stand out in Modern Warfare 3 is its multiplayer. With superb weapon and perk balancing along with a revamped rewards system this is the most balanced Call of Duty we have seen to date. One of the major catalysts for this change has been the installment of “Strike Packages.” Unlike previous games that only rewarded players for amassing vast quantities of kills, Strike Packages reward players for playing a well-rounded game. Now players who focus on shooting down air support or capturing objectives will be rewarded in the same right as players who focus primarily on slaying. In addition there are 3 unique sets of Strike Packages tailor made to support differing play styles. Players will have the choice between: the team oriented Support Package, the lone wolf inspired Specialist Package, or the standard high risk high reward Assault Package. Furthermore, MW3 also allows players to allocate different rewards systems independently to each created class. Now players can not only change their class, but also their strategy with respective rewards on the fly.

Smaller less notable changes also coalesce to enhance the multiplayer experience. The addition of weapon idle sway, reduced explosive damage, and added recoil on guns helps to incentivize players to rely on a more aggressive in your face play style. This is clearly evident with the new addition of their patented game type “Kill Confirmed”.  It’s your standard Team Death Match game mode with a twist. Each time an enemy player is killed he drops a dog tag, and in order for your team to receive credit for that kill it must be collected; of course, the enemy team can deny your kill grabbing it first. This simple and small addition completely augments the pacing of this tried and true game mode making for gameplay that relies heavily on team unity and constant map surveillance.

After having played this title for over a week and reaching the end of my first prestige, I can confidently say that this is the best structured multiplayer seen from the series. Each weapon class has its own strengths and weakness that support very specific styles of play. No longer do SMGs (small machine guns) feel like assault rifles with reduced range. When you do opt to pick up an assault rifle over an SMG you will notice the weight of the gun as there is a vast difference in mobility. This makes the player question which style of play they want to take on, as there is no “end all, be all” gun that excels in all areas. With every perk and gun the player is astutely aware that they are gaining a definable strength, but also attaining an obvious weakness.

These factors combine to create an atmosphere that helps showcase Call of Duty’s hectic gameplay that has kept players enthralled for years. With the welcomed return of spec ops mode along with an equally satisfying new “horde style” survival mode, there is more than enough content to ensure that players are addicted for months on end. Both of these modes provide quality escapes from the multiplayer experience, allowing players to collectively compete in classic single player inspired missions, or fight for their very lives against vicious dogs and unstoppable juggernauts.

MW3’s single player campaign also offers a compelling experience akin to other titles in the series. Larger than life explosions, visceral combat scenes, and seamlessly tight controls all make a return. Few games can match the sense of intensity and grandeur that MW3 instills throughout its campaign. While this nonstop adrenaline rush can be exciting, the game’s lack of pacing convolutes the experience.  This is most apparent when the game tries to “tug on the old heart strings” through a number of cinematic cut scenes. Each scene attempts to depict the horrors of war through the deaths of individuals (both civilian and soldier); however, given that constant carnage surrounds the player these scenes fail to carry any sense of weight or importance.

Familiar AI problems further disrupt the fluidity of MW3’s single player. Squads of enemies will run from cover to predetermined positions with reckless abandonment for their lives. In addition particular areas are host to infinite spawns where enemies continuously pour out of doors and alleyways. With the game failing to notify players to move beyond these points they can create stagnant gameplay. However, once you get past the minor AI issues, MW3 plays smooth and clean. Each set piece meticulously leads from one epic battle to another, as players move from New York one minute to plummeting on a Russian military plane the next. . The game does a wonderful job piecing each stage together allowing players to enjoy a cornucopia of scenery without feeling like the game is simply cut into segments.

While the story surrounding MW3’s campaign may not be award winning, it still perfectly illustrates the highpoints that the series has to offer. Destruction is the name of the game when it comes to MW3, and you will be provided with a plethora of tools to deal it. After experiencing a few of the many unique weapons provided in Modern Warfare 3 you will fall in love. Every gun has its own unique feel, weight, and recoil. This, in conjunction with the superb weapon balancing will have you shifting through a complete arsenal with tailored load outs that best suit particular battle situations and strategies. MW3’s single player experience as a whole is enjoyable, just don’t go looking for much depth behind the carnage and mayhem. By far and large this is the most impressive addition that we have seen to the Call of Duty franchise since the original Modern Warfare.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Our Take

Rob DiMola Staff Alumnus

11/28/2011 at 10:15 AM

One thing they definitely need to fix with some type of update is the respawn during online play. I can't begin to explain the amount of times I have respawned either on top of something exploding, or in front of an enemy. Other than this issue, there isn't too many other problems I noticed. The knifing is somewhat terrible, but it doesn't affect the gameplay enough to complain about.

Mike Wall Staff Alumnus

11/30/2011 at 06:21 PM

yea I believe they said they were working on tweaking the spawning system in an upcoming patch, that will be a difficult thing to change though

Esteban Cuevas Staff Alumnus

12/01/2011 at 05:58 AM

The most recent Call of Duty game I've played is World at War and that was only a rental. Ever since the third game however, I haven't been able to fully immerse myself into one of these titles. The original Modern Warfare came close but Call of Duty 2 still remains my favorite iteration in the series.

Having said that, I still want to play these titles. If not just to see what everyone is talking about, then to see how I've improved in military shooters, a genre I do not excel in. Would you recommend playing the previous titles I've missed (MW2, Black Ops) or does it not matter?

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

12/01/2011 at 11:28 AM

Hey Mike, does the game have an online pass, or something similar?

I'm asking because I might want to get this game at a bit cheaper price. I don't give a damn about the single-player portion.

Mike Wall Staff Alumnus

12/01/2011 at 11:57 AM

No it doesn't have an online pass, if you can find it used you should be all set.

Mike Wall Staff Alumnus

12/01/2011 at 12:00 PM

I understand where your coming from Esteban, I don't find myself as immersed by the narratives of these games as I used to be. However, I will admit that I still love the multiplayer experience even after all these years.

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

12/01/2011 at 12:39 PM

Great. Thanks, Mike.

Esteban Cuevas Staff Alumnus

12/01/2011 at 02:31 PM

Thanks for the response! The CoD series has become one of those franchise (for me at least) where you try them because everyone else has. Like how many gamers play online on the 360 because mostly everyone is there.

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