Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is going to sell a lot of copies. The Call of Duty franchise has left its mark on gaming forever with its accessible multiplayer and addictive leveling structure. A Call of Duty game has held the top spot on Xbox live charts since the first Modern Warfare released. It went from simply a game to a pop culture icon overnight. Call of Duty 4 was globally hailed as one of the best shooters of all time. The explosive campaign was a thrill ride the likes of which had never been seen before. Fast forward to 2011, three CoD games later, does the formula still hold up? Critics of the series lambast its refusal to innovate. Does Modern Warfare 3 change it up enough to sway the hearts and minds of the haters? In short, no, but that doesn’t keep MW3 from being a damn fun game if you’re in the right mindset.
For those who concern themselves with the campaign and characters, MW3 picks up literally minutes after MW2 ended. The story centers on Captains Soap and Price and their secret war against Makarov, the man responsible for the airport massacre, and by extension World War 3. The now disavowed Task Force 141 consists of only Soap, Price and the new playable character named Yuri. Task Force 141 handles the stealthier missions while the larger scale set piece missions are seen through the eyes of the Delta Force squad “Metal”. While they try to make all of the characters extremely badass, it only works for Soap and Price. As a fan of the Modern Warfare campaigns, the writing was good enough for me to care about the two returning characters, but the new guys failed to show any personality at all.
While the characters of Metal Squad didn’t hold my attention, their missions sure did. Metal Squad got to watch almost every major city in the western world blow up. Their segments are huge in scale with upwards of 30 allied soldiers and multiple tanks on screen at once. The missions are so exciting it borders on hilarity. Something happens every two minutes in this campaign that would be the climax of almost any other game. Critics will be disappointed that the missions are still as linear and scripted as ever, but Infinity Ward is the best in the business at building those kind of levels. When all is said and done, the campaign was a blast to play. Clocking in at only 4-6 hours, it serves as a short but welcome distraction from the multiplayer. The fans that never even play the campaign are doing themselves a huge disservice.
The multiplayer remains as fun and addictive as ever, maybe even more so because of the excellent job Infinity Ward did this time around with weapon balancing. For the first time since CoD 4 the assault rifles are actually balanced with the other weapon classes. The SMGs and sniper rifles are actually worth using and killstreaks are no longer the “be all, end all” super weapons they have been in the past. Infinity Ward’s focus on “gun on gun” combat this time around is a success. The new game mode “Kill Confirmed” tasks players with collecting the dog tags from fallen foes to score points. You can also grab your teammates’ tags to deny the opponents the kill. This mode discourages camping and adds just enough strategy to the team deathmatch formula for it to be a new favorite of mine. These changes, while small, make MW3’s multiplayer the most balanced, least frustrating, and most fun in the series to date.
MW3 plays like Call of Duty perfected. Extensive amounts of time were put in by many, many people to polish and balance the game. But at its core this is still the same Call of Duty we have been playing for years. If you are burnt out on the CoD formula then MW3 isnt goint to change your mind. However, if you are even remotely a fan of its tight fast gunplay then you are in for a treat. Modern Warfare 3 is the ultimate Call of Duty game.
The Good: The excellent set pieces and balanced multiplayer.
The Bad: The series hasn’t really changed in 4 years and this is no exception.
The Ugly: Not really applicable here…