Latest news
Second Opinion: Modern Warfare 3
by Andrew Whipple III

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Infinity Ward
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Reviewed on
Xbox 360
First-person shooter
Best price we found in GBP:
At this point, most gamers know what to expect from a series like Modern Warfare; a competitive, multiplayer-driven experience with an explosive - albeit meteoric - single-player campaign tied in.

This formula hasn't changed with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. After all, what would a holiday season be like without another Call of Duty game? I couldn't fathom it either.

Following the fallout between Infinity Ward's lead designers and Activision, many thought that the departure of most of the studio would bring about the demise of the Modern Warfare brand. Yet, the game you know and love remains intact. Immensely intact. In fact, that's my one issue with the series that touts itself as the "best-selling game of all time"; being afraid of change.

How so?

A word of warning: if you haven't played the previous Modern Warfare games, you'll more than likely have absolutely no idea of what's going on (then again, even if you have you might fall into the same category). Following the events that transpired in Modern Warfare 2, the Russians have invaded America and continue to rain destruction down on the eastern shore. Makarov, the man behind the whole 'destroying the world' thing, is still at large, and you need to kill him so that the US and Russia can make peace. There it is.

Yo, yo, yo! Check out this sentry turret man!

Being candid, the campaign for MW3 is as cinematic as it is disappointing in almost every category. Without giving away major plot points, this game follows exactly the same formula that was given to us with the original Modern Warfare four years ago. Controversial issue arises, a main character dies, scene of extreme violence appears and then you eliminate the main threat (or a notable one). This makes the story extremely predictable and shallow, especially during the cut-scenes, where the whiteboards, post-it notes and other information is basically flung at you from seemingly nowhere. These moments remind me of a standard CSI episode where the team has come to a dead end and then, miraculously, someone finds something and the case is busted wide open. Of course, when it comes down to it, all you need to know is that you need to shoot people. A lot of people.

There are few things that don't blow up as you're climbing your way to the objective in the campaign. Missiles flying overhead, buildings collapsing around you, ordnance being detonated nearby - I can't deny the adrenaline rush that MW3 offers. A quote I recently heard describes it best: "if Modern Warfare 3 were a movie, Michael Bay would have to retire." Sure, in some ways the game makes great use of action and definitely stirs excitement, but Activision and Infinity Ward have been pulling the same strings for a while now. I understand they're trying to recreate the same effect that the original Modern Warfare had on the masses, but by literally utilising the same story-arc again and again, the game just ends up seeming plagued by lazy design. It'd be one thing if the story were at the very least interesting, but sadly this just isn't the case.

You are the Juggernaut.

Multiplayer, on the other hand, offers a much better experience in MW3 than its predecessor. Whilst MW2 gave us the superior co-operative Spec Ops mode along with a slew of new perks, equipment and kill-streaks, MW3 refines it all, creating a nicer overall package. As far as I'm concerned, Spec Ops is once again the star of the show. If you've never played it, Spec Ops is a two-man set of challenges that earn you stars for the difficulty you complete them on. Some missions may be completed alone, but if you're dead set on getting all 48 stars you're going to need a partner in crime. There's also a new Surivival mode, which pits you against waves of enemies, à la Gears of War's Horde.

The original Modern Warfare was where I sunk my teeth deep into the competitive multiplayer. MW2 felt bigger, but it was ruined for me by exploiters, terrible spawns and overpowered weapon sets. MW3 feels better to me, purely due to the fact that you're rewarded for staying loyal to certain weapons. What I mean is that you can actually level up your individual weapons, unlocking additional attachments and bonuses. For instance, leveling up the Riot Shield will give you the option to make it melee quicker or give you a speed boost.

Only novices shoot rockets. I think.

However, my favourite new additions to the multiplayer remain with the playlists and new kill-streak mechanics. MW3 offers the biggest selection of playlists the series has seen yet, including an all new mode called Kill Confirmed. Kill Confirmed's basic premise is that killing people doesn't automatically net your team points; instead, upon death your enemy will drop a dog tag and, if claimed, collection of that tag will net your team points. The cool thing about this mode is that you can grab your own teammate's dog tag, denying them the point. As far as kill-streaks go, they can still be fully customised, but can now be set to either Assault or Support streaks. Assault is your typical streak system which will end if you're killed prematurely. Support, though, allows your streak to persist through death. They aren't quite as devastating as the Assault ones are but it's still a rather nifty change that makes constant death less frustrating.

After that though, MW3 devolves back into its typical 'shoot everything, everywhere' format. It wouldn't be such a bad thing if MW3 were to have better spawns, but, alas, it does not. Couple that with an unbalanced matchmaking system and you have a real issue. The first game I played online pitched me against four people who were all level 80; about midway through the game, I was killed six times in a row without taking more than four steps from my spawn location.

MW3 isn't a bad game, but its lack of imagination and derivative nature will drive away gamers who want just a little bit more. Its nonsensical story doesn't help matters, but at least Spec Ops and a familiar competitive multiplayer element provide enough to keep coming back to. Having said that, this title is nothing more than average, but if you're a Call of Duty fan and shooting dudes is the name of your game, go ahead and add two to the score.

5/10 [?]

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

- Andrew Whipple III

Discuss this article in our friendly forums

Sign up to our community today and discuss our articles, debate over upcoming games and organise matches and playsessions with like-minded people just like you.

Liked this? Spread the word - share with your friends!

Done? You might also enjoy these!

All comments are subject to our commenting policy

GGTL Classics
Some of the very best articles dug out from deep in the GGTL archives, written by some of our past and present wordsmiths alike.
Your continued use of this website and/or any others owned by Gamer's Guide to represents your acceptance and indicates your full understanding of all of our legal policies and terms. Our legal policies and terms are legally binding. If you in any way disagree with or refuse to be bound by any part of said legal policies and terms, you are advised to leave this website immediately.