Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (MW3) is the latest in Activision’s best-selling series and developer Infinity Ward - despite taking a large hit in personnel recently - wanted to try something bigger, more explosive, and more intense than ever before. Did they hit this ambitious goal? You can definitely see they tried...

First off, I’ll give you my Call of Duty (CoD) background. I have played through every CoD title, including both Campaign and Multiplayer. I have enjoyed the franchise ever since Call of Duty 2 brought us its fantastic iconic multiplayer experience.

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But now the WW II era has long gone, we’re fighting battles in modern combat scenarios, and the game has some serious competition. Arguably, this is the most important release in the history of the franchise.

The campaign starts us right off where Modern Warfare 2 (MW2) left off, with no sign of a tutorial anywhere. Infinity Ward must assume everyone looking into MW3 has already bought MW2, so why bother - right?

They do follow modern FPS trends by popping up button help when it’s required of you, however, so that’s something. But if you haven’t touched the Modern Warfare series before, you’re going to have to check the game's manual if you want to learn how to control your character effectively.

Don’t be too worried about button prompts; unlike that other modern war game, they’re not frequent. Instead, in MW3 the scripted sequences in the campaign just... happen. Breaching doors, like in previous MW titles, just necessitates a single press of ‘Square’ and bam - you’re in the room, slow-mo kicks in, and you can take everyone out with carefully-aimed shots.

If you run into a corner and a guy jumps out at you, you can see everything that goes on without having to fumble for a button to save your life each time. They do have some BF3-like sequences too, but as I said - not as frequently.

The story continues the series tradition of following several characters from different perspectives of a modern war scenario - in this case, hunting a crazed maniac who started a war through deceit and betrayal.

Delta Force, a group of marines trying to save a kidnapped Russian President and his daughter on their way to peace talks with the US, and a father on holiday with his family in London... how that ties into the narrative I won’t spoil, but it’s a part of the game that’s been causing some controversy.

I mentioned earlier Infinity Ward obviously wanted this story to play out in a bigger, more explosive, and more intense manner than ever before. The Hollywood-style moments in this game are fantastic, way above my expectations.

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As an example, early in the game you play a section where the Russian president’s plane is hijacked. You find yourself trying to get the president to a safe room aboard the large airliner, while trying to take out the terrorists on board.

Once the plane starts hitting turbulence the intensity kicks in, you’re thrown about the cabs like your slippers when the dog gets a hold of them - hitting the ceiling, then the floor, then floating in zero gravity for moments as the plane hurtles to the ground; all while still shooting at the hijackers.

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These moments are so exciting and masterful it would make Michael Bay blush.

While stuff like this makes me want to continue through the game, the bits in between let the game down a little. In a game like this, the gunplay and general flow need to be balanced with the set pieces. There is just so much going on in the general gunplay of MW3 that it’s hard to actually concentrate on what’s happening; there are more enemies, more events going on around you, and it's happening all at once. Be prepared to say this sentence a lot: “What the heck just happened?”

I played through the campaign on Hardened as I am very familiar with previous titles, but it’s not the difficulty that makes the general gunplay frustrating, it’s the chaos of so much happening at once. Buildings fall down, 30 soldiers running around behind you, a constant spawn of enemies in front of you (until you reach that invisible line that progresses you through to the next sequence of rinse and repeat), and you die over and over just trying to get 20 meters down the street, or 10 meters to the next room - either by stray bullets or a grenade that’s on its final tick.

Visually, there aren't many improvements since 2009's MW2; the only notable improvements, in fact, are in the animations and particle effects. One effect in particular I liked is a chemical dust residue which flows around soldiers feet as they run through it. Explosions and structure damage also benefit from these new particle tricks. But the textures and general grey / yellow look is all the same.

While the game hasn’t improved much in the looks department, the framerate is superb. I found little to no noticeable dip - even in the most intense moments, with so much going on. The game holds up brilliantly no matter what's happening, which I think is a good trade off against fancy lighting and texture effects.

Sound, well, you’re not going to hear anything new here. In fact a majority is recycled from MW2; even some of the dialogue while running around with Price is from the exact same script. In fact, the online seems to sound worse in my opinion; I have a pretty decent setup, including 5.1 surround, and yet grenades have this muffled, dull pop to them. Guns in the same class all seem to sound identical. I guess the layoffs were mostly in the sound department or budget went elsewhere - but if I were to close my eyes, I’d think I was playing MW2.

Overall the campaign is good; it will take you roughly 4 and half hours to complete. I won’t play it again just out of the share frustration of the main fire fight sections, and I won’t go back to collect all the Intel collectibles like I did in MW2 - I value my sanity too much. But it was a thrilling ride all the same.

Continue reading on page 2.


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Comments Comments (12)

Posted by Sidawg2
On Friday 11 Nov 2011 5:36 PM
I am actually blown away with this. I've played every COD and BF this console era. Big Bad Company 2 fan, spent many hours on it. Really enjoyed MW2, but wasn't too overly fussed with Black Ops apart from its stellar zombie mode.

But heres a game which I'm trained to hate, I'm meant to know exactly what I'm getting, its meant to be the same game as every year. And yet i don't remember enjoying a game as much as I've enjoyed playing this.

The single player is as described above, explosive scenes in some interesting locations, levels 2 and 4 particularly. Multi seems to just work better than it did on Black Ops. Can see myself putting many many hours into this, just as I did with MW2.

And meanwhile, BF3 sits on my shelf until they can sort out their squad/mic problems which make it a somewhat stinted experience (on PS3).
Posted by haydensomething
On Friday 11 Nov 2011 5:45 PM
I love it, its comfortably familiar with its MW2ness, but at the same time, its fresher, the pace is quicker, it feels a lot meatier in the movements and actions. The new weapon levelling system and killstreak layout are just awesome, adds a lot of goals to keep you entertained while levelling.

I have to disagree with the sniper and camping comments, as their is still enough of that going on to be annoying. Grenade launchers seem to be down on use though?

I have mixed feelings about the maps, they are fun, but they seem to be very open, in that no matter where you are, enemies can still come at you from six different angles.
Posted by haydensomething
On Friday 11 Nov 2011 5:47 PM
Oh and coming straight from MW2, the colourblind assist is awesome :D I can actually use the minimap and not have to recognize enemies solely on their type of uniform
Sir Thrustsalot
Posted by Sir Thrustsalot
On Friday 11 Nov 2011 6:20 PM
I've put in a few hours on multiplayer and here's what I've found so far. The multiplayer is probably the best of the series so far with next to no connection issues and no bad or game breaking glitches that I've seen. I think I've migrated host once in close to 50 or so games which seems so bizarre for cod. Also the weapons, kill streaks/strike pacs and attachments are very well balanced. However it's not all rosy, the Maps and the sound are probably this games biggest weakness. While a few maps stand out playing well and providing lots of enjoyment some are just boring or blatant attempts to recreate nuke town from blops. The sound will be my biggest gripe with the game however, not with how it preforms in the game but due to the fact the only option to adjust in game sound comes from a master volume slider bar. With so many people using home theatre or surround sound headsets it just screams lazy arrogance that they KNOW what sounds best. So will it keep me playing for months like mw2 or be a week or so before I'm bored like blops I guess I'll find out.
Sorry for the wall of txt.
Posted by Twilight_Aurora
On Friday 11 Nov 2011 9:03 PM
Good review! But...who are these randoms?!
Posted by HiddenNijaNZ
On Friday 11 Nov 2011 10:38 PM
Really?!?! an 8.5 for graphics?? these graphics are nothing compared to what they should be for a game released now days
Posted by jacktown123
On Friday 11 Nov 2011 11:17 PM
your review sounds about as call of duty haterish as it get your retarded theres much new in mw3, much more new than in battlefield 3 that is all battlefield 3 has is its shinney new graphics and very overrated in all truth gtfo
This comment has been down-voted by the community.  
Posted by kalmonipa
On Saturday 12 Nov 2011 9:03 AM
11 November 2011, 09:03 PM Reply to Twilight_Aurora
Good review! But...who are these randoms?!
CoD fans joining NZG so they can rave about how good it is.
Posted by nguns
On Saturday 12 Nov 2011 9:50 AM
I like it, Not love.

Its got a CoD4 feeling to it, which i like, Less about overpowered killstreaks and more about skill.. However its still an 'arcade' shooter in my eyes, and that is fun.. But it can get extremely boring imo.

The strike packages have added alot of depth i didn't expect, and suprised to see how many people are opting to not use the standard assault package.. Seeing as how CoDs never about teamwork.

Still, it does what i want it to, a fun game, fireup, have a couple of rounds and enjoy it.

Will never pass BF3 in my opinion though.

Good review.
Posted by Sammmas
On Saturday 12 Nov 2011 1:57 PM
11 November 2011, 10:38 PM Reply to HiddenNijaNZ
Really?!?! an 8.5 for graphics?? these graphics are nothing compared to what they should be for a game released now days
Consoles specs are nothing compared to what they should be now days
Posted by nguns
On Sunday 13 Nov 2011 3:26 PM
12 November 2011, 01:57 PM Reply to Sammmas
Consoles specs are nothing compared to what they should be now days
Didn't stop Rage, BF3, Uncharted 3 or Gears 3 from looking awesome!

I agree the tech is old, but i think still, a new engine or something along those lines could see a facelift for CoD.. But eh, it keeps selling so why goto the effort right?

I take my hat off to Dice for making Frostbite2, It is amazing.
Posted by mattyj1974
On Monday 14 Nov 2011 11:53 AM
I was very disappointed in this game on PC. No dedicated ramnked servers, lag, 10 year old graphics, tiny little maps, no innovation. I give this game about a 4/10. I only give it that because I know some people wikll like it; I however have gone back to Battlefield 3 which is a nye on perfect game on PC.