Published on November 9th, 2011 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review
I’m probably going to receive a lot of hate mail from Call of Duty fans over this review, but I have to speak honestly. It’s that time of year again when Activision shells out one of its mega annual releases. This was the year for the shoot out of shooters. Throughout the course of the second and third quarters of 2011, publishers EA and Activision have been slap-boxing with each other over who has the best military-based first-person shooter. So far all we have is Battlefield 3, which launched October 25. Now we have the latest Call of Duty title. Yes, for you fans out there, it is Call of Duty–nothing more, nothing less. If you were in love with the formula from 2009 then you will like what Modern Wwarfare 3 has to offer.
If you wanted more from the series instead of a complete re-hash then you are going to be extremely disappointed. I’ve seen the early reviews, and read comments from fans of the series, however I like all games that take risks and do different things with their games to set themselves apart from others. Modern Warfare 3 fails on all these points.
Here’s the breakdown:
The game does look good. Visually all of the game’s set pieces are nice to look at, and with MW3 running at 60 frames per second it is hard not to look at the visual fidelity. On the other hand MW3 is running on the old Modern Warfare 2 engine, and many of the character models, environments and weapons are dated. It looks like the company took many shortcuts to get the game finished and on store shelves. Even though Battlefield 3 was running at half the frames, visually the game looks better. The engine was built from the ground up for use in Battlefield 3 and is graphically remarkable. Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer simply took the copy-and-paste approach and put different skins over existing models.
Sound effects in MW3 are laughable compared to other military shooters such as Battlefield 3, which takes great pride in phenomenal sound. Put a pair of nice Tritton or Turtle Beach headphones on and listen to MW3, opposed to Battlefield 3. You will laugh at the comparison. Again it was a simple rehash. They used old sound bites from the existing Modern Warfare game and just snipped them into their version. Beside the voice acting work, nothing else has changed here.
The games story mode is what you would have expected. Yes, MW3 does cap off the Modern Warfare series and fills in the gaps nicely. However, the pacing is like taking a rollercoaster ride, and not in a good way. Many enemy encounters will have you noticing enemy respawn after respawn to no end and out in the open. Look down your site in one direction long enough you will see the enemy magically appear on screen. Remember Medal of Honor from last year?
Like many other first-person shooters, the AI is awful. I could not count how many times that an enemy would run at me with no regard to my squadmates (who still fail to take him down) and shoot me in the face. It leads to a lot of frustrations and if you’re like me and delve right into a challenge and play the game on Hardened or Insane prepare to launch your controller at the wall on numerous occasions.
When it comes to Call of Duty, a lot of fans don’t really care much for the single player. To them it’s all about the multiplayer. You will be happy to know that Spec-Ops–which was Infinity Ward’s co-op giant from MW2–has returned. It is fun to complete missions with friends and you can also play the “CoD” version of “Horde,” which puts you and your buddies up against enemy AI, with the difficulty increasing by wave. The rest of multiplayer is a giant re-hash of previous iterations. When you level up you gain perks, weapons and attachments, however the matchmaking system is off. How many times have you played against someone who has prestiged already, while you only have the first wave of weapons at your disposal?
The multiplayer maps themselves are cut out of levels from the single player campaign, and with a lot of the maps being condensed in space, snipers will have to think about re-doing their classes. Each level feels like a chaos zone, where your reaction time is key.
If you were a fan of the Call of Duty kill-streaks, you may be excited to see that they have been re-worked. Now being called “Strike Packages”, the system is better suited for players that do not go on huge kill-streaks. You can tweak the streaks to fit your play style and if you are one of those that can care less about your K/D ratio then you can work the Strike Package to work in your favor. No rewards will be issued but you will have a quick assault package. By the way, kills do carry over between spawns.
The only changes to the Call of Duty multiplayer that I found interesting enough to play numerous times was the new game modes “Kill Confirmed,” and “Team Defender.” Team Defender is a capture the flag game for the most part. You are part of one of two teams and the objective is to hold on to the flag for as long as possible. In Kill Confirmed you have to play with a solid team and have a good amount of team communication. The game plays like a team deathmatch kind of game, however you do not get credit for a kill unless you kill the opposing player and then collect their dog tag. In the same instance allied players can retain the dog tag of their fallen team mate to prevent the opposing team from collecting the kill. If you wanted more of a squad based game mode this is as close as you are going to get.
Modern Warfare 3 is going to be the biggest selling game this year. Yet I do not feel it is by any means one of the best games this year. When it comes down to the battle of the military shooters, Battlefield 3 offers new game play elements, a phenomenal multiplayer experience, stunning visuals and a step up in gameplay mechanics. Sure the folks at DICE had a rough launch with their servers, but who doesn’t? The game feels like a $60 map pack for Black Ops or Modern Warfare 2. Aside from the lackluster story that no one will remember by this time next month, Modern Warfare 3 is a simple re-hash of what was already in many homes. The game feels rushed and if Activision was smart it would pump the brakes on the franchise before it falls even further but, knowing the track record of the company, get ready to see more re-hashes for the next five years.
+ It’s Call of Duty
+ 60 FPS
+ Kill Confirmed
– Feels re-hashed
– Lackluster story
– Small multiplayer maps
– Horrible AI
– Aging game engine