Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Modern Warfare 3 Review - If it Ain't Broke

Score : 8.75 / 10

Modern Warfare 3
PC - Xbox 360 - PS3 - Wii - Nintendo DS
Developer: Infinity Ward/Sledgehammer/Raven
Publisher: Activision
Release Date: November 8, 2011

  • Another stellar single player experience
  • No matter your play preference, there is something for everyone
  • A perfected multiplayer interface and layout
  • Survival mode adds an enjoyable co-op experience
  • Slew of customization and options in Multiplayer
  • System shows its age at certain points
  • Killstreaks turn multiplayer into air raid zones
  • Grenade indicators depict direction but not distance
  • Locks are placed on certain game modes until "x" level is gained
A recent comment on a blog post put it best when they called Call of Duty the beer pong of first person shooters. It can be a drunken, bro-fueled, adrenaline induced experience that can be sloppy, but incredibly fun. Modern Warfare 3 has gotten a lot of flack after the big Infinity Ward/Activision dispute over the last installment. With a slew of military shooters on the market and an aged system, Modern Warfare 3 still manages to deliver a solid experience for single, co-op, and multiplayer enthusiasts alike.

We're Oscar Mike!

Continuing the story of the previous game, Modern Warfare 3 picks up the story with the Russian invasion of the United States. Captain Price is still on the run, Makarov is still being hunted for his crimes, and Soap is still recovering from his battle wounds. You switch roles between soliders of varying factions, each giving a different perspective of the war. Needless to say I was confused at the start as to what was going on, as a summation of previous events only occurs in flashes. It boils down to go here, shoot those guys, and aw crap we missed our chance at capturing *insert terrorist name here* again. The familiarity of Price and Soap helps, as players investing so much into those characters from previous games will finally see their story play out.

The campaign, despite an aged system, still manages to deliver a lot of wow factor. Set pieces are akin to a Michael Bay film, some of which are so over the top that you can't help but laugh. Much like the previous games, there are so many high points that it never becomes stale. Clocking in at only 5 hours the campaign does not overstay its welcome, and in fact felt like it left the party an hour early.

The overall look and feel of the single player experience is impressive. Firefights are enjoyable, and enough variation is introduced with new gadgets and sequences to keep it from becoming a mere shooting gallery. Stellar voice performances are backed by a stunning original soundtrack, that captures a very movie-esque feel. If you enter Modern Warfare 3 alone, the campaign is a roller coaster ride you won't soon forget.

Something Special Ops

If co-op is more your speed, look no further than the Spec Ops mode. You and a friend must complete various objectives and are given a series of stars based on your performance. Though less missions than the previous game, there is plenty of incentive to play and the feeling of satisfaction when a mission is three-starred is not lost. There is plenty of variation in the missions with training room runs, airplane shootouts, and other incredibly fun segments that are a blast to play through.

A new Survival mode has also been included. Acting as a sort of Horde mode, the Survival mode pits one or two players against endless waves of AI baddies. In this mode, you earn cash for weapons, upgrades, ammo, or even air strikes. It's an interesting addition, and mindless fun that can be played on every single map. Boasting its own level progression system, the more you play, the more impressive air support or weapon mods you can obtain. Out of all the new features introduced, it ranks as one of the best new modes of play.


Modern Warfare is known for having stellar multiplayer, and such is the case with the latest installment. There are a slew of game modes and maps at your disposal, offering hours of high octane shooter action. New game modes that make their appearance include "Kill Confirmed" in which you collect dog tags after each kill to score points, but risk poking your head out. "Team Defender" involves a team holding a flag for double points with each kill. It's a refreshing change of pace from the typical deathmatch and capture point games.

Switching gears from previous games, Killstreaks are now referred to as "Point Streaks", and kills are no longer the basis for their appearance. Pointstreaks are now also split into various packages: Assault, Support, and Specialist. These vary in rewards, with Assault offering predator drones and air strikes, and support offering UAV and SAM turrets. Though it is understandable on the purpose of switching these streaks up, the game can still evolve into a carpet bombing explosive war ground.

There are a ton of options to choose from in customizing your loadout. Weapons can now possess dual scopes, capable of switching range on-the-fly to take out enemies close or at a distance. Primary weapons now level up with the player, and unlock proficiency perks. There is also a new Prestige store to buy exclusive features like double XP. There are so many options at this point, that the menu can become overwhelming with perks, attachments, and modifiers; all with little suggestion or guidance in their implementation.

Stat Tracker

Call of Duty Elite is the new service that offers stat tracking and other various options. While the free version mainly tracks stats and allow some social networking options, there is a premium version for fifty bucks. Besides some information that can be gathered by other free sources, there are competitions that offer real life prizes, the ability to level your clan, and exclusive access to DLC. It's an interesting feature that die hards are sure to enjoy.

Modern Warfare 3 skimps on innovation for the familiarity that has existed since the first installment. There are times when the engine shows its age, with even the death animations giving off a sense of deja vu. Familiar scenes in the campaign of helicopter crashes and character deaths have less of an impact this time around. Grenade indicators give off a sense of direction, but fail to tell you the distance they are from your feet leading to many deaths in multiplayer and single player alike.

The online community is what you would come to expect; ruthless and well-versed in the game. Luckily, there is a Mercenary playlist to alleviate some of your pains, forcing parties apart for a mixed group of individuals. The lock-out of create a class until level 4 is disheartening, and no matter the default loadout you choose, you can't help but feel somewhat cheated as a high level Prestige wipes the floor with his advanced gadgets. Even some of the playlists are completely locked out until the 20th level. These roadblocks kept me from getting as hooked on the mutliplayer as I was in previous installments.


If you are expecting a new beacon of gameplay, look elsewhere. If you loved the previous games however, this is right up your alley. The campaign is still a blast to play, and each mode has gotten a tune-up to become something great. Though the engine is a bit dated, it ages like a fine wine that someone accidentally dropped the cork into...

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