Graphics:
8.7
Gameplay:
8.6
Sound:
9.3
Control:
9.0
Replay Value:
9.1
Online Gameplay:
9.5
Overall Rating:
9.0
Publisher:
Activision
Developer:
Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer, Raven
Number Of Players:
1-16
Genre:
FPS


Let me see…how best to introduce the biggest video game since sliced bread? I’m going strictly by the numbers here, so don’t jump down my throat, veteran hardcore gamers. Um…I really can’t come up with a fantastic introduction; all of you know the franchise’s back story, and everybody knows how Call of Duty plays. It’s a first-person shooter. It has a story to play through and multiplayer. That’s the simplified version, of course; now, onto the elaboration, which I know is essential.

While it’s certainly true that CoD desperately needs a new engine, it’s amazing how much mileage the Activision studios have gotten out of it. Despite some of the same old set pieces, what feel suspiciously like reused environments, and some less-than-impressive textures, Modern Warfare 3 still manages to immerse you in a fast-paced warzone that assaults the senses at every turn. Loaded with hectic action from top to bottom, the graphical presentation keeps up with the relentless style, as 60 frames per second is a definite bonus and every explosion makes your head pound.

Which brings us to the audio; the Modern Warfare series has always had fantastic sound, which is why the original title earned our Best Sound award back in 2007. The gunshots, cries on the battlefield, and ambient effects are the highlight of this experience, especially in regards to the campaign. The soundtrack hits you right between the eyes as well, and the entire chaotic virtual world that you inhabit continues to reverberate. I don’t think the voice performances are anything special but man, those effects…

Okay, the campaign— yes, it’s only about 5-6 hours long, but that shouldn’t come as any surprise, especially after MW2 came in at about 4-5. It’s true that last year’s Black Ops fell into the 7-hour range and World at War was even longer, but those were Treyarch productions. When it comes to Infinity Ward, the goals are clear: fast, furious, and in-your face for five or six tumultuous hours of entertainment. Then, because that’s merely a warm-up, it’s on to the most important element: multiplayer.

As some of you already know, the campaign in MW3 is a direct sequel to its predecessor. Soap and Price are back again, but they’re a little banged up and Makarov hasn’t been stopped. You’ll once again attempt to track him down in this epic military hunt that crosses multiple countries, which means you’ll be enjoying quite a few distinct vistas and locales. You’ll be brawling everywhere from New York to Paris and although some may rain on CoD’s parade, the gameplay diversity really keeps things satisfying and refreshing.

It’s not just about running and gunning. The pace never seems to slacken (at least, not for very long), as you’ll be calling in air support, bouncing along in vehicles as explosions rip the landscape to shreds all around you, and engaging in pitched battles in cramped spots that will put your pulse through the damn roof. The story still seems a little…off, I guess, and there’s a whole lot more flash than substance, but the widespread appeal of that well-implemented flash is undeniable.

The biggest problem with the campaign remains its bizarre gameplay glitches that include infinitely spawning foes, and erratic AI that can be appropriately intelligent one second and completely brain-dead the next. Still, I don’t think the AI is any worse than in Battlefield 3 ; if anything, it’s more dynamic and in some ways, even more challenging. I still think more can be done to add emotional weight to the storyline but hey, I know they require mainstream appeal for ultimate success.

The good news is that if you’re left wanting more after the campaign and you’re not quite ready for multiplayer, you can tackle most of the Spec Ops missions solo. Spec Ops debuted in MW2 and was a great success; it has returned for MW3 and adds flavor and variety to a pretty straightforward albeit rewarding campaign. Not every Spec Ops mission is as frenetic as the single-player action, and we get different types of teamwork options, which is another plus.

Then there’s the multiplayer. If you’re one of the uninitiated, playing for about an hour will initiate you; the pace is ridiculous and with 16 new maps, there’s lots to see and learn. The leveling system works well, there’s a boatload of rewards and in general, the adrenaline rush never stops and you’re always striving to reach the next goal. As you might expect, leveling up unlocks new weapons and perks (for both you and your weapons), so you can customize your play style. You really aren’t forced into any mold.

Perhaps the two biggest upgrades involve the Strike Packages and a couple new modes. The more kills you get, the more skills you unlock in Strike Packages, but IW goes beyond that; here’s where even more customization comes into play: Let’s say you’re not as focused on your KDR (Kill-to-Death ratio, n00b). Maybe you aren’t an offensive dynamo. Well, use the Support Strike, where your kills will remain even if you die. Some may call it cheap, but how else can the new players gain a foothold? It makes them feel better about themselves.

But beyond the sappy crap, you still have to deal with the rampant immaturity that almost seems exclusive to CoD these days. I know you find it everywhere, but with MW3, it’s like every 9-year-old and wife-beating racist on earth has the game. You just have to take solace in the scope and breadth of the multiplayer, which outstrips any other shooter available. Yes, I’d say that even includes Battlefield 3 , although I maintain that I love the vehicle element in DICE’s production.

Kill Confirmed quickly turned into one of my favorite modes, just because it really does require a more strategic, team-oriented approach. Honestly, I get a little tired of the all-for-one approach in CoD’s multiplayer, but with Kill Confirmed, you had best work together for the best results. When someone dies, they drop a dog tag but in order to get points, a member of the opposing team has to snag that tag. If an ally picks up his buddy’s tag before the enemy gets to it, that’s like a big ol’ block. De- nied . …not sure why I find that so amusing.

The bottom line is that despite my aversion to multiplayer, it isn’t difficult to see why such a game is so massively popular. Sure, it has a lot to do with marketing and the masses flocking to anything that’s familiar, but people keep playing these games throughout the year for a reason. Infinity Ward obviously put a ton of effort into the multiplayer, as the depth, addictiveness, full-on customization, and a little nod towards teamwork makes MW3 a beast in the world of online gaming.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is familiar but hardly boring. The control remains top-notch, the audio is excellent, the developers should be commended for squeezing every last drop out of that engine, and the entertainment level remains high throughout. The campaign is too short (no surprise there), the AI is too erratic (and weird things can still happen when playing), and the story is a little uninspired. But when it comes to over-the-top thrills and plenty of “oh good god damn ” moments, the campaign brings the heat.

Spec Ops adds some variety, too, and in the end, it all comes back to the multiplayer, which is stellar. No two ways about it. So love it, hate it, feel indifferent, whatever…MW3 does what’s expected of it and always tries to jack our heart rates. Take it for what it is.

The Good: Great sound. Relentless, satisfying campaign. Control is usually spot-on. Various, well-designed environments. Spec Ops is a definite boon. Multiplayer is highly customizable, more accessible, and slightly more varied…it’s also awesome.

The Bad: Campign is too short. Engine needs an upgrade. Too much of a “been there, done that” feeling overall.

The Ugly: “These guys aren’t gonna stop coming, are they? …nope. Great.”

Subscribe
Notify of
148 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
FatherSun
FatherSun
9 years ago

MW2.5 it seems. But then again it is what I expected. Don't hate the players hate the game! Or in this case.. Is it the opposite? Never can tell with COD. Every match can be different.

9 is a great score. I will be trying the campaign in a few moments myself.


Last edited by FatherSun on 11/8/2011 8:56:54 PM

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
9 years ago

In terms of the MP sure it might seem like 2.5, but the single player is a sequel to 2, which in turn makes it 3. 😉

FatherSun
FatherSun
9 years ago

Fair enough. MW2.75.

TheManOfAction
TheManOfAction
9 years ago

Haha

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
9 years ago

That works!

Nas Is Like
Nas Is Like
9 years ago

Finally, been waiting on this review.

Was expecting a score from 8.5 – 9.0, guess I was right.

Looks like a great review, will read now.

Edit: Great review Ben. Thank you.


Last edited by Nas Is Like on 11/8/2011 9:46:43 PM

FatherSun
FatherSun
9 years ago

It seems you have a hater for the sake of hating. What did you say wrong? lol.. Its all good.

Nas Is Like
Nas Is Like
9 years ago

I have no idea lol, but truth be told, I couldn't care less. It's very hard to offend/upset me over the Internet.

They can hate on me or keep thumbing me down, it won't affect me whatsoever.


Last edited by Nas Is Like on 11/8/2011 10:12:29 PM

FatherSun
FatherSun
9 years ago

The internet is a fickle place. Some who hide behind the screen seem to have an inaccurate sense of power and even reality. If one were to care.. it would drive one mad.

This also applies to the COD masses. Sometimes it can become a cesspool. But damn is the game addictive.

By the way. Nas used to chill in my area before he blew up. Chilling with Wu-Tang types and such. Foxy Brown too! Ahh the good old days…


Last edited by FatherSun on 11/8/2011 10:24:36 PM

Nas Is Like
Nas Is Like
9 years ago

Exactly. It's just some nerd talking s*** over the Internet that would be scared if confronted about it in real life. Cowards feel strong behind a computer monitor.

Wow, he really used to chill in your area? That's wicked. Ever met him?

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
9 years ago

Yep, of all the reviews I've read about this game, Ben's is certainly the best. He really knows how to cover all aspects really well.

Helped me make a decision about whether it was worth buying. Since I don't have a CoD on my 360 yet, guess what I picked up on 360 today!!

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
9 years ago

LOL! Thumbed down for getting it on 360? Or for getting it at all?

I like the split screen multiplayer, very few shooters have 4 player split screen these days. Not a big fan of online versus though, I prefer co-op, working together for the greater good.

FatherSun
FatherSun
9 years ago

Im up.. Im up.. Lol..

@Nas, I met him once. On Staten Island aka SHAOLIN! He was collaborating with some Wu-Tang members. Before they recorded Cuban Linx. Before the fame. Him and Foxy were in talks with RZA at the time. Supposedly.

JDC80
JDC80
9 years ago

Xplay gave MW3 a 5/5 yet they gave "Uncharted 3" 4/5 because "Uncharted 3" was too much like "Uncharted 2". Don't get me wrong at some point I will play MW3 and enjoy it but how can anyone look at those reviews and not shake your head at the folks over on Xplay?

556pineapple
556pineapple
9 years ago

Sad. Just… sad.

Nas Is Like
Nas Is Like
9 years ago

Agreed, even though I am a CoD fan I can still admit MW3 is very, very similar to its' successor, even more than Uncharted 3.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

X who? They still run that dumb show? I had forgotten the name "Morgan Webb" until you mentioned X-Play. The original gamer girl of the 21st century.

I guess they didn't want to start a riot with the 9 year-olds and wife-beating racists who worship the CoD:MW series.

FatherSun
FatherSun
9 years ago

SO predictable xplay is.. XPlay is Played out!

Was the review done by the same person. If so.. he needs to be called out on those contradictions.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
9 years ago

Yeah, I was so disappointed with X-Plays review of Uncharted. They knocked off a whole star because Uncharted 3 wasn't as mind-blowing as Uncharted 2, basically for doing the same thing again and not surprising Adam with a huge jump in quality.

Like I said in an Uncharted 3 article, X-Play have completely lost the little bit of respect I had for them. Now they're clearly in it for the CoD gaming audience.

Gamer Girl Gemo
Gamer Girl Gemo
9 years ago

Hahaha! Ha! Oh… Oh, wait, you're serious?

Doppel
Doppel
9 years ago

Wait, people watch G4?

Jed
Jed
9 years ago

Man, G4 is such crap. I was really pissed when they replaced Tech TV with all the high school crap they are now.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
9 years ago

We had Tech TV on Foxtel in Australia. Such a sad day when that channel went the way of the dodo.

We don't get G4, but Attack of the Show and X-Play screen on Fuel TV, an extreme sports and surfing channel, with a healthy mix of lingerie football and bikini beach late at night. 😉

Darwin1967
Darwin1967
9 years ago

Xplay….basically a subsidiary of Xbox. I ponder their reviews for about 2 seconds until I remember whose back pocket they are in.

PasteNuggs
PasteNuggs
9 years ago

I played MW3 for an hour tonight an am honestly considering skipping the Treyarch efforts and just staying with IW.

Nas Is Like
Nas Is Like
9 years ago

I've already made that decision.

I'm a big fan of all 3 Modern Warfare installments. As for World at War and Black Ops…not so much. I highly doubt I'll be buying another Treyarch CoD game again.

PasteNuggs
PasteNuggs
9 years ago

I liked Black Ops. I think they did some things right. Like having your character talk and trying to make the campaign a little longer but they just can't seem to get that wow factor IW can.

FatherSun
FatherSun
9 years ago

Treyarch is the Bizarro world COD developer.

Nas Is Like
Nas Is Like
9 years ago

Agreed. They do some spectacular things (like removing quickscoping) but the "wow factor" and the gameplay (plus their choices for era and art style) just doesn't appeal to me as much.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

MW has better controls, but no zombies.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
9 years ago

[email protected] was excellent. I really liked that game but treyarch tried way to hard to duplicate IW's mp. Ultimately they failed with Black Ops. I enjoyed the campaign but never got into the mp. Shame! I stood up for treyarch at one point.


Last edited by bigrailer19 on 11/8/2011 10:54:51 PM

PasteNuggs
PasteNuggs
9 years ago

@Nas The era of Black Ops really appealed to me. I waited a long time for a good Vietnam-ish game.

@World After having to watch COD zombies for the last year I hate it. It's so repetitive and boring.

johnld
johnld
9 years ago

heres how i see it. i like treyarchs story telling but i like modern warfare because its, well.. modern. never was into ww2 type of shooters. however, infinity ward just sucks as supporting the online portion of their game. took them forever to patch MW2. it seems like theres a point in their cycle that they say screw it and start working on a new game, but for them it seems way too early when they decide to do that.

Jed
Jed
9 years ago

@World,

Actually, there is a zombie mode in MW4.

Clamedeus
Clamedeus
9 years ago

I already have one person on my friends list who isn't digging MW3, he doesn't think it's a bad game but he isn't liking it yet, I don't know maybe he needs a bit more time to see if he likes it.

He's one of those competitive players from Black Ops and MW2, always doing MLG Variant maps and rules, and in Black Ops comp playlists and doing scrims with MLG Pro players, he's definitely good if he can hang with them in game.

But with that aside I liked Black Ops more than MW2, because of the constant tubes and people abusing every exploitable thing possible in MW2, Black Ops seemed more balanced I didn't need to worry about the crap that happened in MW2, MW2 isn't a bad game at all don't get me wrong, it's the players who abused everything that ruined the game for me, I did enjoy MW2 though before people started doing that.

I'm getting MW3 on Friday, how do you guys like it so far? Any problems that arose, anything seem off?

FatherSun
FatherSun
9 years ago

Ben, I must apologize in my failure to Thank You for the review in my post above. Thank You! I appreciate how you can be so subjective even when reviewing a genre that is not at the top of your list. Especially with a game with such divisive force as COD. That is what separates the professionals from the pack. And why I always support this site.

P.S. Shirts.

Yukian
Yukian
9 years ago

I think you meant objective… right? lol

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

Thanks, but I don't know why people keep thinking I hate FPSs. I've always liked them. I just don't think they're God's gift to gaming. 😉

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

Ben, the problem is that you like both jrpgs *and* fps. It creates confusion. You are not supposed to do that. 😀


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/9/2011 5:31:48 AM

FatherSun
FatherSun
9 years ago

Ben, you have never given me the impression that you hate FPSs, but I know that RPGs are where your heart is.

And yes… I meant OBJECTIVE Yukian. Thanks. I usually screen and edit but I was half sleep.


Last edited by FatherSun on 11/9/2011 6:33:46 AM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

I saw a fan review today that went something like this "This is the best map expansion pack for Modern Warfare 2 yet, but the price is a bit high as these usually go for 15$. It has one serious flaw though, my stats didn't carry over."

I also saw the cut and paste building from MW1. So sad.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
9 years ago

Well sure the mp may be the same. I'm excited to see the trilogy unfold. Lots of reviewers ar saying this is the best in the moder warfare series as far as the campaign goes.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

Sorry, but that's retarded. They changed a LOT, and I don't remember seeing a map pack with 16 new maps, several new modes, an entire set of Spec Ops missions, and an overhaul concerning Killstreaks and Strike Packages.

Don't listen to haters. They're easy to spot.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
9 years ago

After jumping into the mp for a few moments tonight, the game is completely overhauled. It's not a map pack by any means. Gameplay remains very similar, I think I feel some weight.


Last edited by bigrailer19 on 11/9/2011 1:53:56 AM

Nas Is Like
Nas Is Like
9 years ago

Amen, Ben. A lot of people don't get it though, but you nailed it spot on.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

It was satire though, in which case I appreciated the comedy.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

I appreciated the comedy, as well, World.

On the other hand, I'm liking the review, here Ben. It seems the transition from MW2 to MW3 is much better than the jump from MW1 to MW2.

Obviously, with new life things going on, I haven't had a chance to play yet, but I will. I haven't been able to finish Uncharted 3 yet either. That comes first… whenever it comes. lol. Not complaining. I'm having a ton of fun, right now. It just has nothing to do with video games.

ImTheMan
ImTheMan
9 years ago

Yeah World you sure that wasn't YOUR review??? haha

CrusaderForever
CrusaderForever
9 years ago

Great review Ben!! MW3 is addicting and the maps are many and are fun. I had many good moments and went to bed around 2:30am last night.

The best part of CoD is its controls and fluid gameplay. There is no chop chop in this game.

Also, the support strike packages are welcome addition. They allow you to keep your kill streak alive even if you die. The assault strike package acts like the kill streaks from past CoD games which resets your kill streak when you die. I am not the best player by any means and will have a poor kill/death ratio. So this support strike package allows me to enjoy the kill streaks. So far I have spawned a UAV, SAM Turret and Machine Gun Turret. The SAM Turret is cool because there are always kill streak planes flying over head. It's sweet to see missiles from your SAM Turret streak towards a Stealth Bomber!

My biggest disappointment is the knifing. This has gone unchanged and is still the fast air slash it was in the past. It would have been great to see a KZ3 or BF3 animated stabbing death. Other than that I don't have anything to complain about.

There are 16 maps which I find very generous. They are from many different locals. One thing I really love about CoD is that when you are killed it's so easy to get back in the action. It is unending and exhilirating.

IW and Sledgehammer did a great job. I will be enjoying this one all year. Hopefully Treyarch can come back with a better effort than Black Ops. Zombies is amazing, but they need to do better on the CoD MP component.


Last edited by CrusaderForever on 11/8/2011 10:45:56 PM

Wraith
Wraith
9 years ago

Great review. I'm surprised that the campaign turned out as good as it did, although a bit short.