Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has made it to the battlefield. Is it worthy of its title, or should it go back to boot camp? Read our review to find out.
The Call of Duty franchise is one of the top sellers every time a new game in the series is released, and Modern Warfare 3 continued that trend. With over 9 Million copies sold on day one, it surpassed its counterpart Call of Duty: Black Ops as the top day one seller. Over a million people lined up around the country for midnight releases. MW3 is stacking up to gross money like a blockbuster movie.
The game is broken up into three areas of game play. The Campaign, Spec-ops, and the all important Online Multiplayer.
The campaign starts out where Modern Warfare 2 left off. General Shepherd is dead and “Soap” Mactavish lies wounded and bleeding on the ground. It’s up to Cpt. John Price and Nikolai to get Soap to a safe house for medical attention. The first playable character is introduced, Yuri, and after aiding in Soap’s medical needs, you must fight off waves of attacking enemies and escort the wounded Soap to an extraction point.
The plot starts out a little convoluted and hard to follow due to the fast pace of the game and you seem to be jumping from character to character, and place to place fairly quick. It’s only after about half way through the story that you can start to see the whole picture, and everything becomes clearer and easier to follow. Modern Warfare 2 added in the controversial “No Russian” scene but MW3 stayed away from anything as shocking as that. There is one point in the story where the scene is referenced, but we won’t give any spoilers here. The story winds up being well written and worth your time to play through.
The campaign will only take around 6 hours to complete, depending on your skills and difficulty selected. All 4 difficulties are unlocked to begin with, so you can start out at your preferred level. There are collectibles in the form of Intel, and with 46 of these items stashed around, that does add some replayability to those completionists out there. Certain levels also have specific Achievements/Trophies assigned to them and that adds to the replayability as well.
Spec-ops makes a return from Modern Warfare 2. This mode is designed to be played with someone else, and with the exception of the first three missions, another player is recommended. Team work is the key, and in some missions, unplayable without a friend. Added into Spec-ops is a ranking system that not only unlocks more missions for your Spec-op pleasure, but also unlocks new items in the new Survival Mode.
Survival Mode pits you (or you and a friend) against countless waves of incoming enemies. These waves get progressively harder. You start out with four easy maps to choose from, but as you rank up more maps are unlocked. The maps are broken up into four difficulties (Easy, Regular, Hard, and Insane) and each difficulty has its own set of bad guys attacking you. These bad guys are a mix of different types, but the mix gets harder, and the bad guys get harder to kill, as you progress along. The mix can include choppers, dogs and Juggernauts, so be prepared to be tested as you complete higher waves. Quick tip here, just killing a dog might not save you, as some of them will have C4 strapped to them. Suicide dogs? Really? The SPCA might not like that.
As you continue to rank up as a Spec-op player, more Survival items become available to you. Scattered around the Survival maps are stations where you can purchase weapons, ammo, weapon upgrades, armor, explosives, or air support. As you kill the bad guys you also earn cash which can then be used at these stations to purchase items. These items become more and more important as you complete wave after wave.
Saving up your cash can also help, as some items have a heftier price tag, but can be worth it. Even if you are playing solo that doesn’t mean you will always be alone. Once unlocked there are two types of squads that will become available to you. Delta Force Allies are unlocked once you reach level 14, and this group of soldiers will have your back.
At Level 21 you unlock a Riot Shield Squad, and these guys are perfect for standing behind and shooting anyone, or anything, that comes in front of them.
16 different maps, and the ability to play offline, splitscreen with a friend, or online with a friend is a great addition to an already cool idea for Spec-ops. It would have been nice to use a shared ranking system across both Spec-ops and Online Multiplayer, but that’s not an option.
The Online Multiplayer is where most fans of the CoD series always end up. Players from MW2 will feel right at home, since there hasn’t been too many changes within the core game play of the franchise. Infinity Ward knows what worked, and knows what didn’t, and acted accordingly.
Most noticeable is the restructuring of the Kill Streak awards and this award is displayed on your HUD. On the lower right corner there is a vertical bar that fills as your kill streak grows, and the height of this bar shows you what awards you have available to you. This system is no longer just for kill streaks though, as Support can also start to build your Point Streak, depending on your initial class choice, and this streak is no longer rest to zero if you die. For those that die often, this is a welcome choice. Team players are now rewarded by capturing Domination points, and their streak grows accordingly. For the veterans of the series, you can eventually unlock the Specialist Package, and with the leveling up options available, you could turn your soldier into an almost unstoppable fighting machine.
Brand new to the series, but not really directly involved with MW3 gameplay, is the new Call of Duty Elite application. This can be downloaded and installed on your Console or PC and can be used to further your CoD experience. It has free basic services but to get the most out of it you’ll need to pay an annual subscription fee of $50. You can use the application to connect easily with other CoD players. find clans, and compete in tournaments.
Infinity Ward has went through some pretty rough times, and their partnership with Sledgehammer Games brought cause for concern to the long lived franchise. Modern Warfare 3 rises above those concerns with a solid campaign and decent ending to the Modern Warfare story.
Improvements to Spec-ops by adding Survival mode and a ranking system, and changes to the online Multiplayer mode to include a Point Streak as well as a Kill Streak, should give everyone enough reason to pick up this title.
This is how a gaming company overcomes adversity.