The biggest series in gaming is back. Modern Warfare was really the game that started it all for Call of Duty, giving the series the boost it needed to become the biggest selling franchise around, so it’s only fitting that Modern Warfare 3 is at last here to continue that success story, although not without a few issues along the way.
It will probably come as no surprise that Modern Warfare 3 doesn’t stray too far into the field of the unknown, instead sticking with what the series does best. In some respects this is disappointing, for instance, although the game engine has been tweaked and continues to run at 60 frames per second, to me the game still has the same look and feel that it’s always had. Another issue is that it’s all very predicable, during the campaign you always know what is going to happen next, although that doesn’t make what you were expecting any less spectacular when it does happen.
On the more positive side, Infinity Ward certainly knows how to write a story and placing the player in the middle of World War III was always going to provide some amazing results. In this respect, during the campaign you are met with some fantastic moments, all of which are presented in the same over-the-top style that this particular developer seems to have a knack of producing. Be it chasing the enemy through a car park in your tank; storming a submarine to take control of the deck; chasing a moving train before nearly being killed by it yourself or playing witness to London being at the centre of a chemical gas attack. Modern Warfare 3 has more what the **** moments than a blockbuster movie and although the series has always took this approach, this latest game ramps it up more than ever.
Some things never change of course, you are still heading towards a set point, with your AI teammates toeing the line, awaiting for you to pass over the invisible marker. You still have objectives passed onto you by your AI teammates, such as taking out snipers with a headshot or being told to stay still while an army of enemies pass you by. It does feel like someone is holding your hand at times, dragging you through the main story even though you are pulling in the opposite direction, but at the same time this is part of Modern Warfare’s charm.
What is different is that the campaign is spread over different days, giving you the chance to complete set objectives which all form part of the same story. This will see you playing as different characters and finding yourself in different areas of the World, all of which provide a different experience from the last. The main problem I found with playing as the different characters was that it didn’t have quite the same impact when one of them was killed, due to the lack of time spent with each of them. It is on the other hand fantastic to see how they all fit into the overall story of the Modern Warfare series and in this respect it certainly brings some closure.
The main thing to say about the Modern Warfare 3 campaign is that it’s epic. The story telling is predictable, but at the same time wonderful. Some scenes are controversial, although they are also integral to the story. Perhaps the most frustrating part is that it just doesn’t last a bit longer. Infinity Ward seem to have a knack of creating a fantastic single player campaign and while it’s understandable that the multiplayer really is the real star of the show, a little more would have gone a long way.
While the single player does provide a welcome addition to the overall package for me the real star of the show is the online Spec Ops mode which provides the ability to take part in either online co-op missions, or best of all, the new Survival Mode.
The whole idea behind Spec Ops Survival Mode is to team up with another player, either over Xbox LIVE or via co-op and fight your way through different waves of enemies. As you would expect things start off a little bit easy, with only a few opposing soldiers trying to take you down, however as you progress through the game things get a whole lot tougher.
There are various maps to play through, all of which provide enough cover in order for you and your team mate to decide the best form of defence. Teamwork is essential here because if your team mate is killed then its game over, therefore you may find yourselves having to revive one another quite a lot, especially in the later waves when the enemies just keep on coming.
Like I say, although the first waves start off with just a few enemies with guns, soon you will find yourself taking on helicopters, attack dogs, suicide bomber dogs, kamikaze soldiers and Juggernauts. Thankfully you do have some tricks up your sleeve due to the ability to buy new weapons, equipment and armour every time a wave has ended (or during if you are feeling brave). This allows you to upgrade weapons, top up ammo and also buy other equipment and perks which will help fortify your position, such as sentry guns and also airstrikes. Cash is earned by getting kills, with the ability to share cash between both players also present.
Add in the fact that Spec Ops has its own online ranking system, the ability to make use of online matchmaking and also the leaderboards and you can fail to be impressed with this new addition. Yes we have seen Horde Mode-like multiplayer features before, but to me this is the best version I have ever played in any game, it’s wonderful and also pretty addictive too.
Obviously the most popular area of Modern Warfare 3 was always going to be the multiplayer modes and those who purchase the game are certainly not going to be disappointed. Perhaps the best part of playing online is just how much choice you have. To start with there are sixteen maps, all of which bring something different to the game depending on which mode you play. Some maps are wide open areas which make killing and being killed inevitable, while others have you wondering what’s going to happen every time you turn around the corner.
Perhaps one of my favourite maps from my time playing so far is Arkaden, which takes place in a German Mall. This map takes place over a couple of levels, however there are so many ways in and out of the mall that it’s quite easy to get behind the enemy and take them down, or even find yourself in an upstairs/downstairs firefight to the finish.
On a similar note, there is also plenty of choice on the game mode front with ten standard modes and six advanced modes. The standard modes are near enough those you would expect, such as Free-For-All, Team Deathmatch and Domination, however there are some brilliant extras in there too, such as Kill Confirmed, which I have to say is fast turning out to be my favourite.
Explaining Kill Confirmed is fairly easy in that it’s basically Team Deathmatch with an added feature. To win in Kill Confirmed you simply go about killing the other team and scoring the most points, however the big twist here is that you need to collect the fallen players dog tag in order to confirm the kill. Given that you can also recover team mates dog tags to deny a kill, you can see how this would add an element of danger to proceedings. I can’t tell you how many times my player was shot while I was trying to collect dog tags.
As far as the advanced modes go, players are given the choice of defensive games such as Team Juggernaut, which has you defend the assigned player and also more offensive type games, such as infected, where your task is to infect the other team by killing them.
What makes the Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer so great in my opinion is the action. Sure you have numerous perks, the ability to rank up, custom classes and all other manner of options, however once you are out on the battlefield none of that matters and to be honest I would have it no other way. Modern Warfare 3′s multiplayer action is fast, frantic smooth and most of all fun. There is no waiting around once you are killed, you just press the respawn button and you are back on the field getting your revenge straight away. I’m pretty sure it will never win a prize for the most realistic war game, however if it’s a fun, action packed game that you are after then you certainly won’t go wrong with Modern Warfare 3.
When I started playing this game I had my doubts about it, even during my time with the game I have found myself tearing my hair out in frustration at some of the areas that I feel should have been improved. At the end of the day though, there is no doubt that Modern Warfare 3 offers a stunning overall package, the best multiplayer experience around and perhaps most impressively of all, the best game in the series so far.
Rating: ExcellentReview Policy
Modern Warfare 3 is due out now. You can order a copy here (PC), here (PS3) or here (360).