For those out there whom speculated that Ghost (from Modern Warfare 2) would make an epic comeback in Modern Warfare 3, I offer THIS for your broken hearts:
For the rest of us, I offer the following review.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the latest installment of the Modern Warfare series produced by Infinity Ward and newcomer Sledgehammer Games. The series seems to have a relatively simple formula for success; provide a fairly entertaining single player game and attach it to a revolutionary multiplayer system that sucks grown men (and women) from their real-life duties for hours/days/months on end. This formula has produced mind boggling results in revenue, and it has done so once again with Modern Warfare 3. However, do we get our money’s worth in entertainment?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is what follows.
The single-player story picks up right where Modern Warfare 2 left off; everything has gone to hell in a hand basket. You play most of the game as two main characters, Sgt. Derek “Frost” Wesbrook and Nikolai’s compatriot, Yuri. With these two, you blow up everything and shoot everyone from New York City, to Sierra Leone. The game once again doesn’t hold back on the shock value either, making you fight through a “world apocalypse” setting. The images really can do a number on the psyche for those that are weak of heart. For example, the second mission has Delta Team Metal using a tunnel in New York City that was flooded as a result of the attacks, in order to reach a submarine in the harbor. Once inside you find the remains of all the cars and people that trapped inside when the tunnel flooded, and you must push past them to reach your goal. That being said, the gameplay image quality looks like what we have come to expect from the Modern Warfare series, which is pretty damn good. The guns details are sharp, the surrounding environment is sufficiently detailed and the effects (i.e. bullet holes, muzzle flash, etc.) were also sufficient. So then what makes this game stand out from its predecessors as far as the single-player storyline goes? Well, it doesn’t really. That may sound like a negative, but it isn’t. The Modern Warfare series, in my humble opinion, have all had relatively strong single-player stories and gameplay. In order for Modern Warfare 3’s single player to be a success, all they had to do was make slight improvements to the graphics/gameplay and then finish the story in a way that makes the gamer want to react the same way Captain Price does at the end of the game; sit back and have a cigar like a boss. For the most part, Modern Warfare 3 does this, and for that it is a success.
I say “for the most part” because there are a few holes in the single-player story that did make me twitch. One of them was the invasion of America and the whole story that once the Russians were being pushed back, the Russian President was going to sign a peace treaty and the allies would willingly accept it. Why did I have a problem with it? Because it seemed very implausible. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, we retaliated by driving the Japanese back, island by island, until we decided to drop the atomic bomb on them. In the game, the Russian government willfully attacks the United States of America, caused unprecedented death, destruction and even kidnapped VIP’s like the Vice President. Yet once they start getting pushed back they go “Oh we want to sign a peace treaty” and suddenly everyone is okay with that?! Not only that, but after the chemical attacks in Europe, the Russians suddenly have the strength to simultaneously invade pretty much all major European countries? This is in light of the fact that they just got kicked out of America, so certainly their forces aren’t anywhere near 100%. These glaring omissions in the storyline are troubling, but ultimately they are not enough to derail the central plot, and can be mostly overlooked.
That leads us to the part of the game everyone ACTUALLY buys Call of Duty for; the multiplayer. Modern Warfare 3 has a few new features that add on to an already addictive online system. Primarily one will notice the “Survival Mode” game. In this mode, you along with three other players start off with just pistols and work your way up in armaments and abilities, attempting to survive wave upon wave of increasingly difficult opponents. While it certainly is no Nazi Zombies, it definitely stands on its own as far as entertainment value goes. Imagine something similar to the ending of Jet Li’s “The One” and you get an idea of the kind of situation you and your friends are facing down. Except at the end of “The One”, Jet Li didn’t have predator missiles and grenade launching sentry guns to assist in the decimation of his enemies. You do.
When you’re ready to lay waste to fellow players, you can jump into the PvP multiplayer. Similar to the past Modern Warfare games, the PvP multiplayer provides numerous match options; adding some new ones like ‘drop zone’ and ‘kill confirmed’ in addition to the classics from past games like ‘ground war’ and ‘sabotage’. Modern Warfare 3 also keeps the custom class system that allows you to create hundreds of possible class combinations with new abilities and weapons as you level up through the game. The maps themselves are entirely new as well, requiring players to learn and adapt new strategies in order to win. All in all, the PvP multiplayer doesn’t so much bring any new innovative features as it returns us to the familiar form of fun we the player have all become so accustomed to and continue to long for.
Not everything is peachy though with multiplayer. For starters, the maps are largely too small. While it is still possible to utilize the sniper rifle, it is far more difficult and cumbersome than the days of Modern Warfare 1 and 2. Also, it would seem that at least one appears to be suspiciously similar in design to one from the first Modern Warfare (Check out the map Crash from MW1 compared to Bakaara in MW3). Furthermore, while I am a huge fan of being able to customize your classes, Modern Warfare 3 almost overdoes it to a fault. You literally have a million and one customizable features to choose from, which in my opinion can over-complicate the game. The last complaint I have isn’t one that has to do with the game directly but rather an attached side feature. Modern Warfare 3 includes another new feature called ‘Elite’, a feature that allows you to track, among other things, detailed information of past games and overall player progress. The concept is an amazing idea, and I checked it constantly. However, I noticed that several matches I would play simply would not appear on Elite. While it doesn’t affect your kill count, experience, etc. in the game itself. If you are going to add on a feature like Elite to Modern Warfare 3, it still should function consistently.
Overall, Modern Warfare 3 delivers exactly what we have come to expect from games of its namesake. It remains as always an engrossing game that will provide hours of all-consuming entertainment. It will take some time to get the hang of new maps, weapons and perks but once you do, you will find yourself at ease with the familiarity of gameplay. Ultimately, you will love it, you will loathe it and you will likely break a few controllers while demanding an explanation as to how you just died.
Final Rating: 8.5/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played on: XBOX 360
Approximate Time to Completion: Single player varies on your skill and difficulty, multiplayer is essentially infinite.
Game Achievement: 205/1000
Price Purchased at: $59.99
Recommended Purchase Price: If you are a huge fan of the series, $59.99. If not, wait till it drops a bit, maybe at $49.99