It has been four years since we had first been able to take part of the beginning of one of the biggest franchises in video game history. When it first was released, we were able to witness giant set pieces and intense battle sequences all intertwined with a compelling storyline that has been at times controversial and exciting. Today, that trilogy comes to a close(?) with Modern Warfare 3. Activison was kind enough to let us use a copy for this review.
For starters, there are first person shooters and then there are titles that are the first that come to mind when you think about the genre. For Modern Warfare, It has always been about a compelling story coupled with a robust multiplayer . With Modern Warfare 3, we are treated to a quadruped of sorts to give us the fullest experience seen to date from the franchise. In addition to both a great story and multi player, we are also treated to a new set of Special Ops missions and the newest piece to the brand, Call of Duty Elite. These four pieces together are really what makes this good game in fact, a great game.
With MW3, the story continues where the last Modern Warfare had left off and you find yourself with familiar faces to help you rid the world of the evil terrorist known as Makarov. The story takes you to many places in the world such as New York, London, and Paris. With huge environments and fantastic sequences, the six or so hours that it takes to complete the game is a fun romp through the world reaping destruction in almost all corners of the earth. Each mission has enough variance in it so it carries you along at a pace where you will continually want to see what is coming around the next corner. Those corners do have interesting plot twists to keep the story new and exciting to new and old players as well. The most controversial scene in the moviegame was nothing like the “No Russian” mission that the world was up in arms over in the last release.
For MW3, the most unsettling part of it was witnessing a child die. For the whole part of the game, this scene in particular is not crucial to set the tone or setting for the story. Like in previous Modern Warfare titles, you will find yourself switching from first person to flying overhead in a plane or attack helicopter and then switching back to first person. Then at the very end, you are treated to a very exciting new piece of equipment to help you face off against Makarov for the final showdown.
Many people that purchase this game or those of you that play it regularly will no doubt be playing the multiplayer, some almost exclusively. In MW3 we might not have been treated to a whole overhaul of the mode but what they did do was polish, polish, and polish. When playing in the various modes, the controls are tight and responsive just like we have come to expect from other COD games like Black Ops. There are all new maps to play in and at times that I have been playing them, they feel huge and complex. With multi levels to certain maps and other pieces where it will take you from an interior environment to an exterior to an underground area.
One other great thing that they have done is incorporated the leveling up of your weapons to help you gain attachments or perks for your loadout. For example, after I got to level five with my riot shield I was able to gain the perk of melee speed so I would have a better chance to get those rare kills with that weapon. This is a welcome addition to this mode for, especially for someone like me, who personally loves the idea of slowing down the pace of progression to keep you in the game longer.
In addition to adding the weapon leveling, they have also raised the level cap that it takes to get to prestige mode to 80. This might seem like a lot to swallow for some of us, but with new content and perks from the new Call of Duty Elite service, that level eighty might come sooner than you think.
They have also changed the way that the kill streaks work for those of us who seem to never get more than three in a row. They have kept the strike packages very much the same so that you will see the familiar chopper strike and other helpful strikes for you. The new addition to the kill streak rewards is the addition of support strikes. With support strikes, you will be given care packages that will support your team with non-lethal items such as the counter-UAV and armor for your team to wear. The beauty of this is that your kill-streak will not go away if you happen to die during the round so you will be constantly getting to that max package that would only come once and a while in the last game.
They have also included Specialist kill streaks for those of you who want delve even further into customization to your character. As you build up your kill streaks, you will be able to unlock additional perks for your character to boost through the match. So, in addition to the three perks that you start out with, you will be able to include other perks such steady aim if you find yourself borrowing guns from your fallen comrades later in the match. This is great for those of you who really want to have a progression of sorts through your multiplayer match.
Overall, the multiplayer is great, and even though they haven’t really pushed the envelope for this mode, the polish and the additions that they did include to it really keep you coming back for more.
They even treat us to another type of multiplayer with new Spec Ops missions. These can be played either single or multiplayer and it is a great diversion from the other parts of the game. Even though there is no cooperative mode in MW3. The Spec Ops missions give us the closest thing to a co-op game in that they are generally two player modes that can be played in short increments of time. There is no Zombie Mode in this game but it has a mode that is essentially a survival mode where enemies will attack you in waves until you reach certain milestones in the level. What is also interesting in this mode is that as you progress, your character will also level up but this ranking is only specific to the spec ops mode and will not carry over to the multiplayer mode. But as you gain levels you will be able to unlock better weapons and items for your character to purchase from the supply crates. As for the Spec Ops missions, you will find the familiar formula of trying to beat the clock against various objectives such as completing the training course or trying to extract hostages in the allotted time.
The Call Of Duty Elite service is what really sets this game apart. Although it is not included with the game at first, you can easily download it and it is accessible from your multiplayer menus in the game. This service really lets those of you who obsess about your stats and numbers and charts delve into the depth of how your play style can be interpreted. The service is free for the most part but there is also the the paid version that lets you have extremely in depth clan controls and also gives you the ability to record your matches in HD. For now, the Elite service is a bit overwhelmed but that is what happens when you give everyone 2 hours of double experience points.
Overall, the team at Sledgehammer games really kept tried and true to the Call of Duty franchise. They did play it a bit safe for my liking and not really straying too far from the model. In their defense, there is nothing that needed to be tremendously overhauled from the previous games. The graphics overall just look clean and polished, when you play it, you know that you are playing Call of Duty. What I would have liked to see more of still is a co-op story line. I also understand that if that was included, it would not be Modern Warfare because it has always been built for the single player experience. With the conclusion of this story, I am now more curious to see what they will bring out next year.
The story was good. The multiplayer is good. The game is good.
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5