It’s that time of year again, another Call of Duty game. Modern Warfare 3 is upon us, two years after the release of Modern Warfare 2. This time, it’s World War 3.
Probably unsurprising to most but Modern Warfare 3 has a ton in common with past Call of Duty campaigns. You follow a narrow path, mowing down enemies along the way. I found the missions to be rather boring with a “been there, done that” feel until near the end, when things started to get interesting. Nothing really felt quite as epic as the moments from Modern Warfare 2 when America was under attack. Sure, you’ll be battling in a huge variety of areas, ranging from Paris to New York, but nothing was ever exciting, and it all felt a little over the top.
Shooting works the same as it always has in Call of Duty, and feels very smooth. For the most part, the levels were well designed as well. The campaign took me 6 hours to complete, and seemed to wrap up the Modern Warfare trilogy.
Also, it’s important to note the emphasis on explosions. The campaign is filled with them. Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer are truly trying to push an over the top feeling of what they believe World War 3 would be like. If you're into explosions, Modern Warfare 3 will not disappoint.
Next up is Spec Ops. If you’re unfamiliar with Spec Ops, it’s basically missions you can complete with one other person in co-op. Some of these missions were a blast to play through. Running through a level with a friend while you are both juggernauts was extremely satisfying. I also enjoyed the time trial missions. On the downside, many missions had poor design. Some of the areas were so narrow that only one person could move through them at a time, leaving the person behind them unable to fire on enemies. After completing every Spec Ops mission, I had no reason to go back through and try and perfect each mission, as many were frustrating enough on the easiest difficulty.
A new addition to Spec Ops is a survival mode similar to the Gears of War “Horde Mode.” You will fight waves of enemies, earning money as you play. You can use this money on weapon unlocks, perks, and other items that will help you eliminate enemies. I really wish they could have put more into this, because it's an excellent idea for this game, and was fun to play. One thing I didn't like about survival mode, however, was that after you lose a wave, you have to start back at wave one. On top of this, it was disappointing that the Spec Ops missions were limited to 2 players.
What most people play Call of Duty for is the multiplayer. A few things have changed in Modern Warfare 3. Some of the guns feel different. My favorite gun from previous Call of Duty games, the M16A4, didn’t feel as good in Modern Warfare 3 as it did in previous Modern Warfare titles. I’m not certain what exactly changed, but this is something that bothered me. On the same note, other guns have been changed so they feel better when shooting.
The Modern Warfare 3 level progression system has been greatly modified as well. In this game, you level up your character to unlock new guns and perks, and you level up guns to unlock add ons and perks for them. For those who found it difficult to maintain a killstreak in previous games, there is a support killstreak option, where your “killstreak” doesn’t reset after death. The maps were somewhat disappointing to me. None of them ever gave me the “Oh, I can’t wait to play on this map again” feel. Overall, I enjoyed the multiplayer and found it to be the highlight of the game. I always felt a sense of progression that made me want to keep coming back for more.
Graphically, the game is decent. This is the same engine that Call of Duty has been using for the past few years, and maintains 60 FPS. Overall I felt as if there were more effects going on around me, but nothing was dramatically different from the previous game. The multiplayer maps felt pretty dull, graphically. They were very grey and brown. I was hoping for at least one map as eye popping as Nuketown from Black Ops, but was disappointed when i realized there weren’t any.
Overall, graphically, Call of Duty is starting to become dated. Hopefully for future games they choose to update the engine and innovate rather than staying safe.
First things first, the Call of Duty formula still works, even if it is starting to become dated. The campaign continues to pull the same stunts as in years past and doesn’t manage to move the needle as past games have done. Of course the multiplayer will keep you coming back for more. It will take a while for you to hit the level cap, which is 80. Once you hit 80, you can prestige and unlock special bonuses. The multiplayer is the only thing that will keep you coming back. The Survival Spec Ops mission didn't have enough depth for lasting appeal, and after beating all the the individual Spec Ops missions, you probably won't want to play them again.
Modern Warfare 3 is a good game, and Call of Duty fans will be happy. Those who are getting tired of Call of Duty will even be able to appreciate the changes in level progression and unlocks. At the end of the day, Modern Warfare 3 sticks to the safe formula that has worked for years, it’s just that it is starting to get old.