Posted by Raine Hutchens on Nov 18, 2011

Review – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Xbox 360)

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Product Information

MSRP: $59.99

Publisher: Activision

Developer: Infinity Ward

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Rating: M for Mature

Genre: First-Person Shooter

When it comes to console gaming, out of all of the genres out there I would have to say shooters are my strong point. To get specific, first-person shooters are a favorite of mine. I enjoyed Bulletstorm, and I really got into Bioshock. Those titles were about the story and presentation of a new world. One series that has had me from the start, not based on story or presentation at all was the Call of Duty series. With each yearly sequel, I rummaged through the campaign and made it to the main reason for getting the game – multiplayer. I particularly enjoy the Modern Warfare subseries, and when Modern Warfare 3 showed up I was definitely eager to start playing. The story of the last Modern Warfare title was cut short, and one of my favorite characters was put to rest. As soon as I could, I put the game in my console and loaded it up.

Story and Visuals

On the surface, Modern Warfare 3 performs just like its predecessor. It has all the look and feel of a Call of Duty game. Not much has changed, but what has helps make the game stand just above the bar set by its former entries. One thing I noticed with the visuals is that everything seems brighter. The light engine in the game adds more shadows, shades, and fullness to each shape and texture. This was nice because things were more vivid and distinguishable – it didn’t feel like I was running through one constant setting that was rotated on occasion. Fires burned brighter, motion blur was more accurate, and damage to surroundings was much more noticeable.

Secondly, the character models saw more detail, making them much more believable. Facial recognition has been turned up, and even characters from the previous titles became new again through an enhanced look. To put it simply, the game just looks good. It’s received more polish and detail, making it hit the bar just above what people expect with the shooter.

As for the story, Modern Warfare 3 takes off right where Modern Warfare 2 left. We see our soldiers still in search of Makarov, the crazy Russian who is responsible for starting the third world war. The game starts off with players taking control of a team set in New York, right as the Russian army is bringing the city down around them. Eventually we see Price and Soap back in action as they tear across the continents on a mission to bring down Makarov.

As custom with the story of a Call of Duty game, players will find themselves thrown into massive firefights in huge backdrops painted by war. Constantly hopping back and forth between unnamed soldiers in different squads, there is always something new to keep players engaged and interested. Infinity Ward worked hard to provide an interactive story that will make the game’s campaign the best in the series.

With the high points, however, still come the lows. There are points where the story jumps so much it’s a bit hard to follow. With tons of enemies spawning from behind doors and stairwells, they give a sense of neutrality that doesn’t play to the campaign’s strengths. The developer even threw in a heart-wrenching turn in the storyline that was overshadowed by a continuance of utter numbness. It made these emotional moments hard to follow.

Gameplay and Multiplayer

As a shooter, Modern Warfare 3 has everything you’re looking for. The controls are quick and responsive, and each pull of the trigger seems better tuned than ever before. The challenging situations that players are thrown into make for a thrilling experience, though it has its hiccups.

Throughout the campaign players are rewarded with different types of situations that call for different measures of action. A unique tie-in of these sequences have players go from controlling a remote gatling gun to dropping heat from an AC-130. These little treats make the gameplay very enjoyable, and just all around fun.

Some of the issues running with the game’s single-player engine really irk me. For instance, when enemies come rushing out of areas, they sometimes disregard your allies and come straight for you. This adds a sense of falseness that makes you believe your team members aren’t really there. Since there are so many enemies in one area most of the time, you’ll often be hit by rounds you literally can’t see. I never knew where these shots were coming from, and before I got my bearings I was looking at a death screen. This often leads you to feeling underpowered, and completely defenseless. With the storyline already a bit hard to chew, this adds to some frustration that will have you undoubtedly taking breaks in between playtimes.

Now we get to where the real action is, and that’s multiplayer. The multiplayer in Modern Warfare 3 has some new additions and tweaks that players will find interesting and loads of fun. With its unique leveling system, fast-paced combat, and special perk rewards, multiplayer is the real gem that draws players to the Call of Duty series.

Added to the multiplayer is a new weapon leveling system that’s more detailed than in previous entries. With the last Modern Warfare players needed to achieve certain goals in order to unlock new attachments for weapons and the sort. In Modern Warfare 3 each weapon has a leveling system that is based off of weapon usage and achievements. Using each weapon and earning kills, you’ll pick up weapon XP that will go towards raising it to the next level. At each new level, something new for the weapon will be unlocked, whether it be a new attachment, perk, or camouflage. Yes, even the weapons have perks this time around. With weapon perks, they allow players to choose from numerous attributes to add to the weapon. These perks, called Weapon Proficiencies, add things like reduced recoil, increased accuracy, and more to the weapon, allowing you to choose actual perks that add more benefit to your play style.

Killstreaks have also been changed, but for the better. You’ll still unlock killstreak rewards, though this time they will go into customizable Strike Packages. These packages allow players to switch up their style on the go, which helps add some new playability to each class. There are two different types of packages, the Assault and the Support. With the Assault package, it goes on as normal just like with older titles. The Support, however, adds something new. Your kills earned toward killstreaks continue through death, though the killstreak choices available are more for recon than for wiping out the other team. This is still a nice touch to add, since it allows players to team up and get a real strategy going when playing with friends.

New game modes were added, including the extremely fun Kill Confirmed mode. This multiplayer mode has players collecting dog tags from their fallen enemies to score points for their team. Enemy players can also rush in and collect these tags before you can, which makes your kill count diminish. It’s a great new mode, and adds yet another new feature to the game that will keep players engaged.

Spec Ops makes a return to Modern Warfare 3, and it plays out just like its predecessors. It returns with more stages and game types than before, adding even more to the game’s content.

There’s a new Survival Mode added to the game, where two players try and hold out against endless waves of enemy bots. It’s no zombies, but it’s still fun to play. Leaderboards are included to encourage players to try over and over again to get higher scores than last time.

Though there’s plenty to offer with multiplayer, there still exist some flaws that really bug out the game. In multiplayer, though there are plenty of new maps, they all seemed a bit small. Tight corridors with a central open hub seemed to be the basic layout for each map, which really made it numbing every once and a while to play through matches. I feel that the maps lack a sense of personality that was seen in Modern Warfare 2. Add this to server issues, glitches seeing players go through walls, and easy one-sided matches and this can cause frustration. Still, with all this, I still found myself committing hours to multiplayer and I loved every minute of it.

The Verdict

Even with its faults, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is just what players were expecting. The game takes a series that we already know and love and takes it further, pushing it to success. Though there exist some faults, the multiplayer experience is new and is perhaps the best it’s been in the series. Whether you want the game for the campaign, or the addictive multiplayer, Modern Warfare 3 isn’t just another shooter to overlook.

The Good

  • stunning visuals
  • addictive multiplayer with new modes, leveling system, and Weapon Proficiencies
  • engaging gameplay and interactive sequences

The Bad

  • small multiplayer maps
  • enemy AI is too player-focused, makes for unbelievable atmosphere
  • spotty mutiplayer server issues can get frustrating
  • some glitches still remain in multiplayer
  • story is easy to be confused by

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