Modern Warfare 3 Review - November 14th 2011

The boys are back in town! It’s hard to believe that it has been 2 years since Modern Warfare 2 was released. Here we are once again joining Soap MacTavish and Captain John Price in their hunt for ultranationalist terrorist leader Vladimir Makarov. The Call of Duty franchise has vastly evolved with each installment, going from a game which was believed to forever be in the shadow of the Medal of Honor series, to one of the most popular and best selling first person shooters in video game history. The question is, does it have what it takes to live up to its predecessors as well as raise the bar for future entries in this series?


The answer is a very confident, YES! The team at Infinity Ward have once again hit a home run with their signature franchise. But they couldn’t have done it alone; this time around they had help from Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software who helped with development. Prior to joining the Modern Warfare team Sledgehammer Games had been working on a third-person action adventure entry to the Call of Duty franchise. Composer Brian Tyler was brought in to create the musical score for the game. Modern Warfare 3’s stunning visuals and solid gameplay come from an improved version of the IW 4.0 engine, modified to allow the game to run at a minimum of 60 frames per second and also provides much improved audio quality.

The campaign looks great, and runs at a rock solid 60 frames per second.

Although the single player campaign isn’t what attracts most players to the series, Modern Warfare boasts a fantastic storyline that is both engaging as well as great fun. Infinity Ward did a great job of tying in the storyline of Modern Warfare 3 to previous entries in the series. Part of what makes the storyline so great is the effort and attention to detail that has been put into creating each environment and making sure the set pieces are utilised effectively.

Alongside the stunning visuals is one of the best musical scores I’ve heard in a video game in a long time. However, I was surprised to find that even with the improved audio quality, certain weapon sound effects were seemingly taken directly from Modern Warfare 2 with little to no change, making it very noticeable when put side by side with the newer sound effects. The controls feel crisp and solid as expected from a Call of Duty game. However, one feature that I did miss was being able to dive to prone like in Black Ops, with all the high praise it got from fans I was almost certain it was going to be included in the game. And as great as the story may be, the multiplayer mode is where MW3 turns it up to 11.

Big set pieces make a welcome return.

All of the game modes we have come to know and love have returned, alongside new additions that are destined to become fan favorites. One of the best new game modes is Kill Confirmed. It's a fresh take on the classic Team Deathmatch in which you must collect the dog tags of every enemy you kill in order for it to count. You must grab their dog tags before a member of the opposite team does or else that hard earned kill won’t count.

There have also been some subtle changes in the way you can customize your loadouts. One feature that I particularly liked was the weapon proficiency level. Think of it as perks for your weapons, which really makes it much more critical to choose weapons and attachments wisely to best suit your particular playing style. My one gripe with the multiplayer aspect of the game is the fact that none of the maps felt “new” in the sense that there are areas of certain maps that are nearly identical to maps from previous Call of Duty games. My hope is that Infinity Ward will release downloadable map packs to combat this issue.

The Spec Ops mode has returned, and this time with two different options. The standard Spec Ops missions task you with completing specific objectives in tactical situations. And then there's Survival mode. Survival mode is very similar to the Nazi Zombies mode in which you are faced with wave after wave of enemies and the goal is to survive as long as possible. Survival mode works very similar to Nazi Zombies in which players must kill enemies to earn money to purchase weapons and killstreaks from strategically placed weapons caches scattered throughout the map, as well as level up to unlock new weapons and attachments to purchase. This new mode is a great addition to the game that I very much enjoyed, and with 16 maps available, boredom is not an option.

It might be more of the same, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Prior to launch, quality assurance testers at Sledgehammer Games announced that they were aiming for a “bug-free” release. Unfortunately that isn't quite how things turned out. While I only encountered a handful of bugs, the most common was the in-game soundtrack stopping suddenly for a split second and then coming right back on again. Other than that and the occasional collision detection glitch, I’d say they have produced a very solid game. Like a well trained soldier, Modern Warfare 3 knows exactly what to do, and how to do it.


RJ Barranti

 

Gameplay:

It has a great storyline with even better multiplayer modes. Paired with great controls, you could not really ask for more.

Audio:

The musical score by Brian Tyler is fantastic, but less than stellar weapon sound effects bring it down a bit in the audio department.

Graphics:

Call of Duty has never looked better.

Longevity:

With an engaging storyline, one of the best online multiplayer modes in the business, as well as the return of Spec Ops mode, don’t expect fans to be putting this one down any time soon.

     

Final Score:



Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is an extremely balanced shooter with a great story, fantastic visuals and audio, and an even better multiplayer.

 

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Activision
Infinity Ward / Sledgehammer
Out Now
PC PS3 360 Wii