Developer: Infinity Ward & Sledgehammer Games
Genre: First-Person shooter
ESRB Rating: M
Release Date: November 8th, 2011
Platforms: X360, PS3, PC, Wii
Modern Warfare 3, one of the most anticipated games of the year, is finally out. With about a billion dollars of virtual property damage done and about forty hours of total gameplay clocked in, I can finally tell you everything about it. Seriously, everything. That way, you can figure out if this is the shooter for you.
Campaign that Shocks and Awes
For a game that uses multiplayer as its selling point, the campaign experience in MW3 is something to behold. The moment I hit the “new game” button in the campaign mode, things went straight to hell. The game places you right in the middle of all the chaos and from the moment you begin playing, it’s already epic beyond proportions. Since the story leaves off directly after the events of Modern Warfare 2 where the world is plunged into chaos, skipping all the boring intro stuff seemed fitting.
The campaign action is over-the-top dramatic. It has tons of action sequences, explosions, and carnage. They should just rename the whole thing “Michael Bay the Game”. So whether you pay attention to the story or even haven’t played the previous installments, you’ll jump into the campaign and enjoy it because it’s fun and doesn’t drag on or wind down, at all.
The game’s campaign works like all previous CoD installments. You jump between battlefields and are put in-control of different characters. The primary protagonists you’ll be sharing a life with in MW3 are “Frost” of American Delta Force and Yuri of the now disavowed Task Force 141. You are taken across the world from America to Europe to South Africa and it’s not for sight-seeing. Everywhere you go, the effects of war have left behind a trail of destruction and even though the visuals are great, it can be rather depressing to look at.
Instead of just going from place to place to just kill things, everything has a purpose. The target is a man named “Makarov”, the root of all evil and in this game, you find out just how much of an evil genius he really is. Despite how bad he is, I want to give tons of props to the team that crafted such a well-calculated mastermind. What this man has done to plunge the world into World War III makes you want to carry on the mission to hunt him down.
The one neat thing I want to note is the campaign experience indirectly helps you with the multiplayer experience. The campaign allows you usage of the AC-130 and chopper gunner at one point as well as has all the weapons available online. May not mean much, but it still allows one to do the campaign first before duking it out online.
The campaign is overall a pretty fun experience. It’s not too long as I clocked in about 7 hours on the highest difficulty. Still, it’s a satisfying addition to a game that thrives off of its multiplayer and survival modes.
Two vs. One-Hundred
Eventually, the campaign experience will come to an end, but one thing you can do for hour’s on-end is the highly-anticipated, “Survival Mode” in “Spec-Ops”. Either by yourself with a friend, you can challenge yourself to waves upon waves of enemies in a “tower-defense” style of gameplay. All the maps this mode can be done in is whatever the multiplayer has to offer, so you’ll get good practice on MW3’s set of rather elaborate maps.
As you clear waves, the enemies become progressively harder and come at you with greater force. There are times where you’ll have to face-off against a fleet of helicopters, juggernauts, and attack dogs all at the same time. At least you don’t get to take on the world empty handed. As you kill enemies you earn cash that you can spend in the shops that appear in-between waves. You can buy more ammo, guns, attachments, and armor which are all essential to your survival. As you progress through the waves, you can also purchase “killstreaks” such as the precision airstrike or even call in a team of AI-controlled Special Forces to help you.
Return of Spec Ops missions
One thing that Infinity Ward brought back are the “Spec Ops” Missions. These are a set of objective-based missions you can choose to do with a friend that are similar to the ones found in the campaign. They’re like the ones found in Modern Warfare 2, if you’re familiar with them, and should take a couple of hours to complete on the highest setting. In some cases, they’re the campaign missions done through a different view. Like instead of protecting the president, you’re trying to capture him. So Spec-Ops can now be considered a two-player extension of the campaign mode.
The missions MW3 spec-ops has to offer are a vast improvement from the already-fun missions the previous game had available. Let’s just say they got a little more creative with what each player has to do. There’s one mission where one player is on top of a building providing sniper cover while his partner, a juggernaut, runs around defusing bombs. Also, a mission involving an AC-130 gunner and an objective runner will make a return as well. So more often than not, one person plays support and the other runs around playing the objective.
The spec ops mode just adds more hours of gameplay for you to enjoy. It’s something to do for those who are not into the PvP mode. Future MW3 DLC intends to add additional missions so this is a mode to keep coming back to.
The war enters the online battlefield
Call of Duty would not be complete without its multiplayer-mode. The game is quite a bit more fun with more gun-on-gun action and a couple tweaks to the core mechanics that make it a game more accessible by even the most casual of gamers.
The system will be very familiar to returning players. You rank up as you play and the higher your rank, the more equipment you have access to. As you progress in levels, you earn more guns, perks, and equipment. This time, besides leveling up yourself, you can level-up individual guns. By using the gun a lot, you’re able to add additional perks to them such as reduced recoil or increased range. You can also outfit them with more attachments and customize them with camouflage.
Of course, killstreaks will be making a return but this time with a special twist. They’ll be divided between two “packages”, the assault and the support packages. Instead of just killing, you can earn points towards your killstreak by shooting air support down and capturing flags; pretty much anything that contributes to the team. You’re able to select 3 killstreaks to take with you on the battlefield, some are easy to earn at 3 points and some harder at 17 points. So your choice of killstreak should be determined by your own judgment of your skill. Be realistic with yourself or it won’t be as fun.
The assault has the offensive killstreaks such as helicopters, the Reaper Drone, and the AC-130 gunship. The assault will work like every other Call of Duty game where you live long enough to try and earn them. Should you die; the kill counter resets and you have to try again. This is for the more skilled player, because the way the game was designed, it’s not quite as easy to get the higher streaks as they were in Black Ops. However, unlike in Black Ops, you can use killstreaks to attain even more killstreaks, which makes the trek just a little bit easier.
Then there’s the support class. The support class has access to UAVs, SAM turrets, escort airdrops, and the EMP. The support class is for people who put the team ahead of themselves, providing battlefield Intel. The neat thing about this class is when you die, the kill counter does not reset, so it gives players who may not be skilled at the game something to work towards. This is a direct counter to the more “skilled” player because while they’re trying to get the higher streaks, you’ll be revealing their locations with UAV and shooting down their hard work with SAM turrets.
Now, there’s a third class that doesn’t get any killstreaks called the “Specialist”. Instead of air support, the specialist is fueled by more perks as kills are attained. When you reach 8 kills, you unlock all perks so at that point; you’re a super accurate, fast aiming, quick sprinting super soldier. This class was designed for the lone wolf that doesn’t rely on air support or teammates to get the job done. The class is not game changing by any means, as you’re still easily killed and there’s no way around that, but once you’re built, you’re The Flash with a gun, a target that won’t be killed without a fight.
New additions to the deathmatch game modes
There are two new game modes called “Kill Confirmed” and “Team Defender” which both add a new twist to your typical “Team Deathmatch”.
Kill Confirmed is a game mode where once someone is killed, they drop a dog tag. For you to count your kill towards the team score, you must capture the dog tag of your fallen adversary. Should the opposing force get to it first, the kill is denied. Teamwork plays a big role here because you want to confirm as many kills as you have and deny how ever many deaths you have. So essentially, it’s completely possible to win the game with less overall kills than the opponent, so long as you’re denying whatever you can.
Team defender is a game mode where one flag spawns on the map and whichever team holds the flag earns double points for their kills. One person is allowed to hold the flag and they are permanently visible on radar so long as they hold it. The mode works like standard deathmatch where every kill counts, except being in-control of that flag plays an important role in winning because your kills count for double. Again, it’s possible to be the team without the flag and still win, but the chances are against you.
Map design puts you up close and personal to the battle
Modern Warfare 3 has sixteen maps available to players at the moment and each one has an elaborate design to it. There are more hallways, more cover, more buildings, and more sharp turns. This helps promote a faster-paced style of gameplay with more “gun-on-gun” action instead of the old style which has heavy reliance on air support. So far, what they’re trying to do is working. The maps are tighter which helps bring that old “arcade” shooter feeling back to life, since you’re actually engaging someone in heated combat instead of just shooting them from a window half way across the map. You have to be cautious though, because you die very fast if caught of guard.
The one flaw to their map design is it gives a slight disadvantage to players fond of the longer-ranged weapons like the sniper. This means snipers will have to be a lot smarter and more efficient to be effective in-combat which puts in a larger skill-gap between certain players.
Infinity Ward plans to have twenty DLC packs inside nine months so I’m sure they’ll release more maps that cater to other types of players.
Perhaps a too familiar gameplay
Nothing much changes in terms of gameplay in Modern Warfare 3 but as the saying goes, “Don’t fix what isn’t broken”. Aside from a few new features, MW3 lacks innovation. Even though they did fix everything from the previous game, there’s nothing completely new. I guess CoD is just one of those simple games that would collapse if you made any drastic changes.
Basically, the game is Modern Warfare 2.9. Major changes to the old mechanics has completely changed the way we play CoD, and even though it’s the same game with better graphics, the play style is completely different and very few people will realize that even as they play. So what did the changes do? Make the game more action-packed and faster-paced while still giving it that familiar environment. Is that enough to satisfy people? Maybe. Maybe not. But still, overall, the game is the same as all its predecessors.
Modern Warfare 3 is basically the complete package in terms of shooting games. With a solid campaign mode, extra features such as Spec Ops, and multiplayer that’s more fun than ever, it’s not a bad purchase. The game is good for the gamer that just wants to jump in and play. You can act as a team should you choose but you’re free to be a lone wolf in a quick match if you’re in a hurry.
So overall, if you’re looking for the complete package or a multiplayer that’s lightning fast, this is the shooter for you.