Author: Dany Argueta
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Friday, November 11th, 2011
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/modern_warfare_3/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
After a brief stint into the Cold War era with Call of Duty: Black Ops, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 brings us back into the present day for another round of fast-paced multiplayer action and concluding the search for the elusive Makarov. Modern Warfare 3 mostly sticks to the successful gameplay formula seen in previous entries, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, why fix what ain't broken when you can just polish it up?
Modern Warfare 3’s campaign takes place hours after the events that transpired in Modern Warfare 2, with players jumping back and forth between members of the disavowed Task Force 141 and Delta Force. Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Makarov has acquired chemical weapons that are set to be detonated across major European cities and intends to forcefully acquire nuclear launch codes from Russian president Boris Vorshevsky, who has been kidnapped by Makarov himself. Yeah, that Makarov, always with his crazy schemes.
Meanwhile, Russian forces continue their invasion of the United States, making New York the latest target in their invasion. Delta Force and Task Force 141 are tasked with fending off the invasion and track down Makarov to put a halt on his destructive plans.
The single-player campaign comes off like a summer blockbuster movie with over-the-top action sequences and enough explosions to blast your speakers. Similar to what was done in Black Ops and the previous Modern Warfare games, you assume the role of a few badass gung-ho soldiers who shoot down countless enemy grunts and pull off death-defying feats in urban locales, like Lower Manhattan or the war torn streets of Paris. Further emphasizing the action movie vibe here are the unusually plentiful vehicular sequences where you’re either shooting at your pursuers or manning some heavy artillery. Fans of Modern Warfare’s storyline will be constantly engaged with the campaign’s pacing and reach the trilogy’s satisfying conclusion within six or seven hours.
One minor issue players might encounter is the partner AI not always doing its job of defending you, which can result in enemies getting by your allies and landing some free shots or even outright killing you if you don’t get out of the way quickly enough. You might even see some amusing glitches like a character walking on air or a crashing helicopter suddenly disappearing in the midst of its crash course. Besides these quirks, you won’t find any serious gamebreakers so enjoy your hunt for Makarov, brief though it may be.
If you’ve played Black Ops or previous Modern Warfare titles, then you’re going to feel right at home with Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer. The action is fast-paced like always; players once again take advantage of killstreaks to gain the upper hand on the battlefield, and your actions during a match award EXP to level up your soldier and your weapon. Although the experience may feel like it’s the “same old, same old," Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games made various tweaks to better balance things out.
Modern Warfare 3’s Strike Packages split killstreaks into three separate categories, each of which are suited to a particular play style. You have your Assault Package for players who like to play offensively, Support Package for those who prefer to support their team (this one is unique as your killstreak persists though player deaths), and the Specialist Package that activates perks instead of killstreaks. Each package does a great job of matching their intended role, and the Support Package offers nice alternative for newbies less familiar with the game; yet it's still fun for COD vets to play around with.
Speaking of modes, Modern Warfare 3 introduces some new ones in addition to standbys like Domination, Headquarters, and One in the Chamber. Team Defender changes up Capture the Flag by having the carrier hold on to the flag to earn points, which is perfect for constant team-versus-team confrontations. Kill Confirmed is an interesting mode since not only are you required to kill opponents as usual, you must also collect the fallen player’s dog tag to properly score for your team. What makes Kill Confirmed so hectic is you can collect tags from enemies and friendlies (which denies the opposing team from scoring), not to mention those tags will call everybody’s attention to claim them ASAP. Kill Confirmed and Team Defender will be the modes to play if you’re looking for some exciting firefights.
Modern Warfare 3 also allows players to create their own rules to make a custom game mode, though these are limited to private matches with friends only. You can set various parameters such as time limits and allowing a certain number of players. Once you’ve made your custom mode, you’re free to share it with friends through Call of Duty ELITE.
Spec Ops is back from Modern Warfare 2, once again providing a series of unique standalone missions that let you get to play with some of MW3’s cool toys like sentry turrets and Juggernaut suits. Spec Ops even supplements the single-player campaign with a few missions that provide an alternate perspective on certain story events. The new kid on the Spec Ops block is Survival Mode, which is very reminiscent of Zombies Mode from previous Call of Duty games but with some hefty refinements that make Survival feel like a proper mode than some novelty unlockable. While playing alone or with a partner, you must down as many enemy waves as possible while using downtime periods to fortify yourselves with guns, gear, or the occasional airstrike. More weapons and gear can be unlocked for later runs, which gives Survival a good deal of replay value.
Call of Duty ELITE is best likened to Halo Waypoint, offering a variety of social tools to keep in touch with friends and clan mates along with other features such as stat tracking and a multiplayer guide. Those who pony up for the $49.99 premium memberships get benefits like access to exclusive tournaments, more storage capacity for replays, and priority access to all monthly DLC released since the start of your membership. ELITE and its premium features seem to be geared towards hardcore players who frequently play Modern Warfare 3 and want to absorb anything and everything Call of Duty. Less dedicated players will probably find some use out of ELITE’s social options to find other folks to play with.
As of this writing, I was unable to test out the ELITE standalone application as the service was hit with high user demand that prompted Activision to temporarily limit access to ELITE in order to add servers. I had no trouble with signing up and browsing around ELITE’s web-based portal although the multiplayer guide was the only working feature.
So you’ve spotted Modern Warfare 3’s Hardened Edition at the store and you’re wondering if it’s worth the price to purchase. The Hardened Edition’s main highlight is its complimentary ELITE premium membership and Founder voucher, which nets you even more benefits to go along with your premium perks. Also included is a code to claim an exclusive XMB theme (Xbox 360 users get a Juggernaut Avatar outfit) and a replica of Captain Price’s journal that covers the entire Modern Warfare trilogy storyline. It contains spoilers so be sure to finish the campaign before having a peek. Overall, Hardened Edition feels like a pretty good deal, especially if you're signing up for ELITE just to get the upcoming DLC.
Modern Warfare 3 refines what has worked well in previous Modern Warfare entries. The campaign is as exciting as ever, multiplayer matches remain fast paced, and Spec Ops gets a welcome addition that’s suited for solo and co-op players. ELITE is certainly nothing to sneeze at, providing the means to find new online partners while accommodating the hardcore fans with its paid features.
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