Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 review
A decent game at best
I will start this review with a small background. In contrast to Black Ops, I actually purchased this game fairly close to its release. Despite the negative hype towards some of the aspects of the game, I actually wanted the game. Most of my friends online on the PSN also had bought the game so it was easy to find a party. As with all games, the honeymoon period is always the best, but once that wears off, a different shade of the game appears. I bought the game on the weekend just after its release and played it solidly until the beginning of December where I took a break of gaming until the end of January. Returning back to the game in January, the whole mindset of the game had changed drastically.
Before, it was ranked as the best Call of Duty ever, after January, the worst. But I get into that later. More broadly speaking, the graphics, much like every other Modern Warfare game, were top notch, everything was fairly smooth as well.
The sound is also much the same as its predecessor, you could almost say that it was copied and pasted from before. I use a gaming headset when playing and the sounds and location of the sound are fairly distinguishable. The audio for microphone is very good.
Survival Mode - when this game mode was announced to the public, I was actually quite excited; it was something fresh, innovative and definitely a change from zombies and Spec Ops. Although one section of the game mode is just special ops missions, there was a whole new mode. The idea of Survival Mode is that you can either play solo or with a buddy and you would need to survive against waves and waves of enemies. Sound familiar? Not quite! This time the enemies have weapons AND you are playing on actual multiplayer maps that you can freely roam around. Not only that but you are also able to call in killstreaks such as a riot shield squad, predator missle or precision airstrike to aid in your survival. A pleasant change from zombies. At the beginning, it starts of fairly easy, the enemies die relatively fast but once you progress you can quickly begin to see how it becomes difficult. Not only are you battling against regular soldiers, you also have to defend yourself against suicide bombers, attack dogs, helicopters and everyone's worst enemy, the juggernaut. Survival has never been easier.
In the overall grand scheme of things, I enjoyed playing it, although I neglected it during the past couple of months.
One of the downsides is that it is only 1-2 player. I guess having 4 may make it far too easy. Furthermore the most important perk, sleight of hand, isn't unlocked until level 50 which does actually take quite a long time playing to reach.
Campaign (may contain spoilers) - one of the benefits of the Modern Warfare series has is that the campaign has always been enjoyable. This game is no different. As always, you play as multiple characters, switching between factions to receive a different outlook on what is at hand. The main antagonist is Makarov, who was also the secondary antagonist in Modern Warfare 2. Not only are you a foot soldier, you also get the chance to use mortar, the AC-130, remote air support, an assault drone, and you even get to be a juggernaut!
The main playable character is Yuri, although who you are changes frequently through the game. In Makarov's eventual demise, you actually get to play as the one and only, Captain Price!
Away from all that, the campaign is good and it is definitely an improvement over previous ones.
Multiplayer - Call of Duty's main money maker, the multiplayer. In general comparison with Modern Warfare 2, it has not changed much. The graphics are the same, the sound is the same. What has changed are the maps, weapons, perks and proficiencies. Modern Warfare 2 comprised of mainly medium to long range engagements in map size, Modern Warfare 3 is the complete opposite, focussing on the close quarter combat. There are some change overs on some of the weapons. The UMP, ACR, P90 etc are all still there, however there is the introduction of the PP90-M1, MP7, CM901 and much more. A solid change, although I do heavily miss the TAR-21.
Call of Duty: Elite
One of the main talking points prior to the release of the game was the Elite section. A subscription based application that allows you to access videos, stat tracking and free map packs for when they are released. I didn't purchase Elite mainly because I play on the PS3 and this console is neglected by Activision and Infinity Ward due to Microsoft's hold on the game. The PS3 receives the map packs much later and generally would have be seen as a poor investment. So my general opinion is that it is a waste of money.
- Improved hit detection over Black Ops - one of my main squabbles with Black Ops was the poor hit detection, something that is more commonly known on Treyarch games. There were no real problems for me in terms of hit detection.
- Gold guns are easier to unlock - I never prestiged in Black Ops, so I was never close to unlocking a gold gun. MW3 change this and introduced a weapon rank. Reaching level 31 for that weapon would unlock the gold camo for the gun. A refreshing idea by Infinity Ward that I approve of.
- Good campaign - I have already touched on the campaign previously and it's definitely a good side to the game.
- Variable amount of guns to use - in contrast with previous Call of Dutys, I find myself using a variety of different guns. Before I would restrict myself to the Galil or Commando (in Black Ops) or the TAR-21 or ACR (Modern Warfare 2), but in this game, I'm using at least 8 or so interchangeable guns. Sometimes I feel like using a shotgun and would use either the Striker or USAS-12, maybe I fancy using a submachine gun and will use the UMP45, MP7 or P90. In those more medium ranged maps, I would use an assault rifle such as the SCAR-L, G36C or ACR. So there's definitely that element of having more than one gun to use. Communities will often argue about overpowered guns but I generally have no worries over that, except the Type 95.
- Weapon proficiencies - a new introduction to the game was weapon proficiencies which can alter the player's gun style. Just some of the effects are, reduced recoil, reduce flinch, increase movement speed etc. Previously some of those effects would be perks themselves so having them for each class is more useful.
- Pointstreaks - another change to the game was the use of pointstreaks instead of killstreaks which are attached to your custom class. This idea is to move the gun onwards from just a kill-based game and to try and encourage more objective based play. In a way this works well and this is definitely a vast improvement. Furthermore this also introduced the "Support Strike Package" and the "Specialist Strike Package". Originally I liked the support packages, this gave not so great players of the game a chance to help their team by providing UAVs, Ballistic Vests etc. however this strike package also included the "Stealth Bomber", a big mistake in my eyes. A killing point streak in what was deemed a support one is a mistake. The "Specialist Strike Package" in my eyes is one of the best additions ever to the Call of Duty series and I hope this stays in the game in times to come. The benefit of this is once you get a 7 or 8 pointstreak, you become a one-man-army. No you cannot refill your noobtubes like in MW2, you receive all the perks and almost all the proficiencies. Some may say this is overpowered but you give up the chance to provide air support for your team.
- Perk Balance - Most of the negative vibes prior to the release are always on the perks. What setup to use? Which would be overpowered? Originally Assassin looked to be quite an overpowered perk, which it sort of is. It basically protects you from anything that can reveal your position. But once you start playing the game, yes it does annoy you but you end up just living with it. The maps are quite small so the benefits of Assassin are not that prominent, and it definitely is not as much of an annoyance as ghost was in Black Ops. MW3 also introduced new perks such as "Recon", "Stalker", "Quickdraw" which all have their uses.
- Maps - I'm not too sure about the maps on the new map packs as I have not played them however the default maps, I actually quite like. Most of them are close quartered which is actually me option of choice, since I am mainly a submachine gun user.
- MOABs (Massive Ordnance Air Blast) - another one of the best introductions to the game I have seen. Previously there was the nuke, which to me was not that great. The MOAB is a brilliant feature. You need to get 24 or 25 gun kills to be able to unlock it and once you reach that feat, it is well deserved. You kill the whole enemy team once, plus they are EMP'd for 45 seconds AND your team receives Double XP. I personally hope that this stays in the game but it would be unlikely.
- Prestige Tokens - remember when you prestiged in COD4 or World at War and all other past CODs? Well they have a use! And a good use at that. They gave me the opportunity to unlock Double XP, Double Weapon XP early on in the game, which is useful. Thinking back at it now, it probably would have been best to use them on custom class slots however this gives prestiging a whole new use. Not only do you get some of the things that I have mentioned, but you can also unlocked a gun early, a massive help if you particularly like a gun that is unlocked late on. I hope this passes onto the next COD.
- Lag compensation - one of the negatives of having a good connection in this game is that the game creates artificial lag to downgrade your connection to make it so that it is on-par with everyone else. Gone are the days of 'Host Advantage', now nobody wants to be host! I, unfortunately, have a good connection and therefore I do suffer from this. It's one of the major turn offs for me, practically just giving me lag that I don't deserve. Expect people shooting you seemingly around corners!
- Lag - similarly like the above, there is a problem with lag. On some occasions it may seem like your bullets are doing nothing, or enemies would just randomly teleport, yep, this is lag. Something that has been plaguing the COD series for the past couple games.
- Deathstreaks - I remember a certain Robert Bowling exclaiming "F*** you last stand", a warm welcome for excited COD players and the thought of no more last stand - a massive annoyance in Black Ops, was highly welcomed. How wrong, of course there isn't actually last stand. Oh no, it's even worse, it's final stand. Before you could only use a pistol, now you can use your primary weapon! But it gets worse, you can also detonate C4 upon your death while in final stand. A disgusting addition to the game that rewards the terrible players getting a cheap kill on someone undeserving. To make matters worse, what if you're on a "MOAB streak" so to say and you fall victim to one of these death streaks? Is that a deserved death? Hell no. I do not know what Infinity Ward were thinking bringing this crap back into the game.
- Terrible spawns - I do not understand how a game could have such bad spawns. It's funny, the developers actually encourage revenge killed and will at a given chance, spawn you as close as possible to the player that killed you. Highly flawed as most of the time it'll be just round the corner in an obscure place. In some occasions both teams would spawn within 50 metres of each other, even though there is the whole rest of the map available. They have apparently been patched multiple times, but I have noticed no difference. In some cases, enemies will literally spawn right in front of you. How would that be fair? There was never this problem in MW2, I do not know how IW managed to copy Treyarch's dodgy spawns.
- Theatre Mode (no party option) - one of the best additions for Black Ops was the Theatre Mode. A chance to review your latest matches and analyse potentially how you could improve. Before, in Black Ops you can watch the gameplay in a whole party of 6. For some reason this is no longer the case. It is solely a solo feature and to make things worse, you can only view in first-person your own player and nobody else. There were rumours that turning the theatre recording off would provide a benefit to your connection, but I have barely seen evidence of this. If you get an amazing 110-4 gameplay for example, just remember that only you can watch it, unless you record it. Kind of a bummer to those who like to share games with others.
And so we have come to the end. I would like to hope that I have covered everything. No doubt though I would have missed something important.
But overall, I do actually like this game. In my eyes, it is worth a purchase however it is not something you can play all day and still feel sane. Something that has been plaguing Call of Duty in the past couple releases is the connection. Something has gone wrong from the transition of Modern Warfare 2 to Black Ops. The connection deteriorated and this followed onto Modern Warfare 3. Hopefully it is back to its best for the next Call of Duty.
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