November 8th 2011, was one of the most important dates in the history of any Call of Duty fan. The anticipation, excitement, anxiousness, nausea, or as in my case hyperventilation when the delivery arrived because at that moment I hadn’t played the game, but I really wanted it to be every bit as great as I was imagining it to be – and now the moment had arrived where it was actually in my hands I could barely contain my excitement. For month’s I had been split 50/50 on whether Modern Warfare 3 could continue the series with the same phenomenal reputation that it is known for, or if this would be the very game that was about to bring the franchise to its knees – fortunately it wasn’t the latter!
Modern Warfare 3 has the same menu system as Modern Warfare 2 from start-up, so it instantly appears very familiar, but with a newer improved feel to it – and this sense of familiarity also continues with you into the game as it brings back the memories of not just Modern Warfare 2, but also the original Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, that we mustn’t forget rocketed the franchise into not only a new direction bringing with it millions of new fans, but also a whole new war where we first got to experience the game as the new recruit – John (Soap) MacTavish.
Soap, although a character we played on the original Modern Warfare, wasn’t seen again until only the later chapters of Modern Warfare 2. However, in this newest instalment of the series, Soap features quite heavily alongside you from offset digging up the past and assisting the continued hunt for Makarov, who was a former lieutenant of Zakhaev , (the main protagonist from the original Modern Warfare). Makarov featured in Modern Warfare 2 as he was responsible for starting a 5 year campaign of terrorism acts against the western world in which the hunt to track his whereabouts was cut pretty short. Sadly, Modern Warfare 2’s campaign left a lot of questions unanswered, but the hunt for Makarov now features as the main plot for Modern Warfare 3 including the onset of a greater war – World War 3 has just broken out!
Following just moments on from the end of Modern Warfare 2 where Soap’s life hangs in the balance after the incidents of Afghanistan, he and Price are taken to a safehouse run by Nikolai in India to treat his serious injuries. It is during this time that Makarov‘s forces attempt to assassinate Soap, Price and Nikolai that they then flee the country as the disavowed Task Force 141 members whilst remaining every bit on his trail – and what a journey you are about to undertake throughout the course of the campaign! With the hunt for Makarov now underway headed by Price and Soap, the gripping events of World War 3 and the objectives surrounding it will take you to locations including, New York, Paris, Berlin, London, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Siberia. The game hooks you in, keeps you interested in the events and plays like a dream.
You are kept nicely on your toes through-out the duration of the whole campaign, and I was very pleased to see even more of the great stealthy sniping missions where you follow behind Price, crawling, going prone and taking out the enemy unaware of your presence. It just wouldn’t be Call of Duty if it also wasn’t laden with plenty of slow motion door breaches, at least one chapter following behind an almighty Tank and some great vehicle chase moments. Without spoiling the campaign and its many unexpected surprises, Modern Warfare 3 is every bit as great as you would expect from the Call of Duty Modern Warfare era. Massive world-wide environments that span many corners of the globe, gripping cut-scenes that depict parts of the war in a gritty, offensive overview that plays out like a big-action movie, and an action packed over-the top campaign that feels truly complete. Modern Warfare 3 may not bring the same impact on the series that the original brought to the franchise, but it’s a continuation of the story that started out in Call of Duty 4, grew in Modern Warfare 2 – and is completely off the scale in Modern Warfare 3. It ties up loose ends left behind from Modern Warfare 2, introduces new weapons, equipment and characters, but more than exceeds your expectations. The combined efforts of two studios, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games, have made Modern Warfare 3 an exciting, intense and satisfying campaign coupled with outstanding sound effects, realism and striking detail on a remarkable scale that outshines its predecessors. All at 60fps and amazingly just on the one disc!
Despite an impressive campaign, Multiplayer is without a doubt the arms and legs of Call of Duty, as without it, it wouldn’t get very far. The definitive multiplayer experience you come to expect is now bigger than ever and with brand new gameplay modes to sink your online aggression into! “Kill Confirmed” is an evolution of Team Deathmatch that requires not only the kill of an enemy player, but the capture of his dog tags – only then is the Kill Confirmed with the team with the most points declared the winner. If your own team can collect the dog tags dropped from a team mate upon death faster than the enemy, then their kill is cancelled out. Another new mode is “Team Defender”, a points based flag game where the team that manages to hold on to the flag the longest to rack up the most points is declared the winner.
Modern Warfare 3 starts you off instantly with 16 available maps to play which vary in size from a small London Underground to a large African village. Once again for another year the visual quality of the maps are impressive enough to outshine all previous released versions of Call of Duty and continues the trend that the franchise just gets better and bigger with each release. As the best multiplayer experience to date over any Call of Duty game, the development team have really taken on board the need for a better balanced game and learned from the mistakes of Modern Warfare 2. The over powered annoyances such as nukes, shotguns as secondary weapons have thankfully been removed, as with some of the un-needed Perks, Commando and Last Stand. The best improvements though are the new form of killstreaks which have been revamped and modernised as Packages broken down into Assault, Support, and finally the Specialist Package. Assault Packages (where your Killstreak count resets upon death), punish the enemy team with the use Predator Missiles, Attack Helicopters, Sentry Guns, and many other defensive gadgetry items to inflict mass damage including your very own Juggernaut Armour! The Support Package, (where your Killstreak continues through death), provide support rewards for the team which include Sam Turrets, Stealth Bombers, EMP’s and a bag of Ballistic Vests to name just a few. Specialist Packages, (unlocked after Level 20) and aimed at the more strategically minded players offers up to three additional perks alongside your standard three choices, but since Modern Warfare 3 is all about balance, with the Specialist Package you are no longer able to call in air strikes.
Thankfully the ability to create your own custom emblem has not made the transition from Black Op’s to Modern Warfare 3 and in doing so, we no longer have to view hand-made penises, and cum shots on breasts (Hooray), but unlockable titles and emblems earned via a rewarding system has returned from Modern Warfare 2 in the Call Sign options menu which is a less offensive system.
Spec Op’s is back too and more improved than when Modern Warfare 2 first introduced it to the scene, and now features its own Survival Missions which feel like the Call of Duty equivalent of a mash-up between Gears of War 3’s Horde and Halo’s Firefight. The more cash you earn by taking out enemies, the better weapons and upgrade’s you can acquire from points within the map available to use before, during and after each enemy wave. As you might expect the first few waves start off quite easy with increasing difficulty the further into survival you go – featuring enemy helicopters, Juggernauts and a ton of large scale maps to explore! Survival can be played both Solo or online with other players which is a challenging, but welcomed addition to the Modern Warfare series that brings it in line with other top-spec shooters.
The whole multiplayer system within Modern Warfare 3 feels as if the developers have learnt their lesson from the flaws of Modern Warfare 2 and created a well-balanced game which can be enjoyed equally by using any class of weapons. The improvements to the killstreaks, keeping the weapons and Perks as unlockables based on rank, and a faster pace really is an unrivalled multiplayer game that should leave its competitors quaking in their boots – there is no other alternative to a truly rewarding and enjoyable online gaming experience as Modern Warfare 3.
Sledgehammer Games first steps into the franchise not only restores my faith that as new blood into Call of Duty they can up-keep it’s mighty reputation without hindering or demeaning the gameplay, but taking it to a whole new scale with some of the best environments and chapters ever to be seen in the history of the franchise as their entry point only excites me for the future.
Modern Warfare 3 is not just mind-blowing, it’s legendary.