I’m here from the front lines of the third instalment of the Modern Warfare series to bring you my impressions of the game, including all three game modes, from the viewpoint of a Call of Duty and Battlefield veteran. Let’s get right into it!
The singleplayer campaign is the heart of the Call of Duty experience, and has been since the very first title released in 2004. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was the high point of the series, and is widely acknowledged to be the finest example of a linear shooter. Since then, the series hasn’t really challenged its predecessor for the title, and Modern Warefare 3 is no different.
While the graphics, animations and environments have been subtly upgraded over the past two years, the gameplay is the same as it’s been since Call of Duty 4, with the same selection of infantry combat and vehicle sections.
On harder difficulty levels, there’s the same old rhythm – poke out from behind cover, gun down a few enemies, then sit down again. If a grenade comes, switch to a new piece of cover and hope you don’t get gunned down. Indeed, there’s a good argument for playing on a lower difficulty setting, as it just increases the time it takes to finish the game. On normal settings, that’s about six hours.
If you’ve played the previous campaigns to completion, then there’s no reason not to do the same here. It’s a well-paced rollercoaster ride with plenty of explosions, and that’s always fun for a few hours. If your focus is on multiplayer though, you’d best save the singleplayer for the day the internet breaks and move onto special ops or multiplayer instead.
Special Ops is that unusual middle ground between single player and multiplayer, a co-op section that gives you the option to either do timed missions (rescue the hostage, disarm the bomb, etc.) or survive against waves of AI opponents. The latter is new to the series, and provides a heck of a lot more replability than the former.
I never really enjoyed the zombie-based survival mode in Treyarch’s Call of Duty titles, but the Spec Ops mode seems much more fun to me. Something about fighting human opponents instead of zombies, in a familiar modern setting, seems a lot more compelling. The open environments also seem to allow more creative play. It’s a lot of fun, and I definitely recommend that you round up a friend and give it a go.
Multiplayer is generally where I’ll spent the most time in any shooter title that includes it. I’m a sucker for a clever shooter that allows creativity, with loads of viable armaments and means of deploying them. I don’t find the duck-and-cover gameplay of the camapaign to be too fun, but past titles in the series have allowed enough freedom that there’s still some fun to be had.
The big change from Modern Warfare 2 to Modern Warfare 3 is that the kill streak system has been reworked. Instead of being forced to camp in a corner to reach the higher streaks, you now have the option to instead gain team-based streaks by reaching a kill total, meaning you can die as much as you like in between. This rewards more aggressive gameplay, which was traditionally at a disadvantage from the system.
It’s also possible to get additional perks as kill streak rewards, which are much more satisfying to fight against than an impersonal helicopter than guns down the unweary as they cross the street.
Finally, you also gain points towards these streaks for completing objectives, like capturing points or flags. This means that even if you aren’t brilliant with a rifle, you can still enjoy some of the same perks as those who are.
Elsewhere, small changes have been made for the better. The graphics seem slightly shinier, and the animations seem more fluid. Weapons sound and feel more weighty, and weapon balance has changed so it’s not the same three weapons that you see constantly. The maps are rather different, even if many of them remind me of past titles or other games – there’s even one that looks like Damavand Peak from Battlefield 3.
I’m only six hours and forty levels in, and I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts after getting a little bit more acquainted with the game. From where I’m standing though, all in all it seems a worthwhile upgrade over Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops.
So that’s the game then – one staid but thrilling singleplayer campaign, one rather amusing special ops survival mode, and one top-of-the-line multiplayer component. You can see why it’s gotten such high reviews; despite offering the smallest of innovations, Call of Duty is a formula that continues to entertain.