Similarly to Sgt. S.S, I've decided to write a review for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
Now, I've had the game since it was released, and I have to say I'm pleasantly suprised. After the Battlefield / CoD fanboy war that took place during the run up to both games, I couldn't help but feel that MW3 was going to dissapoint in comparison the its rival FPS. I personally bought both games (I also got BF3 on release) and I, thankfully, have laid my fears about CoD to rest.
Firstly, of course, the Campaign mode was an obvious place to start. I was suprised at the lack of a training mission - a mainstay of IW's CoD games - but I quickly got into the action without needing training. Obviously IW is reaching out to hardcore fans here, as the first conflict is a big one. No soft introduction explaining the situation, just kill or be killed. And I liked that. Clearly, this will pose a challenge to new players, but it's easy enough to get to grips with.
Quickly, I noticed two things: you seem to be able to take less damage than in previous MW games (although maybe that's just me) and the recoil of the guns has been upped dramatically. Picking up an AK-47, I expected to mow down masses of Russain troops with it, only to be suprised at the kick of the weapon. This isn't like MW2, for example, where pretty much all the assault rifles had no recoil whatsoever. The new guns actually take some skill to be able to control. Excessive firing will get you no-where.
The all-new weapons such as the XM25 airburst grenade laucher felt satsifying to use, but wheren't completely overpowered; I soon discovered, for example, that the more powerful guns carried less ammo or had more recoil. The older weapons, however, where almost completely unchanged; the M4A1 felt very familiar and brought back memories of MW2's M4A1. This is both a good and a bad thing: while nostalgic, I couldn't help but feel that IW could have given the gun a major rehaul, instead of tweaking the model and textures.
The storyline was alright. There where ups (meeting familiar faces again, like Kamarov) and there where downs (Kamarov dies a mission later...and for what?). I felt that IW could have done a better job explaining the story, as it all happened awfully fast. The introduction of new characters such as Yuri was okay, but I wish they didn't have the flashback scene, as it contradicted both CoD4 and MW2. And the Delta campaign was a complete waste of time, as the characters where stereotypical Army-men and the missions themselves where boring, overused objectives, such as "destroy X".
So the story wasn't perfectly explained, and the newer characters where a bit duff, but there where moments when I was genuinely shocked and excited by the plot twists. For example, during the mission Turbulence, just as you think you've rescued the president and all is well, Makarov appears to finish you off (who saw that coming?). Moments like these have been missing in past CoDgames, bar MW2, and keep the campaign fresh and exciting. However, the relatively short missions and the leaping from country-to-country (I thought the trailers said the main fights where in England, France, Germany and America?) muddled the otherwise-decent story up and made the experience quite tiresome.
And then, just like that, it was over. I'd saved the president and his daughter, captured Volk, killed unreal amounts of Russians and Africans, and killed Makarov. I was staring at the credits. At first, I thought it was some sort of sick joke, as previous CoD games have had bonus levels after the main campaign, so I guess I was expecting more. But no, there was no more. I was just told to go to Spec-Ops.
So, the campaign was very short, but maybe this was for the best: as I previously stated, the levels where beginning to get tiresome, and the story was all over the place. Maybe IW didn't want to strech it out too much, for some strange reason, or maybe they where under pressure from Activision to get it finished. I don't know why the campaign was as short as it was, but it was pretty darn good. If you can look past the crazy storyline and the boring Delta Team levels, what you've got there is a really, really enjoyable single-player. Standout missions, such as "Mind the Gap", never fail to impress and the new weapons are better than ever.
Spec-Ops and Survival Mode
The campaign will take you about 4-5 hours, depending on your skill. But what will you do afterward? Well, one of two things: you can go straight to Spec-Ops or take the battle online with Multiplayer. I went for Spec-Ops first, to try out the new Survival Mode that everyone was talking about. I invited a friend to play with me, but was very dissapointed that it only supported 2 players. Once I got over this, I started a game on Underground, and straight away we where hauled into the action. We setteled down at the bus stop at the back of the map and held off until around Wave 20, which was pretty decent considering it was both of ours first attempt.
The mode itself played out very similar to the campaign (but then, what do you expect?), but with the addition of multiplayer elements, such as ranking up and getting perks. The weapons have to be bought AND unlocked, which brought back memories of Black Ops's multiplayer system, which I'd rather forget. What surprised me is that all the weapons in one catagory all cost the same amout; for example, all Assault Rifles are $3000, all the LMG's are $7000, ect. It's obvious that IW are confident that no weapon in the same catagory is better than another. This is untrue, but it's nice that they put more effort into balancing the weapons than Treyarch.
The irritating thing about Survival is that it uses multiplayer maps. Why is this a problem, I hear you ask? Well, IW has put great effort into ensuring that there are no unfair camping spots in the maps. This is fine for multiplayer, but for Survial Mode, it sort of takes the fun out of it sometimes. Granted, there are a few maps built with Survival in mind, but the majority avoid having closed-off, one-way camping spots, which would be great for Survival. I had a great time in Gears 2's Horde, holding off masses of Locust inside a small house with one entrance, and the same in Halo's Firefight mode. But Survival is lacking in these moments, plus the lack of 4-player support is irritating to say the least. But there is a laugh, or maybe even two, in IW's Survival Mode.
The actual Spec-Ops missions are largely unchanged from MW2, borrowing segments of the campaign levels and changing the objectives. This is fine, but some newer maps wouldn't hurt. Generally, though, Spec-Ops was a solid and engaging, not to mention competetive, experience. Standout levels include "Hostage Taker", and, of course, "Stay Sharp".
Year after year, gamers compain about CoD being "the same" and moan about CoD's "unfair" elements. Well, MW3's multiplayer segment doesn't entirely change the game, but it sets it to a whole new level. Getting into a game on Lockdown, I choose the MK.46 default class to show the opposing team that there's a new sheriff in town. However, I was very, very wrong. The high recoil from the Campaign carries over to the multiplayer. This is especially true with Light Machineguns. Switching to the G36C Grenadier, I noticed another change: the infamous Grenade Launcher has been massively nerfed. This is obviously to do with balance, but I found pretty quickly that it was useless. It's nice that "noob-tubing" has been taken out, but I have a feeling that some people won't be very happy. Still, it's effective in Hardcore gamemodes.Leveling up very quickly, I finally earned the right to make my own classes. Starting with an M4A1, MP5, L86LSW, Barrett .50 Cal and a USAS-12, I decided to level up the M4A1. The first thing that caught my attention is how easy it is to level up your guns. I managed to get my M4A1 to level 4 over the course of one match. Having unlocked numerous attachments and camos, I slapped a Red Dot on the M4, and the Classic camo. It struck me, however, that getting camos no longer required skill - you just need to use the weapon a lot. In MW2 and indeed CoD4, getting decent camos required you to pull of X number of headshots with that weapon. A Golden / Fall camo'd weapon in multiplayer was a sign of skill and a demand for respect. Not so in MW3. Even getting the almighty Golden camo just requires you to rank the gun up to level 31.
So, I was dissapointed by this new feature, but who got camos legit in MW2 anyway? Most people boosted, so I guess IW realized that most people where incapable of getting the 250 headshots required for Fall camo in MW2, and made it simpler. In my opinion, it's a little too simple, but at least the less-skilled players have a chance of obtaining decent camouflages.
Onto the maps: my favourite, personnally, is Bootleg. It brings back memories of Chinatown from CoD4. It's perfectly possible that IW used it's older maps for inspiration, perhaps, which is great because everyone loved Chinatown (didn't they?). The maps feel more like CoD4's classics than MW2's, with elements such as camping spots reduced (like I mentioned before). Indeed, camping is no longer the simple luxury it was in MW2. There is the odd camping spot, but they're usually in dark, isolated corners of the maps that no-one goes around anyway. The maps are crafted with multiplayer in mind, and there's no tiny maps, like Rust from MW2 and Shipment from CoD4, which is perhaps a pity, but at least there won't be anymore games of Team Deathmatch on a tiny, closed-off space where spawn-killing is a must. Dome is the closest you'll get to a "tiny" map, but even Dome is quite open, and is no-where near as small as Rust.
The new perks are good, as are the new equipment options. There are ways of boosting to get "Pro" perks, still (I managed to unlock SitRep Pro by knifing my own Trophy System over and over) but most perks require skill to level up to the Pro version. The new equipment are generally useful, however why C4 is unlocked last is anyone's guess.
The new Deathstreaks are all well and good, although "Dead Man's Hand" did get on my nerves pretty quickly. Final Stand makes a return, which I'm pleased about. Other than Dead Man's Hand, I found the new Deathstreaks reasonable and balanced.
The weapons are more or less the same as thier MW2 counterparts on first sight, only with upped recoil and slight tweaks such as reload animations, ect. However, using them, it is clear that the "overpowered" weapons from MW2 have been balanced, so no more UMP.45 Suppressed and no more Model 1887 Akimbo's. In fact, the Model 1887 doesn't even support any attachments. I couldn't help but notice that the Shotguns where severly under-powered on release, but this problem has been fixed now. The LMG's perhaps have a bit too much recoil, but hopefully IW will re-adjust this inbalance soon. The Assault Rifles still dominate 90% of multiplayer games, with the CM-901 being the weapon of choice for many players upon MW3's release. It appears that this trend has dissapeared now, with the horribly overpowered FMG-9's taking the CM's place. However, it's still more balanced than MW2, and feels a lot more like CoD4's slower-paced, but generally more fun and satisfying, Deathmatch games.
The private match customization options are simply incredible. No, they don't quite reach the level of Halo 3 or Reach's customization, but they're better than Black Ops's and that's all I ever wished for. Being able to choose the order of the weapons in Gun Game was like a dream come true for me, as I instantly re-created the classic Counter-Strike gungame to the best of my ability. Finding players to test out your creations should be no problem, either. About 50-60% of all TDM games I play, I get a message from one of my fellow players inviting me to play a private match of Infection or Gun Game. It seems that private matches have been a success on IW's part.
Overall, if you've got a pile of spare cash lying around, you could do a lot worse than to buy Modern Warfare 3. The campaign has it's flaws, and the Survival Mode could have been so much sweeter, but the multiplayer is unmatched and the Spec-Ops missions are a blast. The overall polish of the game just shows how much care IW put, once again, into thier CoD titles. If only the same could be said about Treyarch...
Until the next CoD, MW3 should keep you entertained and happy with your purchase.