Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review - Powering through Warfare 26

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review – Powering through Warfare

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With each new year comes a new installment of the popular video game franchise, Call of Duty. Whether it arrives at the beginning of the year or closer to its official reveal, one question always lingers in the minds of gamers: Why? The answer lies in its undeniable success and the millions of people who eagerly await each new release. However, the necessity of a new entry in the series is a topic worth pondering. In the case of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, this question reaches a whole new level, particularly when one delves into the Campaign mode to assess the various impressive aspects of the game.

Campaign Critique

The Campaign for this game is undeniably a catastrophe. There is no room for debate or attempts to downplay the severity of its failure. Speculations about it being a mere spin-off expansion or the astonishingly short development time of only 16 months do not diminish the fact that it is an absolute disaster. The Campaign is devoid of any redeeming qualities and is instead a monotonous and chaotic experience.

The Call of Duty campaign in question seems to have a peculiar approach to engaging its players. While it tries to convince you to care about its characters, it ultimately fails to provide the depth and development necessary to truly invest in them. Similarly, the game encourages players to customize their Loadouts and play in their own preferred style, yet it lacks the compelling elements that would inspire such dedication.

In essence, this campaign embodies the very characteristics that have been derided in previous, more successful Call of Duty campaigns: vacuous, inconsequential, and lazy. What sets it apart is the absence of the thrilling, over-the-top action sequences that the series is renowned for. Without these, the campaign becomes nothing more than an irritating exercise in globe-trotting without any real substance or purpose.

Mission Analysis

In the first mission of the game, players are tasked with infiltrating a Russian gulag in order to free Vladimir Makarov, the recurring antagonist. The mission follows a familiar pattern that is characteristic of a typical Call of Duty campaign. The game takes players on a fairly linear path, with occasional moments of excitement and intrigue. One such moment involves rappelling down the floors of the prison, taking out guards and utilizing rioting prisoners as a diversion. As the mission comes to a close, players find themselves leaping off a cliff, a fitting conclusion that sets the tone for the rest of the Campaign.

As the game progresses, the traditional campaign structure gives way to a series of missions that feel more like a loosely connected string of events. The sense of obligation and the underlying feeling of being under duress is palpable. One such mission, the Open Combat missions, takes the intensity to a whole new level. In the first of these missions, players take control of Farah, a strong-willed and resilient character.

Unfortunately, she becomes the target of an assault orchestrated by the notorious Makarov and his forces. Their objective is to seize the missiles stored in her side's shipyard. To counter this threat, Farah must embark on a mission to locate manifestos that contain valuable information about the containers housing these missiles. With the help of GPS trackers, she can keep track of their movements and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. The stakes are high, and the rage within each character begins to simmer, setting the stage for an epic showdown.

In the Modern Warfare reboot trilogy, the concept of tracking individuals becomes a crucial element in the narrative. Farah and eventually Task Force 141 are equipped with the capability to monitor the movements of their targets once they have been captured. This advanced tracking system allows them to stay one step ahead of their enemies and maintain the upper hand in their missions.

Narrative Execution

The importance of this technology is emphasized when Captain Price receives intelligence about Makarov's escape. Recognizing the magnitude of the threat that Makarov poses, Price makes the decision to abort the current operation and redirect their efforts towards capturing him. This pivotal moment highlights the grittiness and realism that the trilogy aimed to portray, showcasing the high stakes and intense nature of the characters' missions.

The disbelief surrounding the events in the game Call of Duty is understandable. It seems inconceivable that such a twist would occur, even in a fictional setting. The original plan, if it were to have the player in the midst of a mission as Task Force 141 and then receiving news of Makarov's escape, would have undoubtedly made for a more compelling storyline. It would have allowed for a seamless transition and heightened the sense of urgency and danger.

Unfortunately, the current execution falls short of effectively portraying Makarov as a true threat. While the original Makarov was a formidable and menacing character, this version seems to lack that same level of impact. Thus, the intended purpose of selling Makarov as a significant danger is not fully achieved in the game.

In the game, Farah takes on the role of a wandering explorer, navigating through the expansive map in search of valuable resources and powerful weapons. However, her journey is constantly interrupted by the never-ending onslaught of Makarov's forces, who seem to respawn infinitely, posing a constant threat.

Open Combat Missions

Additionally, the presence of Shadow Company and Graves, despite the events of the previous game, adds an intriguing layer of complexity to the storyline. While the Open Combat mission design initially offers promise, allowing players to discover and utilize different weapons in subsequent replays, it ultimately falls short, offering a monotonous and unexciting rendition of Modern Warfare 2's DMZ.

The lack of interesting objectives, Contracts, or events in this particular scenario is disappointing. Without any compelling tasks to complete, there is little motivation to replay or approach the mission in a creative manner. Whether one chooses to sneak around or gun everything down, the outcome has no impact on the story or the mission itself. It feels as though the objectives were designed to be bland and unchallenging, resulting in a rather uninspired experience.

The level of attention to detail in enemy placement and AI in the game is truly impressive. When the base is alerted, enemies seem to spawn near your location and are always one step ahead, knowing exactly where to look for you. It creates a sense of urgency and adds to the immersion of the game. However, once you find a safe spot to hide and wait out the timer, everything returns to normal.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review - Powering through Warfare

Unlike games like Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, where guards would thoroughly investigate the area and keep searching for you, the enemies in this game do not take things further. They don't radio in or send a squad to investigate when you take down one of their own. It seems that the developers have intentionally made it slightly easier for players who prefer a more aggressive playstyle, allowing them to run and gun without facing too many consequences.

The lack of fun objectives in the next Open Combat mission is disappointing to say the least. Captain Price is tasked with parachuting into a base with a massive reactor, which initially sounds exciting. However, the mission quickly becomes monotonous as the only goal is to destroy three helicopters by finding grenades and chucking them at the landing zone. The mission also includes vehicles to commandeer, sentry and SAM turrets, and construction sites, but these elements fail to add any real excitement or variety.

Even the fight inside the reactor feels lackluster, and the cutscene leading to extraction only adds to the overall blandness of the mission. If I wanted such a dull mission design, I would rather travel back in time to 2014 and play Destiny's campaign, where at least the loot was more rewarding.

Unfortunately, the linear missions in the game do not offer any improvement. One particular mission, called Deep Cover, involves the protagonist, Laswell, infiltrating a Russian base. However, unlike other missions that involve exciting loot-gathering, this one focuses on gathering information. The mission revolves around walking cautiously, avoiding getting too close to the enemy guards to avoid detection. Laswell patiently waits for an officer to emerge in isolation, then swiftly eliminates him. After taking the officer's keycard, Laswell proceeds to use it on a door, gaining access to a closet. Inside, a cutscene ensues, further progressing the storyline.

The inclusion of an escape sequence in the game adds an element of urgency and danger to the storyline. As the base becomes the target of a missile strike, with Sarin gas spreading rapidly, the protagonist, Laswell, must make a daring escape. However, despite the potential for excitement in such a scenario, the mission falls short in delivering any remotely interesting gameplay. It begs the question of whether it would have been more engaging to simply have cutscenes depicting the escape or remove the sequence altogether and focus on the other aspects of the game.

The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 campaign falls short in terms of engaging sequences, with the exception of Passenger. This particular mission allows players to assume the role of a former soldier on a mission to prevent Makarov from hijacking a plane. Despite the contrived nature of the storyline, there is a sense of urgency and emotion that adds some intrigue. Unfortunately, the excitement is short-lived as the subsequent mission returns to the monotonous Open Combat scenario, leaving players frustrated and wanting more.

Multiplayer Experience

When it comes to the rest of the game, the question arises: what about the multiplayer? Surprisingly, there is some good news on that front, although it may not be where you would expect it. The multiplayer experience is generally fine, sometimes even bordering on good, but it still carries the burden of all the idiosyncrasies and flaws that are characteristic of the Call of Duty franchise.

One positive aspect is that the core 6v6 maps are taken from the popular Modern Warfare 2 game released in 2009. Maps such as Terminal, Rust, Invasion, Strike, and Wasteland have all been included with some revamps and updated graphics. While some maps hold up better than others, the overall map design is solid.

Although there is a valid concern regarding the reselling of maps from 14 years ago, I must admit that they still manage to provide an enjoyable gaming experience. Personally, I didn't feel the need to explore the new War or Ground War maps, as the true excitement for me lay in the core playlist. While it may be disappointing that the developers chose to recycle older maps, they still hold up well and offer a decent level of entertainment.

Despite the excitement and fast-paced action of the game, there are instances where the spawns in certain maps can be atrocious. This issue has even led to some maps being temporarily removed from popular modes like Hardpoint. I remember a particularly frustrating Free-For-All match where I inexplicably spawned and died almost instantly multiple times. Similarly, in Team Deathmatch, I often found myself spawning dangerously close to the very person who had just killed me moments ago.

The increased movement speed in the game might be a contributing factor, as it becomes increasingly difficult to find suitable and “safe” places for players to spawn. This chaos can make it challenging to keep track of the game and enjoy a fair and balanced experience.

Another ongoing issue is the phenomenon of “getting the drop on an enemy, firing several rounds, and getting instantly melted.” Upon reviewing the Killcam, it becomes apparent that the opponent fired before or during the same time as me, despite my perception of being quicker. This could potentially be a latency issue, but it seems to occur in both directions. There have been occasions where I have sprayed my weapon uncontrollably, seemingly killing enemies who were in my line of fire while also unintentionally eliminating their teammates nearby. These instances leave me puzzled, as I am confident that my reticle was nowhere near them.

Weapon and Gameplay Mechanics

The gunplay and movement mechanics in this game are undeniably satisfying and crisp. Players can feel the impact of their shots and navigate the environment with precision. However, the overall multiplayer experience is marred by frequent and frustrating matchmaking issues.

Players often find themselves yo-yoing between lobbies or experiencing long wait times, making it difficult to fully immerse themselves in the game for extended periods. While there is definitely some fun to be had, these issues make it hard to fully commit to the multiplayer mode. It's not uncommon to hear comments like “If they fix these issues, then Multiplayer will be perfect,” but the reality is that resolving these problems is easier said than done.

In terms of weapon balance, I don't have much to comment on as it is often subject to change. However, I must say that the Assault Rifles and SMGs felt solid and satisfying to use. On the other hand, the Battle Rifles felt a bit clunky and not as smooth in their gameplay. As for LMGs, they seemed to be relatively fine and didn't pose any major issues.

While I didn't experiment much with After-Market Parts, I found the Gunsmith customization to be decent, although it didn't bring any groundbreaking changes to the game. One area that could be improved upon is the user interface, particularly when it comes to editing Custom Loadouts. Nonetheless, it is functional and gets the job done.

Zombies Mode

The highlight of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – Zombies, by Treyarch, lies in its unique approach to the popular co-op mode. Rather than sticking to the traditional round-based gameplay, the game introduces an extraction shooter concept. Players are equipped with a basic loadout and dropped into the game, where they must scavenge for loot caches and supply chests. The exciting part comes upon extraction, as players get to keep the “contraband” they collected.

This includes powerful items like Perk-A-Colas, Wunderweapons, and Rucksacks, which can provide a significant advantage in subsequent rounds. As players progress, they have the opportunity to craft Schematics for weapon mods, enabling effects like elemental or explosive damage. Additionally, they can upgrade a weapon's rarity using Aether Tools and obtain more Perk-A-Colas. This innovative approach adds depth and excitement to the gameplay, making Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – Zombies a standout experience.

In this unique extraction shooter, the absence of PvP adds a refreshing twist to the gameplay. Instead, you embark on missions with two other teammates and have the option to join forces with other squads in the vicinity to achieve objectives. As you navigate through hordes of undead creatures, the rewards for completing Contracts come in the form of currency, which can be used to purchase a wide array of weapons, upgrades, and items.

These Contracts offer thrilling tasks such as escorting and defending an ATV, deactivating missiles (which puts you at odds with the formidable PMC, Terminus Outcomes, responsible for the outbreak), eliminating specific targets, raiding weapon stashes, cracking safes, and much more. Additionally, you will come across Strongholds and Infested Strongholds, with the latter granting you access to valuable Aetherium.

In this thrilling gaming adventure, the ultimate objective is to navigate towards the heart of the map. While the outskirts may be a Level 1 zone, where players can comfortably wield Rare weapons and traverse with relative ease, the challenge steadily amplifies as they progress. Level 2 presents a considerable increase in difficulty, accompanied by a significantly larger undead count.

To survive this stage, players must equip themselves with vests boasting additional armor slots, acquire higher rarity weapons that have undergone the formidable Pack-A-Punch enhancement, and strategically utilize various Perks. With these essential resources, players can increase their chances of survival and inch closer to triumphantly conquering the center of the map.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review - Mastering the Battlefield

The level 2 areas in Zombies mode can be quite chaotic, especially when you come face to face with special zombies like Manglers, Mimics, and Disciples. However, despite the chaos, it is an absolute blast to play. One of the great things about this mode is that you can tackle the challenges at your own pace. If things get too overwhelming, you can always retreat to easier areas and regroup before advancing further. This allows you to fully equip yourself and strategize before taking on the more difficult challenges.

While I haven't reached the map's center yet, the horrors that await there sound exciting to tackle, especially with other players. What initially seemed like a mode that was simply added on to the extraction shooter game feels surprisingly natural and addictive. Whether you're dropping in for a quick session to earn XP and progress through the ranks or fighting for your life against overwhelming hordes, Zombies in Modern Warfare 3 is undeniably excellent.

While Contracts in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 can become repetitive with continuous farming, the game offers a wide variety of other activities to keep things interesting. One notable feature is the ability to drop in and extract weapons from Zombies mode, even if you have no interest in playing it. This addition allows players to access these weapons in Multiplayer mode, which is a fantastic quality-of-life feature. However, the game does have its downsides. The Campaign mode feels rushed, with poorly designed missions and a lackluster story that struggles to captivate players, especially when the Open Combat missions are not engaging enough.

Zombies, on the other hand, offers a refreshing and enjoyable co-op experience that breathes new life into a beloved game mode. It manages to retain the tension and chaotic nature that fans have come to love, while also introducing exciting new elements. The thrill of fighting hordes of the undead alongside friends is truly exhilarating, and the sense of teamwork and strategizing adds an extra layer of depth to the gameplay.

However, in the middle lies the multiplayer mode, which, despite its entertaining aspects, is plagued by a multitude of fundamental issues that may require significant time and effort to rectify. Despite these setbacks, there are still moments of enjoyment to be had in multiplayer matches, making it a worthwhile experience for those willing to overlook its flaws.


If you are someone who is primarily interested in the multiplayer aspect of a game, then this review might not be very relevant to you. By the time you read this, you have likely already purchased Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and formed your own opinion on whether it is amazing or terrible. However, if you are someone who also values a strong single-player campaign, then I would advise against picking up this game solely for that reason.

While some players may not have been interested in the campaign from the beginning, it is important to note that there are also players who care less about the multiplayer or Zombies modes. Personally, I did have some fun with the Zombies mode, but I still find it hard to justify the $70 price tag for this game. One could argue that the Zombies mode alone would have been worth the purchase, but for those who desire a well-rounded gaming experience, this may not be enough.

While Modern Warfare 3 may offer some enjoyable aspects, it is important to acknowledge the numerous caveats and the disappointing Campaign. The multiplayer component, on the other hand, will likely continue to receive support and attention. As a fan, I can only hope that the Zombies mode doesn't get pushed aside. However, when considering the overall package, it falls short of the series' best offerings and fails to measure up to other highly acclaimed games released in the same year.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review - Powering through Warfare 31
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review – Powering through Warfare
While Modern Warfare 3 may offer some enjoyable aspects, it is important to acknowledge the numerous caveats and the disappointing Campaign. The multiplayer component, on the other hand, will likely continue to receive support and attention. As a fan, I can only hope that the Zombies mode doesn't get pushed aside. However, when considering the overall package, it falls short of the series' best offerings and fails to measure up to other highly acclaimed games released in the same year.
Engaging Multiplayer Maps
Co-op Thrills in Zombies
Variety in Zombie Challenges
Catastrophic Campaign
Multiplayer Matchmaking Issues
Narrative Execution Flaws