Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review (PC)
Much like its biggest competitor (Battlefield 3), Modern Warfare 3 has become known more for its multiplayer than anyting else. Making a return is Spec Ops, the solo or cooperative mode that lets players join a buddy (or go it alone) in a series of missions. Each has a discrete objective, such as disarming a bomb or capturing a hostage. There’s also a survival mode that pits you against ever-increasing waves of enemies.
While both of these modes can be played alone, they’re really desiged to be taken on with a buddy. Attempting them solo can be a frustrating experience, especially on harder difficulties. You won’t get an AI companion to aid you, so you’re completely on your own. That can be a tall order when you’re surrounded by enemies intent on only one thing: your death. The enemy difficulty doesn’t seem to adjust to the fact that you’re going it alone, so you should be prepared to have quite a fight on your hands.
Multiplayer remains largely the same, with the exception of the addition of two new game modes. The first is Kill Confirmed. The premise here is simple. Kill an enemy, and he’ll drop a dog tag. Pick it up, and you’ll gain extra points for yourself and your team. If you or someone on your team doesn’t pick it up, that kill won’t advance your team’s score. You can also grab the tags of fallen teammates to prevent the enemy from scoring those kills.
The other new mode is Team Defender, which is an interesting twist on Capture the Flag. Once you grab the flag, your job is to hold onto it as long as you can. The longer you hang on, the more points your team receives. It can become a hectic free-for-all, but it’s a simple and straightforward concept.
Other than the new game modes, not much has changed in MW3′s multiplayer. In fact, it feels almost exactly like Modern Warfare 2′s offering. Maps are small and tight, with multiple routes through the war-torn environments. It’s not at all unusual to spawn, take two steps, and get immediately gunned down. Repeatedly. Ultimately, that’s the biggest problem that MW3′s multiplayer presents. It’s far too easy to be eliminated multiple times without having any chance to do anything about it. While gamers who’ve memorized the spawn points to maximize the effectiveness of their camping might disagree, this can’t in any way be considered fun. It’s frustrating to anyone to be defenseless, and this is something that the series will need to address moving forward.
That said, when the multiplayer is working well, it can be great fun. Killstreaks, fast-paced action, and bullets flying everywhere can really get your adrenaline cranking. Unfortunately, Infinity Ward decided against Ranked dedicated servers again, leaving those of us on the PC to wend our way through a matchmaking process that moves at a snail’s pace. First you have to wait for it to find a game, then join, then test connections, choose a host, and then finally start the game. It might be acceptable if there was a valid reason behind it, but there just isn’t. It doesn’t combat cheating, as I watched multiple players track enemies through walls with their gun barrels. It’s a design choice that just should never have been made, and it’s only exacerbated when you try to play one of the less popular game modes, as finding a game takes forever.
Likewise, there are a number of game modes that are unavailable until players earn a certain rank. Again, it’s a baffling design choice that makes no sense. Why should I have to be level 10 if I want to play classic Capture the Flag? Maybe that’s my favorite game mode, and I don’t want to earn ten levels playing something else. Too bad, says Infinity Ward.