Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review (Xbox 360)

There’s something to be said about McDonald’s. They may not provide anything particularly nutritious, but the food is always exactly what you expect it to be, and the experience of stepping into one of their locations is identical to any other. That makes things very easy for the hungry consumer who needs to stuff their face with salty fries and enormous cups of soda. That they occasionally add new items to the menu – Filet o’ Fish! McDLT! McRib! – just guarantees that the old, familiar, deeply unhealthy experience has just enough new stuff to keep things feeling fresh, even if the food, you know, isn’t.

Such is the Call of Duty experience. Far and away the most popular first person shooter franchise of all time, the series’ success is built on having literally invented the modern war shooter and then recreated that experience in game after game. It’s always (mostly) fun, always easy to pick up and always delivers exactly the experience you’re paying for, and that’s never been more true than with the latest release, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

It’s just that upon completion, Modern Warfare 3 feels something like gobbling down a Big Mac in 5 minutes and then wondering how you can feel so full and yet still be hungry. Its barely-written story and phoned-in acting provides the player with a zero stakes experience. Fortunately, multiplayer itself has been upgraded with some new goodies that actually improve upon previous iterations, and the new and improved Spec-Ops mode is almost worth the price of admission. But it probably should have been called Modern Warfare 2.5.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – Xbox 360 (Reviewed), Playstation 3, Wii, PC
Developer: Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software, Infinity Ward, Treyarch (Wii)
Publisher: Activision
Release Date: November 8, 2011
MSRP: (Standard) $59.99; (Hardened Edition) $99.99

Single Player

Picking up exactly where 2009′s Modern Warfare 2 left off, MW3′s single player campaign is a repetitive exercise in meeting – but never exceeding – expectations again and again. After a brief prologue that begins at precisely the moment MW2 ended – it’s actually a cool scene, ‘playable’ in the sense that the player controls an injured character who, when conscious, can move his head around and groggily look at your surroundings – the familiar COD formula kicks in. That means zipping back and forth between two different storylines and multiple playable characters.

Storyline one involves Task Force 141, now on the run after killing General Shepherd. That’s Price (Billy Murray), a recovered Soap (who is not a playable character this time out) and Nikolai, joined by new playable Character Yuri, ‘the only man who hates Makarov’ more than Price. Their missions involve chasing down Makarov in locations ranging from Sierra Leone, Somalia, Prague and eventually Dubai.

Storyline two involves completely new Delta Force squad ‘Team Metal’, engaged in some of the major battles of MW3′s global war with Russia. They include new playable character Sgt. Derek “Frost” Westbrook, and NPCs Sandman (voiced by William Fichtner), Truck (Troy Baker), and Grinch (Timothy Olyphant). You’ll play as they fight to liberate New York City from Russian forces, then move on to fights in London, Paris, Berlin and eventually Prague.

Team Metal and Task Force 141 take up the majority of the game, and their stories eventually intersect as they combine forces to track Makarov down. You’ll also play as an SAS officer during one memorable scene in London, and as a Russian secret service agent tasked with protecting the Russian president.

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8 Comments on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review (Xbox 360)

Ryan Morgan

On November 10, 2011 at 2:34 pm

A great, honest review amongst so many bribed review sites. MW3 is truly disappointing as far as innovation goes. Then there’s the spawning issues which will put me right next to the enemy; the maps are just to cluttered and build up. What happened to the wide open maps that were perfect for sniping? It’s fun, but not for long.

Darkraidor

On November 10, 2011 at 8:15 pm

thanks for writing a honest review that i actually bothered to read, instead of another super high score calling call of duty the ultimate shooter.

Luther

On November 10, 2011 at 11:13 pm

I don’t know a 85 to me has always been in the range of this is a must buy amazing experience every gamer should have in there life score, So I don’t really understand how you are generating those numbers or if you are just randomly picking them out of your feelings after playing.

Now I have not played this game but I have been checking around to see what people have to say and it’s not sounding good.

I did rank mw2 with a 8, and black ops with a 6 so from what I’m hearing from everyone it sounds like this game is probably around a 4 or 3 out of 10.

Maybe I’m just being anal or annoying but ahh well, it is what it is.

Ron Whitaker

On November 11, 2011 at 5:35 am

Luther, MW3 isn’t a bad game. It not a big change from the previous MW title, but it’s not BAD. As I said in my PC review, if you had never played a CoD title and you picked it up, you’d have a blast. That’s where those scores are coming from.

Ross Lincoln

On November 11, 2011 at 8:57 am

Adding to what Ron says, I gave it a solid B because it basically meets expectations and nothing more. I wouldn’t award it the full ride scholarship, but I wouldn’t deny it admission either.

Annamint

On November 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I think scoring of games needs to be a little stricter, I think if it does nothing more than previous titles it should still have a little lower of a score (Maybe 60-70 but I would probably rank it even lower, even if that might seem harsh.) I wouldn’t give a essay a B if it was the same as the one submitted previously, even if it had been an A+ the first time.

I just get a big feeling of ‘meh they’ll buy anything’ from pretty much all the game producers at the moment.

Luther

On November 11, 2011 at 12:40 pm

I can definitely understand the first time playing score, thanks for the reply to my comment.

Collin Z

On November 17, 2011 at 11:09 am

Superfluous yes but you forgot pedantic as well.

A couple of questions must be asked.
Would you consider this a stimulating game? Sure. Spinning in circles for hours is also stimulating.
Are you looking for a great purchase with the expectation of a memorable SP experience? Of course but a child blowing up as collateral is not only inappropriate ( stylistic nor artistic) but also mentally provocative. Akin to a Lars von Trier moment for video games (melancholia 2011). Sorry but this isn’t the direction video games should be moving towards even if most of the balls on Newtons Cradle have remained in place.

Do yourself a favour and buy BF3. Game diversity? Try Europa Universalis III for your PC. That should instantly give this comment the credibility it needed.