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

There’s a lot going on, but the thing is, the single player campaign makes almost zero sense. The battles all happen amid enormous set pieces like the New York Stock Exchange, an African shanty town, or an enormous Siberian Mine. They make for some frankly astonishing visuals, especially given the Xbox 360′s capabilities. But that’s the only reason they’re even there.

A perfect example of the problem is a mission in Paris. For some reason, enemy forces have decided that the most strategically valuable part of Paris is the Pont d’IĆ©na. Why the hell would a several-hundreds year old bridge across the Seine be considered the place to dig in your forces? Oh, because it gives you an excuse to call in an air-strike that destroys a world heritage site in the most spectacular fashion, and faux-controversial way possible. (See also the scene with the little girl who dies in a terrorist bombing. NOTE: Activision gives you the option of skipping the scene.)

At every turn, stuff just kind of happens, regardless of sensibility or context. Important plot points either remain unanswered or are given casual mentions in offscreen dialogue. Events that players do experience are so devoid of additional context that they mean nothing. And the repetition! At least 4 times during the game, there’s a moment where a flashbang goes off, or a building collapses, or you get shot, and you’re knocked unconscious and then revived and hoisted back up to continue fighting.

Another problem is the wasted voice talent. Only Billy Murray seems to approach his role with anything close to enthusiasm or immediacy. Everyone else seems like they’re phoning it in, especially William Fichtner, who seems to lack an understanding of how to emote without a set and other actors to interact with. His entire job appears to be to say “NEGATIVE WE ARE PUSHING FORWARD” with the urgency of someone reading a restaurant menu. At no point do you feel as though you’re fighting with him. In fact, I spent half the game thinking he was issuing orders from some remote point until I realized he was actually the leader of my squad.

The worst thing, however, is that the single player campaign offers only the most meager challenge. Literally every mission – and I am not exaggerating at all – is a variation of “run here. duck. shoot. receive orders. Follow a squad member somewhere. Hear William Fichtner dully comment on the situation, or Billy Murray bitching about how much he hates Makarov. Run again. Duck again. Occasionally use something other than your rifle.” There’s almost nothing else for players to do, and the game has the annoying habit of making you do it again and again. At best, it barely prepares you for the multiplayer experience.

Mainly, more people than I can count have compared the Call of Duty series to Michael Bay’s films, and Modern Warfare 3 might be the most Michael Bayish of the lot.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.