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

Spec-Ops has two options: Survival, and Missions, both of which can be played solo or with other players. Survival is very similar to Nazi Zombie mode from Black Ops. You and your friends battle wave after wave of enemies. After Call of Duty XP, we mentioned how you eventually get attacked by vicious dogs with bombs strapped to their backs – brutal stuff, and still awesome. But the bot AI is actually a challenge. Though enemies start out as easy-to-kill drones, they get more and more difficult and employ actual tactics that make sense, like flanking attacks, attempts to corral you into hard to defend places, or attempts to split teams up and make them easy targets. Bots don’t spawn in fixed places either, making it difficult to predict when and where the next wave will come from. As you play, you earn points allowing you to buy weapons upgrades, new weapons and so on. It’s fun, but as you can guess, fighting wave after wave of enemies can eventually get old, even if it is good practice for main multiplayer.

Missions is by far the superior option. Everything the single player campaign should have been, you (or you and your friends) play through a series of unlockable, clearly defined missions with different weapons, parameters and objectives. The first is a shooting range to get the player acclimated. A later mission involves fighting your way onto a submarine set to blow up with its nuclear payload. You have to fight your way down to the reactor, shut it off, then fight your way back to the extraction point. Another is a stealth only rescue mission in which you sneak around the wreckage of a crashed plane with a silenced handgun. It’s a fantastic range of play styles with a much wider variety of weapons than is found in the single player campaign. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the bulk of my MW3 experience has been spent, quite happily, here.

Elite

To review COD Elite at this early stage is not really possible, if one wants an honest review. Certain aspects, like content for the under-18 set, have yet to be rolled out and like many of you, I’ve had many problems accessing Elite during launch week. There’s also the fact that Elite Premium, which I am part of, involves the rolling out of regular DLC for multiplayer over the course of the year. I can promise however that GameFront will be revisiting Elite periodically and rating it as services improve, and new content becomes available.

The Debriefing

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 doesn’t suck. Multiplayer is as solid as ever, and Spec-Ops mode is a joy to play. But the Single Player campaign is, at best, completely superfluous, even if it has some rather spectacular scenes. In addition, the changes to multiplayer are improvements, tweaks, rather than real leaps forward. Ultimately, it feels rather like an expansion pack for MW2 and Black Ops rather than a stand alone title, an excuse mainly to have product to roll out with Call of Duty Elite. If you’re a die hard COD fan – and there’s millions of you – it’s definitely worth your time, but the casual player will find little to make them understand what all the fuss is about.

Even so, just like in real life when only a pack of Mickey D’s fries will do, sometimes you really need that just-so market tested gaming experience that you know, for a fact, will be precisely what you expect it to be. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 delivers it, fully. So enjoy. Just… try to play something a little more nutritious from time to time too, ok?

Pros

* Spec ops missions varied, challenging, fun
* Multiplayer has been improved to allow players of varying skill levels to enjoy
* Lots of HOLY CRAP moments during the story missions
* Exactly the experience COD fans expect

Cons

* Superfluous, barely-there story in single player
* Repetitive single player gameplay experience
* Problems with the launch of Call of Duty: Elite
* More akin to a large DLC packet than a full release game

FInal Score: 85/100

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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.