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.
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.
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?
* 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
* 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