April 16, 2024

In the realm of annual releases, Call of Duty has long been a consistent force, and this year is no exception with the arrival of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III. Activision, bolstered by a consortium of studios including Sledgehammer Games, continues its tradition of delivering premium gaming experiences.

MW3 offers the familiar trifecta – a campaign spanning 8 to 10 hours, a chaotic multiplayer arena, and a new addition to the Modern Warfare series: Modern Warfare Zombies. As the narrative unfolds, we revisit Task Force 141’s escapades, aiming to thwart Russian ultranationalists and prevent World War 3. The multiplayer experience, enriched by remastered maps from Modern Warfare 2, beckons players to familiar battlegrounds.

Join us as we dissect MW3’s performance, visuals, storytelling, gameplay, and accessibility, unraveling the nuances of this latest installment in the iconic Call of Duty saga.

AT A GLANCE
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Sledgehammer Games
Genre: First-person Shooter
Release Date: November 2023

 

Campaign

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III presents an intense, albeit somewhat familiar, single-player campaign that continues the legacy of Task Force 141’s battle against Russian ultranationalists. Clocking in at 8 to 10 hours, the narrative plunges players into a high-stakes global conflict, echoing events set in motion by the franchise’s 2019 reboot.

The game’s storytelling unfolds with a cinematic flair, characteristic of the Call of Duty series, but MW3 somewhat misses the mark in delivering those iconic blockbuster moments found in its predecessors. While the absence of a standout climactic sequence is noticeable, the campaign remains engaging, especially when played on the challenging Veteran difficulty.

One significant narrative quirk is the omission of Alejandro Vargas, a prominent character from Modern Warfare 2, whose absence feels disjointed in a direct sequel. The pacing of the final act, a pitfall inherited from Sledgehammer Games’ previous title, Call of Duty: WWII, somewhat detracts from the overall satisfaction of the story, leaving players with an abrupt conclusion.

The Open Combat Missions, designed for replayability with branching paths and multiple endings, fall short of expectations. Despite promises, the actual implementation feels lackluster, with missions playing out more like traditional collectible hunts than dynamic, choice-driven narratives.

MW3’s campaign, played on Veteran, offers a considerable challenge, slightly surpassing its predecessor, Modern Warfare 2. The Open Combat Missions add strategic depth, requiring players to plan their approach, although their execution doesn’t fully capitalize on the promised narrative impact.

While MW3’s campaign doesn’t quite reach the narrative heights of its predecessors, it successfully delivers a solid, action-packed experience that will engage both longtime fans and newcomers to the Call of Duty universe.

Multiplayer

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 brings its signature multiplayer experience to the forefront, blending new elements with a nostalgic nod to the heights of the franchise’s past. As with previous entries, the multiplayer component is a central focus, introducing remastered maps from the revered Modern Warfare 2 and a brand-new “Carry Forward” policy for in-game items.

The remastered maps trigger a wave of nostalgia, harking back to the golden era of Call of Duty multiplayer. These iconic battlegrounds, inherited from Modern Warfare 2, inject a sense of familiarity and charm, resonating particularly well with long-time fans. The decision to carry forward in-game items via the “Carry Forward” policy, while addressing player dissatisfaction, introduces a nuanced challenge by limiting the progression system’s depth.

MW3’s multiplayer initially raised concerns with its increased time-to-kill (TTK), aligning it with the pace of Warzone. This adjustment was met with mixed reviews during the beta phase, with players questioning the impact on overall gameplay dynamics. However, in hardcore game modes, the slightly higher TTK is better received, balancing the gameplay experience without sacrificing the series’ trademark fast-paced action.

MW3’s multiplayer brings forth a symphony of familiar maps from Modern Warfare 2, weaving nostalgia seamlessly into the gaming experience. These meticulously remastered battlegrounds, like Favela and Mercado Las Almas, evoke a sense of déjà vu, eliciting both fond memories and strategic nostalgia. The map design, characterized by intricate details and well-thought-out layouts, pays homage to the golden age of Call of Duty multiplayer.

The gunplay in MW3 strikes a delicate balance between familiarity and innovation. The weapons carried forward from Modern Warfare 2, maintain their iconic feel while introducing subtle adjustments to suit the altered multiplayer dynamics. The increased time-to-kill (TTK), initially a point of contention, contributes to a more deliberate and engaging gunfight experience. This nuanced alteration requires players to recalibrate their strategies, fostering a renewed sense of skill and precision.

Gun customization in MW3 presents a robust system, offering players the freedom to tailor their loadouts to their preferred playstyles. The depth of options, from attachments to camos, enhances personalization without overwhelming players. The synergy between the remastered maps, refined gunplay, and extensive customization options creates a multiplayer experience that feels both fresh and rooted in the series’ legacy.

Despite technical setbacks, MW3’s multiplayer manages to capture the essence of classic Call of Duty gameplay. With a mix of nostalgia-inducing maps and subtle tweaks to the gameplay mechanics, it stands as one of the franchise’s more enjoyable multiplayer experiences, akin to the heights achieved in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

The introduction of a Zombies mode to the Modern Warfare series marks a notable departure from tradition, injecting a refreshing twist into the familiar Call of Duty landscape.

Urzikstan, the backdrop for MWZ, is a sprawling environment divided into three distinct zones, each escalating in difficulty. This departure from the confined spaces of traditional Zombies maps introduces a new layer of strategy and exploration. The inclusion of quests adds depth to the mode, offering players additional objectives beyond the relentless pursuit of survival.

The MWZ experience is best enjoyed in cooperative play, allowing teams to navigate the challenges together. The cooperative nature extends to quest completion, fostering a sense of camaraderie as players tackle increasingly complex objectives. However, a peculiar choice emerges in the challenges, where squad mates cannot contribute to each other’s progress, creating a somewhat disjointed experience.

Despite the grind associated with individual challenges, MWZ excels in providing a PvE-focused experience, allowing players to immerse themselves in the narrative and quests without the unpredictability introduced by human opponents. As the first foray into Zombies for the Modern Warfare series, MWZ introduces a promising foundation, hinting at the potential for future innovations and expansions in this evolving aspect of the Call of Duty universe.

Visuals and Audio

In the visual and auditory realms, MW3 exhibits a commendable blend of continuity and refinement. The integration of premium Call of Duty titles and Warzone under the umbrella of Infinity Ward’s engine ensures a consistent aesthetic, with little deviation from the high standards set by its predecessors. The use of IW9 results in a world that not only looks realistic but also maintains a sense of believability, from the intricate details of operator skins to the faithfully remastered multiplayer maps.

The attention to visual detail is particularly noteworthy in the remastering of classic maps, demonstrating a commitment to pleasing long-time fans. The cinematics and gameplay, crafted by Sledgehammer Games and supporting teams, weave together seamlessly, providing an immersive experience. The continued use of a proven engine does raise questions about the potential for innovation, but the execution remains commendable.

On the audio front, the soundtrack complements the on-screen action effectively, enhancing the overall atmosphere of the game. The return of fan-favorite characters is accompanied by familiar sounds that resonate with the franchise’s rich history. However, a closer examination reveals that while the audio design is proficient, it doesn’t break new ground, leaving room for the series to explore more innovative approaches to sound in future installments.

Final Thoughts

Final Score
9 / 10
9/10

Summary

In the intricate dance of bullets and explosions that defines Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, the strengths of this annual blockbuster are evident. The campaign, though lacking in the cinematic crescendos of its predecessors, still offers an enjoyable experience. Multiplayer, with its remastered maps and adjusted time-to-kill, finds its sweet spot in hardcore game modes, balancing engagement and lethality. The introduction of Modern Warfare Zombies brings a refreshing twist to the series, albeit with some hiccups in cooperative challenge completion. Modern Warfare 3, while not revolutionary, is a commendable addition to the franchise, showcasing both its enduring appeal and the challenges of maintaining annual releases.