Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Xbox 360 Review

Publisher – Activision – Developer – Infinity Ward/Sledgehammer Games – Genre – FPS – Players – 1-16 – Age Rating – 18+ – Other console/handheld formats – PS3, Wii

The Call of Duty series has enjoyed astounding success, but one has still got to wonder how long it will last. Don’t get me wrong, I wish publisher Activision all the luck in the world going forward with the series, although I’m still intrigued as to what will replace Call of Duty as the biggest game in the world when its time finally comes – probably another FPS.

Still, there’s a large amount of people that will want to learn the fate of the likes of Soap and Price.

Modern Warfare 3 delivers all of these things in a basket, and is exactly the game that fans would have wanted – nothing more or nothing less. The campaign has huge set-pieces to be witnessed, aping the biggest Hollywood blockbuster action films, and the sort of intense action that has come to characterise the series.

It’s a very good campaign – explosive, memorable, and, at around six hours, it doesn’t outstay its welcome. Some may not be enamoured by the tightly scripted gameplay, although if that’s the case then this isn’t really the game for you. Others will fall in love with this loud and over the top campaign.

Call of Duty is regularly not far from controversy, and Modern Warfare 3, while not having anything as controversial as Modern Warfare 2’s No Russian mission, once again stirs things up. The scene in question is not a mission and doesn’t last very long at all, and Infinity Ward have put it in there to show us that anyone can be caught up in war, although in no way do we need a game to tell us that. It’s not at all graphic, but it still feels as if it has been shoehorned in just for the shock factor.

In spite of this the campaign is excellent, offering plenty of moments that will stick long in the memory. Still, if you’re looking for any major innovations, the campaign is feeling a little lacking, with few twists on what has come before it. If you go into the game just expecting the norm, then you’ll be delighted, but innovation is certainly sparse for those that are seeking it.

The popular multiplayer modes obviously make a return, and this time the focus has been on balancing things up. Remember some of the perks that were regularly called unfair in Modern Warfare 3? Well, here they have been entirely removed. Not the perks of course, but some of the more overpowered actions. Killstreaks have also now been renamed Pointstreaks, with these now coming about not with only killing the opposition but also by capturing the flag in Capture the Flag and so on. A positive and welcome change for the series, if ever there was one.

Pointstreak rewards are split into Assault, Support and Specialist Strike Packages, allowing you to chose one for an individual custom class. Obviously, Assault brings in the attack helicopters and the Predator Drones etc, and Support allows for the introduction of SAM turrets and the like, while Specialist (unlocked at level 20) allows you to choose your own perks, eventually having the lot at once if you’re good enough.

Weapon customisation has also been revamped. Investing time into the multiplayer will still earn you new weapons and kit, although the more you use your weapons, the more perks you will unlock to use with them. You can reduce recoil, improve stability, add attachments and so on. The development teams behind this game have been really busy.

There are 16 brand new multiplayer maps, and a few extra modes added. Kill Confirmed is a variety of team deathmatch, in which killing the opposition causes them to drop dog tags, pick the dog tag up and the kill will be confirmed, although it’s also possible for the dog tags of killed comrades to be picked up by their team mates, denying the opposing team the kill. It’s an excellent new mode that has already been widely praised, and with good reason. The other new mode is Team Defender, in which one player carries a flag while his teammates defend him.

Separately, we also have the brilliant Special Ops mode. Here, we have the returning Special Ops missions, of which features 16 new missions for you to play alone or with another player, but you’ll also find the brand new Survival mode. The latter mode has you taking on waves of AI enemies, purchasing weapons and ammo, and just surviving as long as you possibly can.

Visually, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is very attractive, and certainly rarely suffers under the strain of the chaos of World War 3, although it’s looking a little dated these days. Some of the textures up close are very ugly, although despite its age the engine is still holding up well. The audio side adds to the intensity, with loud bangs, explosions, battle chatter and gunfire, and the music proves once again to be memorable.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 doesn’t do anything radically different, but what it does do is refine the already stellar mechanics, once again making it one of the gaming greats of the year. Having said that, the visuals are looking slightly tired, and, despite its excellence, it’s about time for the campaign to offer a few more twists on the formula. Still, this is very highly recommended for the millions of FPS fans out there.