Every other year is special time for Call of Duty fans as the giant known as Infinity Ward struts its proverbial stuff. Activision/Infinity Ward’s latest installment in the Call of Duty franchise is proof that they are not losing their firm grasp on the game’s success.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is sectioned off into three parts (more accurately four parts) consisting of single-player campaign, co-op and online multiplayer. Co-op, however, is broken into two different parts, which we will touch on shortly.
Let’s look at the single-player campaign first. You get the usual five- to 15-hour guts of what we’ve all come to know and love quite well. The best first-person action your hard-earned money can buy. If you opt for the lower-end difficulty, such as Recruit, you can expect to finish the campaign in a few hours. Choosing the high-end difficulty of Veteran will test your skill, patience, sanity and so forth, allowing you a 15-plus-hour romp around the globe. Being a Call of Duty veteran, pardon the pun, since the PlayStation 2 days, I have always been a fan of Veteran difficulty. It is consistently brutal, but obtaining that cherished “Checkpoint Reached” location has never been so rewarding with any other game to my knowledge. Modern Warfare 3 gives you that same love/hate relationship.
However, this time around, you will enjoy the same crisp, responsive controls. It has some of the best graphics in any COD title to date. The weapons look perfect and give the gamer a feel of carrying the real thing. The sounds are amazing. When you fire a weapon, you feel it! This is one of the most important things, in my opinion, in making a good first-person shooter. The weapon needs to feel and sound solid. Trust me; they do! While spraying round after round at your enemy, you can hear your shells bouncing off the floor. While this seems miniscule to the reader, it is huge while playing the game. It gives you a sense of realism and truly makes you feel like you are present and a part of the action. Not to mention it also feels cool.
The campaign feels swift and never gets dull. The checkpoints are generously placed, allowing the player to advance quickly no matter the difficulty they have selected. This allows for a consistent flow of action as opposed to being stuck and seeing the same thing over and over and over. Another worthy component is how quickly you return to your checkpoint after expiring. Popping your nose out of cover longer than you should have will result in your untimely demise. However, before you can expel your favorite expletive, you are smack dab in the action. Rarely, if ever, do you feel punished for losing your life.
Co-op, this time around, comes in two parts: Spec Ops mode and the new Survival mode. Spec Ops is more of the same formula that was wildly successful in Modern Warfare 2. Spec Ops puts you and a friend via local or online co-op against a number of challenges that range from running an obstacle course in a certain amount of time to defusing a nuclear bomb on an enemy-laden submarine. You can do these missions solo if you choose, but the real enjoyment here is running these with a buddy. The range of reward on these missions is from one to three stars. Completing the challenge on Recruit difficulty will reward the player with one star. Completing that same challenge on Veteran difficulty will reward you with three stars. Running any one of these 16 missions on Veteran will test you and your buddy’s friendship, but completion of these will give you a sense of gratification that will make you wish you could give a virtual high five. Each of the 16 missions offers up a state of euphoria you won’t get elsewhere.
Survival mode is a new co-op feature that puts you and a friend (you can do these solo as well if you wish) against ever-increasing enemies for an infinite amount of waves. Wave 1 will have enemies coming at you with shotguns wearing all the protection of a business suit. Wave 3 or 4 will introduce suicide bombers with C4 strapped to their chest. Did I mention attack dogs and Juggernauts (heavily armed/armored enemies who stop at nothing)? Yep ... you get those as well. As you progress, you will unlock weapons armories that will assist with your success. Killing enemies earns you money that can be used in these armories. You will unlock a weapons stash that has better guns, an explosive stash that will offer up shields, sentry guns and the like and finally an aerial stash that will offer up airstrikes and assistance from armed allies. There are 16 maps that are sectioned off into quarters of four. Each quarter increases the difficulty that would test a Wyatt Earp/Doc Holliday friendship. If you are gunning for the Survival mode achievements, you will need to survive a grueling 15 waves on each map. There is a lot of fun to be had here, and you will not be disappointed.
At this stage of the game, we as consumers have certainly received an impressive bang for our buck. There is A LOT of gaming to be had from the beginning of this review to this very sentence. I have spent about 16 hours on the single-player campaign and over a day in Co-op and yet I feel I have hardly scratched the surface.
Multiplayer, just like anything else you will play, depends on your competition. Modern Warfare offers the tools for a great experience provided you are playing with good sports. The maps are smaller, which throws you into harm’s way more often, which is a welcome change. It keeps the action fast and exciting. On the downside, with the maps being smaller, it allows the poor sports of the world to more easily obtain spawn kills. Where is the fun in that anyway? Alas, if you are playing with people who are playing for the love of the game and who enjoy competition, you are in for the same ‘ol treat you have received previously. However, the true meat and potatoes (in my opinion, of course) are in your Campaign and Co-op modes. I’ve never been a huge fan of playing with strangers as they, more often than not, tend to annoy me. If you can round up some close friends for some multiplayer carnage, as always, you are in for some fun.
Modern Warfare 3 is the same great game that has made the Call of Duty series so popular with enhancements and some welcome additions. I highly recommend this addition to any gamer’s library.