Who are we kidding here? You already bought Modern Warfare 3. Your roommate bought a copy, along with your Mom, Dad, and grandparents. Your dog probably pre-ordered the damned thing, it’s just that popular. What is it about this franchise that entices casual and hardcore gamers alike into an unrestrained lather? Short answer: High production values, great attention to detail, and enduring quality. Long answer?
Battlefield 3 really didn’t stand a chance when it comes to the single player campaign. In Modern Warfare 3, World War 3 has broken out, and a rag tag group of soldiers of all nationalities must fight their way across the globe to stop the conflict and prevent nuclear armageddon. The plot isn’t all that different from it’s predecessors, but the imminent threat of nuclear annihilation adds a swinging Sword of Damocles that keeps things taut the whole way through.
Characterization of the protagonists and antagonists alike is very strong. Captain Price and John “Soap” McTavish make their triumphant return as the the heroes of the story, and madman Vladimir Makarov takes center stage as the game’s villain. They don’t get the same amount of character development as in other, more story driven games, but they’re charming and relatable in their own way.
Gameplay remains virtually unchanged from previous games, but feels tighter and more more intuitive than before. Many guns have been upgraded to the point that they’re much more fun to use. For example, some rifles have dual sights; one short range holographic red dot, and a long range scope. It’s easy to switch between the two, and allows for more diversity in your second weapon selection.
Air Strikes and UAV Drones are back, along with a host of other power-ups and upgrades with which to harry your foes. One particularly satisfying addition is the Unmanned Ground Vehicle, a very durable little robot with a very big chain gun. The campaign does a good job of teaching you how to use these for use in the Spec-Ops and Multiplayer modes.
In Spec-Ops you can team up with a friend to tackle challenges, and level up your profile as you would in multiplayer. As you progress, and earn more points, you can buy better weapons, power-ups and upgrades. You can also try out Survival mode, Modern Warfare 3’s solution to Horde mode. Waves of enemies will endlessly attack you, while you set up choke points with sentry guns. In the end, Spec-Ops really prepares you for the crux of the game, the Multiplayer.
You ever hear the phrase, “Your mileage may vary,”? That perfectly sums up Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer. By no accounts is it bad, it’s the same endlessly addictive, incredibly fun game that it ever was. But that’s just it: It hasn’t changed that much. The new maps are expansive and gorgeous, but is that all you bought? A glorified map pack? If all you need is the same care packages and the same multiplayer modes, more power to you. If you’re looking for innovation rather than iteration, look elsewhere.
Not many people know that Modern Warfare 3 wasn’t made by the same people who made the first two games. Yes, it says on the box that it was developed by Infinity Ward, but it’s just a name. In early 2010, founders Vince Zampella and Jason West left the company over disagreements with their publisher Activision. This was followed by the resignation of around 50 other designers and programmers. Those left at Infinity Ward were a skeleton crew.
Modern Warfare 3 was designed and developed by those left at Infinity Ward, a portion of Treyarch studios, and a new studio called Sledgehammer Games. All together, they managed to create a game that in some ways imitates its predecessors, and improves in others. There are times where the differences in design philosophy of the two teams is evident, but not to any detriment.
Modern Warfare 3 is an excellent sequel, and a worthy addition to the franchise. It may not be terribly innovative, but it’s tried and true formula wins out against any pretenders to the throne.
By: Joseph Frymore