Activision really knows how to drive franchises into the ground. From X-Men, to Tony Hawk, to the genre-defining Guitar Hero, the developers keep pushing sequel after sequel every year, hoping that the fan bases continue to hand them your money. But once fatigue starts to set in, the franchises get old and played, making each other game that comes out becomes rather irrelevant. Once Guitar Hero added other instruments (basically stealing from Rock Band (who stole from Guitar Hero)), it was a downhill slope from there.
So why did I start my Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 this way? It seems rather negative. Well, the Call of Duty franchise has churned out yet another “genre-defining” entry into the genre that it already dominates, and it’s ready to go to war with Battlefield 3. But let’s be honest here: Does someone out there think that Battlefield will outsell the most popular FPS franchise in history? No should be the answer there. But if I could be honest for a second, unless you want to know what happens to your favorite characters from the previous game entries, it is almost the exact same game.
Let’s start out with the story. The game opens with Soap, the body that you have been occupying for the last two games, getting wheeled to the operating room so he can be healed from his wounds that happened at the end of MW2. This is the only time that you will be in control of him, as you body swap into Yuri – Nikolai’s #1 in command. He plays a pivital point in the story, as yourself, Soap, and Price track down the terrorist known as Makarov. Makarov is a mean person (if you don’t already know that), as the game will later show you an almost “best-of” of his actions. Your main goal: track him down and end it all.
Of course, you also control two other minor characters, as they go major city to major city trying to survive World War 3. Those stories aren’t as compelling, but the images that are throughout those scenes are incredibly haunting. Point proven with a handheld camera sequence towards the middle of the game, where I was almost yelling at my screen for it not to do what it was going to (I cannot spoil this moment for you).
All in all, the story in this game was actually really good, probably the best one in the series of MW. It’s filled with moments that will send chills down your spine, and actions that will make you feel like a total badass. I highly recommend that you play the story before the multiplayer this time.
Speaking of, let me talk about the Spec Ops missions. The major improvement of that game mode makes me forget the Nazi Zombies of the Treyarch games, and lets me enjoy some single player awesomeness. The survival missions are a welcome distraction from the straight-up multiplayer, as you and a friend can try to survive wave after wave of computer characters as your main goal is to…well survive. The missions are just as good as MW2, although I would’ve loved some more sniping missions. But besides that minor gripe, they all provide a great challenge (even at one star), and keeps me on my game.
Now, it’s time for the REAL multiplayer. If you have played Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer at all, you know how to play Modern Warfare 3’s. There are new guns and new perks, but none will really change the way you play. I do appreciate the change of the Killstreaks; as you can have the normal Assault-type of killstreak (which ends when you die), or the Support style (which adds up your tactical and physical points WITHOUT losing a number). Since I am a really aggressive player, Support is my savior – I’ll go 30-29 and be happy about what I have contributed to the team.
But the biggest problem with the game is, well, how similar MW3 is to MW2. Is quick-scoping still a thing? Yes, moreso than ever. Do people still have their clan-tags so they look different from everyone else? I don’t understand the point of it (except to look stupid), but I haven’t entered a lobby without seeing multiples of them. Are there still over-powered weapons that will kill you in one shot no matter where you are hit. You betcha. With the two years that Infinity Ward had off to create the “final” game, I feel like they could’ve addressed these things while they were developing the game. I feel like they can easily fix these problems with a patch, but the fact that they never fixed it in MW2, why change it in its follow-up? The maps are ok, and the Callsigns are a welcome return (though not a whole lot of them are any different), but other than that, this is basically the same game only repackaged in a different box. I really don’t want to say this, but the competitive multiplayer is the weakest part of the game.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 does a lot of things right, but when it comes to the multiplayer (aka the main reason people play the game), it becomes mediocre and stale. The story was great, and the Spec-Ops feels fresh and fun. But with different glitches, hacks, and rather unfairness of some of the guns, the multiplayer almost the biggest fault of the game. The Call Of Duty franchise is starting to become the Madden of first-person shooters; it seems to be getting churned out every year, with some minor tweaks and changes, and although the game as a whole is good, the franchise is becoming stale. Activision is lucky that CoD is making money, or else it probably would’ve been considered to be on the chopping block, just like Guitar Hero was.
Final Grade: B-