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It’s been just over a week since Modern Warfare 3 was released to the world while the sales have been exploding worldwide the title hasn’t been without criticism with users caning it’s metacritic score and some eagle eyed people picking up that some of the buildings have been recycled directly from Modern Warfare 2.

But you’ve got R600 burning a hole in your wallet and you want to know whether you should drop it on Modern Warfare 3 or rather stick it away for a rainy day. Well let’s take a look.

Unlike with Battlefield 3 the single player campaign of the Modern Warfare titles is generally really enjoyable and Modern Warfare 3 doesn’t disappoint.  The campaign is once again well written and packed full of excitement, twists and explosions from end to end.

As before it’s entirely linear and your job is to save the world again by moving from one scripted action scene to another while jumping between different main characters. It’s like living in a blockbuster Hollywood action title with all the trimmings of being a hero and none of the realism of pain and danger.

The single player campaign is short though and you’ll likely find yourself disappointed that the end of the roller coaster has arrived when it does. But at the same time you’ll be thinking back on all the cool scenes that played out in front of you. The single player campaign is highly enjoyable but too short to justify the cost of the game on it’s own.

The second piece of content offered on the MW3 disc would be Spec Ops. Spec Ops is a list of stages that you can take on as a special forces operative. Generally you’re going to want to enter the world of Spec Ops with a partner and the idea is to complete each stage under a certain amount of time to progress and rank up. The stages aren’t related to the main storyline and are designed to be taken on separately. There are 16 Spec Ops levels for you to take on and try perfect and if you’re the sort of person who loves perfecting games then this part of MW3 is going to keep you engrossed for days on end.

The other part of Spec Ops is the newly added horde zombie firefight survival mode which as the title suggests is simply a mode where you need to survive against waves and waves of enemies. The difference between this and those other wave defence modes is that you can unlock different crates scattered around the stage which you will need to use to re-arm, unlock explosives and to call in air support.

Some careful planning is required to ensure you don’t get left trying to take down 2 helicopters with a shotgun and a handgun, which is possible by the way.

Survival mode is fun and will once again add a good couple of hours to your gameplay experience, especially if you have a friend to help you. You can experience survival mode on any multiplayer map which also means it’s a great way to learn all about a map before venturing online into the big bad world of competitive multiplayer.

The competitive multiplayer of Modern Warfare 3 is where all the people will spend their time. It’s the reason that the Call of Duty franchise has been the top selling franchise this generation and that each iteration instantly explodes to the top of any online rankings.

This years experience hasn’t changed much from the previous Black Ops or MW titles and that is generally why it has received so much Internet hate. It’s a sequel where Infinity Ward has improved on a few things, polished over some cracks and most important they’ve made sure they didn’t break anything.

There have however been some good improvements that other games will now copy. The killstreak staple of the Call of Duty franchise is still there and if you’re one of those top notch gamers then you can still call in wave after wave of attack helicopters and sentry guns to the annoyance of your enemies. However there is a big change this year in that you can setup a class to be a support player with support killstreaks. The difference with support killstreaks is that your kills chain together even if you die but then you can only bring in defensive or supportive killstreak rewards.

So players like myself who will never likely get 15 kills in a row can still feel like a great team member as I bring in UAV’s, ballistic vests and remote sentries to protect my little corner of the map.

It’s a really nice change and allows me to still enjoy the games even if I’m not dominating.

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The other killstreak class is Specialist which allows you to sacrifice your killstreak awards by granting yourself 3 new perks instead. So you can turn yourself into a super soldier but won’t get the awesome rewards after chaining 15 kills together.

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I don’t think I play enough Call of Duty to see the point of that and I do worry about it unbalancing the game but I’m hoping Infinity Ward know what they are doing.

The other change is that you can now level up weapons and unlock better abilities with that weapon. Some of those abilities include decreasing the recoil of the weapon, enabling 2 attachments, increasing the range and more. I’m not sold on the idea to be honest and generally I forgot about it but I think the more hardcore members of the community may find this a nice addition to the game.

The last new addition that I noticed and enjoyed was in the Call of Duty Shop where you can redeem your prestige tokens for extra abilities or features in game. For example I traded my singular prestige token for double XP for the next 48 hours of gameplay time. Which means that I’m going to level up faster and unlock more abilities quicker. I could have used the token to unlock another custom class slot for example which is something I suspect the hardcore guys have been asking for as well.

Okay so they’ve added some nice new additions to the game but what about the main gameplay, the real meat of the game? Well unfortunately (or fortunately) that really hasn’t changed at all. The accusations that Modern Warfare 3 is simply Modern Warfare 2.3 are founded in reality.

The graphics are good but not much better than before (sometimes I even felt they were worse), the engine is the same engine that’s been used for years and is now starting to show it’s age and the core gameplay is completely unchanged.

What’s more you’re not going to struggle to find an online game of Black Ops anytime soon seeing that it’s still in the top half of the most played online games so there really is no great reason to upgrade to MW3.

Apart from the great single player, the good spec ops and the awesome killstreak additions to the multiplayer that have changed the game for both the casual and hardcore gamer.

And if those aren’t enough reasons to upgrade then you likely were never going to be happy with MW3 to start with. It’s a sequel and Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer games have delivered exactly what was asked of them. Make a new MW2 but make it better and don’t break the current formula.

I was however left with the feeling that they won’t get away with this again, Modern Warfare 4 is going to need a new engine otherwise people will start feeling abused.

Scoring

Gameplay: 9.5/10

It’s a more polished Modern Warfare 2 with some great new additions.  Finding games is exceptionally easy and quick and the new killstreak changes mean the game is now not as hard on slightly less abled players.

Design and Presentation: 8/10

The engine is starting to show its age and while it’s still a great looking game it’s nothing special anymore. They’re going to need to lift their game if they are going to keep their title.

Value: 8/10

The games great fun and I’d recommend it to anyone however the premium price isn’t justified as it’s a rehash of Modern Warfare 2. Unfortunately since the game has sold like gangbusters the premium price is here to stay and will just be worse next time… this is your fault general game buying public.

Overall: 8.5/10

The game is let down by its pricing and ageing engine but saved by it’s incredible gameplay and addictive multiplayer nature. The Modern Warfare haters will not be impressed and will continue to claim the game is useless. But it’s not, there is a reason the Call of Duty franchise is on top and MW3 didn’t drop the ball it merely fumbled it at times.

It’s now over to Treyarch for next years release to see if they can keep the excitement levels up around this game or if the sun is about to set on the Call of Duty rollercoaster.

[Reviewed on a Xbox 360] [Sidebar] Yes that’s the same score I gave Battlefield 3 and no that doesn’t mean it’s the same game. Both games are distinctly different and the only reason they are being compared to each other at the moment is due to EA’s marketing team deciding to go head to head with Modern Warfare 3. I couldn’t choose only one of these games as I prefer MW3 for the quick matches and BF3 for long play sessions with friends.[/Sidebar]

Last Updated: November 18, 2011

Modern Warfare 3
Summary
8.5

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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