Saturday, 5 January 2013

PC Game Review: Call of Duty - Modern Warfare 3

Originally posted at Accursed Farms Forums on November 17th 2011.

Platform: PC (Steam)
Released: 2011
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games
Publisher: Activision

I've never been much of a CoD fan. Aside from occassionally being forced to playing MW1 on my brother's PS3 with him and just scraping the surface of MW1's singleplayer campaign, I have absolutely no experience with the franchise at all. I have not played MW2 in any shape or form and so I have really gotten into MW3 with a rather fresh perspective. Therefore, I don't really have anything to compare it to since I haven't played Battlefield either, so this review will be of the game pretty much on its own merits rather than compared to anything else...

I've always been fascinated by World War III games though. Growing up with PC games, I think the first experience I had with the concept was with Command & Conquer and a whole slew of RTS titles. I think when World Trade Center was destroyed in 2001, it sort of created a new era, an atmosphere of terrorism and war between the West and the Middle East the likes we had never seen before. The Modern Warfare series is absolutely drenched in this atmosphere, which is probably why it resonates with so many people and sells so many games. It's something everyone in today's world can relate to and see as a possibility.

Modern Warfare 3 is sort of a multidev project. While Infinity Ward had worked on it in the beginning, after the feud between them and Activision, it was up to Sledgehammer Games to finish the game and Raven Software helped develop the multiplayer. Because of that, MW3 has a sort of modular feeling to it as it's really divided into 3 main parts. The campaign, which continues the story from where MW2 left off, the Special Ops campaign which is comprised of special co-op missions and the Multiplayer where you can play online in a whole suite of different game modes.

The campaign is a short but intense thrillride with plenty of great set pieces and standout moments, the ending probably being the biggest climax for me. While MW3 is an extremely linear experience and the engine is starting to show its age, especially when compared to the extremely rich visuals of Battlefield 3, it still looks quite impressive, especially when considering all of the things happening around you, with entire buildings collapsing around you and the game as a result feels immensely immersive and really places you in a thick atmosphere of war. The campaign has some really good moments, like the fabled scene where an American family on a trip in London are blown to smithereens by a chemical bomb. I think it's the first time I've actually felt close to the sudden rawness of terrorism and the game does a very good job at emulating a real war experience, though a very cinematic one, making it feel at times like you are sort of playing an action movie.

Don't expect them to reinvent the wheel here, this is the same old CoD you played last year, just with a new campaign. You're still pretty much limited to carrying 2 weapons, your health regenerates and the game flashes you with a ton of obvious messages such as "you are hurt, go for cover" which gets REALLY annoying after a little while. I mean, isn't it obvious enough from the fact I have blood all over my vision and my heart is pumping? I really need the text to further state the severity of getting to cover? Sometimes I feel like the game is treating me like a retard, especially when placing a "follow" marker on one of the team members, even if I pretty much have no choice but to follow them due to the linearity of the game. It's like they expect me to be a total idiot and run the other direction. Other than such annoyances though, the game is pretty enjoyable if you don't mind the cinematic style of the gameplay. It's very good at what it does and I was honestly having a lot of fun with the campaign and I'd love to play through it twice. However I doubt it's a campaign I will be playing a lot since you pretty much see everything the first and second times around.

The multiplayer feels a bit more balanced than in MW1 and features a slew of game modes that are sure to please all tastes. The customization options, as you gain points to unlock them, really gives you the chance to taylor the game to your taste, whether you like playing as support or assault, and getting points is pretty much easier than ever, making it very fair to noobs. I haven't had the chance to test out the Elite system since, well, it's not available on PC. To put it short, they have kept the core experience, and all the additions are for the better. This is really the most complete and satisfying Call of Duty Multiplayer experience yet.

So is MW3 worth the 60 bucks? Considering you're getting probably one of the most polished shooters this year with the most complete multiplayer experience I've seen in recent years, I would say so. Keep in mind I haven't played Battlefield 3 so I can't really compare the two. But from what I can tell, aside from treating you like a retard at times with all the blatantly obvious messages, MW3 is a great shooter experience and the multiplayer will last you a long time, maybe even longer than it takes Activision to pump out another title next year.

I give it 9 out of 10 dancing chickens.

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