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Review: Modern Warfare 3

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It seems as if developers struggle to balance their priorities when it comes to single player versus multiplayer, but luckily Infinity Ward had their thinking caps on and arrived at a middle point that will satisfy all players when they developed the recently-released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

A screenshot from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (image: Activision)

The single player is just as action-packed as the previous Modern Warfare titles, and gamers should expect nothing less. Taking on the role of various soldiers during the hunt for Makarov, gamers will get a feel for the action, as they guide new playable characters Sgt. Derek Frost Westbrook, SAS operative Sgt. Marcus Burns, and Andrei Harkov through the game. But as one might expect, gamers will be spending most of their time playing as Yuri, an ex-Spetsnaz who has a bit of a colourful history with Ultranationalist leader Makarov.

While the game has a pretty good multiplayer aspect, the strength of the single player will make it stand out as well, as it’s far better than the single player campaign of arch-rival Battlefield 3. While BF3’s campaign was predictable at points and not very inventive, Modern Warfare 3 will keep players on the edge of their seats from beginning till end.

The gameplay is pretty much the same as with previous versions, but that isn’t a bad thing. Gamers will immediately be at home with the control scheme and those who never played it will learn them quickly. The third game does however continue with the plot from MW2, so new players might want to brush up on their plot before jumping into this one.

But even playing on Normal difficulty, players have to be prepared to die – a lot. While the first couple of missions are fairly easy to fly through, the game’s slightly-off mechanics starts to make their appearance – and cheaply.

A good example of this is when a player walks backwards into a surface with a slight edge.  Instead of brushing the edge and carrying on going backwards, the player will get stuck on the edge – which could mean the difference between life and death. There is also no physics that will allow for, say a potplant, to be kicked out of the way. Instead, players will be stuck behind it.

The hit detection can also be slightly iffy at times, with players being hit through walls well after they have taking cover from flying bullets. The opposite is true for enemies, as there are some instances where they take no damage even though a headshot was spot on.

Another point that games might get tired of, is the slow-mo effect during the cut scenes when the player needs to stumble towards the next objective when suffering from blurry vision. The first time it happened, it was cool; the second time, the novelty started to wear off, and by the third occasion it just becomes overkill.

In terms of graphics, the stunning visuals will have players ducking for cover as the highly-detailed surroundings convey a feeling of actually being in the action. As an example, there is a scene with huge dust storm approaching, and as players turn to look at the cloud, the sense of urgency will kick in in order to seek shelter before it hits.

The game can also be rather graphic at certain points, as stealth kills will often see players stabbing a knife through an enemy’s throat, with blood gushing out. But then again, the title does have an age restriction of 18, and the language is also a bit savoury.

In the bitter rivalry between Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, Infinity Ward definitely won this round in their fight for first-person supremacy. While Battlefield 3 has an excellent multiplayer aspect, the single player from MW3 just propels it past Electronic Arts’ title.

But don’t be fooled – MW3 also provides a fairy good multiplayer experience, which further drives it beyond BF3.

While the usual multiplayer modes are present, such as TDM, Search and Destroy and Capture The Flag, two new modes have also been added. The killstreak reward system has been given a stiff upgrade, and players will now be able to unlock more through various actions, and not limited to just killing opponents.

In terms of Co-Op play, gamers can team up with a friend to tackle some of the Spec Op missions, which includes extra missions purpose built for two people, or attempt to stay alive for as long as possible in Survival mode.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is a great game for fans of the franchise, and they definitely won’t be disappointed with this iteration. Being the eighth Call of Duty game, one would think that Activision knows a thing or two about the franchise. While Call of Duty Black Ops was a good game, they might have just managed to produce the best one yet.

Our rating: 9.3/10

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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