Well, it’s November and the yearly installment of arguably the biggest name in the gaming world is upon us. No, i’m not talking about this, i’m talking about the sales mammoth that is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. After all the bollocks surrounding Infinity Ward after the release of the second game in the series, we are thrust into the continuing story of Captain Price, his epic moustache and World War 3. It’s been as hotly anticipated as almost any other game on the planet. But what do I think? Continue reading my friend.
Set directly after the events of MW2, the Russians are still invading any scrap of earth that the U.S haven’t managed to quite get around to. Captain Price and “Soap” McTavish are still on the run, trying to track down the Russian mental-case Makarov with a little help from a new character, ex-Spetznaz member Yuri. The Russian president has plans to make peace with the US, but the plan goes tits up when Makarov’s allies kidnap him and his daughter in an attempt to get launch codes for missiles that will bring the world to a radioactive end. So once more we jet set around the globe blowing the crap out of anything that so much as blinks.
What I liked:
The first thing I liked is that it’s a direct sequel. It starts off from the very end of MW2 and it’s great to see both Price and Soap back in the action. There are a bunch of new characters introduced, but non of them have the sheer rough and readyness that our two boys from the S.A.S bring to the table. Let’s get one thing out of the way…..Modern warfare 3 is about spectacle. The sheer volume of stuff that’s happening on screen is like something from the wet dreams of Michael Bay. Almost every single level has so much military hardware in there you would think that Infinity Ward have been sponsored by Lockheed Martin! Jets and helicopters fill every ounce of airspace, tanks and APC’s rumble through the levels, battleships and submarines dominate every single wet patch in any given level….but somehow the game handles it with restraint. It never really feels like it’s just been slapped in there just because they can. Even during a boat escape after taking out a Russian sub, you’re darting in between sinking ships and aircraft carriers until you finally pitch up into a waiting helicopter and it never feels to overblown. The missions themselves vary from stage to stage. Some, such as the ones set in African rebel camps are functional, they don’t really do anything apart from forward the story. Others are just straight up fucking awesome! The standout level in the game for myself is the one set in London, where the S.A.S are trying to locate bombs that intel says are being transported into the city. You storm a location, find out it isn’t there, and then it turns into a mad-dash through the London underground in a truck, fighting the terrorists on trains……ah, I won’t go on…play it yourselves…it’s diamond. And by the way…..that bit that is causing a bit of controversy, taken in the context of the game it’s actually handled well. You’ll knw what bit I mean when you get there. The levels are mixed up, there are some great sniping sections which echo the “all ghilled up” mission from the first Modern Warfare game, there are the usual “man this gun emplacement” type stages, and of course, the AC-130 makes a welcome comback. Throughout the game you’re also drip-fed new gadgets, from dual scopes which you can flick for long/short range shooting, a new remote control robot which is like Jonny-5 from Short Circuit with a mini-gun and grenade launcher attached, all the way to the very last mission where you finally get a change to become a……ah….I won’t spoil that for you. Let it be said though that I had an erection 8-ft tall when I played that bit. The sound has also been improved, from the sweeping orchestral score to the bullets, bombs, tanks, grenades….it just sounds brilliant, especially played through a 5.1 system. I’ve only had a couple of games online, so i’ll review that and the new Spec-op modes next week, but’s it’s the COD we all know and love, and playing with the new streak system looks like something i’ll enjoy. All in all the single player is THE best COD campaign since the first Modern Warfare.
What I loathed:
Not a great deal. While graphically the engine is literally working it’s arse off, it’s starting to show it’s age. It’s still miraculous that they can get it running at 60fps doing all the stuff that it is, but in certain parts textures suffer for it, and when all hell is breaking loose, such as one section in a plummeting lift, it can hardly keep up. It’s a very, very minor moan…..it’s still heads and shoulders above most other fps games out there. And the only other thing I can really moan about is…..where do they go from here? It’s basically the pinnicle of the series. It’s loud, big, thoughtful, and fucking great to play….but what’s left? Where else can they improve the series? It’s obviously something that will be answered next year when Treyarch get another shot.
Call of Duty: Modern warfare 3 is an amazing game. It’s Infinity ward and Sledgehammer games stamping there ownership onto the series once more, and it makes last years Black ops look like the weaker game for it. It’s the best COD since the very first game in the Modern Warfare series, and you’ll not be disappointed in any way should you make this game the next on your list. If you’re waiting for Santa to bring it to you for Christmas, you’re in for a treat.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is available now on PS3, PC and the Xbox 360 (Xbox 360 version reviewed)