The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
Thanks to review sites and the accompanying little payouts - my post Christmas personal banking crisis, and accompanying starvation of all non-essential purchases has briefly been put on hold with the much wanted addition of this game, usually just known as Modern Warfare 3 (or MW3) to my PS3 collection.
I was a huge fan of MW and MW2 - but that was on Xbox, something I sold a couple of years ago - and was desperate to become equally addicted to MW3 upon is November 2011 release. Some set backs - I only manged to pick up a PS3 early December and only just picked up MW3 a week or so ago, but after a week of pretty solid gaming I'm just about ready to open the curtains, regain my social life and give my verdict on what seems to be 2011 Marmite gaming release.
-------CALL OF DUTY------
I will keep the information on the Call Of Duty franchise brief as to avoid the temptation to talk forever. Call Of Duty is a first person shooter game that was first seen on PC but has since become synonymous with console gaming - specifically a particular section of the current gaming generation. Since 2003 Activison have published the games, made by a host of developers - all set during some kind of war or conflict, from WW2 to future wars which are yet to happen, or hopefully fictional. Some key principles, specifically with the MW range have helped establish Call Of Duty as a gaming phenomena rather than just a hit. 60 frames per second is one key ingredient that gives MW1,2 and 3 a very distinct gaming experience - its super snappy and quick, in fact it makes pretty much all other gaming experiences let alone 1st person shooters feel slow. Another key feature is 'easy to play, hard to master' meaning pretty much anyone can pick this up and get going but the more you play the better you will get eventually you can get very good at this game, something that gives its ultra competitiveness which brings me to the third big point about MW - its a huge worldwide game. Millions of people play it, making the multiplayer incredibility rich. Jump into a multiplayer game and you have thousands to choose from, with hundreds of thousand of people playing at any one time. Call Of Duty has grown into Modern Warfare - one of the biggest game franchises created.
--------MODERN WARFARE 3-------
For those who are unfamiliar with this gaming franchise, a huge chuck of this gaming experience is the multiplayer - with the main, single player campaign being a brief, lonely excursion. As the single player is over and done in a matter of hours - I'll get that over first.
The single player game starts where MW2 left off, but playing the two games that preceded this is not important - enough story is given to get up and go. As I hadn't played COD, or many games for that matter for a year or so, I resisted the urge to jump straight into the multiplayer and re-familiarize myself with the game and controls in single player, finishing it in 3 average sized sessions - about 9 hours in total, and I'm not a hardened gamer anymore, so I'm sure I took a lot longer than I needed too. Despite it being sparse, and all the negative criticism it has got, I enjoyed the single player. Its very linear - you must follow a set path and the story is equally predictable but is solid and has the fun feel of a big Holywood blockbuster movie. As with previous games you fight for all that is good in the world you fight as different soldiers in different places, giving this otherwise straight forward shooter a nice bit of change up just as one section starts to get stale. I mentioned 'Holywood Blockbuster' and this is no exaggeration - with some of the scene and in game action being heart stopping. On section finds you climbing from a crashed chopper as a building falls around you - you fly right into the action in the most disorienting but adrenaline pumping way.
The single player gets a lot of stick from all angles - gamers and reviewers all disliked this game on many fronts. Its biggest critacism is that its too short - and it is quite short, but its no shorted than Uncharted 3. Where it does differ from Uncharted 3 is that is has little charm and sticks to the rules this gaming franchise set out with the two previous games very strictly.
Dip into the single player for a bit of fun, but make sure you PS3 (or Xbox) is hooked up to the internet for a seriously good gaming experience, as you enter the world of MW3 multiplayer.
I'll get the negative out of the way first. Not much has changed aesthetically in the game generally, and this is most noticeable in the multiplayer. At least the single player has the advantage that its got cut scenes dressing up the now overly familiar look with the game. The multiplayer came under heavy fire (PUN ALERT!) from users for not being that much more of a notch up from than in MW2, and that is true.
Before I run through the changes, for those who haven't experienced MW multiplayer, its pretty simple. You play against people around the globe on various maps from the single player game, in various different game types. The game types can vary a lot, from all against all to teams to capture the flag - so there is quite a bit of choice to suit your play style. As you play multiplayer, the more kills you get and games you win, the more points you get. As you amass points you work through various levels, and this is where the addictive side of multiplayer really kicks in. Everytime you finish a game your points are added and gradually you work through the levels - the early levels being easier than the later ones. At every level up you open more perks and bonuses - from things that can be used within games, to things that are just for show like badges. This makes it very hard to put down the controller - maybe in your next game you'll get enough points for the next level....thats why I like millions of other have spend hundreds of hours trapped in the multiplayer world. So, thats briefly what multiplayer is, but for MW3 they have streamlined the experiences, cutting that fat off previous games and adding much needed tweaks. After most of the week in multiplayer, these are the big changes;
This is a new game type and its great, more than likely the best new feature of the game. Its a team deathmatch game with a twist - you kill the opposing team as normal, but to actually get the kill and tally it up you need to collect the dog tags that appears over their corpse after the kill. This gives multiplayer a whole new dimension meaning you have to run to whoever you killed, putting yourself in danger and drawing enemies out (as if they get the tags first the kill is denied) but also means you have to work more as a team - as anyone can confirm or deny kills. These also add to your score meaning new players or those who want to increase their XP will benefit a lot from this game. I've just finished a 2 hour session in this mode and I can say its not only crazy addictive but I hauled in lots of XP.
-------Maps and weapons-------
As expected, the maps and weapons have been tweaked in MW3 and something most noticeable is how tighter and more 'scrappy' they are, with less places to snipe and hide, forcing placers to have a much more blood pumping experience. It makes the game faster paced and a little less frustrating for new players - as with MW1+2 I found I was getting killed too much by players that knew all the good hiding spots when I first started playing the games. The guns too have changed. Not only are their more but there is a better variation - and I can say that without having unlocked too many yet. Lots of different guns to suit a many varied playing styles - all with a much bigger focus on them being upgraded. There are lots more upgrades for guns now, meaning there are now thousand of different combinations of weaponry that can be taken into the battlefield.
As I hinted just a second ago, there is a much bigger focus on bonuses. It seems every few seconds you're getting rewarded with XP for doing something - and I welcome this as its a feature that makes the multiplayer really addictive. Everytime you launch into a multiplayer game there is something to focus on, be it getting more headshots with a specific gun to unlock a new scope, or use a perk a certain number of time to enhance the perk. The makers of the game clearly know this sort of stuff is the stuff gamers crave. Nothing is more addictive than leveling up.
They have notched up just how much customization you can do in the game - from unlocking badges to guns, to adding perks in a increasingly huge variety of ways - they multiplayer experience really can be individual. You can set up they game to suit your play style, and hopefully get better and better at the game. This is where the 'difficult to master' part comes in, as there is always more to learn, do and unlock. Hundred of hours of gameplay that rarely gets boring. Wait, thats wrong - I've never found it boring, MW1+2 and now 3 being a big contributor to my reputation as someone who is always late. Or 'busy'.
---------Kill and death streaks--------
One of the most genius features of MW is kill streaks - kill a certain number of people in a row, without dying and unlock a bonus - like an airstrike. Now, these are still a big part of the game (they've taken out the nuke from MW2 as far as I can see) but there are more, they are customizable and bonusable - making them more fun an open to players of varying ability. Speaking of players with varying ability, they have also added death streaks - if you die a certain number of times in a row you get a perk, such as increased speed of the infamous martyrdom perk from MW1. This seems to be a great way of making the game fairer and not putting off new people to the game as getting involved in a gaming environment teeming with hardened, enthusiastic players can be a bit daunting.
A few other bits and bobs make the multiplayer experience generally more fun and solid than an already fun and solid game - things such as a better HUD with bars indicating teams scores and a global map on the loading screen showing where people are playing. But the thing you notice the most in multiplayer is how is startlingly similar to MW1+2. This is good and bad - they had a winning formula in terms of how they game has played in the past and they not messed with this, but on the other hand they have not taken a huge, innovative leap forward.
As well as the single player and multiplayer - a third game type exists - 'Spec Ops'. In this a single player, or two players can play through either survival or challenge mode, trying to beat online and personal records. Although I've only checked this out a bit, its really fun and I can see it adds lots more hours to the game.
Control wise, as with the level of violence and unsuitability for under 18s, little has changed. The game still plays in that near perfect way with each button being in just the right place, almost perfect for fast paced multiplayer - so much so when I play a first person shooter I change the control set up to match the default COD set up. Its a violent game, thats dangerously addictive with lots of bad language and not suitable for the millions of kids worldwide playing it - but hey, thats another rant.
I personally think they are right to not have messed with its, and my opinion of this love or hate game is that I love it for they fact they are building on a brilliant game - not taking risks in order maybe move the game in a new direction. That said, this will be the last time, in my opinion the makers can get away with sticking so rigidly to the formula - although considering this is such a money spinner, I doubt they will change that much with the next installment. Again, that said, the next installment will more than likely land on the next gen consoles so a big leap will automatically take place there.
This is a thoroughly addictive game and almost exist beyond 'gaming' - its that big its something else. I read an article in The Guardian that looked at why this game go so much stick, despite being great - and they concluded its considered a sport and almost a way of life by many of its players with competitions going on all the time. So, when this game came out and wasn't the big step up everyone was expecting, people got mad. Not buying and not being a part of this game was simply not an option for some people - and despite financial set backs, I include myself in that. Unlike those people though, I'm not that heavily invested in the game so much so no huge improvements have bothered me.
Check this game out if you like fun, quick, addictive pick up and go gaming - within minutes of booting this up you can be stuck in a great game. Thats something I love about this, cramming a game in before work or on a break - or whilst waiting for my girlfriend gets ready (luckily she take a while) is so easy to do you're never that far from you're next gaming fix.
Right now its about £25 on PS3 and Xbox, but its gradually getting cheaper - a month or so and it will be below £20.