Few franchises have had a larger impact on the modern console gaming landscape than Call of Duty. The Modern Warfare scion of the long-running series has attracted millions of devoted players (and customers) to its addictive multiplayer arenas and cinematic campaigns, as well as inspired widespread adoration and shameless imitation. And Modern Warfare 3 doesn't stray far from the familiar formula. Though some of the signature thrills have lost their luster, this is still a very exciting and rewarding game. An explosive campaign, breakneck competitive action, and challenging cooperative play all serve as engrossing reminders of how Call of Duty earns its prestige.
6349629NoneHelicopter-on-helicopter violence is tearing New York City apart.
Like previous Call of Duty campaigns, the one in Modern Warfare 3 is a globe-hopping affair that puts you in the boots of a few different soldiers. One thread follows Soap and Price on the hunt for Makarov and picks up where Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 left off. Others take you to major metropolitan areas like New York City, London, and Paris, where full-blown battles are being waged. The destruction that has been visited on these iconic locations is visually stunning, making the stakes seem higher than ever before. As you shift among remote air support control, on-foot firefights, and tense vehicle sequences, the expert pacing keeps you engaged and eager to take on the next threat.
The campaign also has a few unnerving sights and thrilling tricks up its sleeve, and the latter are more successful than the former. Chaos on a presidential plane and a frantic chase through Parisian streets are highlights, where environmental upheaval makes you feel like you are struggling for control in out-of-control situations. Other, quieter moments give you a chance to take in the carnage that these urban conflicts have caused, and seeing dead civilians who evidently perished while fleeing danger is affecting.
Unfortunately, Modern Warfare 3 takes a much more overt and heavy-handed shot at wrenching your heartstrings, which doesn't go well. The outcome is so obvious from the moment the scene starts that you're left to watch dispassionately as the throwaway characters act out their lines and fall victim to tragedy (opting not to see disturbing content at the outset of the campaign will likely spare you this unpleasantness). Despite this emotional misstep, the campaign remains an engaging and superbly paced roller-coaster ride that brings the Modern Warfare story to a satisfying conclusion.
6349626NoneThis unmanned ground vehicle is almost as sturdy as soldiers with regenerating health.
Though the campaign is strictly single-player, the cooperative Special Ops mode returns after its debut in Modern Warfare 2, bringing with it plenty of opportunities to slaughter AI enemies with another player, split-screen or online. There are 16 one-off missions that complement the events of the campaign, letting you experience new facets of the global conflict in which you are embroiled. From tanking along in a Juggernaut suit to covering your ally with remote-controlled sentry turrets, there's a lot of variety here. Though even the longest missions can be completed in less than 10 minutes, the variable difficulty levels help Spec Ops missions provide hours of challenging combat. And if you prefer to continue your solo soldiering, you can run almost every mission by yourself and aim for a respectable spot on the online leaderboards.