Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 review
Eight short years ago, the first Call Of Duty was released on PC. COD was always popular, selling and reviewing well, but then it became a phenomenon – an all-conquering monster that prevails over the hype cycle, charts and online playlists worldwide. It’s all down to 2007’s Modern Warfare, which not only brought the series up to date with a nuclear bang, but also introduced the multiplayer that’s dominated both the competition and PSN ever since.
MW3’s single-player campaign offers closure: a thrill ride tying up a storyline that’s been running over two games and four years, one that began in the shoes of a Middle-Eastern dictator as he was summarily shot in the head on television.
Thankfully, the rest of the plot hasn’t proven quite so prescient: nuclear launches, EMPs and an all-out-war between America and Russia is where Modern Warfare 3 begins. As you start, the logo flips from ‘WW3’ into ‘MW3’ – or, in other words, now things really kick off.
Modern Warfare 2 was basically a Bond movie starring Price and Soap, but this is more influenced by Tom Clancy’s brand of fantasy war: nightmare terrorist scenarios at the heart of Western civilisation. Rather than moving between the depths of the Gulag and outer space, MW3 stays on the frontlines, from the skyscrapers of Manhattan to Parisian walkways.
At one moment, you’re the SAS intercepting a bomb in London; in the next, you’re an American GI invading a Red Army-occupied Europe, descending upon the beaches in a swarm of gleaming hovercraft rather than rickety boats.It’s in the nature of Modern Warfare to jump around, and there are memorable sequences in Sierra Leone and Somalia, among others – but if this is World War 3, it’s overwhelmingly on the West’s turf.
That much changes, but otherwise Modern Warfare 3 retains the characteristics that made the previous campaigns so memorable. The gunplay feels fantastic, and a lot of this is down to sheer technical achievement – no matter how hectic it gets, Modern Warfare 3 always runs at a smooth 60fps, with no controller latency and an incredible sensitivity to the possibilities of rumble. It says something that you almost take these things for granted.
COD’s single-player has always been about linear routes filled with spectacular set-pieces, and this structure remains. It’s a guided experience rather than an emergent one, with little room for improvisation – but these limits give the game’s designers a control that’s rarely wasted.
Infinity Ward has always specialised in making the first-person perspective move and react to in-game events – whether through its peerless use of blur and focus, or by putting you up close and personal in a brutal fistfight – and in MW3 you once again see things you won’t believe.