I sat down and played through the whole Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 campaign (because it looks like three, maybe four other people did as well and I kind of wanted to even the playing field) in five and a half hours. The following are my thoughts on the campaign in its entirety.
You all know what it is (the 3.5 million pre-order sales figures don’t lie, ever. Ever.), so I’m not going to bother introducing it. However, since the online numbers indicate to me that a large chunk of those who purchased the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 went straight online, digging their gritty mitts into the multiplayer right off the cuff, I stuck around for the campaign to see if it held up. Turns out, it does. Tremendously. For a game that focuses heavily on its online features, it packs a lot of content into three acts, for a total of fourteen missions (prologue notwithstanding).
First things I want to touch, stroke and caress vigorously are the weapons. I’ve played CoD since Modern Warfare 1, and since that game there’ve been one or two weapons that, when I hear them firing, make me want to die. My largest spot of issue was with Famas. I hate it. It’s disgusting and metallic, it always sounded like you were shooting ball bearings through a series of steel rings that jiggle back and forth constantly. I’m proud to announce that Activision/Infinity Ward fixed that to an awesome extent…and that’s just the beginning. Since MW1 I’ve been screaming for the G36c. It’s my favourite assault rifle, and in this newest instalment, they brought it back. Much to my delight as well, the Scar is still kickin’ around, as is the P90, the ACR…the gang is all here. And they all sound awesome, like Bigfoot breaking a spine into three pieces. Best part is, if you so desire, you can use all of them. You just have to look around.
Getting into the storyline some more, it seems that World War Threesome is finally happening. This is great news for the Russians, because what else do they do all day? Probably drink a lot. Anyway, now they have an agenda. Occupy Wall Street supporters will drown in their own urine and sweat out of sheer joy, because the Russian army literally occupies Wall Street. Then they shred it apart. You get to go in and tear it up some more, blow up some nice things, and ride away clean. This is largely the goal of most of the areas; blow up the stuff, break some legs, an extraction or save a hostage here or there, come home happy. However, if war has taught us anything, it’s that nothing ever goes as planned. The storyline has enough twists to keep you enthralled. Probably the most heart-string-pulling CoD so far, Modern Warfare 3 doesn’t dick around with bad plots or lack of character involvement. You get to play as just about every main character, and the story ties in seamlessly – yet importantly – with the previous games in the three-part series. Nevertheless…
Captain Price sure is an asshole in this game. If I could think of one main tip to follow throughout the whole experience, it would be either “Don’t bother finding all the intel in the first run unless you’re Waldo’s mom or Carmen San Diego’s illegitimate son”, or “For the love of god, don’t try to climb a ladder that Captain Price is already climbing.” Three, maybe four times, Mr. Price kicked me off a ladder, sending me flying back to solid ground. Not deliberately, but if you get in the way of his feet, the game thinks you’re trying to lick his boots, and MW3 doesn’t swing that way. One time he was yelling at me to jump, but he didn’t say where, and I ended up falling into a river and dying He later tells you to keep up or he’s leaving you behind. On the flip side, stealth missions with Soap are amazing. I don’t like covert ops, but there’s something about creeping around Africans behind a Scottish guy with a mohawk, or narrowly evading Russian soldiers by slinking under their feet that makes me happy. Scotlands McScottypants knows how to keep my attention.
Of course, there are some small qualms. For instance, in one particular mission, it’s very difficult to tell who’s on your team and who isn’t. Since you have to restart if you kill teammates, I had to redo the beginning section about four times because some douche got in the way of my tank bullets. Also, if you go too far ahead, the game treats you like you’re lagging behind. There’s not a real downside here; sometimes you have to backtrack a bit for your team to catch up, but mostly someone just tells you to “hurry up”, which is kind of funny when you’re all the way across the map already. There’s this found-footage sequence where you play the role of a camera-wielding husband, and your wife indirectly blames you for her and your daughter’s deaths. Listen, she might get her eccentricity from me, but that big hole in her face is definitely from the truck that exploded in front of her. These minor issues can, however, easily be overlooked.
I feel like I should address the “This is MW2 in a new box” problem I’ve been hearing about. Look, when people go to see a movie sequel, if it’s 100%, completely different from its predecessor, they whine and complain about “sticking to their roots” or “changing too much”. Modern Warfare 3 is a sequel, and from what I can tell, the only thing it shares with Modern Warfare 2 is its appearance. There are more guns, the perks are styled differently, there are new game types, the list of differences goes on and on. When you think about it, that’s exactly what you want in a sequel; same style, different content.
All in all, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is a thoroughly satisfying experience. The developments over its previous are more than enough to make the multiplayer new and fresh for months to come. It’s a contender for the “Most Gruesome Throat-Cutting Mechanic Ever” award, the “Really Funny, Culturally Referential Achievement Names” award, and the “Grinch’s Fat Ass Can Trap You In A Corner For A Bit If You’re Not Careful” award. There’s even a part where you cliff dive, with and without a parachute. I love cliff diving. What other game can you pick up a Russian man and toss him down a steep hill? The combat is fluid, fast paced and action-packed, and almost getting hit with a barrel is a very sobering experience. Dual scope is the greatest thing since the back-alley handjob. That UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) hauls so much ass that it’s literally its job. There’s even a mission where you float in dead-body water. MW3 contains just about all the super-cool I expected, and more.