Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 review

The latest installment of the popular gaming franchise lives up to its expectations
Photo of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

For some the figures speak for themselves – $400 million dollars made in the first 24 hours and $775 million within the first five days. Clearly Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was the most eagerly anticipated game of the year and the fans proved it by rushing to the cash tills. Yet once you get past the buying fever and the hype, just how good is Activision’s premier title? In terms of the gameplay, you won’t be surprised to learn there’s the usual trio of single player campaign, two player co-op and multiplayer but of course the devil is in the detail and while there are some significant additions, regular CoD aficionados won’t find much in the way of innovations.

Impressive Survival

Infinity Ward have obviously decided not to tinker too much with a winning formula and so the solo campaign literally picks up where MW2 ended as the various special forces combine to catch or kill Vladimir Makarov before his plans for global destruction reach their malevolent conclusion. As this is the story Grand Finale, we do a whistle-stop tour of London, Paris, New York, Somalia, Sierra Leone, etc., at a frenetic pace with plenty of explosions. The maps, though, are still very small and much will be familiar for MW2 players.

There’s a feeble effort at controversy in the London section (yet nothing to compare with the airport massacre of MW2) but the most spectacular section is surprisingly aboard a Russian airliner. Much of the action is of the wave assault variety, interspersed with rail sequences on trucks, boats and tanks, plus sniper support and calling in air strikes.

Moving to co-op, Special Ops is divided into two modes – Missions (16 in all, with some replaying campaign assignments from the other side) and Survival. Survival is CoD’s version of Horde with weapons and ammo upgrades after each wave is successfully defeated – easily the highlight of this game area, especially if played with a friend.

New Strike Packages

Which brings us neatly to the anxiously awaited multiplayer, where Infinity Ward have done their utmost to try and balance up the skill matching and points allocating to encourage more noobies to take the plunge. While killstreaks are still rewarded with faster and better upgrades, they are contained within the Assault option of so-called “Strike Packages” – the other two (Specialist and Support) give you the chance to earn pointstreaks for completing objectives and crucially these remain even after you’ve been killed. Weapons themselves are also levelled up the more you use them and there are fewer hiding places on the maps where you can sit with a sniper rifle or pick off respawns.

The other major improvement is in the Deathmatch variant Kill Confirmed where you have to grab your downed enemy’s dog tags to gain team points or grab your colleague’s tags to prevent the opponents doing the same. The fun comes when you deliberately leave the tags as bait to lure your foes into the open. Worth mentioning, too, is Team Defender which is a form of Capture the Flag where the flag bearer keeps on the move – very much a central theme of MW3 as a whole. It’s a shame that there’s not much new to report on the weapons front, however.

It was MW2 that brought us the Predator Missile, Sentry Guns, Thermal Scopes, Door Breaching, etc., while MW3 has managed changeable scopes such as the Red Dot sight to ACOG. But then again, you’ll probably be too busy gunning and running to have time to check the hardware you’re exchanging.

The lack of ranked dedicated servers, on the other hand, has already caused several grumbles of discontent with sometimes lengthy delays waiting to connect to an online game and occasional resulting crashes. But there’s little doubt that the millions of dedicated CoD multiplayers will put up with a lot worse to feed their addiction.

Company: Activision


  • Kill Confirmed on multiplayer
  • Not much new


It seems that Infinity Ward have erred on the side of caution with Modern Warfare 3, completing the solo campaign storyline with little innovation as though it was MW2.1 but the improved boosts to co-op and multiplayer will ensure its longevity.