Unlike some reviewers out there, I have not rushed out a review of this game quickly after release. I wanted to give it a chance to impress me or not. In fact it has done neither of those two things. There are things both good and bad about about Modern Warfare 3.
Let’s examine the things that struck initially that were good. The solo campaign is longer than MW2 and more fun. Yes it is still on rails and finds you plopped into various characters at a fair clip. The story seems to be have been thought out a bit better and there seems to be a bit more involvement. This is especially the case when compared to the solo play of say Battlefield 3.
However, it does strike you that you are watching a vaguely interactive movie and you can sit back if you want, letting your AI buddies do all the work. That said, like many reviewers I encountered the penalty for straying off course more often than not which is frustrating.
In this day of “free roam” games, whether with a linear story or not, it is hard not to peek round corners and try to find alternate routes. A keen sense of self-preservation sometimes drives one away from the path set aside for you by the game.
Obviously the graphics are most impressive and it is a great game to look at it. What was most jarring for me was the exploding bomb on a street corner of London, for two reasons. One was the fact that I used to live nearby and frequently walked down that street.The second reason is that I was close enough to car bomb in London that it literally moved me a few feet back (no injuries fortunately).
I quite like, as do several friends of mine, the “spec-ops” co-op missions of varying types. They seem to be far more satisfying whether missions or survival than multi-player most of the time. The pairing in this section seems to be pretty good and I found it all quite enjoyable. They seem to have gotten this aspect of the game far slicker and more enjoyable than the previous iteration of Modern Warfare.
Now let us examine some of the frustrating aspects of this AAA title. Why on earth can’t I shut off the damn sound? I mean the music is okay the first few times, but you get sick of it really quickly, especially in the multi-player waiting area.
Why are there not distinct controls for music, speech and game sounds? Surely this is basic on a PC game.
Another aspect which has been talked about is the lack of good choice in field of view. Some people are getting motion sickness from the game because your field of view is so tight. A few more degrees would have been ever so helpful, especially in the fast-paced multi-player.
And then we come to multi-player and the schizophrenic mess that it is in the end. First of all when you first get into the game with your basic weapons more often than not you end up being matched with levels far higher. This means that it is hard to learn the map because you get keep bloody dying. It is no surprise that there is so much botting and hacking going-on when its so boring and frustrating to be low level in the game. While we keep hearing about bans for hacking of any kind, it is still rife.
When I played this weekend I would say that 1/3 of the matches I was in were hacker-free. There are plenty of quality videos of over the top hacking on YouTube. My personal favorite was when someone dumped about as much ordinance on our side via stealth bomber as was seen on the first night of Operation Shock & Awe in the Iraq War.
Needless to say, if you see someone with a score of over 4k that person is probably cheating somehow. Some of the kill streak awards are so over-powered that a hack that allows early access completely ruins the game for all but the hacker.
Another favorite is the hack that allows players to jump over in-coming bullets. There are a few poorly planned and buggy maps like “Outpost,” with places to get stuck and porous metal walls. Other maps have problems with spawning in front of enemies and right where you died.
The perk system is back, and while at times silly, can make for more enjoyable games. The “death perks” are particularly lame and quite why they were included is beyond me.
Another frustrating aspect of multi-player is that taking down aircraft with a LAWs launcher gives you very few points and is not considered a kill. Surely that would be part of the “support” this game is meant to encourage?
The server “migration” system when lag gets too bad is quite good when it works properly. It has saved a laggy mess of game from being pointless.
Ultimately what foils this game is that it feels like a poor console port to PC. Whether it is the sound or the FOV problems, it feels like the PC user has been cheated for their $60.
The solo play, while better and longer than BF3, could have been left off and the price reduced to something reasonable.
It is clear that makers of MW3 really could not give a damn about the solo story and play so why bother including it? That said when you get into a good multi-player team match with no hackers and competent players of a similar level it can be quite good fun. It is a shame it is all so random and lacks the consistency of enjoyment of say Team Fortress 2.
Modern Warfare is a deeply flawed game that could have been amazing and is instead is merely okay. Wait until the inevitable Steam sale because it sure as hell ain’t worth $60.
GameXYZ is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Content Descriptors. This game can also be found on: Nintendo DS, PC, PS3, Wii and Xbox 360