Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
DEVELOPER: Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games
WRITER: Paul Haggis
STARRING: Kevin McKidd, Billy Murray, William Fichtner, Idris Elba, Timothy Olyphant
RELEASE DATE: November 8, 2011
The Call of Duty franchise has become a juggernaut in the video game industry—with titles like World at War, Black Ops, and, biggest of all, the Modern Warfare series contributing to what has become a more profitable franchise than both Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings, to name a couple.
While I’ve always loved first-person shooters, I was late to the Call of Duty games for one reason or another and only recently jumped in head first a year or so back when I first played Modern Warfare and decided to finally try this “multiplayer” thing out with Black Ops. As was the case with most people, I too was sucked in fairly quickly, and, after getting pretty decent at multiplayer action, began getting pumped for the newest and biggest Call of Duty title to date, Modern Warfare 3.
The game picks up right where Modern Warfare 2 left off (which involves spoilers, so I won’t go into detail) in 2016 as World War III unfolds around you. Captain John Price (Billy Murray) and John “Soap” MacTavish (Kevin McKidd) are leading the charge again, as they go after terrorist Vladimir Makarov. But Makarov has bigger plans—just as the president of Russia is ready to begin peace talks with the U.S., Makarov’s men hijack his plane and take the president hostage in hopes of obtaining the nuclear launch codes and really unleashing hell…making his elimination more of a priority than ever before.
I think my favorite thing about the Modern Warfare games as a whole is how quick they are. The games are fast, furious, and a pure adrenaline rush from start to finish, and Modern Warfare 3 is no exception. In fact, it’s quite possibly bigger (in terms of BANG, not actual size/length) and more intense than all of its predecessors. That’s not to say I prefer a short game over a 100+ hour open world game—I don’t—but I do love a campaign I can play in a day or two that feels like a movie I’m the star of.
I know a lot of people feel like they don’t get their money’s worth in a short campaign, but if these games were 20 hours we’d have a mental breakdown trying to play them. So yes, I’m a huge fan of the quickfire (literally) format, especially because there’s plenty of other things to do from endless online multiplayer action to Special Ops missions, to replaying the game and trying to score those achievements or trophies you missed out on.
Speaking of multiplayer, that area is giving me a little more trouble, personally. As I mentioned above, I had gotten fairly good at multiplayer matches in Black Ops and was excited to see what I could do here. It was quickly realized that this is a completely different animal. The maps have an insane amount of complexity to them, allowing people to hide anywhere and making it hard to find/see someone before they see you. I felt like MORE of a rookie this time around than with Black Ops, where I WAS a rookie and had never touched multiplayer before. Perhaps it’s just me and hopefully, in time, things will come more naturally and I can throw down without feeling like so much of a fool. But for now, things are not going well in the MW3 multiplayer arenas.
To make things even better, Activision graciously sent along their Hardened Edition of the game, which is a great little package you can pick up on Xbox 360 HERE and PS3 HERE. Because of the price tag it won’t be for everyone, but for you hardcore fans it’s an excellent deal.
It comes with the game in a steelbook case, a full year subscription to the new Call of Duty Elite service ($49.99 on its own), which offers a ton of extra stuff including all in-game maps and DLC, competitions for prizes, lifetime multi-game stats, and far too much more to list off (you can learn more at the official site, which is where I’m still trying to figure everything I can do out). You’ll also get Elite Founder status along with your own Founder card, an in-game emblem, special weapon camouflage, and clan XP boosts, not to mention special Xbox Live avatar Juggernaut armor and a very, very cool field journal (which I believe belongs to Soap) full of notes and sketches and observations that tie into the Modern Warfare trilogy’s storylines and missions. As you can see, they definitely hook the diehard fans up if you drop a little extra coin.
In the end, Modern Warfare 3 is a game made for the fans of the franchise. Imagine your favorite action movies of all time, put yourself in the place of Harrison Ford or Bruce Willis or Matt Damon or whoever else, and that’s what it feels like playing the campaign. It’s a relentless theme park ride of a game that will often times have you holding your breath as you play. And, again, that’s just the start of it; if you also play online, there’s countless hours of entertainment to be had here.