Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Reviewed, BF3 Compared

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After playing through Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's single-player campaign and spending some solid time with the game in multiplayer, we can attest that MW3 is the latest well-executed title in the long-running Call of Duty franchise. The game's production values are excellent, the single-player campaign is gripping and intense, and all of the gameplay conventions and design principles the CoD series is known for are here.

Call of Duty: Death To Landmarks

Whether or not this is a good thing depends entirely on how much you like the Call of Duty titles to begin with. If you've played any of the previous games you'll feel right at home in MW3—a fact that actually caught me by surprise, given that I'd skipped Modern Warfare 2 and hadn't actually played a CoD title since 2007's Call of Duty 4.

If you're looking for a game that fundamentally moves its own bar forward or offers significant single-player innovation, this isn't it. Players who thought MW2 and even the original CoD 4 were tired rehashes of stale game mechanisms will find no reason to change their minds. Gamers who enjoy the formula enough to slip into a new title, on the other hand, will enjoy the experience.

Single Player
MW3's single-player campaign is fast-paced, exciting, and short. It can be beaten in five hours or less on a first play-through. In this case, that's a good thing—but only because the game's plot is so threadbare, it could scarcely sustain much more.

On a boat. Like a boss. Oh God, oh God, we're all going to die

Modern Warfare 3 eschews character development or the need for thought in favor of building on MW2's already incomprehensible mashup of ultrationalist Russians with nonsensical plans for world domination. All of this is wrapped around the familiar returning figures of captains John "Soap" MacTavish and John Price. MW3 picks up where Modern Warfare 2 left off and focuses on the two men's effort to find and kill Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Makarov. It's also an excuse for blowing up the Eiffel Tower.

Take that, you cheese-eating surrender monkeys!

Games with great plots generally get away with short campaigns, but five hours of gameplay for $59.99 is a dismal value proposition, particularly since there's no great storyline or storytelling anchoring the blink-and-you'll-miss-it whirlwind tour of international locales Infinity Ward wanted to blow up.

Is it fun? Absolutely—just like the dozens of other shooters (and a solid handful of CoD-style shooters) available for $9.99 - $19.99 on sites like Steam. There's nothing in the single-player campaign to justify a $59.99 price tag unless you're a die-hard CoD fan who absolutely must have his fix—in which case, you've already bought the game.

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OptimusPrimeTime 3 years ago

"Good rundown, great comparison, bad jokes, r0FL. Overall solid. I have not had the time to play any of them, so I can't give a proper comparison of my own. Blacks Ops was a great experience and I will pick up MW3 at some point. as well as BF3"

"@Joel, out of curiosity, what keyboard and mouse do you use, and for your sound analysis, speakers or headsets and what brand?"

Joel H 3 years ago


I use a Razor Tarantula that I bought because it suited me very well for typing and a Logitech G90 mouse. I've also used (and very much liked) the cheaper G90. I can't really recommend either purchase as reason to improve your game, because I'm terrible at both games with both peripherals. ;)

For my sound analysis I'm using a simple pair of Razer Moray earbuds. Very good response on them, but I was surprised at how effectively BF3 models sound on a stereo headphone jack. MW3 isn't bad by any means, but the positional audio isn't as exact. It makes a difference.

OptimusPrimeTime 3 years ago

"Thank you. For all my all purpose needs in music, movies and gaming, without bothering my neighbors, I will probably buy the Psyko Carbon that I've read about in Marco's blog , the Razor tarantula looks cool, but the I'm still inclined to the Merc Stealth. Thanks for your reply."

Joel H 3 years ago

The Tarantula is *old.*  2-3 years at least. They've got much newer swag out these days.

ThunderBird 3 years ago

'Infinity Ward serves up a plot so thin it couldn't keep an Ethiopian stripper decently covered'........Classic!!!!

I reinstalled COD MW3 the other day and it feels like a "run and gun" game now after playing BFBC 2. I like a team based game where thinking and strategy is involved.

Thanks for the review of both games.

AKwyn 3 years ago

That review confirmed everything that that we all thought from the beginning. Battlefield 3 is better...

Call of Duty hasn't been the same since the two founders from Infinity Ward left... Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 looked good but I was willing to only play it's single player and buy Call of Duty Modern Warfare for it's multiplayer... I mean Infinity Ward's decision was a bad one when it came to the PC... I mean no custom servers, what were they thinking?

While this game does have custom servers and does have the Infinity Ward "name". It just isn't the same... Without those two people without the helm. Modern Warfare 3 was destined to suck, though it's single player campaign sure does look fun. I mean it sucks that the two creators had to get into a fight with Activision and get themselves fired but they're at EA and they're probably doing something good over there...

I'm not going to talk about Battlefield 3 seeing as how there's a lot of praise and what I said is somewhere in this forum but I am going to say that if those two win the lawsuit, they should halt any further Modern Warfare games because Infinity Ward (and most of the Call of Duty games) are not the same without them at all.

Inspector 3 years ago

BF3 FTW, many of my friends got both and are saying blackops was better... I didn't even bother to get MW3, BF3 all day!

lipe123 3 years ago

MW3 is a no brainer, its mw2.5 and its not worth a penny more than a 15$ DLC.

BF3, I bought and played a few days and stopped. The game is pretty and mostly fun but the teamwork is terrible and there are tons of bugs and obvious ommisions in needed content. It's just really hard to have a round where at the end of it you feel "happy" regardless of win/lose.

So much spawnkilling due to bad spawn on sqaudmate options that place you in the largest open area with the most enemies looking stright at you. Team/squad mates don't play together at all and it feels like everyone is going for a different objective.

In Diablo 3 we trust! (black ops until then)

AKwyn 3 years ago

[quote user="lipe123"]So much spawnkilling due to bad spawn on sqaudmate options that place you in the largest open area with the most enemies looking stright at you. Team/squad mates don't play together at all and it feels like everyone is going for a different objective.[/quote]

Obviously, this is common within all games involving teamwork, not just Battlefield 3. Black Ops I can mostly understand (due to the shoot-and-run style gameplay of it) but if you want a team experience then you might want to join a clan...

Otherwise, try to stick with a person as much as possible and remember... You are a spawnpoint, they may be forced to spawn on you and take a different strategy...

Also the anger is mainly because of people taking cheap shots using a rocket launcher, grenade launcher or anything else when a gun would be perfectly fine... I mean come on, your close enough to a person and all you can do is shoot a rocket at them? That's telling me they're either too inexperienced or can't be bothered to use much else...

SmogHog 3 years ago

For me the best part of MW2 and MW3 is the Special Ops.

All the annoying video in Black Ops killed the game from being great..

The single player campaign in BF3 has some very fun gameplay but there's alot of things that don't belong in a FPS. and some quirky gameplay.

MW3 on the hardest setting is great fun in my estimation.

BF3 is best for the on-line gamers.The campain is short and not worth the money.

I wish a future game comes along where the developer actually gets how grenades really work and they don't bounce like basketballs or can be thrown the length of a football field..I've thrown a few.

Make the games hard to win but don't make them stupid in doing so..

omegadraco 3 years ago

Going to have to wait until the prices drop on both of these games. I would like to play both of them but especially with this nice review it is not worth my money. Hopefully I will be able to get them for like $30 bux in a year or so and by then will have a machine that can actually run them decently.

rapid1 3 years ago

Skyrim "3.4 million sales in two days" MW3 was like 6 Million I think BF3 has lost double to MW3 and is about even with Skyrim how is it going to be a best of 2011!

Joel H 3 years ago

'Best" doesn't mean "highest sales." And 3 million plus sales is still huge.

rapid1 3 years ago

Off to play SWTOR Beta :p

gazd1 3 years ago

Good to see this review! Good to keep informed!Yes

ZSattar 3 years ago

Very good review. I own both games, BF3 is much much better in terms of gameplay, sound effects, graphics etc. 

Problem with Cod is they are using a old engine, they need a new one. 

detnight 3 years ago

I have played all of the CoD ,modern warfare , and battle field games and have yet to finish a single player game yet. I buy them to play online with. My son and son-in-law play the single person games and they perfer the MW games. I like the BF2 and my new favorite BF3 because I like the larger maps and I like to blow up things. But I will still buy all of the games in the CoD, MW and BF for the PC ONLY. Games have come along way since Quake, Doom and Delta Force all played on dial up.

Samar 3 years ago

Nice Comparitive analysis.

cowboyspace 2 years ago

I love MW3 for me This is the best FPS,the mission are just impressive and not to mention the well detailed graphics.

im9drums 2 years ago

I love all the games in the call of duty series. the online multiplayer are great. especially if you know alot of people you are playing with.

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