Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 – PC Game Review
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3. PC Game Review. Publisher: Activision. Developer: Infinity Ward. $60
Passed Inspection: It continues on right where MW2 left off. Great solo campaign action. Solid and addictive multiplayer mayhem, with loads of new weapons/unlocks to be had. Spec Ops mode is loads of fun, to boot. It still manages to look really good, even if it’s only baby steps better than Modern Warfare 2 visually. Overall a solid game for single and multiplayer gamers.
Failed Basic: No Elite support for the PC version. No PC controller support at all. Usually the PC version is $10 cheaper than the $60 console counterparts, but not this one. MW3 on the PC costs the same as the console versions, with less options.
When it comes to military shooters Call of Duty seems to be the first game franchise that comes to mind these days. Technically, Call of Duty didn’t invent the military shooter, but it did a lot to keep the genre on the map for nearly a decade now. The latest installment is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (MW3).
Owners of the previous two Modern Warfare titles will be right at home in MW3, because the single-player campaign includes many of the same familiar faces from those two earlier incarnations—like the characters Price, Nikolai and Soap—as you make your way through it. Actually MW3 picks up almost right where Modern Warfare 2 left off story-wise. Russia is the main antagonist, but you’ll also encounter some African warlord goon types as the action takes place in various settings around the globe.
While the real meat and potatoes of any Call of Duty game is the multiplayer, the solo game is really fun and quite well done. It’s linear, but scripted and linear missions can be very entertaining if done right, and I’m glad to say that the solo game of MW3 is fantastic. In MW3 you feel like you’re a bigger part of what is happening around you, even if the game does have to do some hand-holding to get you there. Battlefield 3 took the same approach, but in MW3 you have a greater sense that your input matters, as opposed to being just a spectator along for the ride.
It’s really hard not to want to compare MW3 to its closest competitor, Battlefield 3, in the way of the single-player solo campaign, but in all honesty Modern Warfare 3 just does it better. Modern Warfare always has offered a solid single-player campaign, and MW3 is no different. In all, it offers about 7 hours’ worth of solo action to run-and-gun through, a thrill ride from start to finish.
The Spec Ops mode can be played solo or with a friend cooperatively. In this mode you’re tasked with a wide variety of different objectives, which can also help you unlock other bits of gear to use in multiplayer matches. One mission in particular pits you against an almost non-stop barrage of enemies while you’re outfitted with the insanely durable juggernaut armor. Other missions include objectives which require a stealth approach, full-on kill-them-all mayhem, and beating the clock, just to name a few.
Visually speaking I can’t say it’s quite as polished as Battlefield 3 or Crysis 2. MW3 certainly doesn’t look bad, it just looks a little dated in comparison to the other AAA-class titles out there in the shooter genre. However, you can tell that some of the multiplayer maps were designed with functionality in mind—they weren’t just whipped up to visually dazzle you. It won’t require nearly as powerful a PC to run MW3 with max details as other games require, and the maps don’t include so much detail that they take away from the gameplay experience. In short, MW3 isn’t ugly by any means, but it won’t wow you, either. If you found Modern Warfare 2 visually appealing with max detail settings, then MW3 will be pretty much the same.
On the multiplayer side, if you’ve played MW2 you know what to expect in MW3. It’s a formula that works and works well, so Actavision really didn’t it change much. There have been some minor tweaks to the existing game overall, but that’s about it. This, however, is a good thing, because there hasn’t been a Modern Warfare game yet that wasn’t fun online. The maps are accommodating for this style of game—fast-paced, with in-your-face, non-stop action. There are also all of the various unlocks and achievements to be had as well. Again, this is virtually the same game as before, only with some new weapons, gear, maps, and minor tweaks.
So, really, there’s not a lot to report new about it. It is what it is: an excellent sequel that doesn’t stray from a formula that works. The killcam, player-controlled UAVs, killstreaks, etc.—all that made previous games in this series the thrill ride they were remain intact. It’s quite addictive and fun.
Some gamers may feel there should have been more that is new about it, but I commend the developers for not feeling they had to change something that worked, just for the sake of saying there’s something new and different about it.
There are two things I consider a major bummer when it comes to this game. First, there’s no support for a gamepad or other controllers in MW3. A lot of the newer PC games can utilize an Xbox 360 controller by simply plugging one into an open USB port. Some games even go as far as detecting it and automatically setting up the controls for a 360 controller. Call of Duty: Black Ops on the PC supports the Xbox 360 controller right out of the box. Sadly, Modern Warfare 3 has no support whatsoever for controllers. The keyboard and mouse work fine, and I can re-keymap them all I want, but I wanted to use a gamepad for online play and can’t.
The second thing that irks me is that the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of MW3 have Call of Duty Elite support, but the PC version doesn’t. Elite is very much like a members-only ranking system and a whole lot more on top of what’s already in the game. For $50 you can buy a Premium Elite membership which gives you not only Elite support, but free access to all of the DLC content they release for Modern Warfare 3 for one year.
The biggest difference between this game and Battlefield 3 is the fact that the COD franchise in general has always been more about cooperating with your team, and play is on much smaller maps in a much faster-paced environment. I don’t think one game is better than the other—it’s just a matter of preference. If you want to engage in the larger-scale scenarios with vehicles and the most amazing graphics around at the moment, then Battlefield 3 is that game. If you want to engage in smaller, more fast-paced, up-close-and-personal conflicts with good but not mind-blowing visuals, then Modern Warfare 3 is the ticket.
Overall I now wish I had purchased the Xbox 360 version just because the lack of COD: Elite and PC controller support of any kind makes me feel I bought the version of the game that the developers cared least about. That’s a real bummer, too, because usually the PC version looks and plays a little better than the console counterparts due to the extra CPU horsepower and graphic muscle a PC has at its disposal. While it’s still a great game, and I’ve had a lot of fun with it, and I continue to have fun with it, I just feel cheated by having purchased it on this platform. Having said that the only reason I’d ever recommend the PC version would be only if you didn’t have a 360 or PS3. Adding insult to injury the PC version isn’t cheaper than the console version either.
It’s still a very solid and entertaining PC game, but it’s clear there are things the developers overlooked that could have made it better, and at least equal to the console versions. That aside it’s still the third coming of Modern Warfare on the PC, and it’s still a high-profile release, which yields loads of fast-paced, non-stop, shooter online-action, if that’s what you’re looking for from a PC game.
Armchair General Rating: 87%
About the Author
Rod White is a veteran writer with almost two decades’ experience covering games, hardware, military aviation and combat simulations for the PC, as well as diecast collectibles and various tabletop miniatures war games. Formerly co-founder and owner of PC Multimedia & Entertainment Magazine, one of the Internet’s first true online gaming publications to cover PC games, simulations and hardware, he also hosted the ground-breaking RealVideo/RealAudio show called CombatReporterLive! for the AllGamesNetwork/Pseudo, Inc.