I can’t believe the state of Modern Warfare 3. I want to love this game, but I can’t. With an incredible array of playable maps that harken back to the original Modern Warfare games, the nostalgia is palpable – this is coupled with incredible gunplay and relatively simple (albeit stupid) progression that even with the return to form, Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer is a hollow shell of its former glory.
I‘m Going Right for the Throat
One of the most glaring issues that haunted my every session was the frequency of game-breaking spawn traps by opposing teams – this infuriating stigma COD been facing since its inception is just baffling to me. Too often did I find myself respawning only to be caught in an inescapable loop of instant death, creating an insurmountable disadvantage that sapped the joy out of the gameplay. It’s been reported by several outlets stating that Sledgehammer Games had to pull numerous maps from the game due to wild spawn rates. To think that Activision pumps all this money and yet still face with these kinds of issues is mind bogglingly stupendous. Compounding this frustration were problems related to hit detection and weapon registration. Outside of Hardcore, the game’s attempt to tell me the number of hits it took to take me down is always inaccurate; I would get damage and hits indicator after death that would say I was hit 5 time with 130 damage but in reality, I was 2 tapped by a pistol from 76.5 meters away. Doesn’t help that my own guns often fail to register hits during intense firefights – I was left to question the reliability of the game mechanics. It’s disheartening to see the core elements of a shooter, the very essence of player engagement, falter so noticeably. No streamer or superfan of the series can tell me otherwise.
Cheating ran rampant through the lobbies, casting a shadow over the competitive integrity of the game. It’s ever so clear that all other players are using macros, granting unwarranted advantages, such as snappier aim and minimal recoil, turned every engagement into a sweat-infested headache. Whatever anti-cheat Activision has in place, it ain’t working. However, before I tear this game a new one, I have to say – Modern Warfare 3 gunplay and movement is at peak level here. It feels extremely nice to play the game – shooting feels snappy and responsive, climbing, vaulting, sliding – all transition with ease. Slide canceling is back, weapon swap toggle is back, I love it and that’s what bringing me back…. dammit.
1 Step Forward, 10 Steps Back
There are 16 maps – pretty much all reprisals, a slew of game modes such as Control, Cutthroat, TDM, Free-for-All, Ground War, Gun Game, all of which can also be played in Hardcore and all it all doesn’t matter – why? Skill-Based Match Making (SBMM). I often play in casual lobbies, yet its relentless competitiveness left me with newfound grey hairs. The once enjoyable matches of old has seen a massive decline over the years. Activision’s apparent inability to strike a balance between competition and casual play is one of their many glaring flaws. Now, shifting focus to the Zombies mode. The experience felt like a mere shell of its potential. A hybrid of Outbreak and DMZ mode, the open-world setting seemed intriguing at first. Yet, the mode’s bare-bones execution, coupled with a time limit and the inability to play offline, turned it into a lackluster addition. The effort required to navigate tiered areas, complete contracts, and confront increasingly difficult zombies was not met with proportional rewards, resulting in a skewed effort-to-reward ratio. I barely even care to play this mode – though I will attempt it at some point for exp-exploit.
The weapon unlock progression, a critical aspect of player motivation, proved to be relatively lackluster this time around, even if it’s an improvement over MW2. Requiring players to hit a set level and complete challenges felt like an unnecessary hurdle. The challenge usually entails you to complete 3 daily challenges, which means – yup you guessed it – one weapon or attachment a day. Yes, there are tons of weapons to play with until all are unlocked, but this artificial progression is a disrespect to players time, and I hate it. See, there’s a lot of improvement within Gunsmith, like the addition of Aftermarket Parts to certain guns, but the grind for these is unreasonable and honestly, Gunsmith feels about the same as previous iterations. Regarding the progression you’ve made in MW2, it carries over to MW3 which I actually really enjoy. But the slather-attempt of their microtransaction really sour the weight of tangibility; I just don’t care about their skins – they’re all meaningless.
REVIEW SCORE: 4/10
There’s not much else to say about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3; it delivered a rather bitter experience for me. While the gunplay and movement exhibited improvements, the overarching issues, ranging from spawn problems to rampant cheating, weighed heavily on the overall enjoyment. The game’s failure to recapture the magic of its predecessors and to improve upon its formula, coupled with a lackluster Zombies mode, leaves it falling really short of the high expectations set by the franchise. Call of Duty fans may find themselves grappling with the age-old dilemma of embracing nostalgia while navigating the pitfalls of a flawed gaming experience.
You can read my Modern Warfare 3 Campaign Review HERE