Modern Warfare 3 comes to us by way of an older engine, but still looks great. Sure, it’s not among the very best out there nowadays, but it performs well. At any given time the screen appears ready to burst with effects and visual madness. Entire battles are waged before you; buildings burn and crumble while a steady flow of explosions batter your senses. This is Call of Duty, and Modern Warfare 3 collects these moments of boom in abundance, presenting them in all their 60 frames-per-second glory.
Modern Warfare 3’s singleplayer campaign hits many of the same highs and lows as its predecessors. Amazing setpieces serve as backdrops for giant firefights yet again. This is no understatement. Few games retain the crazy roller coaster pace that this does level after level, with brief moments to breathe set between the next eruption of gunplay. The shooting feels extremely responsive and well-tuned, and the battlegrounds challenge your awareness at all times. You’re always given different situations that mix-up the gameplay just enough to keep things interesting. The game presents a formidable challenge, as always, on the Hardened and Veteran settings – something that the more hardcore players will want to delve into.
Still, Modern Warfare 3’s campaign suffers from a run of the mill story and the patented Call of Duty monster closet syndrome, a common shooter ailment that occurs when infinitely spawning enemies pour from around corners, doors and stairs without end. At several points enemies even appear to completely disregard their own safety if it means they can run past your allies and just shoot you in the face. The story is difficult to follow as usual, and while it does wrap up the arc begun by the previous Modern Warfare games, it isn’t ultimately all that interesting or satisfying. Moments of emotional weight fell flat as I found it difficult to muster up feelings of sadness about the death of one named soldier after witnessing the countless deaths of hundreds of other Americans.
If singleplayer is good, then Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer is fantastic. Like the other Call of Duty games before it, this entry pulls you in with its persistent leveling system and frantic combat. All of the sixteen new maps are fun to play and, with a whole new slew of challenges to complete, rewards constantly pop up and keep you hooked with the next little endorphin rush. No matter whether I play for five minutes or five hours, multiplayer in Modern Warfare 3 always makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something.
Some of the rewards you’re constantly unlocking are killstreaks and perks-series stand-bys-which are a few great examples of how Modern Warfare 3 refines the series. You still unlock weapons by leveling up, but weapons also have levels as well. Leveling up a gun adds Weapon Proficiencies, which are essentially perks for your weapon. These proficiencies take things like the hip fire accuracy perk from the previous games and add it to your weapon unlocks, giving you the ability to focus on other perks when customizing your class.