The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 campaign picks up where the previous Modern Warfare installment ended. However, this edition provides a very different experience. In previous releases, the campaign focused on a squad working together against a common enemy, providing different settings and objectives that switch up the monotony of constant battle.
The 2023 offering does nothing of the sort. The cutscenes provide a story that goes completely untold in the gameplay. There are two options: equip full stealth mode or take on wave after wave of enemies in the new “open combat” missions. There is no variety of tasks to complete. The goal is to move from one spot to another until the next cutscene gives anything of substance. You follow the frustrating (and exceptionally short) journey of Makarov’s return only to have a heavily dissatisfying conclusion.
It’s hard to give the rush job a lot of negative critique when it is just that, a rush job. Yearly installments certainly aren’t conducive to high quality gameplay and as controversial as it may sound, shouldn’t be expected as such. The issue here is that what was once meant to be a small game expansion is being sold to consumers for the high price tag of 70 dollars. While Call of Duty multiplayer modes seem to be running out of direction, one would think some of that effort could be thrust into campaign mode, but there is no evidence of that here.
Multiplayer modes for Modern Warfare 3 offer redemption from the lackluster campaign. The game includes revamped versions of 16 maps from its predecessor. With Modern Warfare 2 being a favoured installment by many, this was a smart choice, at least to start. Sledgehammer brought back some key features that were sorely missed, including slide cancelling and map voting. They also removed weapon tuning and given the array of attachments, it isn’t needed.
New modes include Cutthroat, a 3v3v3 experience that settles a deathmatch tie with Capture the Flag, as well as large-scale modes like Invasion and Ground War. These give a bit of a Warzone feel but with a lot more action. Ground War is the objective-based version, while Invasion is a giant team deathmatch. The new Zombies also allows players to play from a third-person perspective. This provides an original Resident Evil kind of experience.
Though none of these new modes or changes are entirely novel for the Call of Duty franchise, they seem to be fairly successful. With the campaign leaving much to be desired, Multiplayer shines in this installment.