||You don't have to be a video-game nerd or anorak to know about Call of Duty. This is the biggest, most brash, most high-octane entertainment franchise in popular media today. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 follows the same, tried-and-tested formula from the previous seven installments to make sure you walk away wanting more and more. And whilst that's a good thing for the replay value, it also poses some serious questions about the credentials of what was possibly 2011's most anticipated game.
Echoes of the past, added with subtleties with the whiff of "ooh, nice!". This is Modern Warfare 3's presentation in a nutshell. The menu layouts and the gameplay HUD are basically copy-and-pasted from Modern Warfare 2, whilst the soundtrack uses all the same themes as Hans Zimmer's masterpiece of a score as done in Modern Warfare 2. But somebody at Infinity Ward did go over the old formula with a bit of care, as the end result is a much more polished and refined product. If I had to liken this to something, it would probably be BMW - they make the same cars every year but every new one is just a little bit different and a little bit better. It wasn't a revolution - far from it - but it's enough to make you stop and appreciate it for just a minute before you engage in some variant of fast and furious gameplay. And that too hasn't changed a bit.
Like most of the game, not much has changed. You still have the fantastically frenetic and addictive style of gameplay that can keep you hooked on for hours on end. The controls are as solid as ever, possibly the best out of any console shooter currently out. In multiplayer, the perks and leveling up system have been altered, and sometimes it can be a tad daunting. In addition to actually leveling yourself up through the traditional ranking system, you now have weapon levels that serve to unlock attachments for your gun instead of the previous methods of completing challenges or using in-game currency that unlock them. Like I said, it takes some getting used to, and as before the actual story mode is a great preview for some of the attachments you can wield in multiplayer modes. Once you acquaint yourself with the game and play it more and more (trust me, you will be), you'll find that it's a very crafty and very well-thought out by Infinity Ward.
New gameplay modes like Team Defender and Kill Confirmed only add some variation to the already delicious blend of multiplayer modes to indulge in. It's a good thing they've been added, that way the multiplayer experience doesn't go stale... not that it would anyways given the raft of changes previously mentioned.
You've probably heard things like "MW3 is just another map pack for MW2" or "MW3 isn't worth $60 because nothing's changed!". I'm sorry, but since when have games become measured on graphics alone? Granted, they're important, but not vital. And in this game, they've been gone over with a fine brush. Yes, the engine used has been around for the better part of half a decade and yes, it doesn't hold a candle to, say, Crysis. But it actually really helps with the feel of the game, giving it its own kind of atmosphere. You can spot a Modern Warfare game when you see it. It still looks great, and since this is an engine in which the developers have gotten used to they've really managed to push the explosions and other visual effects to a new level.
Sadly, Hans Zimmer is gone from the project. But luckily Brian Tyler is a more than able alternative. Keeping the themes that made the MW2 soundtrack on par with that of the Halo games, MW3 has its own unique soundtrack and, like the last game, it doesn't at any point become overbearing or overpowering during gameplay. It's another flavour in the already scrumptious cake, subtly blending in with the rest to amplify and accentuate the experience even further. The weapons have been completely redone, with a special emphasis added to give the weapons a genuine weight about them (to really notice it you need headphones with some bass to them). The final product is truly amazing.
For me, Modern Warfare 3 is a beautifully crafted game. It's a great conclusion to the Modern Warfare arc of games within the Call of Duty franchise. If there is a gripe, and there is one, it would be the length of the campaign. Even with death and retries and restarts I clocked around 7 hours on the first run-through. If I were to play it again I could probably do it in 4 hours. It's more of an elaborately presented action-film than anything else. It works within its own shell, but maybe that shell won't age well.
All in all though, this game is a must-buy for any shooters lover, and at the very least a rental for those who still haven't been convinced.
Presentation - 8.5/10
Gameplay - 10/10
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9.10
OVERALL - 9/10