The Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 campaign is one of the worst in the entire history of the series. We noticed the seemingly relatively manageable development time and the “what used to be DLC” character in every corner of the Sledgehammer shooter.
But Call of Duty traditionally doesn’t just consist of solo mode, this year also includes extensive multiplayer and a revised zombie co-op mode in the overall package.
We’ve been playing it extensively over the past few days and the multiplayer part can actually increase the overall rating of Modern Warfare 3, although not by much.
And the countryside? In this test we will only discuss Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer modes and give the shooter an overall rating. You can read the campaign test, published in early November, here:
There are two main reasons for this. On the one hand there is the general feeling of the game. Compared to the almost sedate Modern Warfare 2, Sledgehammer has significantly increased the pace of play in MW3, which, combined with now more effective jumping and sliding maneuvers, results in significantly more dynamic matches compared to last year.
The slightly longer kill time and slightly reduced auto-aim assist also ensure that the oft-invoked “Whoever sees the other person first wins” does not automatically apply in MW3, at least significantly less so than in other CoDs.
Combined with the traditionally near-flawless gunplay and excellent, versatile controls, Modern Warfare 3 simply feels good and right in multiplayer.
The 100+ weapons in the usual categories like assault rifles, machine guns, light machine guns, etc. they work differently, have a lot of power and very satisfying shot feedback.
Overall, we feel like the nearly 30 new weapons are a bit more powerful than their older counterparts. However in a rather subtle way and not in such a way as to completely compromise the balance. Especially since all weapons can be equipped with numerous accessories and modified.
Great maps with a few exceptions
However, a good gaming experience could not develop sufficiently without adequate playing fields, which brings us to the second advantage of Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer: maps. Yes, we also rolled our eyes when it was announced that 16 of the 20 maps were visually and gameplayally adapted versions of the Modern Warfare 2 (2009) maps. But when it comes to the actual games, it turns out that there are some really fantastic maps.
For example, in Terminal we fight in an airport, in Afghan we play cat and mouse around a crashed cargo plane in the desert and in Karachi we immerse ourselves in frenetic house-to-house combat.
Almost all maps offer a good mix of close combat areas and longer lines of sight, and the fact that, unlike Modern Warfare 2, the maps are significantly more vertical and feature height differences is also a good thing.
The truth is that some maps have aged better than others. While most still work well today, combat on the compact Rust map in particular takes on grotesque and chaotic traits, and particularly tortuous maps like Skidrow don’t mesh well with the increased pace of play. Additionally, some of the recycled maps definitely feel too big, at least for classic 6v6.
There were also issues with skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) being too difficult and spawns during our rounds of testing. In some cases they hardly change and in some maps – like Rust – it happened that we were killed four or five times in a row after a spawn. Hopefully patches will improve the situation in the future.
The return of war
The modes feature a reunion with many old friends such as Team Deathmatch, Kill confirmed or Domination, which work well as usual. And I have to admit that for us it’s a little too little, because MW3 relies too much on the familiar.
The only new feature is the “Merciless” variant, in which three groups of three compete against each other. Whoever is the last surviving team wins most often.
So far, at least, Ruthless has proven to be a good addition: the games we’ve played have all been exciting and intense. Here it is obviously advisable to join a fixed and, ideally, well-coordinated group, because in this modality the agreements are particularly important.
We were also happy with the return of War Mode, which we loved in Call of Duty: WW2. Each game runs as a mini-campaign divided into several sections. A team must first capture some points, then escort a tank, and then prevent a missile launch into a base.
The other team must prevent this at all costs. As fun as this mode is, it wears out pretty quickly. Since there is only one scenario or map, after only a few games we wanted more variety.
The land war mode, also designed for large groups and maps and reminiscent of Battlefield, is also back on board; for example there are also different vehicles such as quads or jeeps.
The games didn’t get off to a great start in this mode due to the maps being a bit confusing and full of snipers. You can simply say that Call of Duty’s strengths lie in compact 6v6 skirmishes.
Lots to unlock
All this is framed in the usual CoD activation spiral, because obviously we also gradually level up to level 55 in MW3 and therefore unlock various objects, killstreaks or other bonuses.
This time, however, many objects and even weapons are also linked to a different mechanic, the so-called Armory Unlock. These are unlocked at level 25 and to collect the corresponding objects we must complete daily challenges.
What initially seems like a nice new element quickly feels like an artificial lengthening of gameplay time, as only a handful of challenges can be completed each day. This will probably bother unlock fans who spend a lot of time in multiplayer anyway, but it will probably bother everyone else.
New armory unlocks link certain unlocks to daily challenges.
In MW3 the ratchets can also be modified with various accessories, but these must first be activated.
Other gameplay changes are rather marginal and were not noticed either positively or negatively in the test. For example, some skills (perks) are now linked to clothing items such as vests or shoes, but there is enough variation here that it invites you to experiment.
Detail fetishists will once again be able to get lost in optimizing their equipment or adapting their weapons; MW3 offers a veritable cornucopia of options here, thanks to the many weapons imported from MW2.
One you have to struggle with in places, because Modern Warfare 3’s menus are pretty awful. The screen is so cluttered with elements and the layout is so unintuitive that navigation didn’t work smoothly even after hours of play.
Zombie Mode: No real characters
Zombies mode is the third cornerstone of CoD Modern Warfare 3 and has probably undergone the biggest change. Previous CoD zombie modes were always classic wave modes where the goal was to fend off increasingly stronger and larger hordes of zombies in specially constructed areas. It has always had its charm, especially thanks to the crazy scenarios and the many integrated Easter eggs.
And that’s exactly what is unfortunately almost completely missing from the new zombie mode. Because it’s basically just a copy of the DMZ mode introduced in Warzone last year. Then, alone or with up to two colleagues, we are thrown onto a huge map – the new Warzone Urzikstan map, by the way – and there we blast hordes of the undead.
We complete smaller, rapidly repeating side tasks to purchase or find better weapons and equipment. After three quarters of an hour at the latest we will have taken off again and will be able to start the next tour more fully equipped.
Aside from the AI opponents, who are now zombies, Zombies mode only occasionally nods in the direction of its predecessors, for example with some names or power-ups like the item that briefly gives double points. Everything else is a pasted-in Warzone variant that’s strikingly reminiscent of Free2Play’s CoD both mechanically and visually.
However, that doesn’t mean the mode doesn’t work well in terms of gameplay. On the contrary, basic strengths such as good gunplay are obviously effective here too and with a solid team you can certainly have fun, the mode is particularly suitable for leveling up weapons. The changes make the new Zombies more interchangeable and irrelevant overall.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 – This is what awaits you in the new zombie mode
Who is this Call of Duty for?
Recycled maps, content taken from the predecessor, scenes from Warzone in zombie mode: the updating character of the campaign also extends to multiplayer and therefore to the entire game. Overall, Modern Warfare 3 feels like DLC rather than a new game, which would justify the full price. The balance sheet is therefore as follows:
- Countryside: Bad
- Multiplayer: good to very good in places
- Zombie: mediocre
The bottom line is that this is enough for a solid overall rating, but at the same time it is also the worst Call of Duty rating in GamePro history. We can actually only recommend CoD Modern Warfare 3 to die-hard multiplayer fans, and then only with significant reservations.
If, on the other hand, you want a great shooter campaign or good cooperative modes, there are now many better alternatives than this Call of Duty, which will be remembered as the biggest disappointment in the history of the series to date.