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Review: Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

by Steven Williamson on 15 November 2011, 11:06 4.0

Tags: Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI)

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Bigger, bolder and better?

Version played: Xbox 360

Never afraid to shock or be politically insensitive, the Call Of Duty franchise has created a tidal wave of excitement through mainstream media channels over the years, in turn helping to fuel its hype machine to an unprecedented level. So much so that it's become a series which isn't just about the gameplay, but also about how big and bold it can be, and how many thrills and spills it can pack in along a rollercoaster ride of a campaign.

With such a mega-budget behind the series we've come to expect nothing less than a top-notch production from Activision's cinematic showcase and over-the-top portrayal of war, and, once again, it doesn't disappoint core fans with Modern Warfare 3.

The Call Of Duty franchise has consistently thrilled gung-ho gamers with big set-pieces, huge explosions and multiplayer offerings, and though little has been done to push the series forward in this latest entry, Activision delivers a show-stopping performance.

It's not just the mine-is-bigger-than-yours attitude of the CoD series that makes it so attractive, which is central to the games, but accessibility is also part of the appeal. When playing CoD, you never really have to worry about planning tactics, moving carefully from cover-to-cover, or flanking opponents like a member of Rainbow Six's Alpha Team. Heck, there's no need to worry about opposing soldiers flanking you.

War by rote

One is led by the Activision hand into a series of corridor-battles where you can run-and-gun like the son of Rambo, mowing down hordes of enemies while the whole place literally explodes and tears to pieces from the constant bombardment of gun-fire and heavy explosives. Shallow, but fun, you might say.

Defend and attack objectives in MW3 are regularly interrupted by cinematic set-pieces and on-rails sections, where you'll go from commanding the gunner of a helicopter to blasting through the turbulent seas on the back of speedboat. Combat inevitably involves moving up the battlefield from one checkpoint to the next as you partake in some frenetic fire-fights, trading machine-gun fire and grenades while keeping on the move to avoid the bombardment of shrapnel and war debris that fills each scene.

As the campaign progresses, gameplay rises in tempo and the number of enemies MW3 throws at you multiplies to provide an ever-increasing challenge. If you've played the previous games in the series it's all very predictable. But it's very well-paced and rarely pedestrian thanks to the multi-tiered level design - which keeps you on your toes - and the heady mix of pounding audio and explosive visuals.