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Out Of Control - Video game reviews and news
2011-11-09 at 11:17

75 Minutes With: Modern Warfare 3

75 Minutes With is not a review, it is a first impression and intends to give readers an idea what to expect. 75 Minutes With: Modern Warfare 3 focuses exclusively on the competitive multiplayer modes.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is a familiar friend.

That’s meant to be both a grand compliment and a scathing criticism.

After 75 minutes with the competitive multiplayer modes of the most recent installment of the always popular Call of Duty franchise, I found a lot to love, and a fair bit to hate. Like other Call of Duty games Modern Warfare 3 features a quick and chaotic pace that constantly rewards.

It is a formula that never fails to get a gamer’s blood pumping.

Whether you’re a skilled assassin on the battlefield or a clumsy noob, you will be rewarded for your time and effort. Familiar white numbers will pop up on your screen regularly as you gain more experience and move toward your next treat. More often than not you’ll be hearing that same old promotion tune.

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New guns, new weapon attachments, kill streak rewards, weapon skins, titles and other goodies are always being added to your account. Sometimes you’ll be given these treats even after playing a game where you failed to produce anything significant for your team.

Call of Duty games have never been cheap when it comes to handing out these earnings, but MW3 seems to toss around experience even more liberally than before. This may water down the satisfaction that each achievement brings, but it doesn’t stop it from being satisfying.

And now that you can level up your guns, you will have to get used to hearing that level-up tune more often.   

There’s a reason why the Call of Duty franchise is so popular – it’s consistent. You don’t need to read a review or play a demo to know what you’re getting out of the box. A Call of Duty game is a Call of Duty game.

But it’s that same consistency that is a bit of a letdown. Less than a half hour in and I can’t shake the feeling that I’m playing an expansion pack rather than a new game in a series.

Everything looks the same, everything sounds the same, everything is just … well … the same.

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The game’s aging engine is another problem. Many recent releases have reached new heights in graphics and presentation. Call of Duty isn’t ugly, but next to some of those new releases (Uncharted 3 and arch-FPS rival Battlefield 3 are two examples that come to mind) it adds to the feeling that you’ve just purchased an expensive expansion.

Call of Duty haters call this Modern Warfare 2.1. While their criticisms are born out of fanboy hate, Modern Warfare 3 does little to combat the title they’ve been slapped it with. 

It would be unfair to not talk about some of the new features you can find in MW3. Call of Duty has seen a few small adjustments to its competitive multiplayer and the most significant I found was the Kill Confirmed mode. 

This is a team death match with a twist. When anyone is killed they leave behind a dog tag. By physically collecting enemy dog tags you earn points toward your team’s victory.

You can also collect the dog tags of your fallen comrades, denying your opponents the points they need to win the match.

This is barely a significant change from a regular team death match. However, the added element does leave players with an exciting new task to complete in what would otherwise be the same old, same old.

An enemy has died, so do I run to collect the dog tag? Or maybe I aim down my sight and gun down his friend running to collect it? Is that too risky? Maybe I should collect while I have the chance? But what if someone already has their sights on that dog tag? They’ll gun me down as I try and collect?

You can’t dwell on these questions. You have to make a decision, and quickly.

That quick thinking is what makes this game mode, despite it being a repackaged team death match, so exhilarating.

This was the only significant “adjustment” I found, but I am aware of a couple more like this in other games modes.

If co-operative multiplayer is your forte, then there is reason to be excited about spec ops. If you were a fan of other Call of Duty games’ zombie modes, or have a special place in your heart for the Gears of War Horde mode then a survival game may be just what you’re looking for.

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By the end of my 75 minutes with MW3, I felt more conflicted than anything. The competitive multiplayer did get me excited, but behind all that excitement was a been-there-done-that feeling that could be the seeds of boredom. And boredom isn’t something that should be planted within the first 75 minutes.

When it comes to a Call of Duty game, you know what you’re going to get. It’s the game’s greatest asset, but as more and more Call of Duty titles are released it is also becoming a great flaw.

Game Facts
Genre: First Person Shooter
Played on: Xbox360
Also available on: PS3, PC, Wii
Meta critic rating: 90/ 100

Note to readers: I promised you my next 75 minutes with would feature Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Well, I mismanaged my release dates. I’ll be heading out for the midnight launch Thursday, Nov. 10 (which at midnight will make it officially Friday, Nov.11) and get my hands on a copy of Skyrim (for PC). If all goes according to plan, my 75 minutes with Skyrim will be posted sometime Friday.


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