Title: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III
Developer: Sledgehammer Games
Release Date: November 10, 2023
Reviewed On: PS5
The Call of Duty franchise annually releases new titles with very little fresh content, and that’s again evident in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, a reboot of the 2011 original. I’m not a diehard fan, but I’ve dabbled in Warzone with friends and enjoyed previous single-player experiences. The campaign in this full-priced release lacks effort, even for a casual player like me, but the extraction zombies mode is quite addicting.
The single-player narrative picks up after the events of Modern Warfare II and Warzone 2, following the crew’s attempt to take down Vladimir Makarov after his prison escape. Task Force 141 returns with familiar faces like Captain John Price, Lieutenant Simon “Ghost” Riley, Sergeant Kyle “Gaz” Garrick, and Sergeant John “Soap” MacTavish. Frankly, much of the plot feels like fluff; all you need to know is that Makarov is the big bad guy who must be stopped. Understanding the story might be challenging if you haven’t played previous Warzone 2 seasons.
Lackluster Campaign and Recycled Maps
Though I haven’t played Warzone in years, iconic places like the Verdansk stadium or the Zordaya prison complex instantly come to mind. The “Open Combat” missions, meant to offer freedom in approaching objectives, end up feeling like a solo-player Warzone. While I appreciate the flexibility in tackling missions and finding weapon chests for future loadouts, the overall mission and level design lack inspiration. It’s disappointing that many campaign maps are recycled from previous Warzone seasons.
The 14-mission campaign takes about 4-5 hours depending on the chosen difficulty level: recruit, normal, hardened, or veteran. It’s designed for replayability as several missions hold collectibles and bonus weapons for future loadouts if you decide to revisit levels.
The extraction zombies mode is quite addicting.
Multiplayer Customization and Gunplay
Let’s face it; if you’re considering this game, it’s probably for the multiplayer. Modern Warfare III offers a wide range of customization options, perks, operators, killstreaks, and loadout choices. The gun progression system is addictive, with a well-executed balance between different weapons and playstyles. It’s a bonus that there’s local split-screen multiplayer for couch play.
However, the competitive multiplayer solely features remastered maps from 2009’s Modern Warfare 2. At launch, there are 16 maps, including Afghan, Estate, Skidrow, Highrise, and Terminal. Additional maps are promised post-launch. Classic modes return alongside a new one called Cutthroat, but the absence of the Spec Ops mode for co-op play is disappointing.
Thrilling Cooperative Zombies Mode
The only cooperative play available is the Zombies mode, which is genuinely enjoyable. Codenamed Operation Deadbolt, it throws 24 players into Call of Duty’s largest open-world Zombies experience in squads of 3. Exploring regions and completing objectives with fellow survivors is rewarding and thrilling, reminiscent of a mix between Warzone’s DMZ mode and Cold War’s Outbreak mode. It’s a purely PVE mode, so there’s no hybrid PVPVE experience here.
Understanding the story might be challenging if you haven’t played previous Warzone 2 seasons.
You’re essentially dropped into an open-world map to complete contracts for essence and acquisitions. Contracts range from defending points to eliminating targets or delivering payloads. You can choose to push into higher threat zones or extract, risking the loss of all progression and gear upon death. Looted gear is stored in your rucksack, which can be upgraded. There are two types of weapon types, Insured and Contraband, with the former upgradeable and the latter pre-customized.
Fail to extract, and Contraband weapons are lost forever, while Insured weapons go on a cooldown. The rest of your loadout includes field upgrades, power-ups, and acquisitions like killstreaks. Zones are divided into low, medium, and high threat, with mutated bosses and monsters in the highest threat areas. You can play Zombies in both third and first person, offering a fresh perspective.
The overall mission and level design lack inspiration.
To make matters worse, Modern Warfare III is listed as DLC on top of Modern Warfare II and lacks its own set of trophies on PlayStation. Essentially, you’re paying a full AAA price of $69.99 for a 4-hour campaign, PVP multiplayer, and the PVE zombies mode, along with a battle pass system. It’s a familiar tale for Call of Duty.
Technical Performance and Visuals
Technically, Modern Warfare III performs well on PlayStation 5. The Call of Duty HQ app houses all COD content but requires Warzone to be downloaded and a constant online connection, even for the campaign. An Activision account is necessary, and the entire app consumes over 150 gigabytes, which is excessive. Load times are decent, and there are no bugs or crashes in my playthrough.
Visually, Modern Warfare III looks impressive, with detailed environments and textures. Campaign set-pieces are stunning, and the Zombies mode features grotesque monsters. The game’s score and audio effects enhance the experience, adding tension and excitement. Voice acting from iconic characters like Price and Soap is top-notch. Rest in peace, John Soap MacTavish.
Modern Warfare III offers a wide range of customization options, perks, operators, killstreaks, and loadout choices.
Mixed Verdict: The Reboot’s Ups and Downs
The reboot of the final chapter in the Modern Warfare trilogy deserved better. The half-baked campaign and recycled multiplayer maps make it seem like a lazy cash grab at an exorbitant price. Nonetheless, the refined gunplay and fun in the competitive PVP and cooperative Zombies modes keep Call of Duty’s strong points alive.
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