Monday, November 14, 2011

Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer review

Call of Duty was the addiction. Sure I played Halo, but it wasn’t always fun. Call of Duty – even in the worst of times – is still a fantastic shooter, and just a stellar multiplayer game. I can’t describe it. A feeling of utter elation, like teaching a sibling how to ride a bike. A kind of wonder washes over you and the only thing that matters is who’s in front of your iron sights.

Has it always been this way? No. Modern Warfare 3 is the first to capture the feeling of the original; the gun-on-gun, watch your corners action is back. Matches are fast paced, but not chaotic like Modern Warfare 2. Activision went back to basics – yes choppers and airstrikes are alive and well – it’s a finer tuned game than either Black Ops or Modern Warfare 3, as I’ll explain.

Bullets would spray from all angels. Where? Just run, it doesn’t matter. Here comes a chopper, then an AC130…then a Nuke! It was all too common to get vaporized off the face of the earth in MW2. Killstreaks are weaker overall, as is explosive damage. Air support can be easily shot down by anyone. A team can’t just dominate the air to win a match; they actually have to out shoot the opposition. It’s far more about you, and your gun, not an AI controlled assist that gets your kills for you.

Complaining gets you nowhere…actually you get something: a bullet between the teeth. I say this because there’s an underlying layer of skill that’s mandatory to be successful with Modern Warfare 3. Campers, you don’t have as many places to hide. Now you have to be faster than the next guy, and the next after that. I actually feel like people are better than me because they have more expertise. Not because they sit in a corner and pick off people as they walk passed.

Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer games are tightrope artists for how they balanced the competitive aspect of multiplayer. No one gun outclasses another; there’s no all-in-one perk that makes you omnipotent. From rank 1 to 80 you are giving the tools, but it takes practice and experience to become better: something that wasn’t always the case in previous titles.  The playing field is level, and so are the multiplayer maps.

Add proficiencies to strengthen your weapon.  

Each map was just large for reasons I’ve never known in MW2. Maps are smaller, corridors tighter, bottlenecks are abundant, buildings are open; overall matches just flow better because everybody is out running around as opposed to roasting marshmallows at a camp site.

Killstreaks have been appended into what’s called Strike packages. Each of the three: Assault, Support, and Specialist play vastly different. Assault is the standard: get kills to earn choppers and air support. Run Assault if all you care about is racking up high body counts by staying alive. Support is all for the betterment of the team: it’s all about revealing the enemy and not me, myself, and I. Then Specialist gives you rewards in the form of perks. Each 2 kills gives you a perk of your choosing up until eights kills when you get them all!

Breaking the Killstreak reward system into these Strike packages is Call of Duty’s way of adding a class system without restricting people to a designated load out. And it really has changed the faced of the game.

The customization isn’t cosmetic like Black Ops. As you level each gun you use gains experience too. As you gain xp for each kill with your gun you gain Proficiencies. Each Proficiency gives a bonus to the base attributes such as reduced recoil or extended range. Your weapon now feels like an extension of your own being.

The old modes you know and love are still intact. And a new one called Kill Confirmed (each kill produces a dog tag which must be grabbed for the kill to count) and hardcore mode is still just as great as ever.

Spec Ops Survival really keeps you on your toes. 

The amount of features that Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 has etched onto its disc is staggering. I haven’t even mentioned the Spec Ops modes. Spec Ops makes it’s return. The two-player mode has you playing out set missions or this time around surviving waves of enemies. Survival Mode has you facing increasingly harder enemies in a nonstop killing spree. Your heart races when you’re trying to buy ammo, set down claymores, and just try and find your teammate who’s bleeding on the ground. It’s an anxiety filled test of endurance.

Playing alone isn’t why one should play Modern Warfare 3. Gaming with friends and family and bragging about it is why we play. Few things are more satisfying than reaching a double-digit Killstreak, keeping it going, and the thrill of shooting that last guy and seeing the words “AC130” pop up. It may not be perfect, and months from now it may be broken but at this moment Modern Warfare 3 is -- for your hard earned dollar – the best 60 bucks you can spend this year.

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