[Similar to the campaign’s introduction, this review starts with a disclaimer. The following article contains graphic imagery and spoilers. While reading, a prompt will notify you of this content and suggest skipping the material.]
The Call of Duty Franchise returns with the most complete first-person-shooter (FPS) campaign to date.
Following the campaign of its predecessor, Modern Warfare 3 (MW3) the most action-packed storyline of the series. From the moment the character emerges from a downed helicopter on the combat-stricken streets of New York, the game doesn’t stop moving.
Unlike previous titles’ choppy stories, MW3 spells out exactly where the war left off, after the airport incident in Modern Warfare 2, and uses dynamic voice, images and video clips to explain the imminence of the situation.
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After capturing a terrorist vehicle in Mind the Gap, the story follows a first-person account of a family vacation in England. Looking through a camcorder, the player acts as father recording the Davis family’s trip. As his wife and daughter walk down an urban street discussing plans to see Big Ben, a delivery truck blocks the street and explodes, killing the family and releasing a biological weapon into the air.
This advanced storytelling is relatively new to the series. Titles like Call of Duty 3, World at War and Modern Warfare offered little story prior to a level and relied on the characters action in levels to progress the story. For some, this may have worked, but others were confused as to what the war’s overall picture was since they’d been fighting in Europe and would be transported to an island in the Pacific. Although many criticize Black Ops, the storytelling method was perfected the suspenseful crossing of Alex Mason.
Activision and Infinity Ward also embed the campaign in advanced level design. Players are forced to be a well-rounded warriors. Rather than simply dodging bullets flying past your head, sprinting for cover and tossing a few grenades, the entire battle is in your hands.
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The level Iron Lady is a great example. After colliding and flipping terrorist-bomb supplier Volk’s escape vehicle, Frost is challenged with dragging their captive to the extraction point across Paris. As the player, you have to be prepared to switch back and forth between suppressing enemy fire from AC-130 to spearheading the extraction as a Frost member. Covering your own back by switching is an empowering experience.
The only weakness in this campaign’s vast arsenal is the difficulty. The AI isn’t as difficult as past games and action sequences allow for extremely wounded players to progress.
Multiplayer is Modern, Not Futuristic
Millions of players worldwide live for Call of Duty’s multiplayer action. Whether setting a Bouncing Betty, propelling a “Noob Tube,” or calling in an air strike, players crave the realism of this series.
The newest addition to multiplayer is death streaks. Similar to kill streaks, death streaks offer players who consistently get bludgeoned, gutted, blown up and shot an advantage next respawn. Players can also look forward to more interactivity with the maps. There are more boxes, window sills and buildings to climb on as well as gas-filled cars to shoot.
Spec Ops also satisfies with its shooting practice, behind the scenes missions and survival mode.
That said, the game’s multiplayer feels redundant. Other than a few new perks, attachments and guns, the gameplay feels the same as every other Call of Duty. The maps, although new, also constantly remind of previous titles’ combat zones. This isn’t a bad thing if you crave this format. It’s just easy to get sick of enemies camping, being aerially hunted by Predator missiles and respawning in combat.
In the future, I’d like to see the developers challenge the series’ multiplayer. For instance, allowing players to slide toward cover rather than sprinting constantly. The game could also use attainable items to shift the balance of power. One suggestion, put vehicles back on the maps.