Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III Review
- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III is a disappointing new entry in the franchise that should never have seen the light of day.
- Developer: Sledgehammer Games
- Publisher: Activision
- Release Date: November 10, 2023
- Platforms: PC, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5
- Tested On: PC, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5
- Great Gunplay
- Incredible Visuals
- Smooth Performance
- Disappointing Narrative
- Bad Mission Design
- Open Combat Missions
- Mediocre Multiplayer
When Activision announced all those years ago that they would be rebooting their Modern Warfare saga, a lot of older COD fans were very understandably excited. This was one of the most iconic series of games in FPS history, and they would now get to revisit it once again.
So with the release of both 2019’s Modern Warfare and 2022’s Modern Warfare II, we all got a little taste of that nostalgia. And while neither of these titles were groundbreaking for the franchise, they were still decent enough to keep fans like me engaged and had us hoping for an incredible conclusion with a third entry.
But we were fools to think so, because this is without a doubt one of the worst entries in the entire Call of Duty franchise to date, and I’m embarrassed to have put so much time and effort into this trilogy.
Story And Setting
Modern Warfare III picks up right where the events of the last game left off, with that tiny little teaser at the end that confirmed that fan-favorite antagonist Vladimir Makarov would finally be making an appearance in the plot after two full games with very little involvement.
The story this time starts off with an assault on a prison complex, as the Russian mercenary outfit known as the Konni Group attempts to free Makarov from his cell hidden deep within the facility. They succeed in doing so, thus kickstarting the chain of events that unfold during this new game.
And while I do think that the opening heist as you infiltrate the prison is pretty decent, the campaign simply goes downhill from there. The entire story is an insulting and mediocre trip down memory lane, where the developers are more focused on reliving past glories instead of actually creating something new and unique.
When I first saw that reference to the infamous ‘No Russian’ mission in 2022’s Modern Warfare II, I legitimately got more excited for this sequel than I thought possible. And after beating this game, I can’t help but feel that this entire thing was just bait to get us excited for a rushed and poorly structured campaign.
The entire story is an insulting and mediocre trip down memory lane, where the developers are more focused on reliving past glories instead of actually creating something new and unique.
The story holds promise, of course it does. It’s built on the foundations of an extremely entertaining original trilogy, and the past two games have done their fair share of laying the groundwork for a potentially excellent conclusion. But at every step of the way, the writing lets you down and takes your intelligence for granted.
I could see the plot twists coming from a while away, and the otherwise decent performances by the actors do nothing to help improve the experience. It’s nice seeing old faces like Captain Price, Soap, and Ghost once again, but they squandered on a truly predictable story.
Even Makarov is a shell of his former self, and the game gives him his own moments where he gets to do evil things because he’s scary and Russian. No depth, no complexity, just an evil guy doing evil things because he’s evil. It’s all very insulting, to say the least.
Additionally, the ‘No Russian’ tribute seems so out of place, and it genuinely feels like the developers put it there just for the sake of shock value. A lot of us have played the original, so they obviously couldn’t recreate it fully, and I’m glad they didn’t. But what we do get feels so forced and inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.
Modern Warfare III’s story is vapid and condescending, and it takes so much time to say nothing of value apart from maybe that war is bad, with a big question mark at the end. And we know why it can’t just say that war is bad because COD games are also thinly veiled propaganda for the American military complex.
Modern Warfare III’s story is vapid and condescending, and it takes so much time to say nothing of value apart from maybe that war is bad
These games cannot take an anti-war stance because they are also a celebration of war, but only when it’s waged by the USA and its allies against those who are perceived as the enemy. The only good people apart from them are those like Farah Karim, who are subservient to the American Empire.
Basically, it’s one of the worst COD campaigns in modern history, and might in fact be the worst one of them all. It’s an insult to those who have stuck with the series so far and I hated almost every minute of it.
Modern Warfare III carries forward the exceptional gameplay of the last two games in the saga with no visible changes. And that’s not a bad thing, modern COD gameplay is fine-tuned to perfection, with much squishier protagonists, but with an emphasis on tactical gunplay that discourages frantic run-and-gun tactics.
From the way the weapons look to the way that each gun feels so truly unique in the way that it fires, to the reload animations and the sound effects, it’s all truly exceptional. No complaints there whatsoever, because the moment-to-moment gameplay is still undefeated.
My problem however is with the actual mission design and the layouts. The game still features a few missions in the classic style, with highly scripted encounters and tight firefights in unique locations, but a significant number of the levels take place in these semi-open world areas that are simply not fun to explore.
When you’re thrown into one of these ‘Open Combat Missions,‘ as they are called, you’re let loose into arenas and given a set of objectives to be completed in any manner that you want. In theory, this sounds great, but in practice, it feels like the developers threw objectives into Warzone maps and told you to make your own fun.
All of the tight pacing of some of the more focused missions is lost in this process, and what you get are half-baked sandbox encounters that genuinely feel like they were added to the game to pad out the playtime.
Modern Warfare III carries forward the exceptional gameplay of the last two games in the saga with no visible changes.
I hated playing through these, especially because the past two entries in the rebooted saga have had some truly standout missions like Modern Warfare’s ‘Clean House‘ and Modern Warfare II’s ‘Recon by Fire.’
The multiplayer experience of Modern Warfare III is more or less also basically what we saw in Modern Warfare II, with an additional game mode and different maps. And depending on how much you loved last year’s entry, that might either be really good news or just underwhelming.
The new mode in question is Cutthoat, which is a 3v3v3 mode where all 9 players only get one life, and the goal is to eliminate the other teams. And yes, it is pretty decent, but when you hop into classic modes like Team Deathmatch or Kill Confirmed, it becomes apparent how similar everything still is.
The same weapons, the same attachments, it’s all basically the same. And that’s fine I guess for casuals who only hop into multiplayer modes every now and then, but hardcore fans may be disappointed.
Also, Groundwar is still the worst part of the entire package. If I wanted to play a mediocre version of a Battlefield game, I’d just go and play Battlefield 2042. It’s not what COD games do well, and I’m not sure why it keeps making a comeback again and again.
Funnily enough, the new Zombies mode has also undergone a sort of change, in the worst way possible. Now instead of tight small maps where you constantly feel the pressure from the approaching hordes, the new larger map robs the mode of any actual tension.
The multiplayer experience of Modern Warfare III is more or less also basically what we saw in Modern Warfare II, with an additional game mode and different maps.
This need to force everything into open-world maps is a constant presence in this game, and I hate every single application of it. I think Activision really doesn’t want this franchise to survive with how flippantly they treat it.
Visuals And Performance
Modern Warfare III continues the tradition of the series being incredibly technically impressive in all the ways that count. The level of detail in the more linear levels, the flash of gunfire, the explosions, the blood spatter, the animations, these are all absolutely top-notch. I actually do not have any complaints one way or another.
But if you’re expecting to see a leap in quality like there was between 2019’s Modern Warfare and 2022’s Modern Warfare II, then yeah you’re gonna be a bit disappointed. It still looks great though, in fact, better than most games you’ll play this year, so I don’t think you should be too bummed. Why change what’s broken?
Modern Warfare III continues the tradition of the series being incredibly technically impressive in all the ways that count.
As far as the performance is concerned, I still don’t have any complaints. On both consoles and PC the game offers exceptionally stable framerates and bug-free gameplay, apart from the occasional server issues that we all expect from new multiplayer games.
All three consoles, the Xbox Series X, Series S, and the PlayStation 5, get access to two performance modes. One is a high FPS mode that manages to hot 120 FPS with reduced visuals, while the other manages to maintain a stable 60 FPS with better graphics.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III is a disappointing new entry in the franchise that should never have seen the light of day. So many aspects of it, from the narrative to level design and even the multiplayer modes, are so underbaked and incomplete that I’m surprised Activision even though it is fit to release.
If you’re not the most decided of Call of Duty fans, I find this very hard to recommend to you. Waste your money at your own risk.
This has been our Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.
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Why Should You Play This Game?
If you’re a really hardcore COD fan and you need your dose of multiplayer mayhem.
Why Should You Not Play This Game?
If you’re expecting any sort of decent campaign and a thrilling conclusion to this saga that’s been years in the making.
Who Is This Game For?
This game is for no one but the most diehard Call of Duty Fans.
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