|System: PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii, DS|
|Dev: Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games|
|Release: November 8, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language|
Of course, there have been a variety of smaller tweaks since COD's last outing. You can now level up each individual gun you use, and there are new weapons including Bouncing Betty mines and a mini-helicopter. The killstreak/perk system has been revamped and renamed Pointstreak, with three different "strike packages" to choose from: "Assault" players earn killstreak rewards the normal way, "support" players can earn rewards in ways besides killstreaks and keep their points through death, and "specialists" unlock different (and better) rewards at higher killstreaks. There's also the (delayed) Call of Duty Elite system, which will handle matchmaking, keep track of your stats, and, for a subscription fee, offer other benefits once it's launched.
The multiplayer modes themselves are all the same, save for two new ones: "Kill Confirmed" (in which your kills don't count unless you grab the deceased's dog tags before his teammates do) and "Team Defender" (a variant of capture the flag in which you have to keep the flag for as long as possible rather than bringing it to a goal). The former is an interesting new take on deathmatch, requiring you to make a tradeoff between racking up fresh kills, collecting enemy tags, and collecting your teammates' tags before an opponent can grab credit for the kill. The latter seems more like padding—an excuse for Activision's marketers to say more has been added than really has.
Another point of comparison between Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, of course, is the launch. So far, MW3 seems to be faring a little better than BF3 did, but there have certainly been problems. Downloading the game via Steam on Tuesday night was a slow and arduous experience, the developers are frantically adding server capacity, and the delay in Elite implementation for PC gamers is frustrating. However, playing on Wednesday night, I found multiplayer running smoothly, and I rarely waited longer than a minute or two for a match. For those who didn't buy their choice of FPS immediately, neither game should present serious technical issues, and it's not as if no one predicted a rocky first few days for these blockbuster titles.
Some of MW3's early buyers have been frustrated about the lack of change, and their complaints are well founded. This is a cautious tweak of Modern Warfare 2, not really a completely new game. But Modern Warfare 2 was already a well-oiled machine, and the improvements make Modern Warfare 3 one of the best first-person shooters in existence. It offers a brief but exciting campaign, excellent co-op, and a familiar multiplayer experience with some nice adjustments.
CCC Contributing Writer