Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 Review: A $70 DLC

It was 2007 and everyone around the world couldn’t stop talking about one game: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. With a storyline ending in 2011, many people thought this was the end for Captain Price and crew. However, that fell by the wayside when the new Modern Warfare storyline replaced the roles of Captain Price, Gaz, Ghost and Soap in 2019’s COD: MW.

It’s now 2023 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 is here. As a COD fan worth his salt, I decided to pick up a copy and see if it matched the excitement I felt at the time. The review below gives my honest opinion of the game. However, keep in mind that Infinityward Studios is not the same as the one that created gems like the original Call of Duty. With the merger deal between Microsoft and Activision, we all expected a better game than what we got. The experience was interesting to say the least.

Story: A disappointing experience for a COD level game

Farah and Alex COD MW3

From the very beginning, Call of Duty has given players quite a set of stories. This is reflected in games like the original Modern Warfare trilogy or the Black Ops campaign. However, I have noticed that the stories have taken a downward path since 2019 short, generic and downright boring at some points. Sledgehammer has done enough to disappoint us with repetitive stories like COD Vanguard to keep the wound fresh. Yes, we still haven’t recovered from that nightmare.

Like other games before it, the game starts and plays like an old US military movie. The story itself is littered with great cutscenes that drive that point home. The previous Modern Warfare 2 ended with conflict and bad blood between Shadow Company and 141. But in this sequel, I couldn’t find any evidence or reason why 141 should team up with the Shadow Company or vice versa. There are plenty of them loopholes in the law in the story that shouldn’t be there. This led to moments of utter confusion where I even doubted whether I had played the older games.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 (2023) capturing Shepherd

Besides the loopholes, one important thing is still missing in the story there is the character relationship between teammates that adds that familial tone of brotherhood to Call of Duty. During my time with the game, I couldn’t find any meaningful connections between Team 141. I say this because in the previous versions we always saw all the members trying to make a joke or focused on saving their teammates. In Modern Warfare 3, however, we only see this happen in the last few scenes. As an anime fan, this reminded me of a filler episode.

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Even though I was pretty disappointed with MW3 at this point, I still had hope for an ending. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. the progress, the ending and almost everything felt rushed and poorly packaged. At the end of my playthrough, the game felt like a $10 DLC instead of a whole experience. And as I expected, the length of the campaign matched the story.

While I don’t expect Call of Duty campaigns to last days, Modern Warfare 3 in particular was even shorter than usual. Even though most people have reported that the total story is five hours long, the actual gameplay is only about Total 3 hours. The rest of the time was spent watching cutscenes or wandering through the game. As a player who completed the entire game in just over 3 hours, I was disappointed with the overall length. I wouldn’t be surprised if downloading the game takes more time than completing it.

Gameplay: Warzone missions with boring AI

CODE MW3 bad ai

If there’s one thing I’ve always trusted with COD, it’s that gameplay remains the familiar experience it’s always been. However, I was in shock. This time around, Modern Warfare 3 switches from the cinematic experience we rely on to one that feels like a Warzone rip-off. One of my biggest complaints is the AI. No matter what difficulty level you play, the enemies will hardly react. All the settings do is increase their headshot chances. This means that they can hardly hurt you while you are carrying out your missions.

The missions in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 are a combination of practiced repetition and boring content. Nearly 90 percent of the gameplay seems repetitive, in the same order and based on a Warzone map. The COD-style battles we’ve come to know and love feel so far gone as to be invisible.

Yuri meets Laswell

The level of repetition also carries over to other elements. So whether it’s simple firefights or large-scale battleships, it’s all the same. You shoot down one tank and two fighter jets at the same location. The only mission I think is good, but very short, is that one Kate ‘Watcher’ Laswell attempts at the Arklov base. Yes, this is the same place where we find the original Modern Warfare 3 hero Yuri in a small cameo. Generally speaking, in most missions you defend your territory until an evacuation occurs. That’s pretty much a pattern for this 2023 Call of Duty campaign.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 Campaign Loadouts

If you’re the type of player who enjoys a linear playthrough with cinematic combat, then MW3 won’t cut it. For those who want a level of control, it’s new Open combat missions are here for. Players are required to do this choose their own armor before the game starts. However, I found that they took away from the campaign essence of the game. It feels like a story mode skin over the Warzone gameplay most of the time while you’re in it. Personally, I miss the days of slow-mo breaking interactions that COD made, which makes MW3’s gameplay a boring element for me.

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Images: copy and paste with bad textures

COD MW3 Gulag Map

During my time with MW3 I felt like the maps looked familiar. This is thanks to the lazy work behind the card design. Almost every map in the Modern Warfare 3 campaign is a modified or just a copy-paste version of the old Warzone. You will notice this from the first map itself, which is the same as the original Warzone. Even the buildings and containers look familiar to DMZ and Warzone. Well, there’s also a literal Verdansk map in the campaign.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 bad textures

It is also striking that these cards have that lower resolution textures, which is just disappointing. After running my game on multiple display settings, resolutions and the highest quality, almost everything remains the same. This showed me that the smallest details are merely an afterthought in this chaotic, weapons-heavy campaign. And don’t forget the poor lighting in this game, considering it’s 2023 and there are so many graphically polished games like Baldur’s Gate 3 and Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 on the market.

Even though I had set my quality preset to the highest setting, I hardly got any light differences. Overall, I found MW3’s graphical appeal to be quite bland. With low-resolution textures, the same map design, and almost no difference in quality, it was a forgettable experience.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Achievements

As we all know, how optimized are the Call of Duty games. Jokes aside, this game outperforms any other Call of Duty I’ve played on my system. Settings like DLSS and AMD FSR 3.0 can improve your performance on paper. However, since I was playing the game on my GTX card, I didn’t use any sharpening to check how the game performs without any performance enhancing settings. My test bench was the following:

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600, running at base clock
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Super
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 @ 3200MHz
  • SSD:512 GB data

When the game runs at the recommended settings, it performs decently. It goes up to 100-120 FPS sometimes, but there is a big problem. The recommended settings on Modern Warfare 3 will cause the CPU temperature to exceed 90 degrees C. Once this temperature is reached, performance begins to decline. It is therefore absolutely not recommended to play this game intensively for hours on a stock cooler.

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However, when I finally made custom settings, keeping the resolution at 1080p and the display scale at 100, it performed amazingly. I got a stable 90FPS with a CPU temperature of 70-80 degrees C. This makes this game optimized for even low-end systems. It’s better to turn off the sharpening settings as they won’t feel optimized and could end up ruining your performance and the game’s quality balance. The motion blur, bullet impacts, and other small features look flawless around Captain Price and his crew. This gives the whole thing a good feel if you ignore texture and edge details.

Overall, the game’s performance is balanced considering it’s the same Warzone that people will be playing in multiplayer mode. The visuals, even when amped up, look out of place, but that’s what you get for a franchise that releases a game every year.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3: worthy of a sequel?

Since the Call of Duty: Ghost edition, Infinityward has fallen off a cliff. Since then, it has been difficult for the franchise to create the gems they used to produce. On the other hand, the studio’s co-creators, Sledgehammer and Treyarch, never recovered from the Vanguard and WWII campaign. Modern Warfare’s new storyline and gameplay were the only hope for the Call of Duty franchise. However, that too falls flat here. The only good thing about the game was the end credits.

As someone who grew up with the great Call of Duty franchise, I had extremely high expectations. From the greatness of Call of Duty’s original Modern Warfare campaign to the Black Ops days and even good stories like Cold War, this was Activision’s expectation.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 (2023) ends

It’s a shame that despite creating a charming MW (2019) and MW2 (2022) campaign, Activision has gone for a multiplayer-focused franchise. We’ll suggest that Activision gets this as DLC to their Call of Duty HQ, which is a reskin of the MW2. At least that way people will know it’s not a new game and will pay accordingly.

Whatever good or bad the previous games were, Modern Warfare 3 feels like the final nail in the coffin. The game as a Call of Duty game will make a lot of money and also consider itself a hit. But as a fan of FPS shooting games, I will forget about it before my game gets deleted. If Price ultimately finishes the job, Activision must finish it too, otherwise there will be another Makarov, aka .a. a forgettable Call of Duty campaign.

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