The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

‘Modern Warfare’ is Still Great After Third Installment

3 min read

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My daddy always told me, “Don’t fix what ain’t broke, boy. Also, it should have been you who died.” I took those words to heart, and clearly, so did Infinity Ward.

Infinity Ward, a developer gutted of many its most talented employees after “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,” has had two years to rebuild itself while simultaneously developing one of the most anticipated games of all-time. It was hard to tell whether they’d be able to do it.

And now, having spent exponentially more time playing “Modern Warfare 3” than preparing for exams and on the brink of failing out of college, I can tell you: They did it. On all fronts – single-player, competitive and cooperative multiplayer – “Modern Warfare 3” is a blast.

The single-player campaign is a five-hour rollercoaster ride where the quiet moments only exist to be blown wide open, and boy, do they. There’s a manic intensity here that other first-person shooters have never been able to touch. Landmarks fall, people die, and the game barely bats an eye because there is just so much going on. It is World War III, after all.

Unlike most big-budget games these days that just love to leave you with a cliffhanger and the developers with an excuse to churn out another sequel, “Modern Warfare 3” isn’t afraid to definitively wrap things up. So if you’ve cared at all about the series’ gruff, manlier-than-thou staple protagonists, Soap and Price, you’ll definitely want to play through “Modern Warfare 3” to see how it all ends.

The competitive multiplayer is where we get to the “don’t fix what ain’t broke” wisdom. Let’s say you’re someone who’s played a “Call of Duty” game before: This game is going to feel very familiar at the outset. I mean, really, how much can the experience of pointing a virtual gun at a virtual person and pulling the virtual trigger really change?

But beyond the surface level, there are so many smart changes to the established “Call of Duty” formula that it’s easy to declare it the best yet for the series.

There are awesome new modes like “Kill Confirmed,” a brilliant twist on the standard “Team Deathmatch” where players drop dog tag when they die that need to be picked up by opponents to score or by teammates to deny the kill altogether.

At first, it seems pretty straightforward, but then another layer of strategy opens to you: Use tags as bait. Then a layer of paranoia opens to you: Every tag you see could be a trap.

It’s a fantastic mode that showcases how “Modern Warfare 3” tries to mix up the standard tropes of the first-person shooter multiplayer experience that are all so familiar to us now.

All that’s left, then, is for Infinity Ward to nail “Spec Ops,” the cooperative multiplayer component for two players that they introduced in “Modern Warfare 2.” And once again, they didn’t disappoint.

Spec Ops is now broken up into two distinct modes: “Survival,” where you fight endless waves of increasingly difficult enemies until you die, and “Missions,” meticulously designed scenarios to test the mettle of your two-man team, often putting you in vastly different roles, like having one player control a security system, watching and protecting his partner from hordes of enemies as he completes objectives on-foot.

“Missions” should be familiar to anyone who played Spec Ops in “Modern Warfare 2,” and still every bit as fun, but I’ve been more impressed with how gratifying “Survival” can be. It’s a simple concept, but it works beautifully. Both modes require real teamwork and communication, and when you and your partner are chewing through and everything’s clicking, it’s incredibly satisfying.

But what impresses me most about “Modern Warfare 3” is how quick the multiplayer matches are. Most clock in at under ten minutes, making it the perfect way to kill a bit of time before class. Just make sure you have the self-discipline to stop playing.

“Modern Warfare 3” delivers in every way. It’s a terrific conclusion to the “Modern Warfare” saga and has multiplayer that’s more addictive than ever before.

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