Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III picks up where its predecessor left off without really setting any accents of its own.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III Review: Duty Fulfillment Without Surprises
In addition to various sports games that shine with annual releases, Call of Duty in particular is a safe bet for regular releases. Year after year, a new version of the popular first-person shooter series is launched on the market, which always enjoys great popularity. In 2022, for example, the new edition of Modern Warfare II was released, followed this year by Modern Warfare III, the direct successor. This is unusual in that Activision has never released a direct sequel in the history of the series, apart from the early days.
No time for explanations
The storyline of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III picks up exactly where the storyline of Modern Warfare II ended. The paramilitary Konni group is trying to free their commander Vladimir Makarov, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment and is being held in a prison in Verdansk. The mission succeeds, but this is also the beginning of the disaster that Captain Price and his followers have to face. Nothing less than saving the world and preventing a global conflict is at stake. If you are interested in the story and all its facets, you will need a great deal of prior knowledge to understand what we have briefly outlined here. As a direct sequel, there are no explanations or anything like that. This is no obstacle at all for fans of the series, but newcomers will have a few questions.
Light and shadow in the campaign
However, this is not the main problem with the campaign. Anyone who buys a Call of Duty usually does so because of the multiplayer mode. The campaigns in the series have been an afterthought for years, but are usually a bombastic spectacle. It crashes, rumbles and rattles violently. The action is usually accompanied by spectacular tracking shots, over-the-top action and, from time to time, some real surprises. Call of Duty has always been an intensely violent, albeit short, experience for solo players. Modern Warfare III only succeeds in this to a limited extent. As long as the action takes place in highly scripted levels, it works, but as soon as it comes to the open combat missions, the whole thing only works to a limited extent. In these sections, the game no longer feels like a single-player experience. Instead, we fight against numerous AI opponents in the open field and if you're not careful, you'll die faster than you can reload. Unfortunately, this is also due to the half-baked stealth system, which is why we quickly abandoned it and plowed through Makarov's units and other baddies like Rambo. What's more, there are hardly any moments where our jaws dropped like in older titles in the series. Just remember the nuclear bomb at the end of the Modern Warfare part.
More retro than before
As already mentioned, the Call of Duty campaign is mostly just an accessory. The real substance is found in the game's multiplayer mode and this is where things get double-edged. The developers at Sledgehammer Games have taken all the maps (16 at launch) from Modern Warfare 2 (2009) and put them in a contemporary package. On the one hand, this is a great service for long-time fans of the series who want to indulge in a little nostalgia, but on the other hand, something new and fresh is missing. It should be noted at this point, however, that for many players the maps are partly new due to their age. Really new maps are also planned, but these will only be introduced bit by bit after the release. In the meantime, we can compete effectively with other players in numerous modes. Among others, the "Kill Confirmed" and "Hardpoint" modes are returning and there is also a completely new mode, "Cutthroat", in which three teams of three players compete against each other. You also get new maps for the "Ground War" mode and with the "War Mode" there is a game type that was last seen in Call of Duty: World War II.
Fresh ideas for dealing with zombies
The developers have come up with something really new for the zombie mode. The basic principle of fighting hordes of the undead has not been changed, but how we take on these enemies is new. Instead of having to survive several rounds, we take on the undead in small squads with up to 24 players per map. The aim is not only to slay numerous enemies, but also to complete various missions until it's time to bag the loot and flee from the all-destroying storm - a pinch of battle royale has also been added, so to speak. It's also somewhat reminiscent of the DMZ mode in Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0, and there's a bit of history thrown in too.
Excellent gameplay as always
The gunplay, i.e. how the weapons can be used and how they feel, has always been one of the strengths of the series. Each weapon feels different, has a different spread and, with the right sound system, it really rings on the eardrums. However, we couldn't make out any major differences to its predecessor. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III plays almost identically to Call of Duty Modern Warfare II. That's not a bad thing, of course, because the playability is excellent, but somehow it feels like a few percentages are missing. However, that's complaining on a very high level. If other developers had these problems, they would probably be more than happy.
When it comes to technical aspects, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III is hardly a match for any other product. The audiovisual appearance is, once again, a feast for the eyes and ears. Smooth animations, high-resolution textures and a chic illumination of the environment result in an impeccable overall picture. The dubbing is also impressive. Captain Price's voice and his emotions are simply beyond reproach. The voice actors for the other major character roles are similarly good. With some of the supporting characters, however, we wonder whether they were really on the ball. Fortunately, this only plays a minor role in the roar of war.
If you look at Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III as a stand-alone product, then the developers have done almost everything right. The scope of the multiplayer mode is right, we like the new approaches to zombie slaughter and the campaign is, as usual, a short ride, even if not as spectacular as in other parts of the series. In comparison with its direct predecessor, however, we can't help suspecting that the finished product had to be produced as quickly as possible without compromising the quality too much. For long-time players, Modern Warfare III feels more like an expansion than a completely new game. However, nothing changes the fact that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III is a great product with excellent game mechanics.
- Excellent gunplay
- Zombie mode with new ideas
- Lots of nostalgia...
- ...only known maps at launch
- Feels like an add-on in places
- Disappointing campaign