Captain Price talking in the campaign of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Campaign Review

Third Time's Not the Charm

We have come to the time of year when we get our latest installment of the Call of Duty series. This year we are looking at Modern Warfare 3. For those who pre-ordered the game, the developers let you get your hands on the campaign about a week before the game’s full launch.

I played through the campaign, which is about 4-5 hours long. Call of Duty, especially as of late, is not known for its long and involved stories so I won’t hold the length against it. Let’s dive into a brief review of the Modern Warfare 3 campaign, and see if it is worth your time before diving into the multiplayer game mode.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Campaign Review

Story

The Call of Duty story design has been mostly the same through the years; a linear level with fun shoot-em-up mechanics along the way. Sometimes we will even get an element of stealth involved in the missions. This year, with some of the missions in the story, the developers decided to take a different approach and make open-ended levels.

Take a look at what to expect for the Campaign:

I was excited about this idea at first, a new look at Call of Duty story mode. However, it turns out the developers should have stuck with the tried-and-true formula. The campaign’s story does not live up to expectations. The narrative feels rushed and disjointed, lacking the compelling storytelling that previous installments managed to deliver, even within their brief campaign lengths. The story seems to be an afterthought, overshadowed by the game’s focus on multiplayer mode.

Level Design

These levels ended up being recycled Warzone maps with basic objective goals. There was no real story, or even motivation to complete these levels outside of getting back to the classic Call of Duty missions and story.

Spying on an enemy base from an AC130 in the campaign of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3
It’s more like a “Warzone Campaign” than it is a traditional “Call of Duty” campaign.

In each open-ended mission, there are several loot boxes around the map. Finding them all is a completion goal they tried to add to the game. This was no doubt an attempt to make the already lackluster campaign feel more involved, but this too comes up short. I suspect most players will not be itching to get back to these decently boring missions.

Graphics

In the realm of visuals, Modern Warfare 3 continues to set a high bar. The graphical prowess is a shining aspect of the game, showcasing the developers’ dedication to delivering a visually stunning experience. From the meticulously detailed environments of war-torn cities to the lifelike animations of characters in action, every aspect of the game’s graphics is crafted with precision.

Looking at a small village in the campaign of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3
Not surprisingly, Modern Warfare 3 has excellent visuals.

Players can expect to be wowed by the realistic lighting effects, the texture of the landscapes, and the dynamic weather systems that add to the game’s immersive feel. It’s a visual spectacle that captures the gritty and intense atmosphere of modern combat.

Sound

The sound design in Modern Warfare 3 is nothing short of immersive. The game excels in capturing the cacophony of battle with crystal-clear audio. Every gunshot, explosion, and shout on the battlefield contributes to an authentic war experience. The attention to audio detail is impeccable, from the distinct sound of different firearms to the background noise of a chaotic warzone. The game’s soundtrack also deserves praise, offering a mix of adrenaline-pumping and emotive tracks that perfectly complement the on-screen action. Whether you’re in the thick of a firefight or in a tense, stealthy mission, the sound design consistently enhances the player’s engagement with the game world.

Gameplay

When it comes to gameplay, Modern Warfare 3 offers a blend of the franchise’s classic action and new experiments with open-ended missions. The traditional elements of Call of Duty gameplay are as engaging as ever, with fast-paced shootouts and the series’ trademark intensity. However, the foray into open-ended level design introduces a different rhythm to the campaign.

Looking down at a helipad building in the campaign of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3
It’s missing the traditional “Call of Duty Campaign” feel.

While these larger, more open levels aim to offer players more tactical freedom and a break from the linear path, they sometimes fall short of delivering a polished experience. The open-ended missions, despite their potential, often lack a clear direction and purpose, leading to moments of confusion and aimlessness. Enemy AI can be inconsistent, making some encounters feel less challenging and strategic than they could be. Nevertheless, these new elements represent a bold step for the series, and while not fully realized in this iteration, they show promise for future innovation in Call of Duty’s gameplay.


Verdict

This incredibly short review should sum this campaign up. This game should shine in the very popular multiplayer mode, which we will discuss in a later review after its launch. It’s unfortunate to see the developers put such little innovation into the campaign. Clearly, the campaign was not prioritized and rushed. Do not buy this game for the campaign alone, in fact, if you do buy it, skip it entirely.

I understand the multiplayer is the game’s true bread and butter, but Call of Duty campaigns used to be something people looked forward to in addition to the multiplayer. Hopefully, in future installments, they turn this around, but until then, focus on the multiplayer of MW3 which has the potential to be one of the best with the return of the classic Modern Warfare 2 maps.

Get MW3 on Amazon: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3.

Check out our overview of Modern Warfare 3 Zombies, a fresh take on the classic formula.

Avatar of Tyler Vareski
Tyler has over 11 years of experience playing strategy games. He has a particular fondness for Europa Universalis IV, of which he has logged over 900 hours. Despite the challenges that come with playing a complex game like EU4, Tyler finds it incredibly rewarding and loves sharing his knowledge and strategies with fellow gamers. On top of this, Tyler is a massive Star Wars junkie. He also likes 2K too much and doesn't eat enough vegetables.