The Call of Duty series has cemented itself as one of the premier first-person shooter franchises, with each new entry promising adrenaline-fueled action for both campaign and competitive multiplayer. The Modern Warfare sub-series kickstarted back in 2007 stands as a fan favorite for its gritty modern setting. Fans eagerly awaited the release of Modern Warfare 3 in 2023 to continue the story.
However, behind the scenes, Modern Warfare 3 initially started development as an expansion to 2009’s Modern Warfare 2 due to having only half the usual development time. This caused concerns that it would feel more like DLC content than a full standalone release.
In this review, we will be evaluating the multiplayer portion of Modern Warfare 3 in depth to determine if it provides enough new content and innovation to justify the full retail price. Does it feel like a fresh experience that moves the series forward? Or does it come across as reheated leftovers from previous games? We’ll examine the new maps, modes, progression system, audio-visual upgrades, and other features to see where this sequel shines or falls short. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive critique so readers can determine if Modern Warfare 3’s online multiplayer offers a valuable and enjoyable experience worth investing time into.
Diving Into Modern Warfare 3’s Core Multiplayer Offerings
Modern Warfare 3 includes the standard array of multiplayer modes that Call of Duty fans have come to expect over the years. There’s classics like Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, and Kill Confirmed where the name of the game is racking up kills. For objective players, staples like Domination and Headquarters have you capturing and defending areas of the map. Then you have larger player count modes like Ground War supporting up to 64 players at once for total chaos. Hardcore variants of some modes are present as well for those who want a minimal HUD and lower time-to-kill.
Unfortunately, Modern Warfare 3 only introduces one completely new multiplayer mode with its launch – Cutthroat. This novel 3v3v3 competitive mode has teams battling it out, with the first squad to reach the win limit emerging victorious. It’s thrilling and well-designed, but the lack of other new modes demonstrates the wider issue of a lack of innovation. Besides this one addition, the selection feels like more of the same compared to previous Modern Warfare games.
In terms of actual map design, Modern Warfare 3 includes 16 total maps, all of which are remakes of popular maps from the original Modern Warfare 2. Standouts like Rust, Terminal, Highrise and Afghan will hit veterans right in the nostalgia. They’ve been visually touched up with improved textures, lighting, details that make them shine on new hardware. However, the fact that there are zero brand new maps is disappointing for those seeking new battlegrounds to master. The gameplay flow across the board remains fast and frenetic as expected, with a similarly quick time-to-kill. The hand feel and recoil are on par with Modern Warfare 2’s tight mechanics.
On the audio-visual front, the guns pack a pleasing punch and the chatter between soldiers immerses you into the action. Explosions rock your speakers with hefty booms and popping gunfire whistles by your head. It’s an audio experience that has you whipping your head around trying to pinpoint enemies and danger. Visually it is a big step up from Modern Warfare 2, with vibrant colors, gorgeous lighting, and high-resolution textures that look great. The familiar maps have never looked better.
That said, it’s hard not to feel like this multiplayer offering is weighed down by nostalgia and a reluctance to bring more new ideas to the table. Yes, the moment-to-moment gameplay still provides that signature Call of Duty adrenaline rush. But beyond the single new mode and facelift for classic maps, Modern Warfare 3 plays it safe, banking on nostalgia rather than innovation.
Modern Warfare 3’s Updates Provide Mixed Results
Modern Warfare 3 does introduce some key gameplay changes that aim to enhance the classic Call of Duty formula. The return of slide canceling is a highlight – this advanced movement technique lets players maintain momentum by chaining slides and jumps together for lightning-fast traversal. It heightens the pace and mastery ceiling. Mantling over objects is also slightly faster, reducing the vulnerability window and getting you back in the fight quicker. These tweaks make the overall movement feel fluid and responsive.
The new progression and unlock system, however, comes across as a step backward. Previously leveling up organically unlocked new gear, but now players have to utilize a new Armory Unlock system. This requires activating tedious Daily Challenges just to earn the ability to use weapons, attachments, and other content that should simply be unlockable through normal progression.
The Daily Challenges themselves range from monotonous “get X kills” tasks to impossible ones reliant on gear you can’t access yet. Having to micromanage Armory Unlocks is the opposite of rewarding, turning unlocks into a chore. With only 2-3 able to be worked on per day, getting to try out new loadouts is a drawn-out slog. The entire system feels unintuitive and unnecessarily prolongs reaching content that players should have standard access to.
In terms of new maps and modes, the underwhelming selection has already been highlighted. The lone new mode Cutthroat is a fun chaotic twist, but with zero brand new maps at launch, the content offering feels anemic. Even the visual revamps of classic maps can only carry so far without new layouts to master. It’s not enough.
An interesting feature is the integration of Modern Warfare 2’s weapons and unlocks, allowing veterans to continue progressing their arsenal into this sequel. However, this creates imbalances where inexperienced players are outgunned by OP weapons they can’t access yet. Newcomers are frustrated while veterans steamroll lobbies. Restricting legacy weapons until after launch would’ve allowed a more fair playing field to start.
Overall the updates present in Modern Warfare 3 are a mix of positive evolution and misguided steps backward. Mantling and slide canceling demonstrate welcome polish to gameplay feel. But the sluggish new progression system and lack of new maps or modes outside Cutthroat make this sequel feel thin rather than fully-featured. The carryover weapons are a nice bonus for veterans but poorly integrated in a way that stomps on newcomers. The end result is a conflicting set of additions that seem to take one step forward and one step back.
Evaluating Modern Warfare 3’s Core Combat Mechanics
When it comes to moment-to-moment gameplay, Modern Warfare 3’s combat mechanics deliver that trademark Call of Duty feel. The time-to-kill remains lightning fast, ensuring firefights are over quickly in just a few shots. This emphasizes fast reflexes and accurate snap shooting. The frenetic pace makes each multiplayer match an adrenaline rush as you rapidly cycle through enemies. This hardcore damage model is a staple of the franchise that many fans expect.
In terms of weapon feel, the recoil and handling seem to strike an improved balance from previous entries. Recoil patterns are more predictable, reducing the jarring shake that could make staying on target difficult. This change contributes to gunplay feeling tighter and more controllable across the board. The reduced visual shake also makes it easier to track enemies amidst muzzle flash and explosions.
The new loadout system grants extensive flexibility for crafting your ideal setup. Primary weapons, secondary guns, lethal and tactical equipment, perks, and attachments can all be tuned to cater to your playstyle. There are no major restrictions, allowing diverse combinations like shotgun primaries with sniper secondaries. The wealth of options ensure you can build a loadout tailored to your strengths.
Overall, Modern Warfare 3’s core combat mechanics deliver that signature fast and furious Call of Duty gameplay loop. The quick time-to-kill and dialed in weapon feel get players immediately into the heat of battle. And robust loadout customization empowers you to experience this action-packed gameplay in a way that best suits your preferences and strengths.
Assessing Modern Warfare 3’s Audio-Visual Presentation
The graphical overhaul provided to the classic Modern Warfare 2 maps helps Modern Warfare 3 look great on modern hardware. Texture quality has been noticeably improved with high-resolution detailing that looks crisp. Lighting effects like shadows and lens flares have been elevated to meet modern standards. Environments are much more vibrant and colorful compared to the drab original maps. This makes familiar battlegrounds like Rust and Terminal aesthetically pleasing showcases to experience the fast-paced action on.
The audio mix also enhances immersion into the battlefield. Deafening explosions rock your speakers and crackling gunfire whistles by your head with directional intensity. Soldiers bark tactical callouts that help you pinpoint threats and team objectives. Overall, the booming and clear audio makes you feel truly embedded within the chaotic multiplayer firefights.
While the visuals and audio uphold AAA production values expected of the franchise, they feel more like polished iterations of existing assets rather than from-the-ground-up enhancements. Still, the excellent presentation values help amplify the core gameplay’s excitement and make revisiting classic maps even more enjoyable. This is one area where the developers put in the work to modernize things compared to a single new mode being the only new gameplay feature. The revamped sights and sounds ultimately succeed at enhancing immersion despite the lack of innovation.
Modern Warfare 3 Multiplayer Lacks Innovation to Justify Full Price
It’s hard not to feel underwhelmed by the lack of innovation and new content in Modern Warfare 3, especially when considering its full $70 price tag. For a series that prides itself on offering bombastic new thrills every year, this entry takes far too few risks.
The most glaring issue is the complete lack of new maps at launch. While the visual upgrades to classic maps like Terminal and Rust are splendid, simply repackaging old content isn’t enough. Each new Call of Duty multiplayer traditionally delivers fresh locales tailored to the theme, allowing veterans to master brand new layouts. The absence of any original map design demonstrates a disappointing lack of creativity and effort.
The lone new mode Cutthroat, while entertaining, simply isn’t substantial enough on its own to make this feel like a full sequel. Apart from this 3v3v3 contest, the selection of familiar game modes have barely changed. Sticking so closely to what worked before shows complacency rather than ambition or a desire to expand.
Even the Armory Unlock system, while intended to provide more progression options, comes across as convoluted rather than innovative. The additional steps of activating tedious challenges just to access content that should unlock naturally makes the system feel more restrictive than empowering.
While revisiting classic maps soaked in nostalgia can be fun, after a few hours, the recycled content begins to feel more like lazy asset reuse than fan service. The updated audio and visuals only go so far when the core map layouts and gameplay flow remain identical to the 2009 originals.
Longtime fans will likely enjoy the familiarity for a while, but the lack of new maps and modes makes Modern Warfare 3 feel like low effort DLC, not worthy of being a full priced sequel. With a 70$ price tag, buyers expect a robust offering of new locales and modes that demonstrate valuable improvements over previous entries. Instead, Modern Warfare 3 relies too heavily on nostalgia, delivering only one new mode and zero new maps.
Fans have come to expect more for their money from premium Call of Duty packages each year. But in terms of quantity and innovation, Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer offering feels slim in comparison to past titles in the franchise. Unless you have a strong nostalgic connection to the original Modern Warfare 2, this entry’s lack of new content makes justifying the full retail price difficult. With so few risks taken to meaningfully advance the online experience, Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer feels like it would have been better suited as a cut-price expansion rather than charging fans full price for minimal innovation.
Final Thoughts on Modern Warfare 3’s Multiplayer Package
Looking back at the full offering, Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer is a mixed bag. The core gameplay still provides that addictive Call of Duty feeling – lightning fast time-to-kill, crisp gunplay, and chaotic battles. Slide canceling and improved mantling contribute to satisfying movement for advanced players. The audio-visual improvements also complement the gameplay, though they still feel like polish on existing assets.
However, the lack of innovation and meager amount of new content make this entry hard to recommend at full price. The complete absence of new maps raises red flags about the amount of effort put in. And the new Armory Unlock system feels like a step backward for progression rather than forward.
There is still fun to be had for longtime devotees, especially those with nostalgia for the original Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer. The remastered maps will provide a blast from the past. But players seeking substantial new content or evolution of the formula will leave disappointed.
If you’re desperate for your next hit of Call of Duty multiplayer madness, can overlook the lack of new maps, and don’t mind the flawed Armory Unlock system, then Modern Warfare 3 delivers base satisfaction. But for most players, it’s hard to justify the full $70 price tag when the offering lacks so much new material and innovation compared to past franchise high points.
Unless you are a diehard fan, you may be better off waiting for a sale to pick this one up. The core gameplay still offers classic Call of Duty intensity, but is packaged with too little new content to feel worthy of paying full price.
Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer mode’s moment-to-moment gameplay is polished, but the overall offering underwhelms. Fans of the original will enjoy the nostalgia, yet nearly everything here is recycled. Unless you’re desperate for a quick Call of Duty fix, your money is better spent elsewhere.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Multiplayer
Modern Warfare 3's multiplayer offering is weighed down by recycled content and minimal innovation. The core gameplay still provides a fun dose of Call of Duty action. But with no new maps, a flawed progression system, and only one new mode, it fails to deliver enough compelling content to justify the premium price tag. Nostalgia carries it only so far.
- Smooth and responsive core gameplay feels just like classic Call of Duty
- Satisfying time-to-kill and weapon handling
- Slide canceling allows for advanced movement techniques
- Mantling over objects is faster and more fluid
- Includes fan favorite maps like Terminal, Rust, etc.
- New Cutthroat mode provides chaotic 3v3v3 action
- Complete lack of brand new maps is disappointing
- Minimal innovation or risks taken overall
- New Armory Unlock system is convoluted and frustrating
- Only one new mode (Cutthroat) at launch
- Recycled maps and assets lead to a lack of fresh content
- Carryover weapons can create imbalance favoring veterans
- Doesn't feel substantiative enough to warrant premium price tag
- Relies too heavily on nostalgia rather than new ideas