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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Multiplayer Review

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Dissecting the vicissitudes of online play with smarmy bastards who are better than we are...by the Mad Duo.

There’s been a lot of talk about how realistic Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is. Frankly we don’t see it. In fact, the other day were having a Facebook chat with several of our abject minions adoring fans and several of them brought up some really good points.

Maps: MW3 has sixteen maps, which aren’t huge but are fairly intricate, allowing for complicated coordinated maneuvers if you’re not playing with morons or those drunks from 3/4 who just got back to 29 Palms (welcome home boys). It is rumored that 20 new pieces of DLC will be made available in 2012. We’ll see if it will be new material or just retreads of previous maps.

“I want to see MW4 come out with a battlefield that’s 85% civilian, with 50% of those supplying the enemy with ammo and warning them when you get close. Also, shooting any vehicle, damaging any building or killing any civilian erases all your saved games and makes you start from scratch. Lastly, your loading screens are newscasts from home about how meaningless the next mission is and you have superiors second-guessing your every bullet in the After Action summary. Oh, and remove the tac-knife completely. Now that would be a wargame.” Luke B.

“There should be a part where you build buildings and then they get blown up. After that you go back and rebuild them.” Rene M.

“How about a safety belt briefing side mission? Gotta keep it real.” Chris H.

“I want to see a war game that includes filling out Risk Assessment rubrics, sending up pictures to HQ in which all soldiers are in the right uniform—that’s mandatory—writing OPSums, additional risk mitigation sheets, power point slides and all the rest. If you had to do all that, then mission would never happen, just like in real life. That’s realism!” Kit Up’s very own Jack Murphy.

Those are actually cogent, surprisingly articulate points given the nature of our friends (most of whom have calloused knuckles and an entire profane argot devoted just to matters of masturbation). We agree.

That being said, and with the caveat that the live action trailer was truly bitchin', there are some things about the game we like (and some we don’t). It’s obviously had a facelift and audio is great, so the atmospheric verisimilitude is pretty decent if the actual realism isn’t. (Grunts: verisimilitude.) Matchmaking and Match Intermissions seem to be much less time consuming, which is a relief when you’ve only got a certain amount of time to get your dork on.

Survival Mode: maybe our most favorite mode. Chuck Norris got to level 117 with a ka-bar, his beard and his feet then the OPFOR just gave up and quit coming. (pic courtesy of The Syndicate Project)

We’ll cover the Multiplayer first. Stand by for further on the Campaign.

First off, MW3 multiplayer is more balanced than its predecessor, but let’s get it out there now: this doesn’t really feel like MW3. It feels like MW2.5 or some other interim iteration. It reaches and does some amazing things, but it falls short of the sort of generational leap BF3 made. This doesn’t mean it’s no fun to play, of course, even if you do have to deal with that rat bastard BlustryChees810. We liked the fact that all the game modes from MW2 were in here along with two new ones (Confirmed Kill and Team Defender).

Strike Packages. The biggest reason MW is more balanced is the strike packages. In MW2 (and Black Ops, for that matter), a single really bad ass killstreak could make or break the game. An AC130 or Pave Low could take the score up past the recovery point. Now that system is basically split into three sub-categories, and it evens things out. It’s a more intricate system and may be one of the more genius points of the game. Groups are selected in the Create-a-Class section. The Assault package feels old school and it’s still a favorite for the skilled, lean and chary. This is where you want to go if you like calling in CAS missions, gun runs and throwing down enemy locators. The Support package doesn’t reset after a death, however, giving the player who gets a death or two on his way up the ladder a little leeway. Good for ballistic armor all around and UAVs. Specialists have a perk based system that isn’t unlocked until level 20. Once selected, the player begins a match with the standard three perks, but upon obtaining two consecutive kills the players fourth perk is added (and so on, with a fifth and sixth perk). This is a great class for talented, solipsistic guys that wear Oakleys over the top of Wiley-Xs, even indoors.

This system keeps the games from becoming morbidly out of hand.  (Grunts: Chary) Unlike the real world, there are no TOCroaches, FOBBITs or CAB Chasers. Just profane teenagers and the occasional Predadork.

Equipment Progression. Weapons, attachments, perks and other options are unlocked pretty much in a standard ladder progression using points, challenges and levels. It beats all hell out of the old Black Ops point purchase system, which should have gotten some designer fired (or at least his ass kicked).  Sadly most of your stuff is pretty standard; no BattleComp, Legion rifle, Effin-A Comp or Warrior Grips, but they can’t think of everything. Oh well. Too bad, that.

Kill Confirmed (which is better than Kill Denied): Encourages grudge camping, but overall a good mode (pic courtesy of xJawz)

Kill Confirmed (and Kill Denied). This new game mode is pretty damn good. It’s just an improved, trickier version of Team Deathmatch. In some ways it resembles the Halo: Reach Headhunter mode, but instead you’re collecting dogtags (vice skulls) and bringing them to a collection point. It’s like a grisly reverse CCP. MW3 simplifies it by requiring the dogtags are collected after a kill, and we like this better. Of course, the obvious result of this is that players wind up becoming more reckless and less worried about threats in their frenetic attempts to count coup, because a death doesn’t necessarily guarantee a point for their team. These games seem to have a pretty high kill and death count (which could harm a players’ kill-to-death ratio, presumably). This is one of the less realistic features of the game, unless of course you’re a Gurkha, in which case you’d actually wind up taking heads anyway (and God bless that fellow from 1ST BN Royal Gurkha Rifles in Babaji for doing so).  Team Defender doesn’t take a genius to explain. It’s a pretty much Capture the Flag with some PSD elements thrown in.

Team Deathmatch: this poor bastard is dodging a mini-gun and an appallingly good sniper. (pic. courtesy of M40A3Predator)

Despite Inevitable Comparison, it is nothing like Black Ops. Infinity Ward did the right thing. Instead of trying to take Treyarch’s multiplayer system and further improving upon it, they took their own from MW2 and improved on it (not enough, but at least they did). We never liked Black Ops multiplayer. Instead of unlocking titles and CDI gear, you were worried about leveling up and earning credits. That weakens the cool factor and lessens the pride you feel when you manage to pull off your first n00b tube direct impact kill, or sticking someone with nice warm blob of Semtex. You didn’t earn much of anything but extra points when you really humiliated someone in Black Ops, which brings us to…

No Multiplayer Achievement, no penalty for being mototarded. Like the past two MW games, all achievements focus on single player and “spec-ops” missions—and just for the record, calling them Spec-Ops is pretty lame, but whatever. Some don’t like this emphasis, but we prefer it (which means you have to deal with it, cuz this is our review). Infinity Ward smooths out some of the problems here by using titles and emblems, which are earned for completing certain challenges. They act like their own achievement (and bragging rights) system. Think of it as a sort of virtual tab check, only here no one makes fun of you for being too hooah or mototarded.

Spec-Ops. We hate the name, but the game is fun. Spec-Ops. (Insert lisping sound of pimplegastic teenager saying it here.) Spec Ops. Anyway, Spec-Ops returns and adds in Survival Mode, which we do like. The zombie stuff from the Treyarch games were fun, but this is a lot better (particularly if you’re a pansy like our otherwise manly tactifriend Josh R from Oklahoma, who wets himself when he hears braaaiiinnns). The game follows a simple premise of get more kills, buy kit, get more kills against harder enemies, buy better kit. It’s like starting out in the infantry and working your way up to a Tier One snake-eater unit but you don’t have to be the Marines. (Get it? Cuz they always get the oldest, crappiest gear no matter what? Get it?) Throw in the airstrikes and you’ve got yourself a good time.

Our favorite part of Spec-Ops is the classic mission mode. Though most of these missions can be played solo, all are truly made to be played with a buddy. Especially if you have surround sound and adult beverages on hand. Some of the missions fit in the story (like a side plot to what you hear in the game but don’t hear much about) others not so much. Plus, there’s a throwback to the original Epilogue mission in MW (which some younger players won’t remember, but it was a nice touch). There’s really nothing like working your way all the way through a double decker jumbo jet in the middle of a balls-out gunfight, and we know that’s realistic. Jonas Blaine did it practically by himself.

Some people like the whole vicious dog thing...problem is, you have to kill them. Since we like dogs more than most people, we pretend they are giant fuzzy lizards. (pic courtesy of The Agent Assassin)

Overall, we like MW3 in multiplayer mode okay. Yes, we have to say it, we like BF3 better in multiplayer, but it’s really apples and oranges (well, not really). You can prefer lean redheads and still like to take the occasional tour of a hefty brunette and enjoy both, right? That said, BF3 players should be advised that MW3 takes players back to a faster, more lethal game mode. Large-scale warfare comprised of large teams, vehicles and maps aren’t a part of this deal. You’re not going to see broad, long-running brawls building to a breathless climax. It’s a series of shorter, more intense direct action runs with repetitive happy endings.

Sledgehammer Games did okay, in our opinion. Watch for us on there if you play multiplayer. We’ll be hunting BlustryChees810 (and dying, more often than not).

The Mad Duo can be contacted here on UTR, over on Kit Up! or at Breach-Bang-Clear. High speed, low drag celebrities of the action figure and steely-eyed snaker-eater world, the commentary of Richard “Swingin’ Dick” Kilgore and Jake “Slim” Call has been likened to a .308 op-ed to the head. They don’t like the Taliban, marplots, hippies, sissies or SNCOs and officers who don’t grasp the concept of Noblesse Oblige. Loyalty starts from the top down, assclowns. (Some folks have asked for some background on the intrepid doorkicking twosome: background is here.)

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