At the beginning of 2023, there was word there would be no “Call of Duty” this year. Then there was word that an expansion for “Modern Warfare II” would be released instead of a new game. That idea turned into a full game, and here we are with “Modern Warfare III,” the most lackluster entry in the series by a mile.
The biggest letdown in the game is the extremely forgettable and lazy single-player campaign. Much like the original “Modern Warfare 3,” this story is all about hunting down the leader of the ultranationalist Russian terrorists, Vladimir Makarov. The set pieces and plot progression are nowhere near as interesting as they were in the original “Modern Warfare” trilogy. In this game, the story feels like an afterthought with boring characters that are shells of their past incarnations.
The other big letdown is that most of the campaign uses repurposed assets from the Verdansk battle royale map. There’s not much that can be done to hide the fact that the whole thing was rushed, and it’s a shame to see that the series’ standards have fallen to this level.
The main attraction of this package is the multiplayer. The combat feel and systems are mostly the same as they were in last year’s game but with some small tweaks to movement.
To stay consistent with the recycled campaign maps, this multiplayer uses remastered versions of maps from the original “Modern Warfare 2.” The result is that the game is full of good maps that are better than most of the maps in recent games. The drawback to this is that the game feels like an expensive rehash of stuff people played over a decade ago. The progression systems also have the issues of the previous game, which contributes to the game feeling stale right out of the box.
An interesting addition is the new zombies mode, which combines aspects of previous versions with the extraction shooter mode, DMZ. Players are dropped into a large map where they can slay zombies, complete contracts and gather loot before having to extract. It’s an interesting spin on the zombies mode, which is something that has been needed for a while now. Players can take their chances with the tougher zombies in the more dangerous areas marked on the map and decide if they should extract early or hang around for more stuff at the risk of losing it all.
It’s the most interesting part of “Modern Warfare III,” but not enough to justify the $70 price tag.
While this game still has great gunplay and graphics, it feels exactly like what it was conceived to be, an expansion, and not a great one. The game is functional, the multiplayer and zombies modes are fun, but also feel too familiar. Many of the issues from the previous game are still present, and every mode uses old assets in one way or another.
This release marks a low point for the series in terms of quality, and the idea of paying a full premium price for this is ridiculous. I doubt it’ll be long before this game is on sale for $30, which is a much more appropriate price. “Modern Warfare III” gets two stars out of five.