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476 of 527 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2011
Platform for Display: PC
Before I start, please allow me to preface this review with three points:

1) I love the COD franchise...and have played every title extensively. My wife will back that statement up...while she sighs and reevaluates her life choices.

2) BF2/BC2/BF3 are good games...and I will not bash them. That said, BF is a different experience, with huge battlefields, many different types of vehicles, and a range of player roles. COD is a different animal...and tends to be more of a "just drop into the action" experience. Choose whatever you like. This is a review of a COD title for COD fans...not a critique of BF3.

3) I play multiplayer on the PC almost exclusively, so I won't offer much in the way of comments on single player mode in this review.

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So how is MW3 on the PC if you are a COD fan? Well, in my opinion, it's a step backwards for the franchise...and a relative low point for the overall series. MW3 does have its good points, but on balance, the game is a disappointment. I know that this opinion may not be popular, so please read on if you want to see why I feel this way.

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>>> The good old days

I started with the original COD title in 2003...and then jumped into COD:UO, which my gaming group modified heavily. The ability to host mods and custom maps on UO servers kept those servers running, fresh, and populated for years.

COD2 provided a similar experience, but with much better graphics, but sadly, no vehicles. That said, we modded the heck out of it and just shut those servers down last month. That was the staying power of that game.

COD4:MW (modern warfare) hit the streets and it was revolutionary...sadly though, also with no real "controllable" vehicles. Regardless, it was a great experience with fantastic graphics...and many innovations.

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>>> Enter Treyarch...and World at War

The three prior COD titles were developed by InfinityWard (IW) for Activision and they were all "game of the year" level titles. During that same time period, Activision had Treyarch develop COD3 exclusively for consoles...and it paled in comparison.

After COD4, Activision had Treyarch develop COD:WAW (World at War) for the PC, which seemed to be a thin repackaging of COD4:MW, but set back in WW2. The good news was that they added drivable tanks and generally made a fairly decent game...but we were all still looking to IW for innovation. Treyarch, not so much.

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>>> (Re)enter InifintyWard...and Modern Warfare 2

The next part is long, but relevant to MW3...I promise.

IW next developed COD:MW2 and fans of COD on the PC were shocked. It was clear that IW's strategy was to converge the console and PC versions to the greatest extent possible...forcing PCs to drop to the lowest common (console) denominator. As part of that strategy, they also dropped support for "dedicated servers." The impact of that decision cannot be understated. PC fans were incensed. They were now forced to deal with "lobbies" instead of dedicated servers. No longer could they just join their favorite server and see their friends and get to meet other new folks who frequented that server. Instead, the game randomly threw 12 or so folks together, made one the host, and threw you into a match...after numerous stutters and hiccups. A bogged down or lagging host could also ruin the game...and if that host quit, everything came to a screeching halt while the server attempted to migrate the host...or not.

The bigger issue, however, was that no one in the game had administrative (rcon) access...so hackers ruled. Fans of previous COD multiplayer titles know that Punkbuster and VAC do very little to stop hacking. With dedicated servers, the server admins in game would deal with such obvious hackers...but in MW2, those hackers raged with impunity. Even if you were the host, there was little that you could do. I cannot count the number of times that I was forced out of a game because a hacking player was raging with an obvious aimbot...while the anti-cheat software was oblivious.

The sad thing is that MW2 was fairly fun...even if it was mostly just a minor evolution of COD4:MW...but lack of dedicated servers killed it.

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>>> (Re)enter Treyarch...and Black Ops

Treyarch stepped back up to the plate with COD:BO...and while it was once again a minor evolution of the franchise, dedicated servers were back. Well, sort of. You had to rent them from one provider and they were not very mod-able, but at least you could set game type, map rotation, and HAVE ADMIN ACCESS (i.e., rcon). Once again, hackers needed to run and hide...because they didn't last long on well-monitored servers.

Yes, a minor evolution, but still a very good time. BO also supported "unranked" servers that supposedly supported modding, but frankly, most players ignored such servers...because they preferred to chase rank and "prestige". I won't get into why I think that including such ranks and prestige has killed modding, but suffice to say that you don't see the level of community modding and custom map creation that we did under UO and COD2. Oh well, MW3 is coming...and InifintyWard is creating this one...so it's got to be good...right?

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>>> WHERE WE ARE NOW: (Re)enter InfinityWard...and MW3 !!!

I picked up MW3, installed it, and tried the single player campaign just to get a sense of the player physics. Controls largely the same? Check. Player physics the same? Check. Single player campaign pretending to be expansive but really very linear with far too many cut scenes? Check.

Exit single player.

Actually, to say the controls are the same is kind. "Lean" is missing...as it was with IW's MW2. Hmm. Now I am getting suspicious, but let's fire up multiplayer anyway and get it on.

Wait. What the...?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! LOBBIES ARE BACK!? ARGGGGGGGGGGGG!

Yes, once again, lobbies are back. From clicking "play", it took about 4 minutes to get into a game...as lobbies were created and then destroyed...and created...and destroyed...and as soon as I got into a game, the host quit...and we came to a halt while the game tried to find a new host...which it could not...so we were all thrown back out into "lobby creation hell."

Yes, lobbies...with all that statement implies, including no ability to have admins who can deal with hackers.

But wait! MW3 supports dedicated servers.

Yes, but not for ranked play...and if BO is any indication of the future, folks will not want to play unranked servers as they chase shiny little prestige icons. Of course, IW is not doing much to help this situation since for some bizarre reason they have disabled MW3's server browser by default. You have to hunt down a setting to turn it on.

Seriously, I cannot believe this step backwards. Granted, it's not a step backwards for IW...it's a step forward from MW2. It's only a step backwards for the franchise (from Treyarch's BO).

Is MW3 better than MW2? Seems to be. They added some innovations and are paying lip service to dedicated servers...but much of what they added over MW2 has no value in unranked dedicated server mode in MW3...so the folks who have labeled MW3 as MW 2.1 are pretty much dead on as far as I am concerned.

So how are the lobby servers once you manage to get into a game? Well, I actually just got out of one where I was playing against a Prestige Level 10 Rank 80...less than 48 hours after release. Seriously...and guess who could see through walls and didn't care who knew it...and guess who couldn't do a darned thing about it?

I could go on and review the MW3 gameplay and what IW added to MW2, but you can get that info from many sources, so I'll save you from more of my rambling. Instead, I just wanted to share a review of the PC experience for this title, which seems to get lost in the reviews of console versions. If nothing else, I hope that I help you avoid the surprise that I had when I fired up multiplayer. If you buy MW3, at least you can now go in with your eyes open.

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>>> Closing Thoughts

MW3 is a sequel to MW2...not Black Ops. We will have to wait and see what Treyarch offers next for a sequel to Black Ops.

So is MW3 worth $60? Well, I'll leave that decision to each of you. It's definitely not a 1 star game, but it's also clearly not a 5 star game...at least on the PC.

I suppose that what has really struck me in this experience is that for the first time I now no longer consider InfintyWard to be the king of the COD franchise...at least for those of us playing on the PC. Treyarch may actually now have the better vision. Yes, I know, IW leadership changed as the core folks left to go form Respawn Entertainment, but MW3 smells like their legacy regardless - i.e., a collapsed version for consoles and PCs...and everything in the game setup to motivate you to spend more to get DLC map packs, extra XP, and whatever else they can urge you to buy. Do they want a game with legs that can survive for years? Of course not...so in that respect, they knocked this one out of the park.

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>>> My advice

If you love BF3 and COD generally annoys you, avoid this game. It will NOT win you over.

If you love COD, well, you are going to buy it anyway, but at least I will offer you empathy...and I'll be on the battlefield next to you.

If you are on the fence, try "Hello Kitty Island Adventure" instead. There are fewer weapons, but at least you won't feel as used and abused. Seriously though, stay on the fence, because I suspect that the price of this game is going to drop like a stone in the next two months.

cheers,
Scuba
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2011
Platform for Display: PC
Game is amazing, unfortunitly the PC version is out of control with people using bots and hacking programs, completely unplayable 90% of the time. There are ways of "reporting people", ie. the ones that got 120-1 in a 10 minute game, but the reports go unanswered. Normally I dont complain and just deal with it, but this is the first time I wish I could return a game and get my money back.
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101 of 125 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2011
Platform for Display: PC
In order to understand how pointless the COD experience feels, it's important to note the lack of effort on the part of the sound department. Many times you will turn around and end up shooting a friendly in the back because you just can't hear what's going on. Even in the sneakiest parts you will hear nothing but a cacophany of enemy chatter and weapons sounds and those overpowered by a lumbering and anticlimactic musical score. Good luck hearing a footstep or even determining the direction of enemy fire. It's as if the mix team just mashed the sliders all the way up and let it be. The sounds that one would expect to drown out all others, such as your own weapon or a tank firing directly beside your ears, are barely perceptible in the mush of everything else.

Because it's basically impossible to hear enemies, the simplest way to locate them is stand up in the open and wait until you start to get hit. Don't worry, apparently in COD world, bullets aren't lethal projectiles but merely wads of goo which slap you in the face, blurring your vision until you expire from blindness, so don't do this for too long.

If you're waiting for a pickup, keep your head on a swivel, because that SF little bird will just ninja on down behind you without a sound, and you'll be waiting for something to happen only to turn around and find a silent helicopter just chilling there a meter away.

Maybe it's unnecessary to expound upon, but graphically nothing has been done to this game for about four or five generations, so expect the same old same old as far as scenery. It may be that gamers feel a few 4 hour campaigns and some multiplayer kicks are well worth their $250 without any sort of development in terms of the actual game engine.

Now I know the vast majority of gamers couldn't care less about inaccuracies so I won't begin a tirade expounding on COD's "unrealism" but as a former Recon operator I can tell you there are thousands of them.

In addition to the lack of anything resembling realistic details, I found that with regards to scenario "preposterosity", COD takes the cake. As the Russian fleet attempts to displace the water of New York harbor by cramming as many boats as possible into the smallest area, your team takes a DPV ride down to an enemy submarine which is trying to fit into the Hudson to get its cruise missiles within range of California. After planting charges on the hull you detonate at a good safe distance of 5 meters, disabling the vessel. Fortunately for you, Navy SEALs are trained to absorb shock waves and turn them into large doses of awesome. As your team egresses via Zodiac, you weave in and out of the exploding Russian ships directly into the open hatch of a Chinook helicopter which is just hanging out in a few feet of water. No worries, we've got twin rotors---plenty of lift to handle a few tons of extra weight. Now, maybe some gamers will get a thrill out of performing such things, but I just couldn't stop laughing.

...and Operation One Man National Asset doesn't end there. The preposterous and impossible exploits just keep coming. One moment you jump from the 8th story onto the pavement and hop up to carry Soap away to safety... apparently he's just a weakling and is unable to shrug off such minor injuries. Another you fight your way through a large castle, placing three satchels from your bottomless rucksack, then end up driving over a cliff---but what's this? you just happen to have another full sized parachute on you---I wonder what pocket that one was hiding in...

At this point most gamers no longer expect to be handed a spoonful of sugar with their daily Commercialized Electronic Babysitting Session, but as an old time PC gamer I'll have to wait my turn for the next Portal or Company of Heroes. As the average gamer progressively drops in intelligence and creativity, the battlefield hand-holding seemingly increases. While playing COD one feels simultaneously god-like and completely unnecessary. There are no choices whatsoever to make, and no tactical ability required to succeed. If this is your cup of tea, go rent "Commando" and you'll have both hands free to handle the doritos and beer. If not, and you are interested in an experience with a shred of mental stimulation, look to Valve or Relic for something worth your cash.

Edit: I originally had written 6 hour campaign but looked at the menu and it said I had actually only spent 4 hours---and I'm the type who doesn't just sprint through games, I like to check out the scenery a bit too.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2011
Platform for Display: PC
They should have called it MW2.1. The campaign is basically gunning down one alley after another. The helicopter always gets blown up. The enemy troops are scripted. Multiplayer is basically the same as MW2 with some major revamps of the kill streaks, ect. Lucky for them, I liked MW2 so I like this game, but quite frankly, I am going to bed now rather than playing because it just doesn't draw me in like it MW2 used to.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2011
Platform for Display: PC
I agree with the other reviewers.

In 3 hours, I saw 3 aimbotters with the title 'BOOM! Headshot.' One went 94 and 6 or so.

And that's not the worst thing; I am constantly, if not every game then close to it, dying because of lag.
I'll shoot someone 3 or 4 times, die, and see on the kill cam that most of time I'm not even aiming near him.

I'm just glad I paid less than half price for this game.

Caveat Emptor!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2011
Platform for Display: PC
Some serious problems that still exist from mw2 and some that are new.

1. Still no dedicated servers for the PC platform leads to numerous issues:
- No way to configure map rotation, mods or have favorite servers
- No way to kick people who are hacking or otherwise causing problems
- Hackers that Aimbot and ruin the game for everyone
- Hacked lobbies that allow for exp hacks and unlocks

2. Game glitches. Like the infinite stealth bomber glitch that is exploited.

3. Lag. The game suffers from stutter lag that happens frequently. Basically the game freezes for about a second or two every few minutes of playtime.

4. Map size=to small. I am a huge fan of mw2 maps as you got a mix. I was really disappointed that they put very little effort into the maps for mw3. Every map is so small that it causes a problem with spawning. There is also very little strategy involved in playing as you can get from one point to the next in a few seconds. The best you can hope for is to camp choke points to route enemy advancement.

5. Weapon selection. While there are plenty of primary weapons to choose from you are limited to only a few viable solutions. Sub machine guns are over powered with the most powerful being the p90. There are very limited choices for a secondary selection but the machine pistol paired with akimbo will be all you will use to stay competitive. The game suffers greatly from this imbalance of weapons.

6. Perks. There are only a few viable perks you can utilize and some of the others are situational.

I still think you can fun with the game for a while but eventually but one or more items listed above start to weigh on you. Things might improve when they release more content and fix bugs. I'm going to shelf this for a while and might re-visit when they release a map pack or two. I think this game could easily be 3 or 3.5 stars with a few enchancements even with the abundant hacking.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2011
Platform for Display: PC
When I started to play BF3, I immediately noticed I needed to lower the graphics configs in order to play smoothly at 1920x1080. BC2 runs maxed out without problems. Normal, right? This is called modelling and coding improvement, what demands more from your rig.
Then I launched MW3, already prepared to make adjustments. So at first I put everything on max to slowly make the fine tunes, as ever. Surprise!!! It runs even better than Black Ops. OMG, it's maxed out and smooth as a silk! Good? No, because it's called modelling and coding stagnation. One year has passed, and they give us the same game, charging 60 bucks for it. Not the slightest attempt to improve graphics or sound has been made. MP is identical to MW2, even the sound effects when you obtain a marksman and stuff are the same. "-Oh, but the killstreaks are so different", one must say. So what? Killstreaks turned CoD MP into a joke, since they introduced a new system on MW2. They just modified the joke system a little. SP is bad as well. Linear, cold, robotic, no one to interact, the poor guy holding the mouse got no surprises or emotional reactions. A game can be a lone shooter, but if developers put some brain on the matter, they can make a masterpiece. Or a game can be a false "you and a lot of teammates shooter", but if developers are unable to make you have some identification with them, the result is a lone shooter, anyway. On BO they have at least ressurected Reznov, the big connection, the bridge from the game to the player (WaW was the best release of them all, IMHO, when Reznov first appeared and gave the game a big boost). Although it is a colder Reznov, he is there. MW2 made me feel emotional when they stormed the prison and freed Price, that cutscene is remarkable for me. But now, nothing. Robotic. No emotions.
The good is that IW engine is by far the most friendly of all FPS engines. It's very responsive, you can count on it. But this can't be an excuse to make the very same game, change its name and make us pay top dollar for it.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2011
Platform for Display: PC DownloadVerified Purchase
The best war game I've played is Medal of Honor. It's realistic. The animations of the warriors are super. The banter is very realistic. And the game actually mirrors what happened in Afghanistan. I've read several books written by both journalists and the special forces men, and Medal of Honor is just superb. At the end, you're left feeling very moved by this subtle and realistic portrayal.

Ah, but I'm not here to review Medal of Honor other than to say I just shelled out 60 bucks for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and feel as though I've gotten an inferior game. I made the mistake of reading the hype about it, and it all sounded so good, that I couldn't go wrong. I'd never played the earlier versions of the game, but .... hey, I took a chance.

I've played my way in quite a bit, and the game is way too frenetic. The battles and fighting are cartoony, and the characters are the same. They look like avatars from 5 years ago. There's no mood. The lighting and coloring are all overaught--no dark shadows like Medal of Honor. And there's very little interaction between the characters. You feel like a lone shooter surrounded by many others, and you have very little connection to them, emotionally or in the kinetic action. It's sound and fury, signifying nothing.

It's fast paced, but it's continuously so. It's like an arcade game of days gone by. Oh! Oh! watch out over there, and quick, over there...... and watch out ..... (over and over).

Folks, if you want a subtle, realistic game that mirrors what happened to our special forces in Afghanistan, get Medal of Honor. Seriously. Don't waste your money on this kaleidoscopic chaos.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2012
Platform for Display: PC
If you are currently thinking of buying this game, listen to all of us that have posted here. It is a waste of your money. I enjoyed it for about 1 day, until the hackers took over and I realized how bad the gameplay mechanics are. Now, the pc version is plagued with aimbotters and wallers, and plagued is an understatement, i am guessing at least 40% of the people on pc have some kind of hack. Those of us who play fairly have been reporting these idiots since day 1, and vac, Activision, Infiniti Ward, have not done ANYTHING to get rid of them. Besides the fact that it really is a re-skin of MW2, the game is completely broken. Save yourself the trouble and disappointment and get Battlefield 3, it is a much better game, the graphics are amazing, truly next generation, the vehicles are great and the maps are huge and well made.
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38 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2011
Platform for Display: PC
I wish I would have paid more attention to the reviews! I was pretty disappointed after shelling out $60 for this game. I expected more. There is really nothing new in terms of game-play. I was able to easily finish the campaign in under 5 hours (on hardened).

If you loved MW2 and want to basically play an expansion, I advise waiting until the price comes down. If you're looking for something new, don't bother.
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