When it comes to the Call of Duty franchise, many gamers expect that a new Call of Duty will be coming out each year. Whether or not Activision markets the next game truly depends on whether it is a new title within the series. Over the last five years, Activision has done very little marketing for each release, revealing information about the upcoming game only in the Summer just before the release. Despite very little information being provided each year, many CoD fans will go out and buy the new one without question. However, this year (2023), something is a bit different with Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3.
In prior years, we would actively hear CoD fans praising the latest release and declaring that it is the best Call of Duty to date. However, this time around many in the CoD community are either boycotting the game entirely or criticizing it repetitively. So what is so wrong with Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3? What is different about it vs CoD: Warzone or Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2?
The biggest answer to these complaints/boycotts is broken promises by Activision, bugs, story changes, and unbalanced gameplay. Let’s dive into our Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 review.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 (2023)
Developer: Sledgehammer Games
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC
Release Date: November 10th, 2023
Players: Single Player and Multiplayer
Before you can even play the game, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 requires 246 GBs of space to download; with this download, you are downloading Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, Warzone, and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3. Upon initial download, users are not able to select what they want to specifically download, it is just labeled as Map Packs. Once the game has been downloaded, you can go into the game settings and choose to uninstall certain files based on the game (MW2, Warzone, MW3). When you look at MW3‘s file size, it is very tiny compared to all the other files downloaded (26 GBs).
In fact, many are deeming Modern Warfare 3 a Modern Warfare 2 DLC. This is partially due to the two games sharing the same file space but also the fact that most of MW3‘s assets are from Modern Warfare 2. On top of that, the maps within Modern Warfare 3 were promised for MW2 and were in the original game. Yes, the maps look good, but the play style has become outdated. All of the weapons from Modern Warfare 2 AND Warzone carry over to Modern Warfare 3 giving players an unfair advantage against their counterparts; yes, there is a good variety of weapons in MW3, but why would or should a player use a weapon they aren’t comfortable with vs one they have practiced for countless hours. This is nice for those who want to use those weapons but there should be a separation of lobbies based on weapon availability.
The final two criticisms we will focus on are the mediocre campaign and all the bugs we have encountered since day one. A majority of the bugs are found in zombies but a few interesting ones were found in campaign and multiplayer. In multiplayer, there are a variety of ways to get out of the map using the deployable shield. Some of these bugs were around in the original Modern Warfare 2 maps and are still exploitable today.
In Campaign, there were times when enemies would fall through the map and still shoot you, explosions would go off without an explosive nearby, and our ability to interact with mission objects was inhibited. Originally, Modern Warfare 3 was the dramatic conclusion to the Modern Warfare series, now Sledgehammer Games and Activision have milked out the franchise even further by denying players what they want to do most, Kill Makarov. Even the death of a beloved series character was altered and made less satisfying.
MW3‘s campaign is drastically shorter than its counterparts unless you decide that you want to explore every nook and cranny of the map. The developers do put special items within the level to make the player have something to collect for fun, but this feels like it was done to inflate the campaign’s time. In fact, the game’s story can be completed in about four hours on Regular difficulty. Even if you are a fan of playing the campaign on Veteran, you should be able to complete it with ease, unless you suck at stealth.
Just like the other previous Call of Dutys, Modern Warfare 3 had to have Zombies because it is Activision’s best-selling game mode outside of multiplayer. MW3’s Zombies does not have rounds. Instead, the game mode revolves around a blend of Outbreak, Warzone, and DMZ. At the start, players can choose a load out to take into their deployment. While in the level, select items found throughout can be exfilled and utilized for future deployments.
The things we disliked were that you lose your operator and all progress if you die. Yes, you can recover your items if you had the Tombstone perk but that is truly dependant on if you had the perk. The second is the sheer amount of RNG within the game. Finding items is more luck-based rather than skill-based. On top of that, other players can grief you and steal the items that you have worked so hard to obtain without doing any of the work. If griefing players weren’t enough, the game’s Human AI enemies hit like a truck. Finally, the biggest annoyance in MW3 Zombies is all the bugs.
Most of the bugs within the game are actually found in MW3 Zombies. During our time with the game, we encountered a ton of bugs, some funny and some infuriating. The two most common reoccurring bugs we encountered were exfil for the Act’s mission and being unable to exfil. If a player exfilled in order to go to their story mission’s chapter, everyone in the lobby would be forced to do it if it was unlocked for anyone in the party; that story mission is only available for players who have completed the Act’s missions. Prior to this week, there was a bug that would cause the story missions to not progress until you exfilled and selected them outside of deployment.
The second most common bug we encountered was with exfilling. Typically, missing an exfil is not a problem since you can usually catch another one. The problem occurs when you are trying to and the game won’t let you at all. This resulted in us losing all the items we had found during the run and losing our operator. Since the average Zombies deployment lasts for 30 minutes to an hour, this can be rather infuriating. The frequency in which it occurs has lessened after the most recent patch but it still can occur.
Although we have had quite a bit of negative things to share with you about Modern Warfare 3, the game isn’t all bad. If you think of MW3 2023 as a MW2 expansion then it is fine, just a bit expensive. The game does offer players a variety of weapons to use and improved graphics from last year’s version. The game’s time-to-kill and hit detection system has improved as well, but it feels like Modern Warfare 3 is trying to be more like Fortnite rather than Call of Duty; in fact, that’s how the game has felt since the introduction of Warzone.
At the moment, you can easily put twenty to thirty hours into Modern Warfare 3‘s Zombies. The story missions within the mode are actually more interesting than the game’s campaign. If you are already a fan of Call of Duty’s multiplayer, then you will probably still enjoy this one. If you are already part of the Call of Duty ecosystem, then you will most likely want this version. If you haven’t played CoD in a while or are on a tight budget, we highly recommend skipping this one.
At the end of the day, Modern Warfare 3 (2023) is just an over-glorified DLC for Modern Warfare 2. With a lackluster campaign, recycled multiplayer maps, and a buggy Zombies mode, MW3 2023 is definitely a skippable game. Hopefully, with Microsoft purchasing Activision, future Call of Duty games will have a proper development cycle and feel like a standalone game that you can’t miss rather than an overpriced DLC.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 (2023) was reviewed on an Xbox Series X using a copy provided by Activision. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 (2023) launched on November 10th, 2023, on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X (Review), and PC.