Do you remember where you were at the start of World War III? I do; getting pounded by some guy with a Striker over and over again in a German shopping mall.
Campaign, co-op, or multiplayer? That's the gulf between Modern Warfare 3's trisected whole. To say there are three separate games on the disc would be an exaggeration, but to simultaneously apprise Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games' trio of component parts as one singular whole would be unfair.
So, where do you begin? Multiplayer will be the sole focus for many, and this is another solid incremental update of an annual franchise that has embraced the idea of gaming as a service rather than an individualistic product - an ideology that has enraged many of the series' outspoken detractors. Modern Warfare 3 is this principle at its apex, and it comes as no surprise that Activision makes frequent comparisons with sport as this year's game launches simultaneously (on 360 and PS3, at least) with social tool Call of Duty: Elite.
In many respects it is easier to approach Modern Warfare 3's yearly updates as you would an annualised sports game: this is very much refinement rather than revolution, and increment over innovation. The most noticeable change this year is that the iconic Killstreak system has been revamped and rebranded as the Strike Package, and this ultimately subtle change arrives with all the pomp and self-jubilation of one of FIFA or Madden's bold back-of-the-box boasts.
But subtlety does not automatically mean insignificance. There are three various flavours of Strike Package: Assault, Support and Specialist. The former awards you things like attack helicopters for unbroken streaks of kills, as in former Call of Duty games, but Support presents an alternative approach with a range of defence-oriented rewards that also allow you to keep your streak after death. The final option, Specialist, is a more complex option that unlocks up to three additional perks with every second kill you score, resetting when you die.
Strike Packages don't radically change the rhythm of the game, which still thrashes along with Call of Duty's usual blink-and-you'll-miss-it pace, but they do offer less experienced players the chance to reap rewards without having to adopt a camper mentality. A cache of ballistic vests can provide the team an extra edge, for instance, and the advanced UAV always comes in useful.