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I’ve played a lot of Modern Warfare over the years. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve lost a couple of years of my life to Call of Duty. And I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s addictive, fun and, bar the odd blip in the series (cough, Vanguard, cough Ghosts) they nearly consistently offer exactly what I’m looking for from a shooter. Fast-paced, responsive gunplay, and, for me at least, a decent single-player campaign.
We’ll park the last part for now, as that wasn’t what was on offer during this beta. No, this beta focused on multiplayer and on showcasing a few familiar modes that COD veterans would have seen plenty of times before. I’m not one to dive into the game’s deep meta; I’m not good enough a player for that. But what I can report on is my experience playing the beta, from someone who spent a lot of time in the original Modern Warfare 3, and has consistently played the series throughout the years.
How does Modern Warfare 3 play?
It’s fun. It’s a lot of fun. While a lot was made of the movement this year, I didn’t really notice too much of a change. Not enough for me to feel as though I needed to unlearn all of my habits from Modern Warfare 2. Taking Favela for example, the map offers plenty of opportunities for different kinds of players. There are higher bird’s nests for those who prefer camping (although don’t expect to last long), spliced with some tight walkways and a few open expanses. It’s a well-thought-out level, which really shows off MW3 at its best.
Then, of course, there’s Rust – a fan favourite brought back to life in this year’s game. It’s exactly how you imagined it, but it definitely felt that some of the magic has been lost along the way. Having played a lot of Shipment and to a lesser extent Shoot House (or its variants), what made Rust special feels more blunted this time. Other maps, such as Skidrow are serviceable, but thanks to map voting it usually lost out when pitted with the likes of Favela or Rust. A taste of things to come? Perhaps. Be warned, too much of a good thing is sometimes not a good idea.
When it comes to the weapons, I’ve managed to try out most of them. I’m not one for LMGs, but after my brief exposure to the Holger, I found it to be far too heavy and slow for some of the close-quarters maps. By far the most effective weapon, at least in my opinion, is the MTZ-556, which I thoroughly recommend for those looking to jump in before the trial period ends. While much has been made of the weapon sounds not being up to par, this never affected me too badly. I would say that nearly all of the weapons I used could do with more aggressive sound effects, though. Their TTK also feels slightly different to MW2. From my experience, there is a longer TTK but bullets ‘feel’ as though they hit more. This translates to you being able to have vital milliseconds to adjust or recover from an attack, rather than just accepting your fate.
Perhaps the most notable thing for me was how effective many of these weapons are in vanilla form. While I would spend hours upgrading weapons in Modern Warfare 2, I was surprised just how quickly I got used to the base weapon, and how easily, with practice, I could see myself mastering it. This offers some cause for concern. In a game that possesses a fantastic Gunsmith option, if some of the soon-to-be most popular guns are decent enough in stock form, is there any real incentive to play around and tune them? From what I experienced, recoil across the board was controllable. Even the MTZ Interceptor, a single shot rifle, I found with practice easy to handle and execute one-shot kills. Perhaps even more so than my heavily tuned SA-B 50 in Modern Warfare 2.
I also found there was next to no reason to use my side arm. Whether this is by chance, I’m not sure. But this could be due to activity on the maps and game modes being concentrated in key areas (typical for Domination), giving you more time to manage ammo. Many people will likely opt for an Overkill perk, allowing them to carry two primary weapons, but it’s just something I noticed.
How does Modern Warfare 3 look?
MW3’s graphics have already started to divide the community. We reported earlier that some fans are already starting to the see the game as a ‘downgrade‘ to the 2019 Modern Warfare. It’s always worth stressing that MW3 is currently in beta, so we can’t expect it to have the same polish as the finished product. We are also confident the visuals will improve when the game launches. But, everything did feel a little ‘washed out’ – especially noticeable on the Favela map.
While MW 2019 represented a huge graphical leap for the series, MW3 appears to not have evolved much visually. The weapons and character models do look a bit flat and lack a bit of character. For smaller pistols, this is not a huge deal. But for larger shotguns, capable of delivering devastating damage, you never really feel you’re wielding that sort of tool. MW3 is certainly not a downgrade, but while MW 2019 is still talked about for its stunning visuals, from what we’ve seen of MW3, at least in multiplayer, we’re not expecting the same impact.
I plan to play a lot more of the beta; after all, it’s a lot of fun. I’d encourage you all to do the same too – you can find out the MW3 beta end date here. Sure, it’s not perfect, but by playing it we’ll find issues that can hopefully help make the game even better when it launches. There are some early warning signs, though, namely the visuals, weapons, and potential issues with map voting, but we’re confident these will all improve by the time the game launches. Now, back to playing.