Modern Warfare 3 slaps on layer upon layer of superlative until you become desensitised - action gaming at its self-degrading finest.
It's a great game in the same way that its predecessors were (and still are), but that's also why it falls short. It's actually the same game as its predecessors. The original Modern Warfare broke ground with its solid physics, rock solid graphics and stone cold depiction of a souped up modern battlefield. The second took that up a notch with refurbished graphics, brushed up nuts and bolts and a captivating (albeit short) story.
Modern Warfare 3 is practically MW2, with the skins transported onto new maps with a new reel of voice acting on top. Your arsenal is the same, the trademark mix of action sequences (from the one man army acts and intricately choreographed sniper segments to the overhead sweeps from the safety of a cockpit miles in the air) is the same, and the story follows the same dry thematic loop of jaded patriotism and brotherhood that's been thrashed over three titles.
But let's face it: you buy Call of Duty for the multiplayer. And Activision is really milking that fact. DLC is becoming the trademark oversell of the gaming world, where popular games get to sap at their fan base after they've each already paid more than $100 for a console title. MW3 throws in plenty of new maps for players to get acquainted with, but is set to release new content monthly for nine months under its 'Elite' membership for a yearly fee.
Apart from an array of plenty of new maps to get used to, MW3 throws in new online game modes and a rehashed killstreak system that rewards all different kinds of players. Kill Confirmed is a new game mode that tweaks the typical team deathmatch framework by having players collect dog tags for points rather than just getting kills. The game speeds up a notch and becomes more frenetic as players get face to face to snag tags and salvage their own downed teammates' tags. There are also a whole lot of other match types like every man for himself, capture the flag, king of the hill and barebones matches that strip away perks.
Killstreaks have also been tweaked with new items and strike packages. The Assault package will reward players for non-stop, successive kills without dying. The Support package rewards the less fortunate players who can't keep their head above water, with deaths not interrupting a killstreak. The rewards aren't as glorious, but are helpful for the rest of your team who'll otherwise want to get their friendly fire on for letting the team down. Lastly is the Specialist package for the lone rangers out there who want to boost their play with perks instead of items. Claymores, Bouncing Betty's, and all the other irritatingly common explosives from previous Call of Duty's are thankfully less common this time around.
The campaign packs in the cinematic moments in a non-stop tirade of explosive action that gamers have come to expect from the franchise. They try to outdo themselves which makes for some visually unique scenarios and moments that push the cool factor we've come to love. There's one particularly Inception moment where extreme turbulence on a hijacked plane has you bouncing around in slow-motion, picking off enemies in mid-air.
But with this comes the inevitable flogging of the dead horse and it comes as no surprise. The slow-mo door breaching from the last Modern Warfare was a clever bit of cinematic gaming, but this time around is beaten to a bloody pulp by repetition. It pops up so many times that the developers were able to have fun with it and subvert your expectations on a few separate occasions. Will there be anyone behind the door? What if it's a trap and Admiral Akbar isn't there to warn you? It's rehashed gameplay from the last Modern Warfare, but they've souped it up a bit to keep you on your toes.
Spec Ops from the last Modern Warfare is back with 16 missions to test your endurance and add plenty of co-op time to your gaming. If you buy into games for the single-player instead of the online, Spec Ops is a definite value-add. It mixes up the gameplay with an endless onslaught of enemy soldiers in Survival mode (almost like Activision's answer to Call of Duty counterpart Treyarch's Zombies mode) and a host of miniature missions that run against the clock and alongside similar scenarios from the campaign.
Modern Warfare has stuck to its guns and by not taking any risks has cemented gamers in for another gripping thrill-ride that they've all but gotten over. But first person shooters have been evolving since the dawn of Doom, with little additives like the simple addition of looking down the sights of a rifle that came during the WWII shooter days of Medal of Honour and older Call of Duty titles pushing the genre forward. MW3 is a great game, but it feels like the franchise has stagnated with this new instalment and you might feel a bit ripped off if you bought into the subscription add-on.