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Modern Warfare 3 review roundup

Modern Warfare 3 is finally Oscar Mike. So what are the critics saying about the latest installment in the Call of Duty franchise? 

By Matthew Shaer / November 9, 2011

Modern Warfare 3 hits shelves this week. Here, a still from MW3.

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In the last few weeks, some top-notch video games have hit the market, Uncharted 3, Gears of War 3, Batman: Arkham City, and Battlefield 3 (well, at least the multiplayer half is great). But it's a safe bet that no 2011 game will be hotter than Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, the latest installment in Activision's storied first-person shooter franchise. So what do the critics have to say about Modern Warfare 3? Let's go to the scorecards. 

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The story

"The bigger-than-life plot touches down in London, Paris, Berlin and Prague, as well as Siberia and Somalia," writes Mike Snider of USA Today. "Players will be pleased to again be teamed up with returning characters, Task Force 141 members Capt. John Price and John 'Soap' MacTavish, who at the end of Modern Warfare 2 was wounded while dispatching a bad guy, renegade U.S. Gen. Hershel Shepherd. There's still work for Price and Soap to do because the ultranationalist Russian force remains on U.S. soil. The game involves tracking down its leader, Vladimir Makarov. What ensues is a tour of duty that lasts about six to 10 hours -- depending on how you play-- of adrenaline-surging action."

The story, part two

"The plot serves as a showcase for the spectacular setpieces, the excellent weapon balance, but also the futility of war," writes Ashton Raze of the Telegraph. "There are brief moments of reflection, the sense of loss and rage and futility conveyed surprisingly well for a game which is all about shooting people in the face. It doesn't hide the fact that in this context, it's making wargames fun, but never tries to glorify this either. The goal here seems not to shock but to impress, but the game isn't afraid to take the occasional time out to remind you that yes, war isn't very nice. It's comfortably the best Call of Duty campaign yet, with consistent high points and none of the lows that have occasionally punctuated past games."

The story, part three

"Still, Modern Warfare 3's campaign suffers from a run of the mill story and the patented Call of Duty monster closet syndrome, a common shooter ailment that occurs when infinitely spawning enemies pour from around corners, doors and stairs without end... The story is difficult to follow as usual," notes Anthony Gallegos of IGN, "and while it does wrap up the arc begun by the previous Modern Warfare games, it isn't ultimately all that interesting or satisfying. Moments of emotional weight fell flat as I found it difficult to muster up feelings of sadness about the death of one named soldier after witnessing the countless deaths of hundreds of other Americans."

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