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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

by Nate Andrews - November 22, 2011, 11:24 am PST
Total comments: 16

7.5

Still modern. Still warfare.

In the midst of what's purportedly the largest entertainment launch in history yet again—the Call of Duty series has set and shattered the climbing record for three consecutive years—Activision and Treyarch have quietly released a Wii version of the modern military juggernaut for those who, ostensibly, have no other system to play the game on. And yet again, this joke-butt of a port is deceptively great.

Wii games of this kind carry a certain amount of stigma, and in the interest of talking about Modern Warfare 3 in a way that doesn't hinge its appeal entirely upon the system, these issues will be addressed now. Graphically, Modern Warfare 3 on Wii is not what you'll find on any other console. In fact, it looks a like what probably pops into your mind when you hear "Modern Warfare 3 on Wii." Textures are blurrier, the frame rate is noticeably dodgier, and the level of detail is several notches below what you'll see on PS3, Xbox 360, or even the most modest of PCs.

Fortunately, none of that carries a great deal of significance when it comes down to what Modern Warfare 3 is at the core. If you're an unflinching stickler for graphical fidelity, MW3 will likely get under your skin. If you come to a game like this for the mechanics, the moments, and the multiplayer, however, then you'll be in great shape.

The other prominent area of complaint with first-person shooters on the Wii lies with the controls. Like Black Ops last year, Treyarch implemented support for the system's Classic Controller and Zapper peripheral in addition to the default Wii Remote and Nunchuk configuration. Though I half expected to end up cruising through with the Classic Controller, using the motion controls was equally as effective. Shooters that end up working well on the system have taken care to make customization a priority; Modern Warfare 3 follows this trend well.

In addition to five different controller presets (varying in terms of speed and sensitivity) and six tweakable button layouts, the menu sports myriad sensitivity and adjustment items to facilitate the best point-and-shoot experience. After I upped the sensitivity a bit, I was able to pull in on enemies for quick bursts or pinpoint headshots, even on moving targets and in hairy situations. The default Wii Remote and Nunchuk configuration smartly relegates a few of the lesser-used functions (jumping, melee, the switching of gun sight attachments, and the basic two-slot gun swapping) to the D-Pad, which is a little less hand-friendly in hot situations than the rest of the controller. The Classic Controller provided a bit more stability during basic movement, but it comes down to personal choice; the two options are equally effective in combat.

Combat, obviously, is still the most important part of the game, and the structure of it has not altered much from the template set down by the first Modern Warfare four years ago. The staples of the series charge on into the final part of the trilogy, which is both a good and bad thing. The all-action global conflict escalates its what-ifs to create a peak-chaos situation in a handful of the world's major cities, which makes for some thoroughly impressive large-scale firefights and trademark moments. Battles are intense, explosions are frequent, and the experience is never without a certain level of excitement. That said, MW3's campaign hits the noted beats of the series pretty directly (even going as far as to poorly recycle first-person snapshots and cheap character deaths for depth it hardly reaches), and though the conditioned stimulus of mowing through entire platoons more or less on your lonesome is still fairly strong, it's a grinder players have been run through many times before. It's the kind of perfunctory presentation that's easy to go along with, even if it's telegraphed a bit and much of the time whatever character you posses at the moment is still being led by the nose by a comrade with a large white icon atop his head. It's blockbuster dumb and blockbuster fun, deafening with explosions and dense with military jargon, but nothing we've not seen before.

The same can be said of the multiplayer component, though as the extremely popular constant of the series this shouldn't come as much of a surprise. The new individual weapon leveling system makes it easy to get attached to and improve a certain gun at any one time, and the system of pointstreaks and strike packages streamlines player progression in a new, though not entirely innovative, way. 

A recent patch to the multiplayer aimed to fix a pair of problems: difficulty with properly recording hits associated with network lag, and the corruption of player data. I downloaded the patch before entering multiplayer for the first time, and have had none of the problems listed. Matches started quickly and ran smoothly, and scant few instances of lag appeared. 

While the base multiplayer experience is as solid as any iteration, a few unfortunate exclusions and quirks mar package as a whole. The new private match modes (Infection, Drop Zone, Team Juggernaut) are absent, as are the Gun Game and One in the Chamber modes from Black Ops. 

The Spec Ops mode lacks the structured missions of the other versions, providing only the new Survival component. While the wave-based game is playable alone, cooperation is frankly a necessity for making meaningful progress. A majority of the dozen or so online matches I was placed into were rendered nearly unplayable by lag, however, even though the standard multiplayer performed swimmingly in game after game. Considering that Spec Ops exists more or less as a third of the game's content, the dismal state it's in is a shame.

Modern Warfare 3 on Wii won't ever astound with its graphics or win over anyone already intent on playing it on another console. It is by no means the definitive version. Despite its various limitations, however, it is a solid approximation of the kind of content that continues to deliver year after year, even if the ride is getting a little predictable.

Summary

Pros
  • Ceaseless action
  • Formula is still entertaining
  • Multiple, effective control options
  • Solid online multiplayer
Cons
  • Excessive lag during Spec Ops
  • Lack of new multiplayer/Spec Ops modes
  • Occasional framerate dips
  • Premise is showing its age

Talkback

Kytim89November 22, 2011

Once the Wii U and future Call of Duty games are released will Treyarch still handle the ports onto Nintendo systems or will Infinity Ward handled all of the HD versions of the games? Treyarch did develope Black Ops and they ported that game onto the Wii, so I assume that any Call of Duty game they develope will be on the Wii U as well. Although I have heared that Infinity Ward has a disdain for Nintendo, so Activision might put Treyarc in the business of handling Nintendo's systems.

Secondly, the graphics of this could have been pushed a little farhter than they did. I mean look at Consuit 2, that game has much smoother textures than MW3 Wii. Activison should have asked Nintendo for help to upgrade this game's engine and online system to better accomodate the game. Also, a Modern Ware 3 bundle of the new black version of the Wii slim would have been nice as well.

Chozo GhostNovember 22, 2011

Kytime, it all depends on WHY Infinity Ward has that disdain for Nintendo. Do they have that disdain because Nintendo is "kiddie"? or is it just because the Wii hardware is weak? If its the later and the Wii U ends up being on par with the competition then their disdain for Nintendo should end and they should have no reason not to develop on the Wii U. But if their dsdain is the former then the Wii U being powerful might not solve anything.

TJ SpykeNovember 22, 2011

Maybe they just don't have the talent to port it to Wii. Since Infinity Ward is 100% owned by Activision, Activision could make them work on Wii games. I couldn't care less, Treyarch has done a better job with the COD games anyways.

Chozo GhostNovember 22, 2011

Quote from: TJ

I couldn't care less, Treyarch has done a better job with the COD games anyways.

I agree 100%. Unlike Infinity Ward, Treyarch actually gives a damn about Nintendo... plus they are the ones who introduced Zombies.

StrawHousePigNovember 23, 2011

How is there a complaint about Wii controls? Pointer control is the best for FPS hands down, no contest. Not only that but with the Wii remote / nunchuk I don't have to stop moving or aiming to do anything. You can move + aim and reload, melee, toss grenades, crouch, jump, sprint, etc. It is THE *best* for FPS.

Multiplayer on this went backwards to W@W standards. Black Ops destroys it in playability and visually. Although it seems they may have made a trade off in terms of objects on screen VS graphics. Black Ops and previous versions had less environment objects but smoother, seemingly higher res textures where as MW3 is the opposite. The jitters and lag make MW3 pretty much unplayable to me.

Haven't even started single player and probably won't. I love the stories in the original CoD(s). The mid 20th century was (let's hope) the zenith of mans inhumanity to man and tales of battles against it are gripping.

DanielMDaniel Mousseau, Staff AlumnusNovember 23, 2011

I got sick of Call of Duty games after World at War. Now, every single game is exactly the same, gameplay, everything. Each new game is just a $60 DLC map pack for the game before it.

Kytim89November 23, 2011

I just beat Black Ops and I am not sure whether to use it asa down payment on Skyward Sword or not.

Chozo GhostNovember 23, 2011

Quote from: StrawHousePig

Multiplayer on this went backwards to W@W standards. Black Ops destroys it in playability and visually. Although it seems they may have made a trade off in terms of objects on screen VS graphics. Black Ops and previous versions had less environment objects but smoother, seemingly higher res textures where as MW3 is the opposite. The jitters and lag make MW3 pretty much unplayable to me.

Black Ops was made entirely by Treyarch. With MW3 Treyarch did the porting, but it wasn't their game, so maybe they didn't put as much love into it and just shoehorned it to the Wii however they could.

NinSageNovember 27, 2011

Quote from: StrawHousePig

How is there a complaint about Wii controls? Pointer control is the best for FPS hands down, no contest. Not only that but with the Wii remote / nunchuk I don't have to stop moving or aiming to do anything. You can move + aim and reload, melee, toss grenades, crouch, jump, sprint, etc. It is THE *best* for FPS.

I don't care about war shooters, or anything dude-bro, but I just wanted to chime in and agree with this.  Anyone who still insists dual analog is better for FPS is merely more skilled at it due to practice.  Given equal amounts of time with both control schemes, pointer is going to always win.

broodwarsNovember 27, 2011

Quote from: NinSage

Quote from: StrawHousePig

How is there a complaint about Wii controls? Pointer control is the best for FPS hands down, no contest. Not only that but with the Wii remote / nunchuk I don't have to stop moving or aiming to do anything. You can move + aim and reload, melee, toss grenades, crouch, jump, sprint, etc. It is THE *best* for FPS.

I don't care about war shooters, or anything dude-bro, but I just wanted to chime in and agree with this.  Anyone who still insists dual analog is better for FPS is merely more skilled at it due to practice.  Given equal amounts of time with both control schemes, pointer is going to always win.

Perhaps, but as a person fond of the sniper rifle in my FPS (in Single-player.  I don't play multi), I find dual analog much better because the slightest twitch of my arm doesn't screw up my shot.  Plus, I just find dual analog more comfortable to casually play, whereas there's a definite investment you have to make in pointer-based shooting.  Great if you like it, but it's not for me.

NeoStar9XNovember 27, 2011

Quote from: TJ

I couldn't care less, Treyarch has done a better job with the COD games anyways.

This. By the time Black Ops 2 or whatever their next game is my FPS fatigue should be gone or at least I'd be willing to put in the money and time into their game. Treyarch has built up some favor with me with how they've handled the Wii.

Managed to rent CoDMW3 though just to see what it was like since I'm not buying it and I don't care for it. The same way I didn't care for Modern Warfare 2 after finally playing it I expected it be honest. I really don't like the decisions IW makes with their games. CoD games in general are very similar but there is a actual difference in how the games feel and play depending on which developer makes them. How easy you die, how guns handle, the types of guns they decide to use, etc. A number of somewhat small changes that do add up when taken together.

Treyarch's games are slower paced I feel (in both single player and multiplayer) and they are better for it. Black Ops Wii plays and controls a lot better I feel then Modern Warfare 3 Wii because of this. The pointer controls feel better as a result. The pointer controls don't feel right at all to me in MW3 Wii. I played my copy of Black Ops and the rental of MW3 Wii back to back with a little Goldeneye, Conduit 2 (recently sold it) and Red Steel 2 thrown in. MW3 Wii is the one that didn't feel right to me.

In regard to how the game plays (frame rate (still bad even after the patch I feel as I played before and after it dropped. Even when aren't host the game seems to have issues.), graphics not just popping in, map design, etc) I feel Black Ops Wii has it beat soundly. The Spec Ops mode is better though then Zombies because we only got the one Zombies map on the Wii. If more had been included I'd give that to Black Ops as well.

Chozo GhostNovember 27, 2011

FYI Treyarch also made COD World at War and a version of this does exist for the Wii. If you haven't already tried it yet I highly recommend it.

NeoStar9XNovember 28, 2011

I had been meaning to get World at War but it had been so long since it's release so when I had the chance I figured its online was dead or hackers had taken over. Also the lag shooting concerned me, especially since Treyarch fixed that with Black Ops. Having dealt with it in MW3 Wii before the patch I don't want to deal with that even if it is better then what was in MW3 Wii.

Chozo GhostNovember 28, 2011

The online is not dead.... well, on the Wii maybe it is. I don't know. But either way it is still very much worth it for the single player experience. The fact its several years old now also has the nice benefit of making the game cheap. I imagine you should be able to get it for $10-$20 now easily.

There's a few things I like about WAW which have not been done in any other COD game. One of those things is the tank battles on some multiplayer maps. AFAIK that's the only COD game in the series that lets you use tanks in multiplayer. Another thing is you can use bayonet attachments on certain guns which doubles your melee distance. Its kinda like the commando perk from MW2 except its an attachment for only some guns. But its cool to bayonet people... I miss that.

I'm pretty sure the Wii version didn't have tanks in the multiplayer. And I remember liking that, because I hated them in the 360 version.

Chozo GhostNovember 28, 2011

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

I'm pretty sure the Wii version didn't have tanks in the multiplayer. And I remember liking that, because I hated them in the 360 version.

Some like it; some hate it. The thing about the tank maps is its an easy (some would argue cheap) way to get kills, for those who rushed to the tanks and used them instead of fighting normally. But I also found it fun blowing the tanks up, and there was a number of ways to do that. The best way was to use flak jacket and the Satchel charges. If you threw one in front of the path of a tank and blew it up from beneath it would kill a tank even at full health instantly.

I don't know if tanks are in the Wii version or not... probably not because that seems like the sort of thing which would get cut because it would be more demanding on the hardware.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Box Art

Genre Shooter
Developer
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Release Nov 08, 2011
PublisherActivision
RatingMature
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