Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Infinity Ward's latest title in the top-selling Call of Duty franchise
boyward - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is rated M for "Blood and Gore; Drug Reference; Intense Violence; Strong Language".

I was not in a good mood for most of my time with Modern Warfare 3 (MW3). The villains’ actions were so despicable that I wanted them dead, and I did not stop playing until they were. As this intense first person shooter begins, World War 3 is in full swing and there’s not a safe place on the planet. Neither the United States or Russia wanted this war, but each believes the other at fault thanks to the manipulations of Makarov, a sinister monster of a man who is pulling all the strings. Your primary mission is to end this war by finding Makarov, exposing his lies, and punishing him. After seeing what he’s done, believe me, I was more than ready to see Makarov finished. MW3 is an intense first-person shooter that spins a tale of hate, lies, rage, and revenge. Like the first two games in the trilogy, it’s a well-made game, though the designers seem to have taken the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach to the Campaign. There are few (if any) improvements to the gameplay. And perhaps it’s because I’m now a veteran of this series, but Modern Warfare’s “surprise” scripted moments didn’t really surprise me this time. I expected them.

Modern Warfare 3 is divided into three parts: Special Ops, Multiplayer, and Campaign. Special Ops can be played alone or with another gamer (online or splitscreen), and assigns military tasks to complete. Scores, ranks, and new weapons are awarded as you gain experience and perform well. It’s fun to see how long you can stay alive during this mode, as the game does a nice job of tracking your progress. Multiplayer pits you against numerous online gamers. Special Ops has fierce and bloody violence involving humans and dogs. I did not spend any time with Multiplayer but in the previous Modern Warfare games there have been problems with other gamers using profanity during gameplay.

The rest of this review will deal with the 5-hour Campaign, as this is where the worst (and unavoidable) content occurs.

Those gas masks are on for a reason.

Positive Elements
Killing is not indiscriminate. My commanding officer often ordered me, “Hold your fire—civilians!” Friendly fire is not tolerated and if the player does shoot a fellow soldier or civilian the whole previous section has to be replayed from the last checkpoint. Even with all the death around them we see soldiers and civilians ministering to one another, encouraging one another, and putting themselves in harm’s way to help their loved ones. Some of the quotes that flash across the screen are thought provoking, such as Martin Luther King Jr.’s, “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”

There is not a blood or violence filter in Modern Warfare 3. Since it picks up where Modern Warfare 2 left off the game opens with two flashbacks of a man getting stabbed in the eye. Blood spatters across the screen whenever you are wounded. Familiar cities like New York City are torn apart by explosions. I entered several apartments that had civilian bodies on the floor. A helicopter was crashed in the kitchen. Bodies react in realistic ways when upon impact by a bullet or grenade—jolting backward and spraying blood. Blood often pools from dead bodies on the ground. Bodies pile up where they fall (they don’t disappear), though on covert missions they sometimes have to be moved and hidden out of sight. You can whip out a combat knife and stab enemies in the neck, chest, and stomach. If you approach an enemy from behind with the knife you will pull him against your body, slit his throat, and see a lot of blood spray from the wound. Drowned civilians are found floating in a flooded tunnel. Several times I was asked to give medical assistance to wounded soldiers, which involved putting pressure on a wound or stabbing the victim with a syringe. Somebody is always in peril, whether it’s from falling, dodging falling debris, being attacked by dogs, car accidents, or kidnapping. There is a flashback of a massacre at an airport and I saw civilians being shot. Several times during the game hostages are taken and we see some pleading for their lives and some being executed by gunshots to the head. One of these is shot at close range to the player. We see several throats being cut by commanding officers. A hyena is seen feasting on a bloody pig. A hostage is doused in gasoline and if you don’t shoot his captors in time he is set aflame and left to burn. If the wounded crawl away they’ll often leave a thick trail of blood on the ground. You shoot a hyena in the face as he tries to bite yours off. Enemies will often try to hit you with a rifle butt smash to the face. You’ll witness a violent and intense interrogation that ends with our heroes getting the intel they need, and then shooting the hostage in the face. After one particularly nasty terrorist attack, civilian bodies litter the streets all over the city. Several times you’ll hit people with your car and drive over them. You’ll cause car accidents. Another captured bad guy is dragged out of his getaway car by your commanding officer who proceeds to grab him by the throat and pound his head against the hood of the car. What this man did to deserve such hostility was even more despicable. The bad guys walk through a mass of dead bodies, shooting the wounded. The player is kicked down some stairs and questioned at gunpoint. A man’s arm is shot off and we see blood spurting from the stump. A man is strangled, beaten in the face, wrapped with a rope around his neck, and his head is smashed through the floor before he is dropped to his death by hanging. We watch his dead body twitch and sway.

**Spoiler Alert** There is an optional sequence toward the middle of the Campaign and because this scene could be offensive to some gamers you’ll be asked at the beginning of the game and again just before the scene plays whether you want to view it. “Are you sure?” it asks. If you choose not to view this scene you won’t be penalized, and the story will continue without it. I viewed it and will describe it for you now, just in case you’re curious. It’s called “Davis Family Vacation” and in this scene you are Mr. Davis and you’re standing on a sidewalk in London videotaping your wife and little girl. They’re admiring Big Ben (London’s clocktower) when some birds land near the curb. As this is happening a truck pulls up to the curb and the driver parks it next to the birds, hops out, and runs away. “Look, Daddy! Birds!” Your little girl cheerfully runs over to the birds and at that exact moment the bomb inside the truck detonates, killing your daughter, wife, and finally, you. End of scene. **End of Spoiler**

Shootouts on the streets like this are commonplace in MW3.

There is not a profanity filter in Modern Warfare 3, but you can turn the voice volume down or off. Over the course of 5 hours we hear 13 uses of sh**, 14 uses of bast**d, and multiple uses of d**n, a**hole, son of a bit**, a**, “hell”, and the British profanity “bloody”. One characters refers to “bollocks on a bulldog.” NO f-words, and the names of God and Jesus Christ are NOT used in vain, not even once.

A commanding officer smokes a cigar a couple of times.

Spiritual Content
“God Save Us” is written in graffiti on the outside of a building. There is a shootout inside of a church, and another church is used as a sniper’s perch.

Sexual Content

It’s easy to miss, but there is a small statue of a naked man and woman that shows full frontal nudity.

“War is always a matter of doing evil in the hope that good may come of it”–Sir Basil Liddell Hart. This quote is flashed on the screen during the Campaign and it explains why your commanding officers behave with such brutality when they finally catch up to the bad guys. After being a part of this chase for 5 hours (15 if you’ve played through the whole trilogy), you’ll probably be mad too. Did getting revenge leave me satisfied? Honestly, no. I felt that the mean and nasty side of mankind got the spotlight while his nobility and honor took a backseat. There are flashes of good here, but I was hoping for a more redemptive conclusion to the series.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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