Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III officially arrives on November 10, but the campaign has been playable since November 2 for those who preorder the digital version of the game. How's it going over with critics?
Reviews have begun to appear online, and the general consensus is that this year's campaign leaves a lot to be desired. Here at GameSpot, our Modern Warfare III review scored the game a 5/10, saying this year's campaign was the weakest since the 2019 Modern Warfare reboot.
"Modern Warfare 3 sparks a hot opening with an early reveal of Makarov, but the introduction of the new Open Combat missions disrupts the story's pace for a fizzled-out ending," Summer E. Doster said in GameSpot's Modern Warfare III review.
Open Combat Missions are one of the new features in Modern Warfare III's campaign. These are missions that take place on a map where players can explore and complete objectives how they want to as opposed to be directed down a singular path. These Open Combat Missions, in particular, are not being received very positively by critics thus far. Modern Warfare III has the franchise's more traditional linear missions, too.
Modern Warfare III is a sequel to 2022's Modern Warfare II, and that's notable because Activision does not typically release direct sequels in consecutive years. There have been ongoing reports and speculation that Activision was considering not releasing a new Call of Duty game at all in 2023. Activision, for its part, never provided any insight into the inner workings of its development process for Call of Duty in 2023, stating only that there would be a full "premium" release in 2023.
In the end, fans are getting a full-priced game that, for critics, is not up to par with previous releases in the series, at least for the campaign.
Modern Warfare III's multiplayer and Zombies modes will become available on November 10, and you can expect a Modern Warfare III multiplayer review from GameSpot in the time ahead. For more on Modern Warfare III's campaign, check out some review excerpts from other publications below.
"Although its narrative setup is enjoyable, Modern Warfare 3 can't get out of its own way, with nearly half of the missions being the underwhelming Open Combat style. The bumpy pacing and abrupt ending make Makarov's big return a disappointment, dragging Modern Warfare 3 down as the weakest entry of an otherwise strong reboot series." -- S.E. Doster [Full review]
"Modern Warfare 3's campaign commits the biggest sin possible for a globe-trotting action thriller: it's boring. What had the promise to be an intriguingly spun web of mystery instead ends up being a dusty cobweb you'd find at the back of your shed, clinging onto 15-year-old garden toys you once had fun with. It's a pale imitation of the past, made up of underbaked story moments that clash with attempts to introduce new open combat missions designed to encourage player freedom that instead fall flat on their face." -- Simon Cardy [Full review]Captain Price in Modern Warfare 3's campaign
"When I think of the Call of Duty franchise I think of big action set pieces, and occasionally surprising missions with unexpected mechanics or ideas breaking up the overall move forward and shoot everything thrust. This lacks any of that and feels more like it's being made to do as much as it can with as little as possible and is underwhelming in a way that feels like it knows it can do better." -- Leon Hurley [Full review]
"Calling it a single-player campaign at all feels generous, as outside of a strong opening mission, and some interesting ideas about how these games could be structured in the future, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3's solo offering is shallow, short, and feels like a release of obligation." -- Jordan Middler [Full review]
"Modern Warfare III presents some interesting ideas for Call of Duty, but they're blueprints at best. The narrative presentation is painfully lacking, doing a disservice to otherwise entertaining characters. Time will tell how the multiplayer fares, but in terms of its contribution to the story of the current reboot of Modern Warfare, it's at best a net neutral experience that feels rushed, and a boring waste of charismatic characters at worst." -- Claire Jackson [Full review]
"The MW3 campaign gets by on Call of Duty's expertly refined gunplay and little else. Its nonsensical narrative nosedives almost immediately, not least because it requires you to have played every Warzone Season to understand. It's also mind-numbingly dull, a tiresomely Sisyphean exercise in misery that desperately wants to seem complex in its shallow exploration of politics and current world affairs. Instead it comes across as pitiful and boring, further hindered by the uninspired mission design that never extends itself beyond go here and shoot them. Purchasing MW3 for its campaign is a huge waste of money, let alone time." -- Tom Wilson [Full review]The Biggest Game Releases Of November 2023See More