Format reviewed: Xbox 360
Other formats available: PS3, PC
Developer: Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games, Raven Software
Publisher: Activision
Price: £37.99
Website: www.callofduty.com/mw3
Rating: 18

The biggest game of the year is here, but is it any good? Will it just be yet more of the same with a storyline more 'out there' than an alien soap opera?

We have to say that we approached CoD MW3's arrival with equal amount anticipation and disinterest if that's possible. Yes we liked the previous ones, but also felt that maybe the game was getting a little too big for its boots and that other games were better.

So there we were, game in hand and what did we do? We put it into our Xbox 360 straight away and within minutes were happily unloading clip after clip and loving it. Gone were any of our doubts, yes the storyline isn't very believable (but then what is these days?), but the game is such fun.

The aforementioned storyline follows on from the events of MW2 and world war three is kicking off as the Russians have attached the USA and western Europe.

If you didn't play MW2 then you can still play the game and get a heck of a lot out of it. If you did play MW and MW2 then you will undoubtedly get a lot more as some of the old characters are back, we won't say which ones though.

Having said that you don't play as any of them, but instead fill the boots of Frost, a Delta Force soldier, SAS soldier Burns and Yuri, an ex-Spetnaz operative working with some familiar Modern Warfare characters.

In terms of gameplay very little has changed. For the most part you are a gun-totting killing machine with a set goal and a shed load of baddies between you and it. In between there are sequences when you are calling the shots from an AC-130 gunship, which is bit like shooting turkeys in a barrel (we can only imagine not having ever done that), but still fun.

You are never far away from the action on foot though. Thankfully, unlike previous MWs the scripted aerial shooting sequences don't last long and aren't entire levels any more, only sections of others. This had us in mind of EA's Battlefield Bad Company 2 that did this too, with one section flowing nicely into the next and, sort of, making sense.

As with the other two games the single player campaign isn't that long and you can blast through it in only a few hours even on the default hardness setting. The thing with Modern Warfare though has always been the multiplayer and this, once again, is excellent.

We are big fans of the all out death match, no teams just mayhem and carnage. In MW3 this is as good, if not better, than ever. In our first match we were a little apprehensive as we were soon up against players that were 30 to 40 levels higher than us.

However, with the new way that kill streaks work, they are now called point streaks where they sort of carry over when you get killed, we realised that we weren't as out of our depth as we thought we would be. We still finished last, but the next game we were soon moving up the leader board, earning lots of XP and opening up new toys to play with.

Points aren't just won for kills, you can now get them for completing other tasks such as capturing the flag or planting explosives. Once you have built them up they are then divided into three packages: assault, support and specialist with each of them performing different functions. You get choose which one you want during the match, thankfully not before, which would have been a right pain.

It might come as something of a shock but we were pleasantly surprised about how we felt about MW3. For the reasons we have mentioned we really weren't expecting much from it, or to like it quite as much as we did. But then we loved MW and MW2 and as MW3 is more of the same with some additions, what's not to like?

Review by Count Pixel

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