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Does Modern Warfare III Convey Narrative Brilliance & Mechanical Evolution In The Rebooted Series?

Platform(s): PC (version reviewed), PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One
Genre: Realistic FPS


Originally posted 10 November 2023. Updated 16 November 2023.


As someone deeply involved in the Call of Duty world, I was surprised to learn early in 2023 about the upcoming sequel to last year’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (MWII). To clarify, MWII was meant to be the first Call of Duty since 2007 with a two-year life cycle, meaning there wasn’t supposed to be a new CoD this year. Nevertheless, here we are in Q4 with a new CoD to cap off the year.

Although I didn’t formally review MWII, I did have the opportunity to experience the campaign before its release, aligning with Kenn’s overall review. What some may have considered ‘cringy dialogue,’ I found rather amusing (perhaps it’s just the British sense of humour in me). However, what truly got me hyped for this instalment was the hint at the end of MWII that Vladimir Makarov would return as the main antagonist for Modern Warfare III (MWIII) – he happens to be my favourite CoD villain thus far.

Given my appreciation for the rebooted Modern Warfare storyline, my expectations going into MWIII were quite high. Whether or not they were met, you’ll discover in the following review.


Metal Gear of Duty

MWIII maintains its sombre storyline, marking the return of ultranationalist Vladimir Makarov escaping from a four-year imprisonment in the Gulag. Chaos ensues within 72 hours of his escape and it’s up to Task Force 141 to stop him.

Leading up to the game’s release, it did seem that Sledgehammer Games hinted at possible throwback missions like in MWII with the “All Ghillied Up” recreation. It was suspected that we might have seen a reimagining of “No Russian” and there is a mission that does take place in an airport. But unfortunately, I was left disappointed.

As Kenn pointed out last year, “CoD has always prided itself on its wide variety of missions,” and this year’s release attempts to follow suit, coming close but no cigar. Most missions follow the familiar formula of previous CoD games but with a significant alteration. Starting from the second mission, the game strongly encourages players to prioritize stealth. Essentially, you begin the mission undetected and have the option to progress without alerting enemies. However, “running-and-gunning” is possible if patience wears thin, although I strongly advise against this approach, especially on Veteran difficulty.

As for the ending, it’s nothing short of remarkable. It’s shocking yet spectacular. Without giving anything away, I highly recommend checking out the final mission on our YouTube channel or below. But let’s just say, expect to see Modern Warfare IV…

Overall, I found this year’s campaign highly enjoyable. The story consistently impresses me as I become more invested in it with each passing year. Is it worth the hefty buck though? Well, that depends on how engaged you are with the story. For someone like me, though, it’s definitely worth the price.


The Perfect Balance

Comparing the gun mechanics between Modern Warfare II and Modern Warfare III is a significant leap forward. In my initial Beta preview, I noted how the movement mechanics echoed the feel of Modern Warfare 2019 and Vanguard, along with Treyarch’s signature increased time-to-kill (TTK). For someone deeply entrenched in the Call of Duty franchise like myself, Modern Warfare III offers a refreshing change.

This isn’t to discredit the gunplay of Modern Warfare II, which I genuinely appreciated for its traditional Call of Duty pacing, especially in terms of gameplay without tactical sprint. However, I’ve grown accustomed to a quicker pace, which is why I lean towards the gameplay of Modern Warfare III. Nevertheless, this faster pace does come with its caveats.

Previously, faster-paced Call of Duty games maintained a standard 100 HP health system, making multiplayer gameplay feel more frenetic. With the increased health to Treyarch’s standard of 150 HP in Modern Warfare III, I believe Sledgehammer has struck the perfect balance in pacing. I believe it’s an approach that Infinity Ward and Treyarch should take note of for future developments. Faster gameplay should entail a slower TTK, while slower-paced gameplay should opt for a faster TTK.

In terms of map selection, I think for the time being, the maps they’ve introduced/reimagined from previous games, will suffice. The only real complaints that I have are the spawn system—which is a complaint many people have had since the Beta—and the size of the maps. Personally, I feel that many of the maps included in MWIII Season 0 are just too big. It’s weird because I don’t recall having an issue with the sizes of many of the maps back in the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. But do note that I do have a big bias towards smaller maps as I am an extremely competitive SMG player. After having grinded a lot of multiplayer now, I stand by what I wrote about the overall multiplayer experience.


Going Dark

Overall, Modern Warfare III seems to follow the narrative tone of Modern Warfare 2019 more closely than it does that of Modern Warfare II, if we’re comparing these with the recent Modern Warfare “remakes”. Regarding gameplay, I’d hesitate to make a similar claim as the gameplay in this instalment stands out in its uniqueness compared to past versions. Despite this, I found the story quite enjoyable and eagerly anticipate its continuation.

Regarding the gameplay and its worthiness for purchase, my stance remains aligned with my Beta preview—I believe that this particular Call of Duty release will likely be the final one that truly merits purchasing.


  • Compelling storyline.
  • Unique gameplay elements.
  • Gunplay.
  • Pace.


  • Missions feel familiar.
  • Pricey.
  • Bad spawns.
  • Maps are too big.


Final Score: 70/100

Review copy provided by publisher & developer.

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