One of the most important things when creating continuous entries in a video game series is to keep things fresh and interesting by introducing tweaks and additions that give the player a new experience. Sports games deal with this challenge all the time and we’ve seen entries in those series be carbon copies of the previous edition. Modern Warfare 3 encounters this exact problem. The first two installments have been massively successful, practically selling millions right out of the gate. So how does MW3 stack up?

The main campaign picks up right after MW2, and follows return protagonists Price and Soap along with new entries. It continues the US-Russia conflict instigated by the renegade Makarov. As usual, the game spans several different locations across the globe, including London, Prague, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Siberia, India and opening levels in New York City. But the plot is pretty much a reason to go from awesome set piece to awesome set piece. From a gun battle on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to protecting the Russian president aboard a plane to chasing a subway train in the London underground, the game has no shortage of action with frantic battles mixing in with a bit of stealth. It’s a constant stream of ‘go here, kill these guys, go somewhere else and kill these other guys’. There’s no explanation for Makarov other then he’s just crazed. Maybe if there had been some brief explanation of his upbringing or something would’ve given a reason to care or maybe hate him more.

However, the plot gets some depth in the latter half of the game and we’re given more reasons to be invested in the characters. Price’s character in particular is commendable as he sticks to his mission despite the upheaval around him. The set pieces in particular get more interesting such as completing a mission while trudging through a giant sandstorm. That’s just one example of the frantic moments where you have no idea who’s shooting at you or where they’re shooting at you from. The tension and frenetic activity only pick up towards the finale. After globe trotting and compiling an impressive body count, the game ends in a very satisfying way.

Overall, there is nothing radically new in MW3 as it sticks to the formula with a global threat as a reason for the usual big set pieces full of action-packed gunplay. The marketing has been considerable, but don’t believe all the hype, as this is essentially the same game as before just with different locations and a few new characters. Then again how did people think the game was going to turn out? Yes it is repetitive, but it’s still an immensely enjoyable game that has some awesome moments. The campaign takes only a few hours, but many more will be spent in the multiplayer, a signature of the franchise.