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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Score: 75%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Treyarch
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1; 2 - 10 (Online)
Genre: Action/ First Person Shooter/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 for the Wii is not the same beast as its next-gen counterparts. That's an easy observation to make even if you've only spent five minutes with the game, but it sticks throughout the entire experience. Nearly every part of this game has been scaled back in order to plausibly work on Nintendo's underpowered console. It should come to nobody's surprise that this version isn't the definitive Modern Warfare 3 experience, but if you don't own an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or gaming PC, this is your only real option. It's no slouch, but it's clearly the inferior home version.

The Call of Duty franchise has always prided itself on its sleek and explosive visuals, but Wii is unfortunately incapable of doing total justice to the franchise. If you've played a next-gen CoD game on a television made for high-definition gaming, you'll be set upon by several seemingly insignificant annoyances that add up over time. Every part of Modern Warfare 3's visual design is either fuzzier, muddier, blurrier, or more jagged than its next-gen siblings. Even the text looks choppy. Still, I get the feeling that the Wii's less-than-impressive hardware is being leveraged, and perhaps over-taxed at points. Activision and Treyarch have clearly done their best to bring this game to Nintendo's console as faithfully as possible, but the sputtering white box can only do so much.

Perhaps the sound is the only facet that hasn't been gimped as part of the downporting process. I reviewed this game on the PlayStation 3 and spent more than my share of time with the Xbox 360 version, and can comfortably admit that your speakers and/or headphones will be doing at the very least a similar job across the board. The parties involved in Modern Warfare 3's development are proven masters of making virtual explosions and gunfire sound like the real thing, and they are at the top of their trade here. Additionally, the voice work, while hammy, gets the job done.


Gameplay:

The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare narrative structure is amazingly similar to that of the Back to the Future trilogy. It's got a first installment that has no problem standing on its own, but its second and third acts heavily depend on each other. In this regard, Activision has committed a cardinal sin by not porting Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to the Wii. I can guarantee that the majority of customers for this specific version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 have little to no experience with 2009's game, and as a result, they may enjoy the campaign a bit less than if they had played the previous installment.

So it may be surprising for most Wii-exclusive players to find that America is neck-deep in the sh*t. Russian nationalists have invaded in full force, the direct result of unsavory actions taken by a sadistic terrorist named Vladimir Makarov. As the franchise usually requires, you'll switch personas at intermittent points during the campaign and do quite a bit of continent-hopping. It's a high-octane adventure that takes you all over the world to kill bad guys and blow things up in the name of liberty. It doesn't make much sense, but it sure is fun.

Remember when I said nearly everything has been scaled back in order for the game to work on Wii? I meant it; Modern Warfare 3's competitive multiplayer doesn't feature as many players as the other versions. Here, ten is the max. That's enough for most of the maps, but anyone who's played the game on a next-gen platform will definitely notice the discrepancy.

Are you ever annoyed by gamers who lean on latency problems as an excuse for their crappy skills? If you're playing Modern Warfare 3 for Wii, you can probably trust them to be truthful in this regard. Occasionally, bullets appear to travel directly through other players, even if the red dot sights and ACOG scopes argue differently. Unfortunately, there's often only one way around this problem: you have to play the game its way. By that, I mean you must learn to lead enemies with your shots, much like a quarterback does with his throws. It's a pain, though I'm expecting (and hoping) that this problem will patched up by the time this review goes live.

Aside from the aforementioned hobbled player count and lag issues, Modern Warfare 3's multiplayer suite is intact. Each of the ten gameplay modes offers intense twitch shooting action, and your actions constantly shower you with rewards and experience. That is, provided your actions aren't limited to "running around and getting killed every ten seconds." A few of the modes incentivize teamwork to an extent, but as of this writing, there are very few communicators. This isn't the developer's fault; after all, Wii hasn't exactly embraced online gaming.

Special Ops makes its debut on Wii as well, but in a stripped-down state. If you were hoping to partake in more than just the admittedly entertaining Survival Mode, you'll be disappointed to know that the Missions that comprise half of Spec Ops on next-gen are M.I.A. on Wii.


Difficulty:

If you've played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Reflex Edition or Call of Duty: Black Ops on Wii, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. If you haven't, however, you'll have to deal with some awkwardness and a stiff learning curve, especially if you're working with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. After a few hours of play, the default control scheme becomes second nature, and the default auto-aim settings go a long way in helping you learn the ropes.

Controls aside, Modern Warfare 3 is built just like any other Call of Duty game when it comes to difficulty settings. Recruit, Regular, Hardened, Veteran. Need I say more? Progressing in the campaign is as simple as getting to each objective while shooting anything that doesn't have a friendly green callsign over it. Each difficulty offers exactly the kind of challenge it advertises, with the sole exception of Veteran, which as always claims "You will not survive." Spoiler alert: with a bit of practice and a patient mind, you will.


Game Mechanics:

Controls and game mechanics make or break Wii ports. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 gets it right by including Classic Controller support, but the default control scheme works well enough on its own. You can also use the Wii Zapper -- but doesn't the lack of electronics in the Zapper imply that all Wii games are compatible with it?

Most people are going to be playing with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, and though I own a non-Pro Classic Controller, I found myself gravitating towards the motion controls. This is kind of remarkable, as I tend to do the exact opposite. In fact, I traded in my Wii version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for a Gamecube version. Don't get me wrong: when playing console shooters, I still prefer an Xbox 360 Controller or a DualShock 3. However, after a period of adaptation, I found myself comfortable with the point and click controls. Certain functions aren't handled well; grenade throws and melee attacks require a good bit of repositioning and stretching. However, the pointer is very responsive, especially when it's used in tandem with the auto-aim. And I particularly like the way that aiming down the sights allows you to move the gun without automatically turning your character's body.

This may very well be the last time that Call of Duty comes to the Wii. It predictably fails to reach the heights of its next-gen counterparts, but it's still a well-made Wii shooter. I'll close out by finally addressing the one area where Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 on Wii is far superior to the other versions: its price point of ten dollars less.


-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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