Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review - Screenshot 1 of

Call of Duty 2023 is here, with Modern Warfare 3 taking the mantle this time around as the franchise's first 'back-to-back sequel' in its 20-year history. This year's game contains three main components: campaign, multiplayer and for the first time in the MW series, Zombies. But, how do they all stack up? And how does Zombies mode fit into Modern Warfare?

Well, first up, we had access to the game's campaign ahead of the full release - and we covered our impressions of it pretty extensively in our campaign hands-on. We'll drop a link to that below if you want to read a bit more about the game's single-player component, but the long-and-short of it is that MW3's campaign is still a good time - even if it's a little too short for our liking.

The meat of this year's CoD, as is usually the case, resides in the game's multiplayer suite. Things are a little different this year, with Sledgehammer's initial map lineup consisting of every single 2009 Modern Warfare 2 map - no more, no less. While there aren't any new arenas to play on at launch (some are supposedly coming in the game's post-launch seasons) these old school maps are largely a joy to play on and we must admit - it's a better starting roster than most modern CoD titles muster up. Yes, you feel like you're re-treading old ground a lot, but most of these maps haven't returned to the series since '09 and we're having fun revisiting them - and even finding new ways to play on them in 2023.

We've noticed some small changes across the maps as well. There are some handy new flanking routes on maps like 'Karachi' & 'Invasion', and generally speaking they do flow a little differently on the new CoD engine - as you'd probably expect. We're taking a particular liking to 'Wasteland' now that we don't have to deal with the original MW2's overpowered killstreaks, although for some reason, 'Afghan' doesn't seem to work as well in 2023. Largely though, these maps form a fantastic day one lineup and even though we've already played them for 100's of hours, we have no real complaints about blasting around them again.

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review - Screenshot 1 of

As for the under-the-hood gameplay, if you played last year's game you'll know exactly what to expect. MW3 is built off the very same tech as 2022's Modern Warfare 2, and it all feels very similar to that game in this area. Modern Warfare 3 is a little bit faster and more frantic — addressing a general complaint about last year's slower-paced gameplay — but elsewhere it's all very similar. In fact, you can use all of your MW2 weaponry in this year's release alongside the new MW3 additions - and the game certainly feels like 'DLC' in this regard. It all slots in pretty seamlessly, but yeah, there's not much of a 'new' feeling to MW3 multiplayer - it's just a good job that those old MW2 maps are still really fun to play.

We've played a good amount of MP so far and things seem quite well balanced at the moment - certainly more than the original MW2! The new MW3 primary weapons do seem a little stronger than what's been ported over from last year, but we're sure the team will continue to tweak all of that after release. CoD multiplayer is an ever-evolving thing these days, and it remains to be seen what setups are truly 'meta' just yet.

Before we move onto Zombies, we did want to mention the MP spawn system. The dev team has already acknowledged certain issues with the system right now — even removing some map/mode options from the game temporarily — but we've not really run into too many issues ourselves. That's probably because we mostly stick to deathmatch-based modes with the odd foray into 'Domination' - but we've not seen anything too out of the ordinary when it comes to spawns. Hopefully these map/mode combos return to the game soon.

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review - Screenshot 1 of

Right, moving onto Zombies mode and we must admit - it's a massive weak link within Modern Warfare 3. This is the first time any sort of 'Zombies' mode has featured in Modern Warfare, and looking at this lacklustre attempt we're not surprised about that. Zombies this year is a total reskin of Warzone's 'DMZ' mode from last year - a re-hash that contains hardly anything that made Treyarch's original Zombies mode so great in the first place; save for the human enemies dressed up in fleshy zombie attire.

On loading Zombies up and picking a mission from the overly-complicated menu system, we were dropped into a massive battle royale-style map with little direction over what to actually do. We starting picking off Zombies, gathering contracts and looting weapon crates, but it's all very scattershot and just doesn't feel complete at all. We did the thing, we ex-filled in a helicopter, and we searched for another game - already quite bored with the whole mode after just one or two games. Zombies this year is an afterthought; an undead spin on the 'Extraction Shooter' - and we can't wait to play some proper CoD Zombies when Black Ops developer Treyarch returns.


Modern Warfare 3 is quite a tough game to judge. Its campaign is good old Call of Duty fun, even if it's too short, and the game's multiplayer is a great time - built on the solid foundations of two different versions of Modern Warfare 2. However, Zombies is a complete miss this year, and the admittedly-great multiplayer is based on past triumphs more than anything else. If you love playing some CoD multiplayer every year then MW3 is another solid entry in that regard, but if you usually stick to one of the other modes or are looking for a more complete Call of Duty experience, we don't recommend picking this one up just yet. Either wait for a price drop, or bide your time in anticipation of its eventual arrival on Xbox Game Pass!