Multiplayer is both the bread and the butter of the CoD franchise. The problem in MW3 is that the butter’s discolored and the bread’s a little stale.

The main issue at work here is not the fault of Infinity Ward’s developers; it’s a problem inherent to the video game industry. CoD games make boatloads of cash, whole flotillas worth, even. So publisher Activision creates a system whereby there’s a new CoD game every year, which only allows for iterative growth in a core product that is inherently limited. This isn’t Battlefield; there are no vehicles to play with, no classes with significantly different gameplay mechanics. CoD does tight, almost claustrophobic multiplayer maps with blistering-fast gameplay better than anyone else, which is great, but how can you substantially change or grow that experience on a 365-day development cycle?

They’ve done their best, but what they have amounts to substantial but still incremental improvements. Killstreaks are now organized into Strike Packages: Assault, Support, and Specialist classes. Assault is the familiar kill-oriented list, with Predator missiles, gun turrets, and the like. Support is more team oriented, with advanced UAVs (which display which direction enemies are facing in addition to their location), anti-aircraft turrets, and ballistic vests that are available to the entire team. The Specialist class has access to all the killstreaks, but is only for the hardest of the hardcore.

You also now have the ability to level up your weapon individually, and it receives its own weapon perks that reduce recoil or increase the number of attachments available to the weapon. The game rewards you for using the weapons you love. And oh how the game loves to reward you. I hope you like that level-up sound/scream! You’ll hear it all the time.

The perks are also reorganized a bit, breaking some down into two separate perks. The old “Sleight of Hand,” for example, gave you faster aim-down-sight and faster reloads; each of those is now a separate perk. 

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