REVIEW: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Special Ops)

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Name: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Genre: First Person Shooter

Platform: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3, PC

Price: £38.91 from Amazon on Xbox 360
£38.91 from Amazon on PS3

£34.91 from Amazon on PC

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – Single Player Review
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – Multiplayer Review
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – Elite Review
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – Overall Verdict

review-line.JPGModern Warfare 3 is finally here, and with it comes the return of Special Ops missions. Can their quick fire blasts of arcade action capture our imaginations once more, and is the new Survival mode as addictive as Nazi Zombies? Read on to find out, and make sure you’ve also checked out our single player, multiplayer and Call of Duty: Elite reviews, as well as our overall final verdict on Modern Warfare 3.

The Special Ops mode was an unexpected delight in Modern Warfare 2. Short, sharp slabs of shooting action, they were a fiendishly challenging distillation of everything that made the main game modes so appealing. Whether you were spending 30 seconds running down an assault course or plugging away with a sniper rifle at incessant waves of camouflaged invaders, chasing a perfect 3-star rank was worryingly addictive.


In Modern Warfare 3 the Special Ops modes are more fleshed out and varied than before. There are 16 timed challenges to face altogether, and each focusses your abilities on an individual skill. You can face a mid-air plane-hijacking that’s reminiscent of James Bond, storm a submarine, collect nuclear waste and control camera-mounted security systems all within the space of a few breath-taking minutes here, with your efforts star-ranked according to your speed, accuracy and ability to identify the most valuable targets quickly. As addictive as ever, most of the challenges are available for co-operative play too, scaling up the difficulty appropriately to challenge you and a pal.

Star rankings aren’t just for kudos’s sake this time around however. The Special Ops mode carries with it a unique levelling and ranking system, separate from that found in the multiplayer mode, which plays directly into the new Survival mode by governing the equipment you have access to.


Survival mode plays out a lot like previous Nazi Zombie modes in earlier Call of Duty titles, except that your opponents are armed, any of the 16 multiplayer maps can act as the setting, and that your Special Ops level determines the quality of the weaponry you’ll be able to wield. You’ll have to spend a fair bit of time mastering the Special Op missions if you’re going to perform well against the endless stream of baddies you face in Survival, as well as recruit a reliable friend to watch your back.

The tension is high in Survival, with foes getting progressively more difficult. Providing you get past the early, easier waves, you’ll soon find yourself faced with suicide bombers, attack dogs, attack dogs with bombs strapped to them and attack dogs with bombs strapped to them with killer bees in their mouths. Well, maybe not the last one, but the sight of an attack chopper or a near-indestructible armoured Juggernaut soldier bearing down upon you is just as terrifying. Knocking a few foes down will see you quickly earn cash, letting you purchase weaponry from resupply points dotted around the map that your corresponding Special Ops level gives you access to.

The larger maps make for great tactical play too. You can leg it if you’re becoming overwhelmed by enemies, but stray too far from your teammates and, should you get in trouble, you’ll be too far away to be revived by pals. Should you and your Survival buddies all die, it’s game over, and back to wave one.

Juggernaut_Tag Team.jpg

Nazi Zombies has many fans, but I’d argue that Survival is actually the better mode. Sure, shooting shambling, rotting nasties is fun, but Survival feels like a more natural extension of the core components of Modern Warfare 3. Avoiding ranged fire, for instance, is a small but significant difference, while the greater variety of foes and maps keeps you on your toes more than when playing with the undead.

Special Ops is a stellar edition to the Modern Warfare 3 package. Missions let you relive some of the campaign mode’s highlights, twisting them into point-chasing gauntlets, while Survival is an almost-hypnotic mix of risk and reward. Those hankering for some co-operatively play will find themselves well served here.



Gerald Lynch
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  • Cool but not nearly as good as zombies dude, sorry but you fail.

  • Cool but not nearly as good as zombies dude, sorry but you fail.

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