Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 first launched in 2011 as the third entry in the landmark Modern Warfare sub-series. Over a decade later, Activision has remastered and re-released the campaign for PS5 and PS4.
However, rather than improving upon the original, MW3’s campaign remaster feels dated, paint-by-numbers, and lacks the compelling moments of earlier Modern Warfare games. Read our full PS5/PS4 review to see why this messy, repetitive Call of Duty entry fails to impress in 2022.
MW3’s campaign picks up right after the cliffhanger ending of Modern Warfare 2. Players once again step into the boots of Captain Price and Soap across 8 hours of globe-trotting missions to stop Vladimir Makarov’s reign of terror.
The story jumps between perspectives including new playable character Yuri, a former Makarov ally turned defector. Set-pieces range from Manhattan to Paris, Berlin, Somalia, and more. Ultimately, Price needs to intercept Makarov’s plan to spark nuclear war between the US and Russia.
On paper, MW3 seems to deliver the epic, high-stakes finale the Modern Warfare trilogy deserves. However, the execution leaves much to be desired…
Dated Presentation & Visuals
Let’s first address the elephant in the room – MW3’s visual presentation has aged very poorly. While the PS5/PS4 remaster runs at a smooth 60FPS in upscaled 4K resolution, the dated animations, textures, models, and effects are glaringly obvious.
The character faces in particular look blurry and unrealistic. Rigid animations make movement appear unnatural. And the environments, while large in scale, lack the finer details and liveliness expected in 2022 games.
Explosions, smoke, fire, and other effects hold up worse than earlier CoD titles like 2007’s Modern Warfare. The PS3-era graphics distinctly hamper immersion and fail to impress based on PS5/PS4 standards.
While MW3 aims for blockbuster spectacle, the lackluster visuals undermine its cinematic ambitions. You never fully buy into the drama when character faces are so stiff and environments feel sterile.
On the gameplay front, MW3 offers standard Call of Duty run-and-gun action without any memorable new mechanics or big changes. The core loop of sprinting between cover, popping out to aim down sights and shoot enemies, then repeating remains fully intact.
A few gimmicky environmental interactions like breaching doors or rappelling down buildings try to spice things up. But these moments feel scripted and overly familiar at this point. The gameplay lacks the raw tension and unpredictability of the early Modern Warfare games.
The level design is also extremely linear without any flexibility in approach. You are funneled through tightly constructed corridors and areas without any ability to flank or deviate. The gameplay grows repetitive and predictable thanks to the rigid on-rails design philosophy.
Some vehicle sections like boat chases or helicopter turret sequences provide brief diversions. But they tend to overstay their welcome and feel shoehorned in just to check a box.
Overall, MW3 offers no meaningful evolution to the core CoD formula. It feels like a cookie-cutter sequel built to meet yearly release expectations rather than genuinely innovate.
Forgettable New Characters
Aside from Captain Price and Soap, MW3 largely fails to develop compelling new characters. The most screen time goes to Yuri – a former friend turned foe of Makarov who teams with Price. However, Yuri lacks personality and his motivations are blurry at best.
Other newcomers like the Russian President’s daughter Alena feel frivolous. Their inclusion seems to solely check the box for a female squadmate. None of them get any substantive character-building scenes or memorable lines.
The villain Makarov also feels less menacing and intimidating compared to past antagonists like Zakhaev. He is not much of an imposing on-screen presence and his schemes lack believability.
MW3 lacks the personal rivalries and moral quandaries that enriched the first two Modern Warfare games. The story comes off as a generic race to stop the clichéd bad guy from bombing the world, rather than a complex debate on warfare.
Set-Pieces Fall Flat
Clearly, MW3 wants to dazzle players with epic memorable set-pieces. However, these blockbuster moments feel surprisingly dull and safe.
The places you fight in like New York, Paris, Berlin, and Somalia seem sterile and lack character. Other than the names being posted on screen, the locales are interchangeable.
Moments meant to shock like the destruction of the Eiffel Tower or a plane crash in Somalia induce little reaction due to stale execution. Turret sequences, boat chases, and other action segments feel padded out rather than exhilarating.
Nothing reaches the emotional potency of the famous nuclear blast scene in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The set-pieces come off as soulless checkmarks rather than leaving a genuine impact.
Voice Acting & Sound Design Issues
For a AAA shooter reliant on dramatic moments, MW3 is let down by shoddy voice acting and sound design. The facial animations and vocal delivery of lines often feel stilted or disengaged.
None of the characters emote convincingly, making it hard to become invested. The writing itself is littered with repetitive bro-dude speak and cliché one-liners that sound silly rather than badass.
Worse still, the sound mixing is very poor. Voice lines get randomly muted or drowned out by overbearing music and effects. The audio balance between dialogue, music, and SFX seems completely off.
The uninspired voice acting and distracting sound problems only serve to detract further from the campaign’s spectacle. The audio makes it even harder to become immersed in the human stakes.
An Extremely Short & Unsatisfying Campaign
Probably MW3’s biggest crime is that the campaign wraps up in a scant 5-6 hours on regular difficulty. This is an absurdly short runtime given the earlier Modern Warfare games easily clocked in at 8-10 hours.
The rapid pace prevents any time to develop characters or build up complex plots. Entire locales and characters are introduced and discarded hastily to move onto the next point on the predictable globe-trotting checklist.
Price’s final confrontation with Makarov feels utterly rushed and lacks emotional payoff. The brevity makes the campaign feel more like an extended tutorial for multiplayer.
Clearly, Activision prioritized shipping a new CoD release in 2011 over taking any creative risks. This results in a paint-by-numbers campaign that abandons player agency and heart in favor of quick set-piece thrills. But even the set-pieces disappoint.
The Verdict – Not Worth Remastering in 2022
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’s PS5/PS4 campaign remaster serves as a sobering reminder of how the CoD franchise stagnated in the early 2010s. Rather than revitalize an old gem, this remaster exposes a stale, flawed entry that failed to innovate.
The severe graphical aging, workmanlike gameplay, rushed pacing, and forgettable cast make MW3’s campaign one of the weakest in the series. The set-pieces lack the jaw-dropping spectacle expected of Call of Duty. It sorely misses the heart and ingenuity of earlier entries.
Out of 10, we rate the Modern Warfare 3 campaign remaster a 4. The gunplay remains solid and some moments like fighting in the streets of Manhattan still impress visually. However, the severely dated presentation, poorly integrated new features, and rushed pacing overwhelm the sparse highlights.
Fans of the original MW3 may feel a nostalgic blast playing this remaster. But for most players, the campaign exposes a CoD game design philosophy that had grown complacent and lacked innovation at the start of the 2010s.
Rather than remaster MW3, we would have preferred to see effort put into reviving a more deserving and mold-breaking Call of Duty game like the original Black Ops. We can only hope Activision returns to form with the rumored Modern Warfare 2 (2022) remake.
In summary, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’s PS5/PS4 campaign remaster fails to improve upon the original in any meaningful way. The severely dated graphics, short runtime, poor audio, and lack of new ideas make this a Call of Duty entry worth skipping.
Frequently Asked Questions About MW3’s PS5/PS4 Campaign
Here are answers to some common questions based on our review about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’s remastered campaign on PS5 and PS4:
Q: Does MW3 on PS5/PS4 have multiplayer?
A: No, the PS5/PS4 release of MW3 only includes the single player campaign – not multiplayer or co-op Spec Ops modes.
Q: Is MW3 PS5/PS4 a full remake or remaster?
A: This is a remaster using the same campaign missions, story, gameplay etc. The graphics and performance are upscaled but it is not a complete ground-up remake.
Q: How long is the MW3 campaign on PS5/PS4?
A: Around 5-6 hours total depending on skill/difficulty. The rushed pacing results in an extremely short campaign versus earlier CoD games.
Q: Does MW3 on PS5/PS4 have better gameplay than the original?
A: Unfortunately no – the core gameplay loop, mechanics, level design etc. remain exactly the same as the dated 2011 original release.
Q: Is MW3 PS5/PS4 worth buying just for the campaign?
A: We don’t recommend it. The severely outdated gameplay design combined with the very short runtime make it tough to justify the $40 USD asking price.
Q: Does MW3’s campaign hold up better than the original Modern Warfare games?
A: Absolutely not. The PS5/PS4 remaster only highlights how MW3 failed to innovate in storytelling, gameplay depth, or memorable moments compared to the landmark CoD 4 and MW2.
Q: Will MW3 campaign remaster be released on Xbox and PC?
A: Activision hasn’t confirmed other platform releases yet. For now it is a PS5/PS4 exclusive remaster. But eventual Xbox and PC ports seem likely.
Q: Is MW3 single player required to understand MW (2019) or MW2 (2022)?
A: No, MW3’s story is not crucial to understand the soft reboot timeline starting with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019). It’s entirely skippable.
Q: Does MW3 on PS5/PS4 have trophies and achievements?
Absolutely, the remaster includes a full list of unlockable trophies and achievements spanning the campaign, intel collection, difficulty levels, and more. Platinum trophy available.
Hopefully this FAQ helps summarize our takeaways on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’s campaign remaster on PS5 and PS4.