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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Hardened Edition (PS3) Review

December 19, 2011 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris

Title: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – Hardened Edition
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Infinity Ward; Sledgehammer Games
Genre: First-person shooter
Players: Single-player; Multiplayer
Rated: M For Mature

At long last, my review for the Hardened Edition of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. I’m extremely sorry for the delays as last month was a busy and hectic month, and I wanted to give this game the time and depth of exploration that it deserved. This is the special Hardened Edition of the game that comes in a special case and includes such extra goodies as a special tin case for the game and a special notebook with special in-character notes and images from the game. The Hardened Edition also includes gives you one year Call of Duty Elite Founder status for your Call of Duty Elite subscription.

The action of the game picks up shortly after the end of Modern Warfare 2. Soap and Price along with their ally Nikolai are on the run after killing the traitorous General Shepherd. They’ve been branded rogue agents by their governments and World War 3 is in full swing. The mastermind of the atrocities in the last game, Makorov aka “King Fish” is still at large and manipulating events to pit the world’s nations against each other. However, Makorov has an even more sinister hand he is about to play. Makorov intends to kidnap the Russian president in order to steal his nuclear launch codes and take the war nuclear. Soap and Price go back on the grid in order to locate and kill Makorov for good this time. Meanwhile, Delta Force in the US are desperately trying to contain the casualties and defend New York City from wartime invasion. Soap and Price also gain a new ally in Yuri, a former Russian Spetsnaz who has his own personal grudge with Makorov. The story constantly switches from multiple playable perspectives throughout the game. Through most of the game you play as Yuri, but you also play as Sgt. Derek “Frost” Westbrook in Delta Force, and even a Russian agent Andrei Harkov. The story and plot features many twists and terms and the game’s cinematics are fantastic. Exposition is presented through intel-like presentations.

Graphically this game is outstanding. Models are levels are nicely designed. The detail is great and the developers really put you in major cities all over the world that have become war zones. The graphics or cut scenes never suffer from rough or choppiness issues. There’s a great amount of nice fluidity to the movement. It looks like Infinity War and Sledgehammer took a great amount of time to make the game look authentic from the equipment to the vehicles to which there is a great variety you can choose from. Environments have a nice amount of interactivity to them as well like caged chickens which if you wanted you could shoot to get them to be quiet. They’d be giving away your position you know.

So the game has multiple modes of play. The single-player campaign is awesome. The action is extremely chaotic and through that you have to be careful to follow your CO and not rush ahead into battle as that will get you and your team killed. You also have to be careful if you want to get in close and melee or knife an enemy to death. If one sneaks up on you, you could be dead with just one hit. That does make the gameplay quite “realistic” actually. The story and campaign mode moves at a great pace and the action is nonstop. The developers really outdid themselves from the amazing scenarios you get to play out. At one point you are basically re-invading Paris in order to retrieve a top level asset with information on Makorov. After you retrieve the asset you get to take control of an air strike vehicle and you have to bomb or machine gun to hell the enemy combatants chasing the Delta Force squad. The battle climaxes on a bridge by the Eiffel Tower that gets pretty messy. In the Russian Air Force One sequence you are a body guard to the Russian President. Since this is a Call of Duty game, it’s pretty easy to figure out that soon all hell breaks loose. What ensues is an amazing in-game play sequence where you are playing through a crashing plane and you have to shoot bad guys while going through an zero-g free fall and even deal with the plane actually crashing itself.

The single-player campaign levels are not too complicated and the levels and stages are fairly linear. However you still have to use a strategy and be prepared and not just shoot anything that moves. Generally your CO’s will give you hints or directions on where to go or what to do in battle. In terms of extras, each level has a certain amount of hidden intel cases you can find and pick up in various spots. Just search around the levels if you have time. My favorite parts of the game is where you get to use mounted weapons on vehicles like cars or tanks. There are tons of weapons you can pick up to use, but you have to be careful as certain weapons might not be best suited for certain areas.

Now to be frank about multiplayer in the game, I’m terrible at it. The hardest thing about multiplayer is that there is very little damage you can sustain. It seems like you will get two hits and then die. Multiplayer does have a lot of nice extras and customize-ability with your weapons and equipment, but it’s really tough for someone fairly new to the franchise such as myself. Modern Warfare 3 might just be too hardcore. I also find the multiplayer challenges a little too short. Uncharted 3 seems to do a much better job of letting multiplayer challenges play out their games. It seems in Modern Warfare 3 they are kept rather short. I enjoyed co-op a lot more. Survival Mode is a lot of fun.

Founder status for Hardened Edition also gives you access to all the monthly MW3 DLC. There are also special in-game events and competitions as well as clan rewards. Elite membership also gives you access to special stats you can get for all your in-game play. You can access through it app on your console directly or even on your internet web browser. You also get complete access to Call of Duty Elite TV. So if you have the extra cash, the Hardened Edition is a great buy to give you much greater amount of immersed gameplay, especially for multiplayer.

I also wanted to mention the game’s sound effects and music. The game’s traditional orchestral score rocks and always fits with the action going on. It’s a great, cinematic style score. The game also features top notch voice acting and even some pretty A-list celebrities in key roles. Idris Elba and Timothy Olyphant both portray members of Delta Force. William Fichtner plays “Sandman” one of the recurring CO characters in Delta Force. Billy Murray as Price remains my favorite character in these games.


-Great graphics and amazing levels.
-Single-player campaign is top notch and a ton of fun.
-Great music and voice acting.
-Tons of extra goodies for the Hardened Edition.
-Co-op Survival Mode is awesome.


-You can die a little too quickly far too often.
-Aiming with certain eye sights for specific weapons is a bit hard and discouraging to do at times.
-Multiplayer is at times really hard with an extremely unforgiving learning curve.
-Multiplayer games are a bit on the short side for play.

The 411

Call of Duty: Hardened Edition is the perfect gift for the most hardcore of hardcore gamers and especially first-person shooters and Call of Duty fans. It comes with a ton of extra duties and some extra special online access. It does cost over $100, but it gives a lot of bang for your buck if you are so inclined.

Graphics10.0Amazingly fluid and highly detailed graphics and stages. The game looks outstanding.411 Elite Award
Gameplay9.0Great single-player campaign and alternate modes. Though the learning curve for multiplayer seems quite high.  
Sound10.0The game features top notch voice acting and music.  
Lasting Appeal10.0The hardened edition features plenty of extras and content that you will lose lots of your time with. 
Fun Factor 9.0In terms of military-style, first-person shooters, they don't come much better than this. 
Overall9.4   [  Amazing ]  legend

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Jeffrey Harris
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