A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is an extremely violent first-person military shooter. Players spend the vast majority of their time engaged in frenetic firefights, killing hundreds of enemy combatants with a wide variety of realistic weapons ranging from guns to bombs. Movie-like sequences show both soldiers and civilians being killed, their bodies littering streets and building hallways. One particularly disturbing scene depicts a family being killed by a truck bomb, though players are spared the gory graphical details. Soldiers use strong language, and one of them is a frequent cigar smoker. Parents should note that this game’s primary appeal is multiplayer. Millions of players will spend countless hours online in head-to-head matches that support open online voice chat, which may involve inappropriate language and personal subjects.
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What's it about?
CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 3 picks up where its predecessor left off, with global superpowers engaged in a third world war. Led astray by terrorists with an inscrutable agenda, Russian soldiers are attempting to invade the United States and several European nations. Players take on the roles of several different soldiers -- Americans, Brits, and even a couple of Russians -- in the fight to repel the invasion on several fronts, with battle zones ranging from New York to Berlin.
Outside the campaign, players can engage in solo or cooperative missions in Special Ops mode, which allows teams of players to work together to complete short, story-driven missions or attempt to survive endless waves of enemy attackers. However, the most popular part of the game is sure to be online competitive multiplayer, which allows players to increase in rank and ability via experience points and specific challenges. It offers new modes -- including one called “Confirmed Kill,” which requires players to collect enemy dog tags to score points -- as well as a new online community called Call of Duty Elite, which allows players to track their progress and communicate with one another outside the game.
Is it any good?
There are plenty of reasons why the Call of Duty games are so popular, and they’re all on display in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Its cinematic campaign is essentially an interactive Hollywood war film filled with implausible -- but highly entertaining -- action sequences experienced from a soldier’s perspective, including a plane crash, a high speed boat ride through a burning Manhattan harbor, and a firefight inside a blinding African dust storm. It only lasts around six hours, but they’re six of the most thrilling hours adult gamers will spend in front of their televisions all year.
Online multiplayer, meanwhile, is polished, deep, and extraordinarily habit-forming. Its enormous array of modes and rewards is unmatched, and the new Call of Duty Elite community provides players a way to be part of the game even when they’re away from their consoles. There’s no denying that it feels a lot like its recent predecessors, and some players may be beginning to tire of the formula, but incremental improvements to an already great experience should go a long way to appeasing most of the franchise’s tens of millions of fans.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games. What markers do you look for to determine whether a game is too violent for your kids? Do your kids understand why violent games may be inappropriate for their age?
Families can also discuss online safety. What should you watch out for when playing online? What would you do if you encountered someone who was rude or, worse, seemed potentially dangerous?
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
- Subjects: Social Studies: geography, global awareness, power structures
- Skills: Communication: conveying messages effectively, listening, speaking
Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, problem solving, strategy
Self-Direction: identifying strengths and weaknesses, set objectives, work to achieve goals
- Price: $59.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Activision
- Release date: November 8, 2011
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Violence
For kids who love exciting, deep games
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.