CoD: Modern Warfare 3 Tested, Benchmarked

By on November 11, 2011, 12:39 AM

As you've undoubtedly heard, Modern Warfare 3 launched this week and, well, what can we say? The game has reportedly sold a record 9.3 million copies in a single day. It should be noted though that over 50% of those are Xbox copies and less than 4% comprise PC sales, according to VGChartz.

As usual we'll refrain from pretending we've played the game enough to form a comprehensive opinion about it, but external reviews suggest the game is a valid sequel that doesn't bring new elements but instead relies on the same old formula with a few tweaks to deliver an overall fun game to play. PC Gamer concluded about the PC version: "Modern Warfare 3 is linear, badly written and one note. It’s still, from a certain angle, regressive. It’s also fun."

In terms of graphical fidelity, Infinity Ward's latest effort is about as visually appealing as its predecessor, which was about as visually appealing as its predecessor. No, I don't stutter. Unfortunately, the company has focused on optimizing the game for consoles while ignoring PC development for the last five years. If you're itching to see how your DirectX 10 or 11 GPU handles a DX9 engine, then maybe MW3 has something to offer you.

Read the complete performance review.

User Comments: 38

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Emexrulsier said:

Obviously we aint going to get into a BF3 vs MW3 war. IMO if you own a "high" end pc then I would recommend BF3 as this does have some nice visuals (though I think in some places it's over the top beyond realism). If though you aint bothered about graphics but gameplay I'd say buy both games. You have to admit games like cod4 were fun they were easy to pick up and a join a game and rake in some kills have a good game and this is just more of the same. BF3 I feel takes on a little more skill to pull of certain shots and kinda feels like a totally different genre to mw but again just as enjoyable.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Seemed like more opinion than usual for a game review

9.3m and 4%, I didn't think BF3 and MW3 were going to cross paths, even being released at the same time.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

The last part of this review I agree with totally, and the whole thing actually. It is running on a friends 8600GT at medium graphics and if he overclocks he can even hold it on high! Very poor show for COD. I really hope they skip a year and have a 2 year development on the next one so they can make an actual great game. The main reason this sold so well is due to marketing and popularity. Even my girlfriend knows what CoD is and bare in mind i haven't owned a copy since MW. She knows by her friends! Now that is some impressive "word-of-mouth" run away success right there!

Just a shame Skyrim will never get the same treatment

Guest said:

I left the fast-paced world of 1st person shooters behind a whole ago. The last shooter I was really into, was Counter-Strike:Source.

I've been wanting to get into FPS gaming again for a while now, and these days it's all about MW3 and BF3. That narrows it down for me. I hate @ EA with every breath I take, after they pulled their games off Steam, so that left me with MW3 as the next big thing.

I was planning to buy MW3 today! But, after reading THIS article... that ain't gonna happen. I knew they were using the same old graphics engine for MW3, but people have been telling me it looks better and more tweaked than MW2 regardless. Then again, these people all have entry level computers. Truth is, MW3 and BF3 looked much the same to me, as I was looking through screenshots and youtube videos, but you can't really judge graphics on that. These kinda games have to be experienced at high/max settings to be judged fairly.

Considering the fact that MW3 apparently is DX9 and a crap console port, I'd rather spend my money on beer! Thanks for this illuminating article, TechSpot.

Guest said:

Please, allow me to put this way, but MW3 is the best representation of how idi0t gamers can be and how greedy games studios/publishers can be (they'll always be).

The majority of people will buy the game because its history and fame, clearly MW3 being the worst example of the series along with Black Ops when we consider Call of Duty franchise.

Look at that ground texture?! Oh My God!! What's that?!

I own all titles, but this one I'll skip. I've already bought Battlefield 3 and I'm very happy with that.

The sad thing is: people are buying the game, and paying 60 dollars for something OLD that hasn't brought anything new in terms of playability and features!, Again, Oh My God!

Another important point: MW3 was not design, from the beginning, for the PC. It was conceived to look good on consoles (Xbox 360 and PS3, very old videogame consoles, by the way).

Put it simple: Battlefield 3 is the winner. I know we shouldn't bring the discussion between them, but the comparison is inevitable.

Jason West e Vince Zampella, congrats for bringing us Modern Warfare 2, the best game of the series up until today (the very first Modern Warfare is another excellent game!). We hope to see the new title from Respawn Entertainment soon.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3: the worst crap of the year!

Thank God Battlefield 3 showed up!


slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Well I guess this is what happens when you build up a cash cow franchise... it just gets milked every year. I haven't got the game yet so I can't comment on the visuals but from what I've seen it looks exactly the same as the last 3 games.

Arris Arris said:

Skipped Black Ops (last one I had was MW2 and before that.... I don't know...) and will be skipping this one in the series.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Call of Duty 2 was the best!

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

One benefit to this game - it will play on Windows XP. I run Windows 7 (and won't be buying this game for at least a couple of years and thats just to play the spec ops maps with a friend) but if you have Windows XP you can't play BF3 so unless you update this is likely your shooter of choice.

Arris Arris said:

One benefit to this game - it will play on Windows XP. I run Windows 7 (and won't be buying this game for at least a couple of years and thats just to play the spec ops maps with a friend) but if you have Windows XP you can't play BF3 so unless you update this is likely your shooter of choice.

Then again MW2 runs on XP too :P

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Arris said:


Then again MW2 runs on XP too :P

But its got new maps!! hehe

Guest said:

Great conclusion, totally agree!

Bought all COD's but going to skip this one.

The BF series is providing so much more value.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

As a note to this test/benchmark however, there are a few things to note as I do not agree fully with it.

First if DLC for MW2 was 5 maps for £12 on steam in the UK then this game with its maps, new single player campaign and new game modes/adjustments is worth the full price. That is when compared to the DLC released for MW2 ignoring whether that DLC was worth its asking price originally.

Also anyone that wants to play BF3 on the lower settings knows they are on the lower settings. I turned BC2 down and the textures etc weren't great. I didn't like the foliage. I got a new card and cranked it all up and enjoyed it alot more. There is something to be said for being able to put MW3 on with its single player campaign and know what you are seeing on the screen is the maximum fidelity that the designers envisaged in the studio. That would make playing through more satisfying than playing BF3 on lower settings in my case.

The reviewer is allowed his point of view and I too enjoyed the original Call of Duty - the scripted allies were amazing at the time and it was the first shooter that didn't feel like a bunch of interconnected corridors. Call of Duty 2 was also very good on the 360 - I enjoyed the single player campaign completing it on the hardest setting. COD3 wasn't so good but COD4 was really good. I recently reinstalled it just to play the first few maps of the single player campaign between playing the BF3 beta and BF3 being released. You can't write off the entire series. However, the biggest problem for the francise came when playing BC2 and then going back to MW2 - it felt like you were playing in a shoe box compared to BC2.

Anyway, got a bit sidetracked. Its not quite as bad as you say as its not been written for PC but it plays on lots of hardware and its current so it will have alot of players and new content. I wouldn't hate anyone for buying it.

Guest said:

I love that DICE made BF3 target first at the PC then down scaled. I hate the EA destroyed the game by making it a vehicle for them to take more money, your civil rights and personal information. I dislike that DICE/EA won't release code to allow for 3rd part dev. or private servers.

I dislike MW3 for being a stagnant, console centric, run of the mill COD game, ( not going to reiterate what's been stated already SO many times.) I really dislike the lack of multiplayer support on the PC and frankly every PC owner should be offended that over the lase 4 COD releases the PC has played the poor short bus cousin to the console and they don't give a crap and just to shove your nose in it, they charge you FULL price.

However, after playing both back to back, I find myself drawn to the UNFOR ( UN forces) feel of the game and the general flow. I LIKE that the game changes altitude and give you control over more varied tools.

Given my druthers as a solider myself, I'd take the production values and graphics of BF3 and the dynamics of game play from MW3 and a properly written story based around COD's world. with the moments of brilliance from BF3.

Guest said:

After MW1/2 series, I am skipping all COD releases until they release a brand new game based on a DX11 engines, high resolution textures and put more than 4-5 hours into the single player campaign. For now, BF3 it is.

Guest said:

Lets put it this way: Since the real Infinity wards is gone the COD title have been really chezy

I want to see the new game the ORIGINAL Infinityward guys are working on cuz let face it this is a activision game now.

Guest said:

What is with the automatic settings? Just click all three to extra so we have no doubt.

How is the CPU performance also?

MW2 was light on the CPU side so I assume it runs well on most decent dual cores, but still.

At 1280x720 it probably runs very well on lower end hardware often, and still defeats the consoles easily, I don't have a big problem with a game running like this, it still looks pretty nice.

It's just not worth getting upset over.

Guest said:

I'll skip MW3 this time. I've bought Battlefield 3 already, and it looks pretty amazing maxed out.

The idea is not diverge from the topic, but look at L. A. Noire facial capture technology, it's fantastic, it's something completely different from what you've seen so far. It's an incredible experience!

Look at Battlefield 3, the Frostbite 2 engine: AWESOME!

Modern Warfare 3 hasn't brought anything new. Shame!

Guest said:

Not surprised at all about the graphics, the trailers looked like crap. Activision knows people will buy the game because it's CoD, they put very little money into the game, and they still make max revenue, go figure. I bought Battlefield 3, support a company that actually puts money into developing a game. Not a fan of Origin, but oh well.


i see that the graphics is good ( don't try to compare the graphics of every game with BF3) , the graphics of the game isn't everything , The most important thing that you enjoy the game

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guess we all know how you feel about CoD now . Nice comparisons though, think most PC gamers came to expect this with MW3. If this was a decade ago, MW3 would just be a major expansion rather than an entire sequel of its own. But hey, a lot of console gamers enjoy it and with these and previous CoD sales figures the PC iteration is just an afterthought.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:


i see that the graphics is good ( don't try to compare the graphics of every game with BF3) , the graphics of the game isn't everything , The most important thing that you enjoy the game

That's the whole point of these reviews, they are performance/graphics based and not about the gameplay. The comments do tend to turn towards that however which is more subjective imo.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

To achieve 60FPS on a 256MB GPU in a 5 year old console, you need to make cuts.

Battlefield 3 looks supremely better. That is, if you have the power for the eye candy.

MW3 looks solid though.

Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

To achieve 60FPS on a 256MB GPU in a 5 year old console, you need to make cuts.

Battlefield 3 looks supremely better. That is, if you have the power for the eye candy.

MW3 looks solid though.

Are you implying that BF3 doesn't run well on consoles?

That's the whole point, a game engine that scales well...

Develop for PC then make it scale down to the hardware in consoles, makes everyone happy!

BMfan BMfan said:

Wow,most people just seem to care about how the game looks and not if it's fun.

In the last month or so i have re started mw 1 and mw 2 just for fun( only finished mw2 about 2 days ago) so i can see that the graphics haven't moved on but do i care, no(if the graphics looked like the 1st far cry then i would agree with you guy's),because i have had fun playing it,too me that's what matters.Just so you know i only play fps games on PC.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

As Relic already stated this is a performance review - so the graphics are relevant. If they weren't then I don't understand how you could make your second statement about if it looked like Far Cry even if its super fun you'd understand. I've been playing FPS games on the PC since the first Doom (and I used to be a devoted map builder) but these days I think it's just too easy to include great gameplay with great graphics. Sure, focus on the gameplay first... but don't forget to add in my eye candy. I don't want to have to keep playing the original versions of River City Ransom and Mario Bros forever.

BMfan BMfan said:

I'm talking about people that keep saying i wont play MW3 because the graphics aren't like BF3 or they haven't moved the game on,as people keep saying.It shows that all they care about is how the game looks and not the game play,which is more important to me.

If the graphics looked like the 1st far cry then i would also moan.

I'm not talking about the review,i know it has to do with the graphics.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Aw man! I got suckered into watching that spam! Deleting!

Guest said:

I'm a pc gamer this year i spend 3000 dollars so my pc could run Battlefield 3 at ultra at a solid 100fps it meant to me in NZ 2 x 580gtxs 1200watt power supplier 12 gig ddr3 1600mhz and one kick **** 27" 3d Monitor....Battlefield 3 is and was worth it.

Modern Warfare 3 i have seen run on a 8800gts also on a single 580gtx they look the same ,max settingss are a joke couple that with,no kick vote ,unranked servers,no premium elite and no lessons learnt from modern warfare 2 and this is the biggest fail title for a pc ever.

There's a reason that battlefield 3 on pc has grossed twice the number of games of modern warfare 3 IW/SH stopped caring about pc so the favour was returned.

What alot of cod fanboys missed is this week before release BF3 PC Sold 58k mw3 pc Sold 14k.

For my platform i have seen a drastic change in what Gamers want and expect and to be honest Developers better start listening because the collective we is getting a stronger voice.

Guest said:

If you think MW3 and BF3 look at all similar or the same, you sir, ought to get your contacts prescription checked. I have BF3 on my PC and it looks phenomenal. There really is no comparing the two when you see them side by side in motion.

Hell, even on the Xbox, the DX9 settings look great, plus it has the HD texture pack, so that right there gives it a graphical boost.

I have MW3 on my Xbox 360 (my xbox, my brother's copy) and it looks like, well, crap. The best way I can open people's eyes to that fact is to say this:

Play the first level, the New York level. Then Play Crisis 2, also set in a destroyed New York. The difference will astound you.

COD is simply out of place in 2011. It's running on an un-updated 4 year old engine.

DKRON said:

What does that "sync every frame" even do because when i tested MF2 on my Dual 5850's i could only run smoothly on high settings and no aa rather than everything on full but it made the video quality much higher, shouldn't we be testing that if they are obviously having no trouble at the moment

Guest said:

Yep Gonna skip this one...

Guest said:

Well i've got a pretty powerfull desktop to run this game but i will like to know, if anyone can help me, if my laptop can run this game even at lowest possible settings (due to the fact i travel alot-every weekend):

Toshiba Satellite Pro

Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2,2Ghz

Ram 4GB @ 667mhz

GPU ATI mobility Radeon HD2600 (256mb) (Can Hypermemory help me? :P)

thanks in advance!

P.S. I was running MW2 with some settings Medium and some at High with AA and AF turned off also Shadows,smoke edges etc Turned Off.

lipe123 said:

This is why PC gamers pirate, why would I spend 60$ on another MW2?

The story plot is identical, weapons smugglers, nukes blah blah BOOOOORRRRIIINNNGGG.

The game play, weapons, etc is all the same.

The graphics are WORSE.

The only good thing about it is the pointstreaks instead of killstreaks but 1 feature does not make it worth 60$

The only reason they sell 500million copies is because they squarely aim their sales at console kids that get their parents to buy the game (so they dont need to parent their kids).

BMfan BMfan said:

You do realize that MW1, MW2 and MW3 were like a long war series, that's why they are similar.

Guest said:

This piece of garbage should had never been released on PC because is an insult to PC gamers.

Guest said:

dayumn rite. +1

Guest said:

You do realize that anything above 60 fps isn't noticeable? You could've spent about 1000 at most to make it run the way it does now :\

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