Modern Warfare 3 smacks of familiarity. Once again the story is a barrage of military jargon that’s as impenetrable as Will Self on an especially verbose day. But all you need to know is that it’s World War 3 and it’s time to kick ass in a series of globetrotting missions that lurch from zero-gravity gunfights on planes to fighting terrorists on the streets of London.

It’s the best Call of Duty solo campaign to date with explosions aplenty, lots of wobbly camera effects and the rat-a-tat-tat of gunfire ringing in your ears throughout.

The single player is only the starter to the main meal, dessert and cheeky midnight snack that is the multiplayer, though. There are more than a dozen competitive modes including the new Kill Confirmed and Team Defender modes, of which Kill Confirmed is the star. It’s a team deathmatch where players must recover dog tags from victims to register kills and so forces players to make daring bids to grab tags amid the crossfire.

The maps are compact compared to Battlefield 3’s sprawling arenas, but they are first-rate examples of map design with their generous supply of routes and vantage points.

The Killstreak rewards system is now called Pointstreak and rewards players not just for kills but for tasks like capturing enemy flags. It’s a move that welcomes alternative play styles and makes the experience more inviting to non-experts than ever.

Beginners will also find they level up their weapons and perks rapidly right form the start, so that feeling of being outgunned by teenagers who’ve already hit level 50 is slightly less prevalent than before.

It doesn’t stop there though. There’s a new co-op survival mode inspired by Gears of War’s Horde mode and extensive options for customizing matches. Finally there’s Call of Duty Elite, which lets players share their stats online and connect with Facebook for free and – for an annual fee – gives access to daily competitions and downloadable content every month.

It might lack major surprises but Modern Warfare 3 is an immense package, a culmination of years of refinement that deepens the multiplayer while making itself more accessible – and provides a humdinger of a campaign.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 review

Modern Warfare 3 is the culmination of years of refinement for the Call of Duty franchise – the multiplayer is deep yet accessible, and the campaign's a blinder

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