Even if ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’ was a terrible disappointment that also punched you in the groin every time you loaded the game, you’d have to buy it. Why? Because all your friends will have it, and they’ll be blowing each others’ heads off into the wee hours of the next fifty weekends while you’re left doing what — reading a book?

Luckily for all, ‘Modern Warfare 3’ holds off on the nut punching and instead targets your ego. If you’re ever feeling good about yourself and in need of a humbling experience, grab a copy of this game and head online for a team deathmatch. People will pop out of nowhere to take you down like you’re an Occupy Wall Street protester and they’re Oakland cops. We are terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE at this game, yet we love it nonetheless, if only for those rare moments when the stars align and we’re able to flick a grenade while dropping behind cover while someone far smarter and more skilled than us chases us down. For one shining moment, we are gods of the battlefield. Until our rival respawns and our glee vanishes quicker than a Kardashian marriage.

The online 'Call of Duty' Elite service, with numerous stat categories, helps you keep tabs on how terrible a player you are. You can get a lot of the benefits for free, although the true ninja masters will sign up for the $50 premium version.

While competitive multiplayer is the calling card of the mega-popular series, cooperative Spec Ops mode is no slouch, letting you and buddies team up for bro-tastic tactical missions or "us-against-the-world" standoffs against swarming hordes of enemies. The campaign is a short, bittersweet affair in which you rack up frequent flyer miles while slaughtering the usual gang of doofuses who want to blow the world apart. It feels obligatory and unnecessary, like a third wheel on a red hot date that will last all night. Or in the case of ‘Modern Warfare 3,’ all year.

All in the all, the game has been well worth the wait. Plus some of us haven't been so lucky. See you all in fifty-one weekends. Give or take.

RATING: 9/10

'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3'  ($60), was developed by Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games, published by Activision and is available on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii. Rated M. The publisher provided a copy of the game for review.

Read Phil Villarreal’s blog at becauseitoldyouso.com and follow him on Twitter: @philvillarreal

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