Retrospective: Modern Warfare 3
Nobody can ignore the impact that Activision had on the gaming industry when they launched MW3 last year; every gamer out there was affected by its launch somehow, and one writer here is guilty of purchasing at midnight. Having cemented its place as the fastest selling title of all time, as well as making a killing on the retail side of things, one would rightly assume that it is one of the best, if not the best, game you could buy. But is it? Is the game really that good and does it revolutionise the gaming world as sales figures seem to suggest?
Well it’s a tale of two sides and depending on your opinion, you will fall into either the ‘Yes it does’ camp or the ‘It certainly does not’ brigade. As expected, Modern Warfare 3 is an amazing yet flawed game rolled into one.
If there is one thing that the series has been good at is its set pieces which are some of the best out there and, despite knowing they’re coming, you can’t deny that they make an impact one way or another. Whether it’s boarding an emerging submarine or storming a hotel unfazed coated in juggernaut inspired body armour, you’ll find your breath taken at some point. Something that makes these sections even more enjoyable is that the game plays how it should and its mechanics are solid and reliable. There’s no worry of being caught out by a randomly spawned adversary or getting snagged on nearby scenery; attention to detail is the key here.
An area where Activision expands its forte is the actual setting of the missions and the characters you follow. As expected the old faithful Captain Price makes a return but you also get plonked in the shoes of the Russian and French armed forces. It’s a refreshing change given that most shooters force gamers to play as US troops over and over again. That’s not to say it’s a problem, but the US military mannerisms do begin to grate after they get regurgitated as often as they do.
Without question, the Call of Duty franchise has always taken the online world by storm with its slick online multiplayer but with some grumbles about Modern Warfare 2’s perk system, have Activision listened? Surprisingly and importantly they have meaning beginners and veterans alike can now find a home online and quickly work their way up the ranks and become an efficient killing machine. With new weapons and toys to play with to keep your appetites well and truly whet it’s hard to resist the temptation to wade in knee-deep.
But for everything that the game does well it falls short of the mark in others too. For some, the campaign is far too short and predictable whilst the online modes are suited to loyalists and the online menace of ‘camping’. Sadly, this is the case most of the time with Gino D’acampo (see what I did there?) waiting round the corner only too obligingly ready to paint the wall with your insides.
An unignorable fact that hangs heavy over MW3’s head is how the game is beginning to show its age. The same ‘wow factor’ that the second outing had has been lost in translation given that it runs on the same old engine. That’s not to say that the graphics are ugly, but seeing what other titles are capable of these days (Uncharted 3, Arkham City) you end up left feeling like you want more. For some reason, the title lacks that enjoyable ‘pick up and play’ factor that the games of old had in abundance, so don’t be surprised if it goes un-played for several weeks.
Having praised Call of Duty for its diverse setting and refreshing storytelling, it is a massive shame that by the same token it has to be criticised at the same time. No matter where you come from, you have a rough idea of what certain accents sound like and how diverse they can be. Now whether this is something that was done purposely or not every it cannot be said but nearly every squad member has a stereotypical accent. English armed forces? All cockneys doing a knees-up. French assault squad? Well they may as well be drinking wine and eating cheese. It might seem like a harsh criticism, but it is something that is unavoidable.
At the end of the day, MW3 is a good game and comes highly recommended. How good it is depends on your stance of the series as a whole. Anyone who has played the COD franchise for several years will no doubt find comfort here much like an old pair of slippers; as comforting as they are, you can’t help but feel that they may be holding you back from finding something else out there that is better. Anyone who is looking for a game that breaks the mould and re-sets FPS boundaries will be bitterly disappointed though.
Sure it may be heavily reliant on set pieces and old, reliable mechanics but what it does it does well. Are there better games out there? Yes, without question. But are there any other games out there that will be as faithful to you? Probably not. After all, who can’t help but get caught up in all the drama throughout the campaign and not resist delving into the expansive multiplayer modes. Who hasn’t said ‘One last game’ before and not gone through with it?