Modern Warfare is the worst movie ever. Actually, I’ll take that back. It’s the fourth worst movie ever made behind Howard the Duck, The River Runs Through It and Matrix Reloaded. What’s that I hear you cry? It’s not a movie? Exactly! So why the fuck have Infinity Ward spent the last 5 years trying to convince us it is?
Let us review – the plot of the games follows the exploits of generic soldiers A, B & C. All are terribly spiffing chaps, none of them memorable. At various points A and B get spaffed up a wall meaning new characters, let’s call them D, E & F for continuity, are brought in at varying points to flesh out the roster. D & F get spaffed so we then get to know G, H & I. Ultimately who gives a shit, the plot is just terrible. And incredibly hard to follow. It jumps around more than a kid who’s had is ADHD meds swapped out for caffeine pills. The daft thing is that the briefings between missions is where most of the explanation cane be found but its the part that people pay the least attention to. Mainly because they’re boring to look at. In mission you get status updates and the off revelation but it’s lost on you due to the peril you’re in. Plus most plot twists usually result in either:
A). Go here. Kill him.
B) Go here. Capture him.
C) Go here. Rescue him.
And without exception all have the addendum of the LZ being too hot and the team having to fall back to the secondary extraction point.
If I’m honest I quite enjoyed Modern Warfare. It was original and its story was ambitious. And it didn’t pull it’s punches. When the nuke went off and spunked half a marine battalion up a wall I was impressed by its grit and the balls of the writers. Even more so when you got to live out the last few painful moments of the marine you were controlling. And at that point the multiplayer wasn’t overrun by wankers who were more interested in hacking than playing. Modern Warfare 2 took those humble beginnings and made them shit.
I could go off on a long rant about the gaping plot holes and the utter ignorance displayed by the writers to the way the world actually works but I’m a bitter enough soul as it is. It was self-indulgent, the writers seeing how far they could push the envelope of toss before gamers actually realised they were being taken for a ride and the £40 they’d just shelled out was for the multiplayer. Which was, once again, overrun by chronic masturbators with a penchant for hacking.
Now, to be clear, I had no intention of buying Modern Warfare 3. I was so utterly disgusted by Modern Warfare 2 and later Blakc Ops that I decided I would never spend another penny of my, or anyone else’s, hard-earned money on a Call of Duty title again. It was, as it goes, an impromptu gift in exchange for a good deed.
Quite simply I thought, as I had it anyway, I’d look to see if Infinity Ward had managed to salvage the game from the brink of total insanity. The answer was, of course, no. Not content with having had the Russians invade the United States in the second game – which would never happen – they had them beaten back and then invade Western Europe in the third – which would never happen. So, let’s consider. Russia invades the United States with considerable men and resources. They get the shit kicked out of them thanks to a ludicrous but quite entertaining assault on a command and control sub armed with exactly the right number of missiles to destroy the Russian fleet anchored of the coast of NYC. They then invade Europe. I can only assume at this point that the Russian government is paying its soldiers in I.O.Us. You’d also need to play the game to see the staggering plot holes with regard to the Russian president.
As with the previous games it has plenty of grit and unpleasantness including the controversial blowing up of a small child, a hanging and various other scenes designed to get the game press coverage rather than to add anything of substance. And with anything designed to shock it does nothing for the game. It kicks you out of that world because you don’t buy into it. Not that I found myself that invested in the first place simply because it was such nonsense.
That said, the gameplay is as reliable as ever. This is somewhat of a two-edged sword as whilst you know what you’re getting there’s nothing new and all the little niggles that was in Modern Warfare in 2007 are still present which is just a shockingly lazy attitude from the developers. Again, phoning it in because they know they’ve already made their money from the crowds of teenage boys who have convinced their mothers to buy it for them, their mothers agreeing because at least they’re holding a controller in their calloused grip for a change.
There is literally nothing new about the game play beyond being able to fast lock on targets by rapidly re-aiming your weapon. This allows you near super human reaction to multiple enemies entering the area which can make for some pretty engaging firefights. However, the controls are the same. The bullets fired by your enemies are still able to bend around corners, fire through extremely thick solid walls and are more powerful than God’s on thunder. Your allies are still little more than objects to get in the way of incoming fire and shout unhelpful orders.
And still, unforgivably, the game suffers from infinite bad guy syndrome, spawning continually from a location until you reach a check point. Which still highlights the old cheat that if you just run hell for leather through maps you don’t actually need to fire a shit, it’ll just keep triggering checkpoints and automatically removing the enemies for you. Damage is still incredibly easy to receive and still overly impedes your ability to do anything about it. There’s just nothing new about the campaign or the way in which it is played at all. And it’s short. I got the game Saturday midday. I didn’t start playing it until after 2pm and Lee of The Chaps arrived at about 4. I completed the game this evening. It took me about 12 hours – max – on Hardened. 12. Hours. On. Hardened. That’s even shorted than Battlefield 3.
Which highlights my main issue with MW3 and the direction that Call of Duty games in general are going in. They’re multiplayer games with a campaign bolted on rather than the other way round. I’ve deliberately not played the multiplayer because I wanted to see how much game I got for my money. And the really, considering the time it took me to complete, the answer is not much. Even some of the maps you navigate through in the campaign feel like they were multiplayer maps first and just expanded.
At what point was story sacrificed for multiplayer? When was plot squeezed out to make way for team death match? In what room of what building did people get together and decide that killing didn’t need a context? The maps, motive and justification all become insignificant. Instead what you’re getting is a generation of teenagers who are happy to kill without thought and conscience, or the slightest clue as to why. Which I’m sure will be great of army recruitment figures but it’s all symptomatic of the dumbing down that’s going in all aspects of the media to appeal to the widest audience. I don’t play these games to kill people, I play them to stop the bad guys. To save the day. The kill or be killed is just the reality of the situation. And, Mr Network Executive and Mr Games Developer, by appealing to the dumbest person you’re cheapening your product and not challenging your audience to do better or be smarter.
As I say, game play is still as accessible as ever and there has been some marginal improvements with the AI but, they’re slight. Your team mates will still run in front of you, run into the open for no reason and get cut to ribbons – unless he’s mission critical then they’ll become invulnerable. Graphically it’s prettier and there is new and exciting weapons to maim people with. Although it’s very rare you’ll ever want to swap out the weapons you’re assigned with.
MW3 is, hopefully, the end of a nice idea squandered. The story is slightly better than the shambles that was MW2 but still makes little sense. If you want a multiplayer game then I expect this the game for you but it does rather seem that both the plot and replay value still rests squarely with other titles like Halo.