Today is one of those days where I could say anything about any topic, and no one would care two shakes if it didn’t pertain to Modern Warfare 3. Am I correct? Well everyone’s in luck as I’m here to talk about that exact subject. This isn’t a full review or anything (and you probably shouldn’t expect a full review from me any time soon) but rather my impressions after spending roughly an hour with the campaign. What should you know? And what should you ignore? I’m On The Spot with Modern Warfare 3.
My in-laws are some of the most die-hard Call of Duty fans you’ll ever meet. I believe I mentioned as such when I finally understood First Person Shooters half a year ago. I typically get a chance to play the new Call of Duty game a year after it comes out as it becomes obsolete and therefore no long required for multiplayer, allowing me to borrow the copy and tackle the campaign at my leisure.
With Modern Warfare 3, a lot is built up for me. More than anything I needed the game to justify from the first nanosecond the title screen comes on that it could not in fact have been accomplished with Modern Warfare 2. What I mean is, Modern Warfare 3 needs to justify Modern Warfare 2’s “See You Next Time” ending, ala God of War III (which failed said test).
I genuinely enjoyed the missions in MW2 that took place in Washington DC, not because I liked the character of Rodriguez much but because by placing the conflict squarely in my home country, hey, I suddenly care more what’s going on. Everywhere I turn I find ruined buildings and utter destruction, but because I have some connection to it the impact is vastly more powerful. MW3 wisely begins the campaign in the middle of New York City, throwing the task of securing the roof of the Stock Exchange Building (hey, the Russians are occupying Wall street! Clever!) so that…something and…HOORAH! AMERICA!
And that’s the thing. I can actually care when we make some serious headway in this conflict because of that personal investment in seeing my country survive. Military porn? Sure. Effective in getting the job done? Absolutely.
The only thing holding my enthusiasm back is the schizophrenia of the plot. For a mission or two I’m some new faceless gun named Frost, but then I’m suddenly some new faceless gun named Yuri and I’m somewhere else in the world trying to protect Soap while Price attempts to get him safely out of harm’s way so that I can play as him later in the game (or so I assume).
Switching perspectives isn’t a bad thing when done right. The Modern Warfare franchise has never been stellar at balancing the two though. Most of the time it’s just a frantic rush to add variety and suspense. “Oh no! Wasn’t the character I was playing as before about to die?” It’s a cheap way to elongate something, but in the end it just makes things feel disjointed.
Regardless, I can’t fault the game for having variety. To its credit, in the first four missions of Modern Warfare 3 I got to run-and-gun with an assault rifle, fire off some Predator missiles, hop in a scuba suit and force a sub to surface before hijacking it with a different assault rifle (and the classic slow-mo breeching section), speed away on a motor boat, run around more slums with civilians aplenty, use a new super remote controlled mini tank thing, and even deal with a plane crash. Not bad, if you ask me.
Still, my original question remains: “Could this have been accomplished in Modern Warfare 2?” The answer: Yes. The graphics are nice, but I’m not blown away to the point of screaming, “Of course! What a revelation!” They’re fine but nothing special. Buildings don’t topple when I shoot them, things don’t generally explode with realistic physics, and everything plays just like it played two years ago (well, last year if you count Black Ops).
This is a full-priced expansion, and no one will mind whatsoever. I always come at things from a story perspective (I’m a writer, so sue me), so cutting a story short with little reason other than to entice players to purchase the next game…well that’s just poor form. I want to know how this war ends. I want to see what set pieces get effed right the heck up. I want some epic resolution to the whole conflict. But I also want it two years ago rather than as a means of justifying the same multiplayer experience you’ve been getting since Call of Duty 4.
At this moment, my On The Spot recommendation is still “Go Play Modern Warfare 3.” It’s fun at its core and definitely wants to make you feel like you get your money’s worth. Mileage may vary there, but if you’re a fan of the franchise, you’ve already bought the title and haven’t had any time to read this anyway.
But enough from me, what do you guys think? Is MW3 worth the purchase? Or are you going to wait like I will? Leave a comment and let that opinion come out!