Monday, May 23, 2016

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 review

This review will contain spoilers for Modern Warfare 3.

    This is something of an annoyed review as I could have sworn I'd done a review of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 when I was reviewing the series from beginning to end, starting with my review of Call of Duty 4, continuing with Modern Warfare 2, and then my essay about its social satire. But no, honestly, it completely slipped my mind to do the final game in the series. So, those who actually are interested in my opinion of Call of Duty (why?) can have my deepest most sincere apologies.

    Or just an apology.

Occupy Wallstreet.
    Modern Warfare 3 is really just an expansion of the events of Modern Warfare 2. While Call of Duty 4 functions as an independent work, this is more a continuation of what happened before. This isn't a complaint, quite the opposite, but helps to know it's something which should be played immediately after the previous game.

    The premise is Captain Price's EMP detonation has crippled the Russian army in the United States, resulting in the USAAF being able to drive them back to New York City. Captain Price and company are still disavowed for their actions in killing General Shepard. However, things go from bad to worse with the Russian President kidnapped by Makarov and him ordering not a retreat but full-scale invasion of Europe instead. Captain Price and the disavowed soldiers of Task Force-141 must try to prevent nerve gas attacks from killing millions and, if they fail, they must avenge the destruction from WW3.

The naval battle is one of the most exciting parts of the game. Which is a shame as it's like the second mission.
    There's a lot of great moments in Modern Warfare 3: the attack on New York, the nerve-gas attacks on Europe, the kidnapping of the Russian President, the rescue of his daughter, and the final hunt for Makarov at the end on the game. Even so, I'm going to have to say I think the game is not quite as enjoyable as Modern Warfare 2. I think Modern Warfare 2 had the benefit of being a "homefront" for many Americans so seeing the Russians landing in the middle of familiar-seeming locations like fast food restaurants, the White House, and so on makes it difficult for its sequel to compare. While there's some good moments like fighting in New York City Harbor, there's nothing comparable like a battle on the Statue of Liberty.

    The Eiffel Tower attack coming close.

    There's also a few levels which feel too removed from the rest of the narrative. When World War 3 is happening between the Russians, Europe, and America then I don't really think you should take a detour into fighting African warlords. It reminded me of the time I was shooting up South American favelas in Modern Warfare 2 and I was less than happy with that.

Makarov remains an engaging antagonist throughout.
    One thing I give Modern Warfare 3 credit for is the fact they manage to build on what came before in a very good way. Makarov was already a truly-hated character because of his actions in the second game. Here, we get even more Kick the DogTM moments from our antagonist. He goes from being the second-rate terrorist to becoming the leader of the Unfree World. The fact he continues to remain a dire threat until the very end is something other game developers could learn from.

    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare remains committed to letting major characters be killed, a fact later games suffered for, with perhaps too many slain. Characters which have survived since the very beginning of the series don't make it out this time. This adds a level of realism and many of the more gut-wrenching moments of the game.

The Russian President will have difficulty explaining why his military murdered half of Europe.
    There's another level to the game ala "No Russian" where you have a choice to see the contents of or not. Honestly, I think this is exaggerated hype because the actual content is nowhere near as offensive. While we see some innocents killed in the effect, it's nothing like actually being a potential participant in the slaughter or witnessing wholesale droves of people being gunned down. I think the moment felt rather cheap to be honest, at least compared to how bad it could have gone.

    Overall, Modern Warfare 3 illustrates how to do a trilogy of games right. It doesn't burn itself out before things hit their climax and everything weaves into itself. It may be ridiculous in places from a realism POV but that isn't why we play the games to begin with. More games could learn from this classic of the shooter genre.


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