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'Modern Warfare 3' sets franchise low

By Jordan Wright
On November 9, 2011


I've had a bit of an odd relationship with the last two years of the "Call of Duty" franchise. Although I agree with the general consensus that the height of these games was undoubtedly 2007's "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare," I still find myself fond of the last few entries, "Modern Warfare 2" and "Black-Ops." I understand that they're flawed and far less elegant than their borderline pitch-perfect predecessor, but I still enjoyed them in the same fashion that I would enjoy any well-coordinated series of action set pieces. Unfortunately, "Modern Warfare 3" has reminded me of the sad truth that all good things must come to an end.

Set following the events of "Modern Warfare 2," "Modern Warfare 3" opens up with a Russian invasion of New York City after recently declaring war on the United States for acts of terrorism depicted in the previous game. Throughout the game, the player takes control of several different soldiers, fighting against both Russia and the terrorist faction that has instigated the war in the first place. Sadly, it only takes playing out the first scenario, a Navy Seal in New York, to realize immediately what the first problem of the game is.

The strength of the "Call of Duty" franchise has always been its generally believable depiction of war. Even in the more extravagant action sequences, the game has always done well to remind you of the fact that you are ultimately just a single soldier. After weakening across the events of the last few installments, that down-to-earth feeling has been completely shattered by "MW3" which is a set of Halloween costumes away from being the greatest GI Joe game ever made.

The game still has the "Call of Duty" paint job but now feels more generic than ever. What was once a coherent and intriguing war story has now become an incoherent plot jumbling a series of action set pieces clumsily stacked atop one another. With very few exceptions, the missions of the game lack any noticeable charm or endearing qualities to them. They follow the typical franchise formulas of gunning your way through to checkpoints and holding the line until evacuation. This wouldn't be a problem if it stuck to its original approach of realism but it's become so easy to gun down the enemy that the game quickly becomes repetitive. In addition to the ridiculously short length of the game, the single player campaign is one massive let-down after another.

Multiplayer is just as fun as it was two installments ago. Unfortunately that is because it is virtually unchanged from the previous two installments. Improvements on classes have been made for a better balanced experience but other than a few new maps, there's little remarkably different about the game from previous installments.

"Modern Warfare 3" is everything that I was hoping it wouldn't be. After eight years of consistent annual releases, this franchise has finally begun to go stale. Activision has already claimed their plans for several sequels and spinoffs for years to come but for the better of the franchise, it may be time for them to quit while they're ahead. "Modern Warfare 3" is by no means a bad game; but, by no means is it up to the standards that the franchise has set for the genre of first person shooters, or itself.


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