It’s probably highly apparent from this article that I’m not a fan of Call of Duty (despite owning all of them since Call of Duty 3). My personal favourite is World at War and the series has slipped downhill rapidly since then. They were once brilliant – I spent approximately 300 hours on Call of Duty 4 and World at War combined yet Modern Warfare 2 proved disappointing and I am yet to pass Level 10 on Black Ops.
The hype-train for Modern Warfare 3 is in full flow so allow me to bring you down to earth.
1) Same old, same old.
The Call of Duty formula has not really changed since Call of Duty 4. Whilst minor modifications have been made to the engine, each new iteration is essentially a cosmetic rehash of the previous. Whilst Treyarch’s efforts have brought about some initiative into the series such as through the Zombie mode, Infinity Ward’s efforts have been lacking. Spec Ops of Modern Warfare 2 was nowhere near as engaging as the co-op play offered in World at War. Treyarch’s trend continued in Black Ops with another Zombie mode with 2 excellent maps and showed creativity in the “wager matches” and COD Points that brought about a new feel to the multiplayer yet the core gameplay remained very similar. Unless major changes are made, then Modern Warfare 3 will probably play a great deal like Modern Warfare 2 and with the series being so lucrative for Activision, it’s highly unlikely that any drastic changes will be made to a “winning formula”.
It’s almost a dead-cert that a lot of features will be left out of the core game to sell as DLC. As if £40 wasn’t enough for a short SP campaign and a select few maps, feel free to fund Activision by paying £10 for another 3 maps every few months. Oh, and if you don’t get it you’ll probably be the only friend that hasn’t done so. Awkward. At least with World at War and Black Ops map packs you had a zombie map to go with it (which was often a great deal of fun to play with friends) – but map packs for Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2 were simply rushed, badly designed and cash cows.
3) Release timing.
A Call of Duty iteration has been released around October-November every year since 2005 in order to appease the mass market rush of the holidays. However, this year November is proving to be a great month for gamers. Uncharted 3, Assassin’s Creed Revelations, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and more are all scheduled for release shortly before or after the release of Modern Warfare 3. Many people will simply be unable to afford all these games so a new Call of Duty might have to take the backseat! However, this is usually the case most years and Call of Duty comes out on top of the charts so Activision need not worry whilst superior games linger in the shadows.
4) Battlefield 3.
Maybe this should have gone under Point 3 but I felt it deserved its own point. Let’s not beat around the bush, Battlefield is easily one of the best FPS series to date. Whilst previously it was the turf of hardcore PC gamers, the release of the games on consoles beginning with Battlefield 2: Modern Combat has brought the Battlefield series to a much wider audience. Battlefield: Bad Company caught the eye of many gamers with its destruction-centred Frostbite engine and the sequel is currently regarded as one of the best shooters this generation. With the series reverting to its roots away from the Bad Company spin-off, Battlefield 3 clearly has the potential to become the greatest shooter to grace gaming. With the in-depth and addictive multiplayer of the previous Battlefield games modernised with the Frostbite engine, this is set to be one of the best shooters that the gaming world has seen.
5) The Single-player campaign.
Just like CoD4 and especially Modern Warfare 2, expect a very short single-player. Yes, it may be impressive and resemble a Michael Bay movie but at the end of the day a game should be able to stand on its own via the single-player campaign and in modern times, building a game solely around the multiplayer is not good practice. Many people buy the Call of Duty games without even touching the single-player but once you’ve had enough of campers and bugs and poorly designed maps, you’ll probably want something else to fall onto to assure yourself that spending £40 was a good idea.
So that’s my 2 cents. Feel free to go pre-order Modern Warfare 3 (and save a few quid behind for the inevitable DLC) but I’ll pass thanks. Feel free to prove me wrong Activision and release a new game – not Modern Warfare 2.1, maybe then you’ll get my hard-earned cash but for now I’ll stick with Uncharted 3. Yes, it may not be a massive overhaul over Uncharted 2 but at least it will have an excellent Single-player campaign that is longer than 3 hours and multiplayer that isn’t full of screaming 10 year olds that gets stale after 10 minutes. Oh, and it has Sully. Beat that Activision.
(Editor: We aren’t completely against MW3 here on this site – expect a counter article in the next couple of days!)