November 8th 2011 – a release day that most FPS gamers have been waiting well over a year for, has certainly not turned out the way that fans, critics, or in particular, Activison, had initially expected.
I find it hard to imagine that the makers of “The Most Anticipated Game in History” anticipated their AAA product getting completely bashed on Metacritic, the review site that assigns products a weighted average score. While Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 maintains a score of 90 based on 44 critic reviews, hundreds of users that participated in the game’s midnight launch flocked to the “user review” section to voice their opinions. Players are mainly citing the unchanged graphics powered by an increasingly re-hashed engine, a short campaign which offers fans little that they haven’t seen in previous CoD cinematics, and a multiplayer portion that attempts to re-create the magic of the original Modern Warfare yet ultimately ends up feeling like an exact duplication. Some reviewers sarcastically remarked that “Modern Warfare 2.5 is the game’s best map pack to date” yet they are puzzled as to why it was so expensive.
Many fans also seem upset by the positive critical reception Modern Warfare 3 has released to. If MW3‘s legacy truly becomes defined as a game that severely disappointed even the core fanbase that has supported it for so long, it will be difficult for certain reviewers to justify giving the game a perfect score. It may raise further questions regarding the state of video game media and how the intangible factors of game reviews (loyalty to certain developers/publishers, pressure to give AAA games good reviews) tangibly affect the overall score.
Here is a sample of what gamers across all three platforms are saying following the release of Modern Warfare 3:
Xbox 360 (average user score of 2.7 with 123 positive reviews, 17 mixed, 271 negative)
MATT1ST: “Have been playing MW3 online for a few hours now and it surprised me that a game I wasn’t looking forward to, at all, still was able to… disappoint me. Have seen many of the maps and I haven’t felt a presence of a classic map. Running makes you wiggle like a drunk duck, reloading is much quicker than switching weapons. The thing cod “had going for it” was fast fluent game play. Well dedicated servers are even laggier than the P2P ones and when you are prone and aiming down the sight at the same time, you can’t move sideways at all. Ah well, the game was meant for people that don’t aim anyways. Noobtube is the first default class available when you start the online game up for the first time. Keep hyping his game, it still doesn’t change the fact that this is MW2.5 you paid for with your earned money.”
WhitefireWF: “It’s very sad, that people give a developer credit for lazy work. Half of the sounds, equipment, perks, guns, and only one new attachment are in the game. 80% of the killstreaks are the same. And you always the get the feeling “I have done this before”. Survival is sorry attempted at zombies and fails flat. The same COD formula is use, level up, get guns, unlock the same attachments from every call of duty, and rinse repeat. Sad really, this game will not move the industry forward but millions will buy a half tried effort. If any other game did this it would get bashed to crap. Save your money.”
Paradoxed: “Why bother making a new great game when you can just take your last one and “polish” it a litte? This is IW’s mindset behind MW3. Never have I seen such a lazy excuse for a “new” iteration in a game series. The campaign is mindless and cliche as expected, but MW3 goes out of its way to show you how uterly unoriginal it is. The visuals are practically identical to MW2, and so is most everything else. EVERY single add on to the multiplayer is directly taken from other games. This is laziness at its grandest. If you really liked MW2, then play MW2. This is a 60 dollar polish of it.”
PS3 (average user score of 2.1 with 42 positive reviews, 3 mixed, 89 negative)
Kenjirus: “Played this, this morning and its just a desaturated mess of a game, the whole thing needs to be updated to make it good, the textures are low, the shadows are to dark, the lighting is terrible, the only colour seems to be shades of gray and the sounds are just annoying. Bad show IW, Sledgehammer and Activition, bad show.”
Faelun: “This is honestly just MW2.1 this is awful. I can’t believe I stayed up and went to a midnight launch for this. Complete waste of money, i’m taking this back to the store after work today to trade it in (or return it if they let me) and get battlefield 3. God IW is so lazy this is more or less THE EXACT SAME GAME as MW2 with a couple minor tweaks. Waste of damn money.”
Boofcpw: “I have been an avid supporter of the call of duty franchise for many years, playing each game for hundreds of hours. The latest release, Modern Warfare 3 is however extremely disappointing. There is almost no difference when compared to COD 4, which is disgusting considering that this is a stand alone game, and not just an expansion or map pack. The elite service is also rubbish, charging for things most games offer for free.“
PC (average user score of 1.4 with 6 positive reviews, 4 mixed, 38 negative)
Jocksson: “I thought COD4 was a great game and MW2 was ok, however this one fails miserably. I was told in an article the game is not “copied and pasted”. Indeed its not, its trying to be COD4 with new multiplayer modes, yet it fails to even get close to the greatness of COD4. The maps are horrible, COD: Elite is a total waste of money, it feels rushed, there’s a greyish tint on everything in the game, textures etc. And for the singleplayer, linear, boring, and incredibly stupid. I liked the story, but the way it concluded in the end was horrible. Stay away from this PoS. The creators have really outdone themselves in screwing people this time. Perhaps they should try to create a new franchise instead of ripping people off. Thank you IW, sledgehammer and activision for letting me down yet again.”
Omikurita: “WOW. i’ll start by saying i’ve been a big CoD fan since the beginning. First game to ever pull me away from CS:S.. It’s a damn shame what CoD has come to.. I do not see the difference between MW3 and MW2, if anything a bit worse with the new movement and repeated perks. If you already have MW2 no need to get this game. This should have been a DLC at best.. 14.99 game.. HIGHLY DISAPPOINTED…”
Fr0s7y: “I was willing to give IW the benefit of the doubt in their claims that the game was vastly improved, and the new features breathed new life into the game.. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. I can’t help but feel like the game I’m playing would be better labeled an expansion pack for MW2, or just MW2.5 at best. IW seems to content now to rehash the same thing year after year without really aiming to do anything new. Such a shame to see this happen to a once great series.”
I recently questioned whether or not the new game modes, which were undoubtedly influenced by other popular FPS titles, would be able to keep CoD loyalists content. In no way did I expect the outpouring of negative responses by some gamers that have supported the Call of Duty franchise since the very beginning.
One has to ask though. The sales numbers for Modern Warfare 3 speak for themselves. Infinity Ward and Activision, regardless of what the majority says about the quality of the game, are cashing in on this entertainment behemoth yet again. Are they required in any way to change a product that produces this much cash flow? I think a good portion of the blame for what fans are describing as a subsidiary of a game that was released 4 years ago, back in November 2007, has to be placed with the people who purchase it. Activision and Infinity Ward are in the business of making money off of video games that appeal to the widest demographic, and in that regard, they are clearly the best.
For those of our readers that have played Modern Warfare 3, what do you think? Is the franchise’s latest installment really that close in design to it’s predecessors? Let us know of your opinion in the comments section below.