Why Modern Warfare 3’s Really Not That Terrible After All

It’s a rehash, a remix, a remake.  The same as the last one which was the same as the one before it.  Not visceral enough, not gritty enough, not powerful enough.  The graphics are rubbish, the AI is rubbish, the sound is disastrous.  And don’t get me started on the plot: risible, re-rinsed nonsense that wouldn’t satisfy even the most ADD-riddled minds.

Right?

Well, wrong.  Despite long-standing, enduring preconceptions that it would be exactly as I outlined above and the overwhelming, unshakeable thought that I was already going into this determined not to enjoy what was left of Infinity Ward’s latest, I actually came away thinking ‘you know what?, that was pretty good.’

[drop]Not ground shattering, not earth moving, not genre-defining.  But pretty good.  I mean, let’s be honest, there’s a core market out there hungry for more Modern Warfare and after nukes and rampaging Russians in the last two the developers had to up their game to keep people crowded around the water cooler talking about the key stand-out moments.

And there’s a few.

Yes, I actually laughed out loud when I went sliding down a hill on my arse, and – physically – yawned when I was steering a little droid around shooting at dots in the distance, but MW3 is more than the sum of its parts because, looking back, the fairly dull first act is really only there to set the scene and remind you of lots of bits of previous games, if not always intentionally.

Getting shot at the end of a mission I’ve slogged my way through was interesting in the last game.  This time, it’s just annoying.  It doesn’t make the bad guy in the cheap suit any more threatening because – get this – I already wasted about a hundred of his buddies (and at not nearly such close range) but it re-introduced the character and in a game desperate to show off some exposition, it just about works.

It’s a real mess of a plot, mind.  I lost track how many times I was supposed to be this guy or that guy and why this guy and that guy were doing what they were doing, and every time the level structure switches you out to someone else at the end of the section (or in the case of one mission, during the actual level) it’s disorientating and confusing.

I can hardly remember when my own birthday is, don’t expect me to remember half a dozen key protagonists barely introduced and almost certainly going to die a grizzly death, too.

[drop2]But there I was, swapping weapons, lobbing grenades and sprinting for cover.  I can obediently follow a massive white ‘FOLLOW’ sign like the best of them and if I zoom in the gun snaps to the nearest enemy – both of which are most handy because it means I don’t need to think, just do, and stuff can come at me all it wants.

I thought the graphics were pretty good, too.  Yes, I’m hugely grateful that it’s still running at sixty frames per second and couldn’t care less whether it’s using up every pixel my TV is offering, but despite The Internet moaning that the game reuses assets and doesn’t have a unique visage for every single character I don’t really care – it’s snappy, slick and – especially during a rather sudden sand storm – rather splendid to gaze upon.

So forget the haters.  MW3 isn’t anything sophisticated or even particularly deep, but it’s exactly what I thought it would be and – I assume – that’s why it has sold so well.  People wanted more, and they got more, and the developers certainly delivered on that score.  It’s certainly more interesting than Battlefield 3, which tried so hard to ape CoD but was more bothered about stabbing rats.

I had fun.  I can’t really remember what happened and the flashbacks that inferred one of the myriad of player characters was something overarching and rather important felt incredibly retconned (I did a mini-sick in celebration of the amazing writing) – but I left the game thinking ‘yes, that was a blast’.

Of course, I’ve not played multiplayer.  That’s bound to be rubbish.

You can read our full reviews of MW3 here (single player) and here (multiplayer).

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79 Comments

  1. Ace – when are we playing MP, dude? I’m ace at Spec Ops remember?

  2. I have to admit I was a flagrant COD hater after I was let down by [email protected], mw2 and black ops. But this game is amazing. They’ve hit the sweet spot with multiplayer and the campaign, while short, doesn’t feel like it and is brilliant. It reminds me so much of cod4 and is what its sequel should have been.

  3. Is this a joke article?

  4. ‘It’s certiantly more interesting than Battlefield 3, which tried so hard to ape CoD but was more bothered about stabbing rats’.
    Sigh… Having hammered through the sp of MW3 on my 360, I disagree completely. I found the feeling to be ‘been there, done that several times now’ whilst playing it, which got very boring. Felt like a drag to finish the game to be honest, which is a shame as CoD 4’s campaign is at the top of my awesome FPS single player list along with the MoH reboot.
    The fact that the plot was so convulted, AGAIN, turned me off it. My autistic brother was fine with the first MW, but he can’t get his head around MW2 and this. It’s a mess.
    Battlefield 3, however, doesn’t get off lightly either, the campaign, for the most part, was pretty damn boring and generic, but I did really enjoy the missions where you play as *minor spoiler?* Dima (Spetsnaz), felt it was a nice change to play as someone other than the Americans who always win*. Also, at least I could follow the plot easily enough.
    Online wise, Battlefield 3 really stands out though, and thats why the series deserves more praise than it usually gets. CoD seems to get away with anything and I’m really tired of sites trying to cover up the cracks of the series.

    • Well put. I haven’t played BF3 or MW3 but my general perception about the games is that when you prefer BF3 you often get called a CoD hater but when you talk bad about BF3 it’s just the way it is.

      • I got bored of both campaigns. Much preferred Bad Company (even no.2 ;)) to BF3. BF3 was/is just a modern day Black Ops.

      • +1 to this ^. The campaign in BC1&2 was IMO far better than BF3’s and didn’t take itself to seriously (thinking of Haggard in particular).

    • Can’t comment on MW3 as I simply haven’t played it (spending on games has been halted by the wife until after xmas!), but what I can say is that BF3 is probably the best multiplayer I have ever played. So much so that I still haven’t even started the singleplayer. I can’t help it – As soon as I put it in, I am immediately drawn to multiplayer & which of my friends are playing it.

      I do have to be careful though, as it is ridiculously addictive – If I intend to put it in to play a couple of rounds, I need to keep an eye on the time & ensure that I am doing just a couple of rounds as I often find that I am turning it off at about 2 in the morning after not realising how long I have been playing for!

    • There is no covering up Black Ops. (MP ran like a bag of poo).

      • I enjoy playing blops online…. Seems like it’s only me though.. :/

    • both campaign’s were crap almost throughout but at least battlefield’s was somewhat believable and didn’t try to treat me like an idiot who only wants to shoot anything that moves.like yogdog I’m really getting fed up of how cod can get away with anything and whenever someone points out one of its many faults they get shoot down for being a battlefield fanboy

      • The article above points out it’s many faults FFS yet you are still unhappy with it?

        Without the addition of “It’s certainly more interesting than Battlefield 3, which tried so hard to ape CoD but was more bothered about stabbing rats.” I really don’t think yourself, yogdog or Bilbo would be complaining.

        The MW3 campign could be described as many things, but at least it wasn’t dull…

      • On the contrary, I thought the campaign was a mess. Far from enjoyable. I’d say this and not mention BF3 at all if Nofi hadn’t included that line.
        Get a grip dude, people are allowed an opinion that differs from yours and the norm (I do realise that most people prefer MW3).

      • I found MW3 campaign to be thoroughly dull.

      • very predictable, painfully boring, ridiculous plot that made no sense, felt like a chore to play, characters that were so annoying i spent half the game shooting at them instead of the enemy…

        all of these things made the whole experience feel very dull.*

        *all of the above is only my opinion and i know I’m in the minority, maybe it would of been better if I’d played through MW2 first. and even if i had it probably wouldn’t of made much difference since I’ve never been a huge fan of those types of single player campaigns.

      • just to add to that i wanted to say i don’t hate modern warfare 3, in fact spec ops is brilliant and the multiplayer’s solid enough albeit it a bit of a step backwards compared to blops (obviously i don’t expect anyone to agree with me on that but the controls were far better in my opinion and the guns had a bit more weight to them)

  5. Am I the only one who thinks it’s pretty sad that “Not ground shattering, not earth moving, not genre-defining. But pretty good.” outsells “ground shattering, earth moving, genre-defining” games by a very large margin? :P

    • Sometimes simple is just more enjoyable, according to the majority it seems.

      As a CoD fan, I would be the first to say BF3 is far superior technically speaking (engine, audio, destructible environments), so I’m excited where MW will go next as they have to improve.

      • I don’t need to calm down, I’m calm. But this sort of article is the opposite of why I read articles on here. Faning the flames or fanboyism is something TSA hate, but this article says exactly that.

        I don’t give a flying fish if someone likes COD over BF3 or says either one is rubbish, I like what I like, but this article is poorly written.

      • sorry replied to wrong comment lol

      • i have to agree with you on that one Bilbo, articles like this are the exact opposite reason people use this site

      • Happy to point out that you are in the minority, as everyone else seems to agree that this is a very fair article that points out quite a few weaknesses in the MW3 campaign.

        I really don’t see any bias or fanboyism here, perhaps you need to read the article again?

      • At Scott. Agreed, I just read it for the third time and am still struggling to find anthing inflammatory in there…..

    • ‘AT Scott’!? Dumbass! :D @Scott

      Been a long day….

      • I think you are secretly Dr Emmett Brown & you really meant “GreAt Scott!” right? :)

  6. i’m not laughing…

  7. its cod and that’s it did you expect anything different.

  8. Probably like a lot of people I jumped straight into MP, and wasn’t too fussed about the SP from the bad things I had read. However, as pointed out it not being ground breaking or particularly innovative, I really really enjoyed it. First few levels were a bit mediocre, then the levels were the right length that they didn’t got boring, with Choppers and AC130s and the like to break-up the gameplay. The real locations were very much appreciated. As a fan of the MW series I enjoyed Yuri’s brief flashbacks to the Russian airport and to Chernobyl, which made up for the character jumping. BF3 is certainly more impressive, particularly since its made far more of a leap than MW3 than their respective predecessors, (and BF3’s audio is the best in any game I’ve ever played). However this didn’t stop me thoroughly enjoying MW3, and far more than I had anticipated after what some people had said.

  9. Wow, this article is on par with Eurogamer. Are TSA now writing articles for fanboys to react to(low hit rate this month?). Because you certainly did a good job of it, and personally think TSA should take a look at why they became a popular website and take this off their site.

    Like one or two have said, is this a joke article? Because I certainly don’t understand it.Saying its much better than another game that got just as good reviews, but at the same time saying its not genre defining (you get what you expect) is pretty odd to me.

    Oh well.

    • It seems the BF3 fanboys are the ones reacting. He only says its more interesting than BF3, and that he has only played SP, and it’s his opinion.

      You need to calm down.

      • I don’t need to calm down, I’m calm. But this sort of article is the opposite of why I read articles on here. Faning the flames or fanboyism is something TSA hate, but this article says exactly that.

        I don’t give a flying fish if someone likes COD over BF3 or says either one is rubbish, I like what I like, but this article is poorly written.

      • My previous comments on the game were that I wasn’t interested in the game at all, but after playing it I decided that it’s really not as bad as I had expected.

        Nothing more.

      • Exactly

        “It’s certainly more interesting than Battlefield 3”

        somehow becomes

        “Its much better than Battlefield 3”

        When read by a BF fanboy. The fact that it is also suggested that TSA should “take this off their site” made me laugh out loud.

        Seriously Bilbo, you need to stop reading COD threads as your posts are getting more and more ridiculous.

      • You don’t need to justify your comments nofi, I think anyone with a measured approach and no underlying isues with COD can look at your article and understand where you are coming from. Having played both campaigns I agree with pretty much everything you have said, it’s far from perfect, but by god it was fun while it lasted.

      • Thanks guys.

      • Well I got it Nofi. Not really hard to get I suppose. And even easier (by the looks of things) to take everything you said way out of context.

      • depends how you read it I guess, but that comment fans fanboyism, I don’t care in all honesty, I’m just a little sad that more articles on this site recently are becoming similar. I’m just pointing it out, but as usual get told my comments are over the top…because its on a COD article.

        Its great someone who never wanted to play the game, enjoying it more than BF3 (I yet to play bf3 SP or COD SP) but saying its more interesting is asking for it IMO.

    • I thought it was a well reasoned article. Its pretty much summed up my experience of COD for the last three game TBH.
      Wasn’t expecting much but enjoyed them all the same.

      • Same here. I can’t see any fanboy propagander in the article at all.

      • Well it pretty much sums up my thoughts on the game too, for someone keen for a “leave your brain at the door” high action single player experience I thought it was pretty enjoyable. I particularly loved the New York warships set piece, and though somewhat haphazzard at times I certainly kept up with the plot a lot more than I did MW2.

        That said, I finished it then promptly traded it for Skyrim.

      • Agreed, a good and honest article from Alex which seems to reflect many people’s opinions about the game.

  10. i don’t really hate the game, though i don’t like the way that one game seems to dominate the industry.

    i simply don’t care about the series.
    not being a big fps fan anyway COD was never gonna be top of my list of must play games.
    i wouldn’t mind seeing the storylines played out, but i can probably watch some walkthroughs on youtube for that.

    and the competitive multiplayer holds zero interest for me.
    and that’s only partly because i suck at it.
    i’m not good enough to care, and i don’t care enough to get good.

    but if you enjoy it, good for you.
    your enjoyment shouldn’t be affected by my disinterest.

    • I like this post, I feel much the same myself. These games just aren’t for me but each to their own I guess.

      Good post Nofi, I prefer pieces like this to the actual review if I’m honest; here there isn’t the shroud of attempted-impartiality hanging over what is written.

    • Having had the opportunity to play the game, this reply perfectly sums up my feelings about the game. You’ve saved me a lot of typing! :D

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