Guest Writer: Has Modern Warfare Lost Its Way?

Continuing with today’s community sourced content, OrigamiKiller has seen fit to furnish us with his opinions on the Call of Duty series and asks an important question of it.

I’m a big fan of the Call of Duty series. I own nearly every game of the franchise from the home console releases to Roads to Victory on the PSP. Over the past few years Call of Duty has, in my opinion, come to be the best FPS title in video game history. It’s fast paced and exciting, with every game in the series grasping the same formula and pulling it off expertly. However, after playing Modern Warfare 3, I somehow feel lost.

Currently, I’m about halfway through the campaign on Modern Warfare 3 and I don’t feel motivated to complete it in the slightest. It’s the fact that I’ve seen it all before. I am actually bored with the game.

Don’t get me wrong, the gunplay is great and the action sequences are breath taking but I can’t shake the feeling that something’s missing. During one mission I was controlling a remote tank and blowing helicopters out of the sky with grenades. In any other FPS I would find this brilliant to play, I mean it’s clear that this sort of gameplay should be fantastic. However, here it almost felt like a chore to complete.

[drop2]I also find myself losing my way with the story. The first Modern Warfare had one of the best FPS storylines, but after a further two games in the series the story feels thin and repeated. At certain points in MW3 I didn’t know what was going on. A safe house had been attacked by soldiers, I didn’t know if they were Russian or American. In fact, I wasn’t even sure where this was taking place. In general, it’s just become shoot anything that moves and hope that you can find some motivation for it.

By far the biggest repetition in the series comes in the endings. If you compare the endings of Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2 everything starts to seem a bit familiar. No, it’s not quite a shot for shot remake but if you look at broadly what’s happening the similarities are glaring (obviously I’m skirting around spoilers here). If Modern Warfare 3 ends with the same scenario for a third time I’ll be exceptionally disappointed.

I was even more shocked to see structures from the previous Modern Warfare games being re-used. For example, on one mission in the UK I walked into a building only to recognise it as a structure in Pipeline – an online map from the first Modern Warfare.

Following that I began to recognise even more buildings from the original Modern Warfare. Most notable were corridors that were exactly the same as those in the Vacant map (again from MW1). It may be me picking up on minor elements a little too much, but from the looks of it there hasn’t been any innovation in the last two games’ single player; Activision and Infinity Ward look as though they are adopting the “rinse and repeat” tactic to a worrying level.

Although the single player really is on a downwards trajectory, I cannot fault the multiplayer. I love it. Every year brings new additions to the multiplayer and I admire Activision for not forcing an online pass (at the moment that is). However, the single player story is suffering as a result of the multiplayer taking priority and for me it has falls well short of the experience that the original Modern Warfare delivered and promised for future titles.

Modern Warfare 3 is a great game, I can admit that. Unfortunately, I think it is time for change. The story in the Modern Warfare series has become thin and weak. The gameplay doesn’t appeal to me anymore due to the fact it hasn’t changed for nearly 5 years. I doubt I am the only one with this feeling. So I ask what are your thoughts on the Modern Warfare series? Do you still enjoy the single player or are you like me and feel it has lost its way? Will we even see another Modern Warfare title?

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50 Comments

  1. COD4 and WAW were fine, the rest were boring. Nothing new, nothing special, nothing to play for.

    • I find it so boring & arduous completing the campaign of WaW. Then again, I was firmly on the Medal of Honour side of things concerning Second World War FPSs.

      • To be honest I find the campaigns of all the CODs to be terrible, but better than the multiplayer. All the game is is explosions.

  2. I have been enjoying the COD franchise less and less since COD4 but I still picked up MW3 for Xmas and I’m kind of glad I did. I found that the campaign to be much more enjoyable than MW2 (although with a bit “meh” start) and enjoyed following the mental, unrealistic, plot holed but overall entertaining plot. However, (without spoiling the ending) I am assuming we may be looking at a fresh new plot altogether from Infinity Ward/Sledgehammer in the future which I think is the right decision.

    I had a quick blast on Spec Ops and found that there is a few missions on there for me to try and I also had a quick blast on the multiplayer and enjoyed the brief time I spent on there (although I do find it more stressful due to the fast paced nature). I’ll probably do some of the spec ops with my mates over Skype at some point while we chat. Overall I feel there is a good game there. Does it deserve the mass hype and mass sales? In my opinion , no, but then again I don’t think it deserves all the hate either.

    Either way though, id be happy to see something new and for MW3 to be the last in the Modern Warfare series.

    • I pretty much agree with everything you’ve said – the plot is OTT but enjoyable all the same; but hopefully the last in the series – I hope they come up with something original and ground-breaking as CoD4 was, although it would be hard to repeat that.

      I’m one level away from completing Uncharted 3 and think that is a rinse and repeat like MW2 to MW3, yet it doesn’t seem to get the same amount of critacism (although it’s not the biggest selling game ever, so I understand).

      You should definitely play Spec Ops – it’s been the best part of the MW series for me, when played in co-op.

  3. I enjoy COD, the multiplayer is a right laugh. It’s super fun to play. But I’ve never been very interested in the single player, to me the stories have always been boring, I found that when I played one, I’d played most of them. I don’t actually buy COD much for this reason. The multiplayer is fun, but the game doesn’t warrant enough for a yearly release for me, so I get it every two or three.
    You recognising re-used rooms/buildings is appalling though. I can understand it in an open world game, repeating a small house or something, but across games, in a linear shooter? That’s just shit..

  4. I can’t but agree that the multiplayer has been improved – having prestiged on split screen at university with flatmates [kill confirmed is brilliant]. Haven’t played the singleplayer though.

  5. “Currently, I’m about halfway through the campaign on Modern Warfare 3 and I don’t feel motivated to complete it in the slightest. It’s the fact that I’ve seen it all before. I am actually bored with the game.”

    I’m on the third mission and I feel exactly this. Really disappointing because I usually enjoy the campaign. Thankfully though, I’m finding something to enjoy in the multiplayer for the first time since CoD 4 even though I’m not particularly keen on the maps and I’m absolutely dreadful at it.

  6. Good read that OK. I agree with you somewhat, but I also don’t really know what you expect. It’s a shooter, how much can they innovate? What else can they do?

    The multiplayer still is excellent though.

    • I just don’t want to see a rehashed story. For example, every door I opened I was expecting Makarov to be behind one and shoot me in the face. As you can guess it happened. All I wan’t is new ways to convey the story.

      • You should play all the game first though, I enjoyed the last 1/3 the best with some nice references to the previous games.

        Slightly agree with Tony too….not much they can do, I really liked the addition of real World locations and since MW and MW2 already had a running story, MW3 was always going to have to playout with those previous games in mind, which limits the creativity.

  7. I started playing Call of Duty with the second one but it was the third one that i will never forget playing online with my brother on COD3 is the second best online experience i have ever had(first being when our house finally got wireless internet and i played RSV all night and all day). COD lost its charm as soon as everybody playing COD4 got too serious. People made it their lives thats when i stopped playing it. Never bought a COD game after that i have played them all though and they are all pretty terrible, boring and repetitive. Just for note I am not a BF3 fanboy or anything I am just really disappointed at what has happened to one of my favourite games of all time.

    • Also would like to say was a great read as you can see in my rather long post :P

  8. I think FPS have lost their way

    there’s just so little to them other then single route shooting galleries, I don’t want open world affairs which are better left to the FPS RPGs like Borderlands & Rage, but it would be nice to be able to choose to go through a,building or around it, take up a position on the hillside or get down & dirty with melee knife.

    FPS in general is now painting by numbers

    Apart from the tank level Bf3’s campaign highlighted everything that’s wrong with modern shooter better than anything

    • I’m completely with this. I think one of the key areas that is holding them back is in the AI. Nobody seems to have really progressed in the last decade. Seems to me to be since Halo, actually.

      The extra horsepower in the next generation should hopefully let developers really broaden the AI, and also open out a lot of areas more.

    • This. I haven’t played MW3, but MW2/BF3/MOH. They’re all the same to me, they’re mostly run down a corridor and shoot something. BF3’s single player was just a pile of garbage..

      As you said, the fault doesn’t lie in the linear aspect, but it’s how you craft it. I mean, in essence Crysis/Far Cry/Ghost Recon/Half Life 2 – even MGS4 – are all linear, but they give you more options, thus makes the experience itself, less linear..

  9. I don’t think I’d really care about the asset recycling. I mean, why do we expect developers to throw absolutely everything out of the window and create it again? It’s just not something I think is really that big a deal.

    It’s a bit like expecting Hollywood and TV studios to scrap all the sets between each season or entry in a film series, and start from scratch. They hang on to stuff until they think there is no use for it anymore.

    All the flyby shots of Blade Runner’s city was created from part original stuff, but because they simply needed vast amounts of cityscape, they raided the stuff that was no longer needed from other films. I think there’s bits of Star Destroyer, and bundles of other set pieces which they chopped up and cobbled together to create this seemingly vast cityscape.

    The crime, then, is that they didn’t disguise it well enough, and also let up long enough that you were able to notice it.

  10. Was meaning to do a piece on that topic but lacked patience, kudos for that one. :)

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