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Letters from the Front

First impressions are pretty much a pretty big deal. The experience from all the way from the reveal to the first couple of hours that we pick up the game is the deciding factor in many things. I really hate Modern Warfare 3, there are few games that I actually despise beyond words and logical comprehension and Modern Warfare 3 falls into that category. I really despise that game.

Back in 2011, the launch and release of Modern Warfare 3 was met with insane hype. It broke world records, it broke preorder records, it broke the world. If it wasn’t Skyrim or Battlefield 3 then it was Modern Warfare 3 but there was a problem with Modern Warfare 3, one that we see all that often in 2019 started here. The root of the problem between the press and the community technically started here; all the bad press and the bad reviews and hatred towards Modern Warfare 3 was from one simple issue and that was that franchise fatigue had already set in it by the time MW3 rolled around which would collapse by 2013 when Ghosts released. Everyone, from casual fans to hardcore fans of Call of Duty like myself looked at MW3 and just said “Nope.” ; MW3 was basically a 60 dollar cash grab from a game that released in 2009. It was practically the same as MW2, it played the same and looked worse than MW2.

After all these years later, my disgust for the game continues and it’s very apparent. I hated it so much that I stopped playing it and went back to playing Battlefield 3, a game that was the complete reversal of Modern Warfare 3. MW2 might have been a bit divisive but MW3 was a completely different thing on its own, the relationship between the press and the community started to turn sour with this game, something that is all too common in today’s modern society. This was the first time that journalists had let me down and they would continue to let me down time after time; leave it to the Call of Duty franchise to break world records while at the same time, everybody fucking hates it. This is the reason why I find Modern Warfare 3 so fascinating to me from a cultural standpoint. Was all that hate warranted? Was all the community’s backlash and criticisms well founded and well rooted? Let’s take a look at one of the most divisive games in the Call of Duty franchise.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF MODERN WARFARE 3

As a product of the time that it released in, Modern Warfare 3 was one of the few games that failed to please the fans. However, with the power of knowing the future and seeing where the franchise has gone since the release of Modern Warfare 3, MW3 doesn’t look all that bad. MW3 was in many ways, the beginning of a new era for the Modern Warfare saga, the franchise, and for Infinity Ward. It changed how the franchise was being developed. Co-founders Vince Zampella and Jason West had left the company after a huge fallout in the wake of Modern Warfare 2 to go and form Respawn Entertainment, this was the first time that a Call of Duty title had been worked on by multiple studios and this was the first time that the franchise was in a vulnerable moment given that the brains behind the first two Modern Warfare games, the first two games that became absolutely legendary, had left and half of the Infinity Ward developers who developed the two classic games had left with them which took a toll on the development of MW3.

Activision had to rebuild the studio from the ground up while developing the next Call of Duty. Raven Software was brought in to handle the multiplayer while Sledgehammer and Infinity Ward worked on the campaign. Knowing how the game was developed, it paints a very messy picture and it paints a picture of restricted creativity as things get shifted around between studios and the larger the group is, the harder it is for teams to communicate. The issue with MW3 and fan expections was that it was way too similar to Modern Warfare 2 and that it did not deliver any new experiences. If you take a look back through the franchise history, you’ll see plenty of new experiences and new features that was never really before seen in Call of Duty before and all of them were very different. Modern Warfare 3 was the first time that it legitimately felt like a cash grab and that the development was trying to cut corners at every level. Now that we have some sort of background for the development, let’s take a look at the big picture.

MODERN WARFARE 3: THE CAMPAIGN

Modern Warfare 3 represents the climatic end to one of the most beloved games in gaming history. It started off right after the end of Modern Warfare 2 with the Russians launching a full-scale invasion of the Eastern Seaboard of the US while Soap is being treated to his wounds. The writing and story development of MW3 was very coherent as opposed to other games in the series, it took you from New York to Hamburg to the streets of India in a wild ride that served as the end to this beloved saga that released in 2007.

The middle of the game dealt with finding Makarov and eventually, the gang finds Makarov but things don’t go to plan. While the mission is neat, it’s another reason why Modern Warfare 3 is not original. The mission was a complete rework of All Ghilled Up until the very end of the mission which the developers do something really funny. At this point in the campaign which ended up being the twist in the game, Modern Warfare 3 has flipped everything on its head and propels towards the conclusion with a satisfying ending that wraps the trilogy in a nice bow. It’s a fitting end to one of the most popular franchises in modern gaming history and the campaign was done well but it wasn’t a step up and it does next to nothing when compared to the first two Black Ops games.

Modern Warfare 3 brought a fitting conclusion and a fitting end, it was the same old linear story being told as the first two Modern Warfare games and it had no replay value as opposed to Black Ops II. From the same old gameplay to the same linear story being told, it was pretty mediocre.

MODERN WARFARE 3: THE MULTIPLAYER

The multiplayer was really a middle in the road type of experience but let’s zoom in and take a closer look. Prior to the launch of Modern Warfare 3, the community was up in arms and was verbally against every little thing within Modern Warfare 2 that was quite overpowered. It was even talked about onstage when the game’s multiplayer was revealed and it was no surprise that the development of the multiplayer was suited around balance given that everything within Modern Warfare 2 was super unbalanced which was the charm of MW2. But if you have to sit and wonder if the backlash against MW2 made MW3’s multiplayer be what it ultimately ended up becoming? We were listened too and we were catered too which was not seen before in the history of Call of Duty.

While the multiplayer was mediocre, it brought some well deserved changes and brought some new experiences that would become a staple in the franchise as later entries released. Kill Confirmed debuted here and the more competitive modes came down the line which would forever change Call of Duty and push the franchise into E-Sports and community game modes like Infected were acknowledged and made their debut here. A lot of balances were made, there was more equipment to use, lethals were more streamlined and you only had 5 perks and their strengths were nerfed as opposed to Modern Warfare 2 where the same perks were extremely overpowered. Every change seemed to be influenced by what occurred with Modern Warfare 2 and seemed to be for the benefit of the game, thus making it better instead of an overpowered mess that MW2 was. MW3 was a more refined version of MW2.

Depending on your perspective, MW3 introduced Call of Duty Elite, a service that could be hated or could be loved. Elite was a precursor to the Live Service and to the Season Pass which gave out free maps every month that were called Content Drops. The content drops began with the introduction of two multiplayer maps called Liberation and Piazza and ended in September of 2012 with the release of Parish, Gulch, and Boardwalk before the service made its transfer to Black Ops II.

The biggest flaw of MW3 was familiarity. There are certain games that are able to pull that off, for example KOTOR II, but people had higher expections with Call of Duty. Battlefield 3, at the time, was a revolution in graphics and sound design and atmosphere. Visual improvements were rampant across the board with Battlefield 3 as DICE used Frostbite 3.0 to push their rendition of modern conflict which made the game a huge hit as it sounded good and it was visually pleasing but with Modern Warfare 3, it was more of a familiar run through the same old. Nothing was changed between Modern Warfare 2 and Modern Warfare 3 which made it weird; from the animations to the UI, everything stayed the same with Modern Warfare 3 and that is what in some aspects contributed to its downfall.

Modern Warfare 3’s selection of maps was average and if you take the slightest of time to take a look at them you can tell that something was wrong and this was just simply the beginning of the end. The apperance and design of the maps in Modern Warfare 3 left a lot to be desired, most of the locations seen within the multiplayer are not impressive or particulary stand out. It was depressing to look at. They aren’t really improved upon or much better than maps seen in previous games but are vastly superior to the maps seen in the recent Call of Duty’s.

In the endrun, Modern Warfare 3 is overlooked but it is a mediocre end to one of gaming’s best trilogies while at the same time being one of the best Call of Duty’s. It fell on developers, publishers, and designers to change things up and make Modern Warfare 3 vastly different to Modern Warfare 2. It should’ve been complete garbage but in the end it wasn’t, there was plenty of improvements that made their way across the franchise in the years following the game’s initial release but Modern Warfare 3 itself is a mediocre game but with the power of foresight and seeing the future, Modern Warfare 3 is one of the best Call of Duty’s and became one of the last of its kind. It’s completely overlooked. It’s multiplayer was average, Spec Ops was a blast to play, and the campaign was a nice end to a trilogy that began with one of gaming’s most memorable games but in the end and take everything out, it’s just a mediocre game and that’s a shame.

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