In the wake of the highly anticipated release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (MW3), the gaming community found itself grappling with an unexpected disappointment. Despite the initial promise of a hiatus after the 2022 predecessor, the abrupt announcement and subsequent reception of MW3 have left avid fans and critics alike questioning the decision-making behind this installment.
Lackluster Single-Player Campaign
MW3's single-player campaign, a crucial component of the Call of Duty experience, fails to live up to its predecessors. Clocking in at a mere five hours of gameplay, it pales in comparison to the average 10 to 15 hours traditionally offered by the franchise. The brevity of the campaign leaves players yearning for more substance, a notable departure from the immersive narratives and diverse combat scenarios characteristic of the series.
Open Combat Missions: A Mixed Bag
The introduction of Open Combat missions attempts to inject innovation into the gameplay. These missions, set in expansive open maps, allow players to approach objectives with flexibility. While this concept adds an element of choice, the execution falls short, with conveniently placed weapon stashes undermining the realism the game aims to achieve. The linear missions, though more traditional, stand out more but fail to compensate for the overall lack of depth.
Despite its gameplay shortcomings, MW3 maintains the hallmark audio and visual presentation that the Call of Duty franchise is renowned for. The game's graphics, animation, and lighting demonstrate a consistent level of quality. The soundtrack, composed by Walter Mair, complements the cinematic experience, while the return of familiar voices like Barry Sloane and Samuel Roukin adds a touch of continuity to the series.
Recognizing the brevity of the single-player campaign, MW3 leans heavily on its multiplayer component to salvage the overall gaming experience. Returning players will appreciate the continuity of progress from MW2, but the decision to recycle maps from the original MW2 raises eyebrows. The addition of the Cutthroat mode and new maps tied to Warzone, however, injects some freshness into the multiplayer landscape.
Zombies Mode: A Novel Addition
The introduction of the Zombies mode, a first for the Modern Warfare subseries, adds an intriguing layer to the multiplayer experience. Blending open-world objectives with elements reminiscent of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Extraction, this mode provides a unique twist on the traditional Zombies format. It offers engaging gameplay, further diversifying the multiplayer offerings.
Shortcomings in Enemy AI
Regrettably, MW3 fails to address longstanding issues with enemy AI. Whether navigating linear or open-world scenarios, the predictability of AI behavior detracts from the overall challenge. In Open Combat missions, the lack of adaptive AI becomes glaring, allowing players to exploit the game's mechanics rather than engaging in strategic cat-and-mouse dynamics.
MW3's pricing strategy adds fuel to the discontent. With a remarkably short development time and initial plans as an expansion pack, the decision to label MW3 as a full-priced game raises eyebrows. The recycled assets in the multiplayer component contribute to the perception of MW3 as an overpriced expansion rather than a substantial addition to the franchise.
In conclusion, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 falls short of expectations set by its predecessors. The brevity of the single-player campaign, coupled with recycled multiplayer assets and AI shortcomings, diminishes the overall gaming experience. While the presentation remains top-notch and the addition of new modes brings a degree of innovation, the game ultimately fails to deliver the depth and value expected from a flagship title. As the Call of Duty franchise grapples with its identity post-reboot, MW3 stands as a missed opportunity to breathe new life into a series that once held the promise of revitalization.