Call Of Duty: ModernWarfare III | REVIEW | PS5
''MISSION FAILED. WE'LL GET EM NEXT TIME''
Developed: Sledgehammer Games
Genre: First Person Shooter
Release Date: Nov 10th,2023
Platforms: PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox Family
*Review copy provided to me by ACTIVISION*
Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 3 is the latest entry into the long running Call Of Duty franchise and its developed by Sledgehammer Games and published by Activision. With Call Of Duty right now being in a weird place with Warzone 2.0 feeling a bit lackluster compared to the previous version and coming off the ''decent'' entry of Modern Warfare 2, Sledgehammer aims to steer the ship in the right direction. However do they succeed in bringing Call Of Duty back to its heights or is it another underwhelming romp of a shooter? only one way to find out, so lets do some pew pew.
Captain Price and Task Force 141 face off against the ultimate threat, the ultra nationalist war criminal, Makarov. With the world on the cusp of something major happening, Makarov is further extending his grasp across the world causing Task Force 141 to fight like never before. Can Price and his team stop Makarov before a global threat is unleashed?
''THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT?''
Call Of Duty is one of those weird franchise that goes from good to bad on a yearly basis and teeter tots back and forth. Its basically like a yearly box of chocolates, and as Forest Gump says, ''you never know what you're going to get'', and that statement from Mister getting shot in the buttocks man himself, holds true for this latest entry. Modern Warfare 3's campaign this year is a strange one to try to describe, its not outright terrible like others might make you try to believe, but at the same time, it can be like eating a spoonful of drano, sure it will clean you out, but it will leave you hollow inside. That's Modern Warfare 3's campaign in a nutshell, lots going on, some ideas that work, but most of them feeling like re-hashes of Warzone, like if they said let's take a piece of Warzone and shove it into a single player game... but not quite optimized properly. The game tries to utilize what is known as ''Open Combat Missions'', for roughly half the game and while I appreciate its overall effort, it feels like it takes away from the dramatic cinematic moments the series has been known for and even joked about for being basically a Michael Bay game series in disguise. Utilizing this open combat like areas, it allows you to freely explore environments to a specific degree to find items such as upgrades, equipment and other various kinds of weapons that you can use to further increase your arsenal. But while that is a pretty good change from the normal linear style of games Call O Duty tends to be, it also takes away a bit from the franchises personal identity and loses focus on what its actually wanting to be. Are you a linear shooter with cinematic set pieces to raise tensions and be gaming's yearly blockbuster title? or are you now more of the same as the rest of the pack with an open world scheme, but being somewhat half baked? don't get me wrong, you CAN pull off having it both ways, if you properly balance things, which this game doesn't, but i also feel if you try to be multiple genre at once, you're just asking for a mess. Playing through this title was confusing and a tad bit daunting because I managed to get glimpses of a fun time, but most of the time, I was lost in a foggy haze of the games identity crisis, and to even get through that fog and finish this review... like a blind man in an orgy, I was going to have to feel my way out.
Now to be fair to this title, the open world aspect of the game and free reign you get through roughly half of the game isn't an entirely lost cause, jokes aside, there are moments where you have no idea when an enemy attack might converge onto your location and this can create a bit of tension for you, as the player, who may not have the best weapon for such an ambush at that point in time. For a split second you think to yourself ''wow this is fun'', as you get pinned down by enemy fire, you find yourself not wanting to die, and then getting fully immersed into the intense combat and become engaged with the games gameplay. This causes you to harness your inner Leeroy Jenkins and go running out into the thick of it, because screw it, who cares. I'm going to take a chance and rush this unit with everything I've got, sure I may lose my life, but this must be done, why take that risk and chance it, you say?. Heh, risk? chance?, don't make me laugh, you take a chance getting up every morning, crossing the street, or sticking your face in the fan - this is nothing! Aaaaand I'm dead. However this is when you notice something key, while there are times where its fun, sure, you soon realize ''you werent built for this Lil Bro'' and come to the conclusion that free roaming in Call Of Duty, ala Battlefield style, just isn't designed properly to be implemented smoothly into the Call Of Duty franchise, at least not yet. Modern Warfare 3 just isn't designed for this, like at all, and its frustrating. An example of this is during missions that require lots of stealthing. Usually in Call Of Duty titles, failing stealthing missions means when you fail, you have to try again from check point or start of mission, right? nope not here. Instead should you be discovered, the entire map of enemies swarms down onto your location to kick your ass, and on paper, that should be fun... but it really isn't due to the enemy AI. its really really broken. Try sneaking around like a thief in the night to kill an enemy? nope, they got super hero sense of hearing and somehow will see you and sound the alarms, oh for joy... and at the same time, should you use a silencer to lower the sound of each bullet to further keep yourself hidden, sorry, that does not work either as people from literally 10 feet plus away from you suddenly manage to hear it too. Like what the actual crap, Jerry?! oh wait, why am I blaming him. My point is that the detection and enemy AI are completely botched. Its equivalent would be like if you were Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid and while stealthing, you happen to let out a small fart and everyone was just like ''HUH? What was that noise?''. Just as dumb, and just as head scratching.
''SO MUCH SPACE FOR ME TO GO 1-22 ON''
It feels like the game itself wasn't finished during initial storyboard writing or planning. I won't go that far out of my way like others that say this is just intended DLC for Modern Warfare 2 and then released as stand alone, I won't do that, however it DOES feel like this started off as a linear experience game, as with Call Of Duty tradition, but halfway through, saw the campaign being only 3 hours long, so development was switched to use Warzone assets to create bigger zones to further pad the run time of the game, because the gameplay elements assembled here now? do not feel like they were intended for this version of the game, with random objectives just placed around the bigger zones as if it were one of Warzones multiplayer maps or something. More examples of Warzone like mechanics are missions that literally have you parachute back into action like you have just waited 12 seconds to respawn in an online battle, on top of that, any gear you collected up until that point, even after death, you get to keep upon that ''respawn'' aka death, so it muddles the water of ''is this really a single player game or a multiplayer wanting to act like its a single player game''. Hence, the identity crisis and a fusion of gameplay that's as bad as a poorly timed Fusion dance between Goten and Trunks. I know, I know, I'm being pretty mean to the game right now, but it gets annoying because a Call Of Duty open world like setting for a single player game, again, ala Battlefield, has a ton of promise if you mix in the tight and fast addictive gunplay the series is known for and create bigger set pieces for a story DESIGNED for the mechanics like open ended levels, but that's just not what happened here and that's what makes it frustrating. I mean, Its a topsy turvy world and maybe the problems between myself and Call Of Duties direction don't add up to a hill of beans, but this is OUR hill and these are OUR beans. Moving Call Of Duty to a two year cycle like 2K did at one point to fix their sports games or even when Ubisoft did it to save Assassins Creed, would probably be hugely beneficial to the franchise, and more lengthy development time could further evolve this series going forward into a really fascinating open world experience. You actually see this as possible in the Verdansk stage, where you have a mix of open and linearity that works for both room to room battles and space to move around in. The level proves that with time and effort, using that level as a blue print, an open world Call Of Duty IS possible. Its just a matter of a company WANTING to spend the resources to do so, or just go for the quick buck.
During your 6 hour or so run of the campaign, and through 14 overall missions, you're left with maybe 5 of those missions being a traditional ''cinematic script'' that look, feel and play like THAT is what the game was originally intended for. The gun play is tight and fast, movement feels smooth, enemy AI can be smart and work against you well, it flows and it feels.. GOOD. But again, you immediately want to rip your hair out moments later and through the majority of the campaign as you see the OVER reliance on the open world aspect and the way over use of Warzone assets and its mechanics and you know what this screams out to me? the game was not intended to release this year and wasn't ready, but further rushed to meet the holiday demand to boost quarter earnings for the holiday season. Even the plot itself seems to suffer from a weird lack of direction with narrative and game design sometimes feeling lock in step with each other with that misdirection, with a plot that overall lacks any kind of depth and has a cookie cutter overarching story that amounts to ''this guy is bad, he do bad things, so he bad bad man''. Yes, its become a five year old. Which again, with all these great characters like Captain Price and even Makarov himself, you under develop their story and history together and were supposed to get invested in them? when overall there's no real incentive to do so or any real pay off for it. ''Surely there are some positives to this game? Surely they cant all be bad?'', you say. Well yes of course there is some good in this game, such as gun play is fun, levels like the final two levels of the game being how the open world should be and are extremely fun and well thought out and organized, so yes, you're right, its not ALL bad, but next time, don't call me Shirley. Sometimes too, glimpses of traditional Call Of Duty do shine through as you get that classic over the type cinematic moments while on a plane, luck based stealth finally works out it in your favor and you actually complete a mission without being seen, linear corridor fighting delivering that second to second fast paced action that's addicting and fun, etc. But other than that? you really get no bang for your buck. I hate being this negative in reviews, I really do, I rarely have this much negative to address, but hey, sometimes the truth hurts... maybe not as much as jumping on a bicycle with the seat missing... but it hurts.
''HOW CAN YOU SEE!?!''
At the end of the day, Call Of Duty's campaign this year is just extremely underwhelming, especially when you can SEE the potential it has at being great from time to time. With a plot that fails to convey a sense of urgency and drama, lack of diversity between the game design and experience of the player, lack of grand action sequences to keep you focused and engaged at all times, with monotony of its open world sections that initially fools you into thoughts of this games concept being great but ultimately falls flat on its face - its a far cry from the fun that Call Of Duty campaigns can actually be. Multiplayer and zombie gameplay may save this title in the long run, and they may be the only reason to pick this one up, but if you are someone who only does single player and singe player only? This game is a real gamble. Do I gamble? Every time I eat out. So with all that having been said, my verdict is clear, GameNChick says WAIT... at least till you hear if Multiplayer is worth it.