Modern Warfare 3, Mini-Review
Posted by Alex Jordan on
I don't care if its the biggest goddamn video game ever. Activision shitcanned the lead developers of Infinity Ward in a ridiculously stupid move, and Infinity Ward is a shell of its former self, so I opted to just Red Box this game for $3. Heh. I didn't want to play the multiplayer (I intend to keep obsessing over Battlefield 3), so here's my thoughts on the singleplayer:
Stuff I Liked:
- The East River mission in New York City was great from beginning to end. The Modern Warfare series is lauded for many things, but one of my favorite aspects of the series - its sense of the macabre - is often overlooked. Swimming through the flooded Midtown Tunnel and seeing all the bodies in the cars was creepy. Also? Ramping a zodiac off a sinking aircraft carrier will never get old.
- The zero-grav midair sequence on the Russian plane was very interesting. And amusing.
- I knew from the get-go that the Eiffel Tower was going to collapse, but it was still amazing and epic to behold. Those girders breaking sounded like God was yelling at me.
- Infinity Ward's artists have always done well with smoke effects, so the sandstorm in Somalia looked great and was very atmospheric.
- Movie references spotted: Air Force One, The Peacemaker (the red laser stuff), Black Hawk Down, The Hunt For Red October, and more that I'm forgetting right now.
- I gotta admit, the death-by-hanging at the end was so over-the-top that it got a hugely appreciative laugh out of me.
- Alright, lets talk about callbacks to previous games in the series. Hearing Ghost/Gaz reappear as a previously-minor CoD4 character was neat, especially the line, "Let's do this." I was also pleased by the return of Captain MacMillan, although I was disappointed he that he didn't have any pointers on the Coriolis Effect. I also liked how Yuri's story was connected to Makarov's and the previous games', although it didn't really pack much dramatic punch. And I like that Price gave his pistol back to Soap. I'd love to see what Paul Haggis could do with a video game if the developers weren't spending all their time trying to make an interactive Michael Bay movie.
Stuff I Didn't Like:
- Infinity Ward (or what's left with them) included many levels that have no dramatic payoff. It's not that I need a cool setpiece, scripted event in each level... it's just that some levels are just there for the sake of existing. Aside from going inside the Stock Exchange, the Wall Street level was boring. The Sierra Leone level was, too. Everything after the beach assault in the Hamburg Invasion level was bland. And aside from the nonlinear narrative, the Berlin level was underutilized.
- Even some levels that aren't narrative cul-de-sacs are dumb. Prague should've been interesting, but wasn't. (When I saw I was going to Prague, I immediately said, "It'll be nighttime and use a heavily-blue palette." I was right.) And what the hell was up with that random castle?
- The shooting mechanics still suck.
- Levels are oftentimes so cluttered that I can't even spot enemies without using the auto-aim.
- The developers really, really need to stop using "Everyone dies!" as a narrative crutch. Especially when they refuse to show them actually dying (apparently that mine at the end collapses...).
- The "disturbing scene" isn't. It's a hackneyed attempt to redo "No Russian" from the last game. At least No Russian had the spectre of interactivity going for it.
- Why the hell did they hire Timothy Olyphant, Idris Elba, and Bruce Greenwood as voice actors? I wouldn't have been able to tell who they were if hadn't checked beforehand, and they never got any good lines.
- Shouldn't I feel guilty for mowing down so many UAE policemen? They're trying to protect the hotel against two madmen in full body armor! They're the good guys!
- The whole "Russians are invading everywhere" WWIII aspect is still absurd. Logistics don't work like that. Russian tanks can't just roll down the Champs Elysee just because.