That being said, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is popular for a reason.
The third game in the series starts with an American raid on communist aliens who work like terrorists; a clever concoction of the world’s greatest collective fears of the past fifty years. The enemy is feverish, obsessed and unnatural, but the weapons at your disposal are bigger and better with more add-ons and combinations.
At it’s heart, MW3 gives the player what they have dreamed about for months — complex plot, realistic battlegrounds, plenty of guns and plenty of enemies.
‘The haters won’t want to hear it, but COD remains the standard by which all other shooters must be judged. And the bad news for them is, the best just got better,’ said Dan Silver at the Mirror.
Silver wrote a gushing review for MW3, continuing: ‘MW3 is, consistently, astonishing. It’s campaign mode might sound slight at a mere six hours in length, but seemingly each and every minute has been designed to provide the biggest bang for your buck.’
The Guardian’s review spoke of awe and subtlety in the game, but isn’t quick to forget that at its heart the scene — for all of its advances in delicate choreography — is still a warzone.
‘The little bars in Prague with their wood-panelled walls and elaborate furnishings, the movie adverts lining the London Underground, the TVs showing football highlights in an enemy guard house – these intricate place-setters act as ballast to the preposterous plot and scenes of unimaginable mega-destruction,’ said Keith Stuart at The Guardian.
‘Modern Warfare is, in its third incarnation, what it has always been – a rampaging shooter with a moral compass so bent out of shape, your head spins at the madness of it all.’
The reviews all seem to agree that the most substantial changes are found in multiplayer, where attention has been placed by the creators to make the game more accessible to less skilled players. Individuals can get points for completing objectives and assisting in group attacks rather than just for making a kill, or going on a ‘killstreak’.
Less trigger-happy players can now keep up with the scores of the adept sniper and the leader with cat-like reflexes. (But being able to take down forty communist aliens in one go will still give you an advantage.)
‘Modern Warfare 3 is a shining example of refinement and improvement. It’s familiar, sure, but here familiarity doesn’t breed contempt, just respect and reward for those who’ve dedicated so much time to the series. And for new players, it’s the perfect starting point, more accommodating and encompassing than ever,’ said The Telegraph’s Ashton Raze.
‘As a player you’re catapulted from one scene to the next, with time to take everything in and enjoy the ride but never time to languish. No section outstays its welcome, or forces you into an endless cycle of killing bad guys.’
David Jenkins from Metro does take the time to point out a flaw in the game.
‘There are only two disappointing levels out of 17, which is probably the best batting average yet, but the odd thing is those two are the very last ones. They’re not flat out awful or anything, but the final mission in particular is a very odd way to end a three-game story arc and falls disappointingly flat,’ Jenkins said.
But after eight hours of play, does an ending that doesn’t develop the story arc really matter, so long as the reds are dead?