Monday, December 18, 2023

Lack of innovation holds “Modern Warfare III” from greatness

Developed by: Sledgehammer Games 

Published by: Activision-Blizzard

Release date: November 10, 2023

Available on: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

By M4d Ski11z


HAVE YOU EVER had a favorite tee, some favorite pair of shoes, or a dish from your favorite restaurant / diner? You likely have had better meals, possess better quality clothing and footwear, but it’s something about familiarity that clings on to you like an old flame.

That’s what the newest installment of “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III” offers diehard fans, stans but misfires at multiple points.

Developed by Sledgehammer Games and published by Activision-Blizzard, MWIII picks up after the events of “Modern Warfare II.” This offering, however, features a familiar foe that looms large over the seven-hour single-player campaign.

The antagonist, Makarov, or his variant, is back and even nastier than before. He is a heartless villain in the OG “Modern Warfare 2 and 3” in the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft  Xbox 360 days. He’s figured out a way to earn a hotter seat on the throne in the eighth ring of Hades, but he did it.

The campaign features a few flashbacks, which have life-altering, actually prophetic, consequences. 

There are a couple dialogue “choices” that do not change the narrative in the game, they just unlock different dialogue. I would recommend practicing with caution, because “MWIV” may reward gamers for their choices, ala Bioware.

The gameplay features tried and true battle scenes - a gulag, nukes, Mideast backdrops and a “Death from Above” mission. It is a familiar formula that has printed money for Activision-Blizzard. Gamers keep buying the games, so why tweak it? Yet, it was fun in the OG MW back in the days, and was cool in the MWII reboot.

Was the third time the charm? No, it is played out. You know how it works. Machine gun ‘em down, 105mm rounds, tons of crispy body parts and over-the-top explosions.

Innovation is sorely needed in “Call of Duty,” in general. Yes, MWIII is familiar and comfortable. But, just like that favorite tee or your go-to kicks, wear and tear comes for us all. Clothing fades and develops holes and tears. And this is a gripe I have with MWIII.

As far as graphics, it’s the best “Call of Duty,” hands down for now. The character movements, facial expressions, even the weathered textures on gear and environments are impressive. 

The audio is just as engaging, and sounds great on a high-end sound system.

Multiplayer modes are familiar and the DLC, “Warrior Pack”, offers a way for gamers to help the Call of Duty Endowment organization help real-life veterans in the U.S. and the U.K. A few bugs were reported early on, but will likely be ironed out.

The drawbacks are few, but can be a deal-breaker for some players.

First, size matters. No, really. You’re looking at 211gb of space GONE for MWIII. With the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, you have some space left, but mercy on Xbox Series S owners. You’ll need external storage options if you want to download video games.

Second, there were two game-breaking bugs. Both were during the single-player campaign. Granted, it was the day before release and I could not replicate the errors, but they froze the game, like it was Olaf in that chilling Disney movie. Both freezes required game restarts.

Overall, I did like MWIII. The ending assures there will be a fourth installment. Plus, the final cutscene is powerful.

The verdict? 8.5 (Out of 10)

Activision-Blizzard, with backing from Microsoft, has the money to slow down and create an amazing, fresh take for “Call of Duty.” The real-life battlefield is constantly evolving. COD needs to as well. Guiding the cruise missile, piloting explosive drones in the Mideast, even “All Ghillied Up” lite was cool. Maybe a surveillance mission, a “Splinter Cell” level and level that requires disabling NPCs without shooting / killing them could freshen the game. They could also do flashbacks to days before Captain Price, Ghost and Gaz became Task Force 141. 

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