Monday, June 06, 2011

Five reasons I'm dreading Modern Warfare 3

1. The deluge of hype and ‘news’ prior to release

As time tentatively ticks towards its release and the MW3 juggernaut gathers pace, websites and news feeds seem to offer little besides 24 hour Call of Duty coverage. We’re not talking drips and drabs here either. No. This is remorseless “grenades-from-Heart-of-the-Reich-on-veteran” style super-spamming. Campaign plot details and multiplayer necessities are forgivable, but recycled HD screenshot galleries comparing and contrasting weapon recoil? Thanks, but no thanks.

No franchise does hype quite like Activision’s behemoth, and there’s no shortage of fanatics to lap it up and churn it back out. I’m well aware that I’m going to sound like a gaming snob here, but what the hell... My theory is that there are gamers, and then there are COD players. All the hardcore COD players I know are far from dedicated gamers and all the dedicated gamers I know only dabble in Call of Duty sporadically between other titles.

My resentment towards the COD crowd is probably just a by-product of my general cynicism as a person, but still; sometimes I want to scream “there’s more to videogames than Call of Duty!” angrily in their collective ear. However, I fear it would be drowned out by a hail of AC-130 gunfire and teeth-clenching, rage filled outbursts.

The point is this: it seems that when a new COD rolls into town that it automatically renders everything else redundant. The hype develops into an all consuming war machine; advancing, gaining territory, crushing everything. Activision rubs its hands. The fan base consumes and grows, and suddenly “There’s nothing more to videogames than Call of Duty!”.

2. The sad fact that I’ll still spend £44.99 on it (possibly shortly after 12AM on a freezing November night)

Yes, I know, I’m contradicting myself, but I can’t help it. I’m a feeble, weak person. As much as my dislike for Call of Duty grows year on year, it’s still inevitable that I’ll buy each incarnation. I went to the midnight release of MW2 (*mood - fairly indifferent towards the franchise), the following year in a bitterly cold North London I trudged to Black Ops’ early morning opening (*mood - starting to really resent the franchise). A midnight trek to pick up MW3? (*predicted mood based on current high resentment level - seething hatred towards the franchise). Hmmm, as of yet I’m undecided, but one way or another it’ll have marched headlong into my collection within one week of release. Guaranteed.

And yes, I know I don’t have to. No one’s holding me down, duct taping my hands to the controller and forcing me to play. After all I’m not a COD player right? I love playing low key, cult releases and acting like I’m all hardcore and knowledgeable of niche markets, but truth be told, I’m also a sucker for the occasional Triple-A blockbuster. And let’s face facts, they don’t come much more Triple-A blockbuster, shiny lights, bells, whistles and all the trimmings as Modern Warfare 3.

We all know it won’t be a bad game either. A decent 7-8 hour campaign full of “cinematic action sequences” (if a single review of the game concludes without mentioning that phrase I’ll eat my own hat collection), gruff, macho characters and more bullets than you could shake an M21 EBR at. But it will be more of the same. The same but with an increased amount of “cinematic action sequences”.

And I’ll be sitting there, my brain slowly leaking out of my ear as my index finger spasmodically hammers the right trigger - a true Call of Duty automaton. I will have become what I fear the most! I just couldn’t help myself…

And then? Well then there’s the accursed multiplayer.

3. That within half an hour of playing online, the crushing realisation will dawn on me that I’m utterly useless at it

I never wanted to be a COD player. I’m a GAMER first and foremost I tell you! But you know, a little dabble in online combat wouldn’t hurt, right?

I’m actually pretty good at the single player campaigns. I’ve completed Modern Warfare, MW2 and Black Ops on the hardest difficulty which isn’t a bad effort (my World at War march to glory was predictably halted by “grenades-from-Heart-of-the-Reich-on-veteran“), but competitive play is a different kettle of fish. I’m starting to think that this is where my deep seeded problem with the series stemmed from; the fact that I wilt pathetically when challenged by human opposition. Hence, I’ve turned against its player base (99.99% of which are infinitely better than me) and therefore Call of Duty as a whole. Perhaps I should visit a psychiatrist…

It would be perfectly rational of you now to ask “but if you dislike this player base so much: A) why even get involved in the first place, and B) If you criticise them from your high horse, why allow it to irritate you when they beat you at their own game?"

These are both valid questions and can be responded to with one simple answer: I don’t like losing. What gamer does though? The vast majority of videogames are governed by success or fail states; the overarching goal being to succeed - to win. Losing equals failing and no-one wants to consider themselves a failure, especially when you’re up against openly mocking human foes. So that answers question B, but what about A? If you don’t want to be comprehensively beaten, don’t put yourself in the position to be in the first place. Again, it essentially boils down to the fact that I don’t want to consider myself a 'failure'. By being ceremoniously humbled annually by the online COD community, it only validates that label further.

“This year,” I vow to myself, “I will show them what I’m capable of. I will demonstrate that I can play many other games except Call of Duty, and I can beat those who play it religiously. I will do it for the greater good of videogames.”

And so, 30 minutes later my yearly epic fail rolls around once more and my bitterness becomes, well, err… bitterer. If at first you don’t succeed, get shot, shot and shot again…

4. That I’ll trade it in sooner or later for a quarter of the price I paid for it

I’m not clamouring for sympathy here, trust me. It’s all my fault and I know it. That said, we all hate to have to resort to the dreaded trade-in, but when the purse strings are tight and we need the latest releases in our lives, sometimes getting mugged off by a high street chain is the only way to keep up to date. Black Ops suffered such a fate.

I didn’t necessarily want to trade it in, but it was relatively new and I figured that I could get slightly more than a stained, crumpled five pound note for it which is the typical return. I had around five or six relatively new games, Black Ops included, and had to weigh up the pros and cons of each.

Which did I enjoy the most? How much replay value would each present? How original and memorable was each experience? For me, Black Ops (being a standard COD affair) just couldn’t compete with the likes of Halo Reach or AC Brotherhood and had to go. So the main point here may be that I’m too poor to afford all these shiny new games that I feel that I need to buy, and therefore shouldn’t complain anyway. But you know what it’s like, right?

I felt like I had to get the new Call of Duty. And, to scrape some funds together to put towards Dead Space 2 and Bulletstorm, I subsequently had to trade it in - monetary loss of over 50% included. I can easily envisage the same scenario occurring with Modern Warfare 3.

I’ll have queued up in the middle of the night (maybe), spent my £45, beaten the campaign, got humiliated online and will trudge despondently along to Gamestation or CEX Exchange in the near future to hand it over. As I said earlier, this is entirely of my own doing. I know it’s ridiculous and I seem to never learn from the previous year. I tell myself in vain that I’ll change, but who am I kidding?

I’ll get swept away in the tidal wave of hype and find myself washed up in my local games shop with a copy of Modern Warfare 3 in my hand. Two months later I’ll be doing exactly the same thing - minus the tidal wave. Except this time, the game will be going back over the counter the other way, the cash transaction will be considerably less, and I’ll shuffle out as they slap a large £40 sticker on my pre-owned copy and sling it back on the shelf. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

5. In 2012 it will happen all over again…or will it?

Right, this foolishness ends with Modern Warfare 3. I’ll buy Modern Warfare 3 and that’s it. No more I tell you! 2012 will herald a new me. I’ll be a changed man. Call of Duty I’m done with you and your damn “20 million a day" player base! Our tempestuous relationship has finally come to an end…

Wait, what’s this? Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is in the works? Advanced Warfare you say. Futuristic COD, as in, COD set in the future. Hmmm, sounds intriguing. Maybe if I just briefly check the Activision website…

GOD NO - It’s happening AGAIN…!


I cant wait for this game, going to be soooo amazing!!!

nice excuse to invest in a new Gaming Headset!

This game is most likely going to be crap. I mean CoD did ok with going away from the WW2 theme, but come on.. now it's withered down to a bunch of fanboys drooling over macho-action and weapon porn. Whenever I play the single player campaign of nearly any COD I just feel like my brains are trying to make a swift escape through the back door, leaving nothing but a goodbye note and an empty space. It's just dull and all the storylines are near identical. Just get Deus Ex or Skyrim or something, that way you'll retain your sanity. And with multiplayers, play with your friends at first, try team-based games like Brink etc. those might regain your self-esteem on that field.

Yes!! COD are for the weak minded, rich, people that can't make good decisions, like the writer.

"I cant wait for this game, going to be soooo amazing!!!"

if MW2 is still amazing to you, then I guess.

I can't believe why people still settle for the hype. Why settle for less of a product? WHY? It does not make sense to me. Well, it does... no wonder we are so stupid as society.