When in 2019 Modern Warfare Reboot complete, it turned out to be one of the best single player FPS campaigns in years. It was a tough act to follow, but while in 2022 Modern Warfare II The campaign had the occasional mistake, hitting the same highs when it mattered most. After revision MW2it was fair to wonder if the best was yet to come.
However, there were nagging doubts, especially after the announcement that MW3 it would arrive just a year later MW2, despite the three years that separate the first two. However, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the groundwork might have already been done, given that it also uses the IW 9.0 engine, that the narrative was already written, and that its actors had shed their mo-cap suits 12 months ago.
Oh, sweet summer child. In 2023 Modern Warfare III the campaign is a failure. Days after clearing his brief history, MW3 it’s not just remarkably memorable – it’s also very cynically designed, the milking War zone assets to the point where it feels like DLC for the more bloated, barely buoyant Call of Duty hub that can take up over 250GB of Xbox hard drive space on its official launch day one.
The following Modern Warfare III The campaign review is spoiler-free – not that there’s much to spoil.
Up the creek
Modern Warfare IIIThe 2023 campaign is off to a rough start. There is no foreshadowing of previous events, which is sorely lacking considering how much they were reduced. Instead, you jump right into the first level, out of the iconic round gulag millions of players once freed Captain Price from OG MW2. Is it a bait-and-switch; you break someone out, but for the other team – Makarov is waiting for you to debut him for a restart.
Everything looks ok, if not a little dated. The face capture quality that may have excited you MW2– or, at least, communicated the desired feelings – has lost its spark. This feels like a meet-the-middle situation, where the deadpan is as much an engine fault as the lifeless story, lacking much strong or believable emotion.
To his credit, Bulgarian actor Julian Kostov does an incredible job portraying Vladimir Makarov. Gone is the cartoonish, scenery-chewing evil of its original counterpart, replaced by a simpler nihilistic hatred that we understand a little better in 2023.
Meanwhile, Claudia Doumit continues her great work as Farah Karim, even if the script doesn’t do her much favors. An early, inconsequential, hilarious moment sees her talking to a loved one, implying they’re in danger, and then promptly dying. The only thing missing is The price is right losing the horn.
Few other cast members seem to believe in their cause or even their own feelings. Ghost is one of the most expressive, which is saying something. You find yourself pushing for something like that MW2Valeria Garza, who we can only assume is still in a metal box in an aircraft hangar somewhere.
It’s hard to invest in a coherent narrative when the story and its pacing are undermined by a cost-cutting, time-sapping, adrenaline-sapping format change that takes away ever-changing, surprising, and urgent moments that previously formed a compelling and memorable story. Enter Open Combat Missions, which are some of the best-selling and under-produced FPS mechanics in recent memory.
The joy of open combat missions
Back in August, campaign creative director David Swenson explained all about the all-new Open Combat Mission (OCM) format, which he claimed was “a new innovation that empowers player decisions like never before.” In a conversation with Xbox Wire, he explained that it would be “an evolution Call of Duty campaigns and an evolution of how players experience it,” “blends seamlessly into the story” and offers “more options than you’ve ever had before.”
This is simply not the case. War zonehis influence was noted in MW2 campaign through its relentless desire to mix things up with vehicles, armor plates, crafting and more, but it still feels secondary to a well-balanced single-player story mode. OCMs reveal why MW3 it came out so fast: they reuse War zone maps with the illusion of free will and design without continuing to create anything compelling that seems important or impactful to the overall narrative. All you know is that your repetitive task is urgent, thanks to relentless communications from whoever your handler is.
OCMs represent six of Modern Warfare IIIIts 15 missions – but about half the running time of the campaign – and are nothing more than reverse-engineered multiplayer maps that offer a “mission” that, more often than not, ends once you perform a trivial task: destroy three things, mark two things, scan three things, neutralize four things, lose a will to live.
The Intel collection of the original Modern Warfare The trilogy was boring, but it’s brought back to OCMs through discoverable weapons and bonuses. Most of the time, they don’t add anything more than what you would get from an enemy weapon pickup. Yet, MW3 insists you happily go for a newly unveiled rifle or shotgun, even if you’re under heavy fire from a helicopter, 20 disgruntled ultranationalists, or both. You can also collect additional armor slots in each individual mission. you’d think your character would have learned to go into a mission better prepared after forgetting his vest the first time.
If you die, you’re parachuted or warped back to a starting point with a loadout switcher, which is nice and all, but terrible if you haven’t gotten an ascender that accesses a shortcut or you’re on the other side of the map. Sure, there are vehicles, but you won’t be using them given how small the areas are and how much attention you’ll draw to yourself – especially since most enemies spawn when you return.
You also have access to special items like a mortar attack, VTOL or drone bomb, which cut corners and make the core story even more ridiculous. Imagine, if you will, being sent to clear out an enemy base with care and silence, only to find an iPad that lets you call in a friendly stealth bomber to level the joint. Such a luck!
No moment that stands out
If you asked someone for their favorite memory MW In 2019, chances are they’d call it ‘Piccadilly’ or the amazing ‘Clean House’. Concerning MW2you’ll be hard-pressed to think of anything better than “Alone,” wandering the streets of Las Almas with a wing and a prayer in one of the most claustrophobic stealth missions out there.
MW3 it doesn’t have a single moment that stands out. Only one could really turn his fortunes around. The closest Modern Warfare III It comes in “Passenger” when, ironically, the game is limited to an exchange of weapons and a lot of programmed dialogue. It’s a testament to the old form – seeing something emotional and simple played out through someone else’s eyes can really push the needle. It’s a shame it ended so quickly and then followed else OCM.
Sure, the levels might be set in a grand city like St. Petersburg or London, but MW3 it never makes you feel like you’re there. Towards the end of the game, a landscape similar to its heady heights finally awaits you MW2The perfect Amsterdam, only it ended almost immediately after a short mission and was traded for a lightly themed tunnel system.
Even the big “reveal” – when you literally lift the hood off a character – is undermined by the fact that you know who it is long before you do, and it doesn’t really matter. Modern Warfare III It constantly revs its engine to give you hope, but never shifts from neutral.
The biggest womp-womp of all comes when MW3 is nearing its end. You know it’s coming to an end, but when it hits, it’s still surprising because there are so many loose ends and the final showdown lacks gravity. After so many boring flashpoints, you don’t feel like you have any skin in the game. You expect there might be something more, but as the credits roll, you’re thrown back into the wider Cod suite and you are rewarded with some unlocks War zone. Appropriate, really.
The worst part is how Modern Warfare 3 managed to keep her options open for a possible sequel. In real terms, we can’t expect that to happen – not after this outing, and assuming this reboot follows the three-game format of the original trilogy – but there’s no real sense of accomplishment or completion.
The Modern Warfare row can take a card from Mass effectof the book and possibly pay off the fan service with an actual DLC, instead of a sequel it claims to be anything but. Yet, Mass Effect 3Its only real problem was its ending, while Modern Warfare III suffers from a much deeper problem – for dedicated campaign players, it feels like the story has been pieced together for the sake of getting a new Call of Duty Christmas game.
It’s going to be nearly impossible to win back a single-player audience, but at this rate, it looks like it Call of Duty will not try to – even if the Modern Warfare Rebooting was an incredible thing at first.