As this current generation of consoles settles up for it’s long ride into the sunset I think it’s about time to talk about a certain first-person shooter franchise. This is an overview of the franchise that arguably became the killer-app of the Xbox 360. Call of Duty. Specifically the Modern Warfare trilogy.
Wait, let me explain!
I think I should come clean and say as a primarily FPS gamer, I enjoyed the Modern Warfare Trilogy as a whole. Take note that I don’t like the fact that the rest of the industry has tried to cash in on it’s popularity by transforming promising FPS titles into shameless COD clones, but I’m not here to talk about that. I can’t hate Call of Duty for being Call of Duty, and as far as COD games go, none did it better than the Modern Warfare trilogy.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – 10/10
50,000 people used to live here.
Is there anyone who doesn’t love the Pripyat level? I mean really. Sure I could talk about the great (at the time) graphics, game-play, sound design, and multiplayer, but I have always been a big fan of atmosphere and few games this generation pulled me into the experience like the mission All Ghillied Up. I followed my A.I. companion through brush, laid flat while tanks and enemy troops pass between us, and tip toed though the ruined buildings of a ghost town. I remember the distinct yet subtle sounds of children playing as we crept toward our target, but there were no children. Just ghosts. That’s what we needed to be, and what we were in this level. Ghosts. It was made all the more haunting by the fact that this level was based on a real city that was evacuated during a nuclear disaster some 20 years prior. Unforgettable.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – 8/10
Just don’t look too closely.
Two things come to mind. I think I’m always going to look at Modern Warfare 2 as the title that launched the now strictly enforced theatrical design of the COD campaign and the first time I felt the FPS had finally caught its stride on current-gen consoles. I remember seeing MW2 in motion for the first time and thinking “no way that’s running on Xbox 360!” and sure enough, it was. Still images just didn’t do it justice though, and when you zoom in on things you can see the right through the smoke and mirrors but during regular game-play, up to that point, I had never seen an FPS look so pretty. It was the 60fps and beautiful lighting engine that made this game the one you used to show off what the 360 could do. Besides a few controversial moments and a cliffhanger ending, this game is going to be remembered for its multiplayer and popularity above all else.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – 7/10
WW3: Now it’s personal, I guess.
What comes to mind when I think of Modern Warfare 3? I guess it’s the game that went out of its way to show us the lengths Activision are willing to go to sell a product. Not since Halo 3 had I seen marketing like this. MW3 was on Doritos, Mountain Dew, Burger King, 7/11 stores, and tattooed on the back of a guys head. This was the game that put Michael Bay into a fit of jealousy like nobody had seen since Face/Off. It was big, really big, too big… Then it launched and everyone bought it and spoilers were leaked all over the internet and it became the new cool thing to bash the hell out of COD for eternity and the end… While I had a love for COD4 and liked MW2, Modern Warfare 3 was that classic case of a 3rd act that can’t quite measure up to the first two. It was very much more of the same, and people were getting tired of it.
That is all I’m going to say about that.
I haven’t played a COD title since. I’m happy to say that while I’m glad I quit when I did, I do hope the next new shooter franchise gets here and fast. Weather it’s the in-your-face marketing, the constant hate referenced to the franchise, or the praise it’s still getting for being the most popular shooter of the two currently on next-gen systems, Modern Warfare started something were sure not to see the end of for quite some time. Popularity of this size comes from something though, and not just a good marketing team. Love it, or hate it. The Call of Duty franchise had if only, three games worth playing.
Most of you have made up your mind on the Call of Duty franchise as a whole. If for some reason you haven’t played them then all you need to take away from this review is that as a single-player narrative it’s worth experiencing this trilogy for its finer moments.
- Great Story
- Addictive Multiplayer
- Impressive Sound Design
- Focus Shift in MW3
- Linear Mission Structure
- Kids in Multiplayer