Call of Duty: Modern Warfare DEALS
There are some things in life that will happen always it seems – life, death, taxes, and a bloody Call of Duty game releasing yearly. Yep, it’s that time of year again where wannabe armchair generals around the world are presented military hardware to gently wank over. This time around we going back to the Modern Warfare series as it’s being rebooted. Now, I for one enjoyed the original Modern Warfare series, and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is still the pinnacle of the series for me. Modern Warfare 2 was enjoyable enough, and by the time MW3 was out, my love affair of the series kinda died out.
After that, all Call of Duty games played out like Michael Bay movies – Patriotic wank material, silly and incomprehensible plots, explosions every half second, and more military hardware to make even of NRA zealots drool with glee. So, let’s look at see if neu-Modern Warfare captures the essence of the original or is just another patriotic-military wet blanket. Oh, spoilers ahead if you care for such things about COD campaign plots.
The campaign kicks off with a little mission in Verdansk were the first of a playable protagonists Alex (who is a skinny burly dude with god-awful facial hair) who’s CIA, and is on a mission to stop a shipment of poison gas to the fictional country of Urzikstan from a Russian general called Barkov. Which goes FUBAR (look at me knowing military talk) and the gas gets nicked by an unknown 3rd party. This serves as one of the main plot arcs after a brief terrorist attack at Piccadilly Circus, London. Where Sgt. Kyle Garrick (another burly dude with bad facial hair, and not white which shoes him in for first of the main characters to die at some point in this new version of Modern Warfare), and the man, the myth, the mustache that is Captain Price is brought in to sort it out. Al-Qatala claims all responsibility, an organization that wants to free Urzikstan and has gone all radical. So far, it’s like reading a Tom Clancy novel on the side of a speeding train, so no surprises here so far.
Which takes us to Urzikstan itself (this is pretty much most of the plot is happening) where Alex teams up with the Urzikstan Liberation Force (like Al-Quatala but the good guys) featuring their leader Farah Karim, her second in command and brother Hadir in finding the gas and getting the Russians who occupy the country to leave. One thing I’ll say is why the hell are all of the Russians in-game so comically evil? Like once we’ve emerged from a safe house during a stealth section of sorts (which of cause is linear as fuck and if you stray from the path with independent thoughts then maybe try an IKEA showroom instead if you’re allergic to bullets?) where you witness public executions and casual genocide.
For a game that is trying to be gritty and be based on real events like what’s been happening in the Middle East misses the point for me and comes across more Michael Bay than let say, Francis Ford Coppola or Stanley Kubrick, as it just gives an unjustifiable reason. Now while admittedly Al-Quatala is a bit more fleshed out as COD antagonists go (where during one mission were raiding a terrorist safe house in London where there is some dialogue where they have teamed up with an Ultranationalist movement in Russia.) I do ask myself though, could the villains be more appropriate with the times? Keeping it relatively realistic and based on real-world events and within the fabric of the Modern Warfare universe? And not just use a long-standing hissy fit that lasted nearly 75 years, and used more times than I can count.
There are other parts of the campaign that didn’t hit the marks that it intended. One is during a flashback scene with Farah in a Russian prison camp where you have to go through an interrogation featuring an in interactive waterboarding segment which just comes of fucking sadistic when the game complements you in surviving being waterboarded, and one of the rare moments where it can end in multiple ways.
The story also includes a mission where you play as a child during when the Russians came to town with poison gas and a spot of ethnic cleansing, which could have worked better, partly because the Russians are unjustifiably evil for no reason.
Oh, and the ridiculous house section. where, as a child you are trapped inside a house – that’s on fire — with a roaming burly Russian dude out to get you. It just so.. ridiculously overdramatized. Having to sneak around the house to pick up shanks to stab the guy with, which you have to do three times before moving on. Granted there have been games that have provided a window to the real world, titles like Spec Ops: The Line and even Call of Duty 4: provide some spot of social commentary. But parts of the neu-Modern warfare campaign completely misses its marks.
However, I believe that there are parts where it works better for me. There are parts of the game where you and your SAS buddies are raiding houses full of bad guys and some of them are just plain old civilians which would have been quite a challenge making sure the bullets were going to the right people if it wasn’t for the fact that they are a bit sparse. In the London safehouse mission, there are at most 2 people that are not bad guys – A mum and her infant baby, which is easily avoided, but you can shoot them still if you so please you fucking monster.
This oversaturation voids any tension at all, little to no “backs to the wall” mentality. Even hostage-taking would have been enough fellas and I’m not even an insurgent. It comes across as synthetic thoughtless cold-hearted killing in those missions. Even the mile high club at the end got that right for fuck sake, and that lasted 20 seconds. Suicide bombers are different than a dog that’s been fed on bangers and jugular veins, but used at set prices like the terror attack in London. Just makes it another faceless dork to shoot at.
The mission at the embassy, when it gets all “the beginning of ARGO” on us, is a good mission. This does do a good plot twist in who actually stole the gas? Which does work well when you look at groups like the ULF and Al-Qatala. There are little touches here and there that did remind me of old Modern Warfare, and does go at the plot differently to what COD 4 did which is admirable, to be honest than a simple rehash of COD 4. In the end, it did set up nicely to the next game in 3 years’ time, compared to its predecessors it’s trying to be more grounded at least.
Character-wise, while Captain Price is part of the SAS. There were moments where he acted like what an English version of Ned Flanders would look like, and General Barkov looks like a Russian version of Kevin Spacey – without the acting skills and the smart-arse-ness. Overall the story, while there are some points that did hit their marks but could have been so much better, and the rest of it an utter bumbling mess.
Gameplay-wise, well it’s a Call of Duty game so what do you expect? The only real change here is the UI is more minimalist – just an ammo count and grenades. There is a button that brings up the objective marker if by some miraculous chance you get lost which if you somehow do then I really recommend adult supervision? But guns feel good and chunky. There is a variety to it other than point at the thing and the thing dies.
Graphics looks nice and do like that it seamless going from start to finish from cutscenes to gameplay, it plays a bit like a movie and does run very smoothly. Oh, and while I can understand having a message when starting up the campaign warning us of the dark themes that the plot is running with. I don’t understand and find annoying that why after finishing the plot that every time that I want to even get to the campaign menu from the main menu. To reconfirm that “yes I have my big boy pants on and can take on some military wank material and a-grade torture! Thank you very much”
So the verdict? While the gameplay, graphics and the tech side of things are smooth. The plot is all over the places from decent ideas that with more work could have hit home better and be more engaging. Other than just a mess of tone, it comprehensively misses the original intentions that it set out with, and at times all three of them. The lack of world-building didn’t help the cause, but all-in-all, a brave attempt to go back to the formula that kickstarted the COD gravy train, but Modern Warfare just falls short.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
The Campaign of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare while is more grounded than its predecessors admittedly. It doesn’t hit home the gritty, dark tones and themes it aims for. One part of the game does alright, but could do with more work and the majority is an utter mess. Just an inconsistent plot with a comically evil main villain with little to no reasoning other than “being a despot”. Gameplay, graphics and the tech side of things is fine, but doesn’t really help the cause in a COD game eh?
- Solid gameplay
- Graphics are alright
- Technically smooth
- Inconsistent plot
- Misses the points it aims for
- Comically evil main villain for no reason at all or context
- Graphics 0
- Gameplay 0
- Narrative 0
- Audio 0
- Technical 0