Unsolicited Praise for COD: Modern Warfare 3

12 11 2011

Yes, I know I am not 14, and have a job, and don’t live in my parents’ basement, but for some reason my MO has been to have one shoot-em-up game in my inventory. For the longest time that was a PC game (back when I used Windows for my operating system) called Dark Forces. It was a Star Wars game and the cartoony violence was fun while it lasted.

These days, I have a Wii (yeah, yeah, talk to the hand) and my shoot-em-up game was, hmmm, the tank game on the “Wii Play” disc. Eventually it became the Lego® Star Wars game, and thanks to kid-sitting my (now) ex-neighbor’s son, it evolved into Call of Duty: Black Ops.

All things considered, I liked Black Ops on the Wii mostly because I hadn’t seen it on a high-def console like the Sony Playstation or the X-Box. The kid across the hall preferred to play Modern Warfare 2 so that’s how we partitioned off the user experience between consoles.

One day, I saw Black Ops on the Playstation and it ruined my Wii experience forever. Not enough to buy a Playstation, as I really am not a gamer and my paltry Wii game collection keeps things nicely balanced.

This past Tuesday, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (MW3 from now on) was released and it’s like this, yo:

OH MY GOD.

Back in the bad old days of Black Ops, I was reading some web forum and there was complaint after complaint about how Treyarch had taken over development of the game from Infinity Ward and ruined it completely. Huh. The Wii version, however lacking, seemed Call of Duty-ish enough to me. Now Infinity Ward has taken the reins back and my life is officially over.

I watched for countless hours one night as the campaign mode was demonstrated online by some hopped-up 9 year-old (probably), and wow, was it amazing, for a silly shoot-em-up game. The demo was on a high-def console, which added to the pizazz, but my expectation was that the Wii version would be watered-down but generally playable.

Understatement (or lowest expectations ever) of the year.

I gathered up my outmoded Wii games, yes, including Black Ops and went to GameStop and did the trade-in thing. It was nice to get the hottest game of the season for $17 after taxes and trade-ins. I popped the game in the Wii and SHAZAM! my jaw has yet to come back from the floor.

What I Like

Face it, people really play COD for the multiplayer mode. Right off the bat, I like that you can skip the intro video and go directly to multiplayer mode. Black Ops made you watch the splash video and blah blah blah.

I like that the look and feel is like the Playstation version (for example) only as if you plugged it in to a standard-def TV. Yes, I wish the Wii was high-def. But feeling like I have the Playstation version is a huge step up from the lite rock that was Black Ops.

I like that you can’t “just” trick out a weapon and buy up all of the good equipment and go freak nasty at like, level 5. Actually some people do manage to do that in MW3 as evidenced by “Cheater’s Row” on the leaderboards where magically people maxed out on points and levels after the game had been in circulation for 2 days. DAYS. That’s not physically possible short of cheating (hacking). In fact, some guy on the headset (you can listen in without one which is how I heard this) said that he had a confrontation with a blatant cheater that resulted in the cheater somehow hacking into the guy’s Wii and jacking the game up. I think that was Black Ops, though.

Anyway, you have to level up yourself and your guns. It’s cool to unlock some new thing and try it out and truly customize your weaponry.

I like that everything is amped wayyyy up compared to Black Ops. More guns, more attachments (including Heartbeat Sensors which apparently look cool but accomplish very little), more, more, more. All of the maps are flippin’ HUGE compared to Black Ops. That seems to be leveling the playing field somewhat as new players come online and have to figure out where everything (and everyone) is.

I really like that the perks can be upgraded to “pro” without (so far) having to play game modes like Capture the Flag that I’m really not interested in.

I like that most of the players are on the same footing, unlike Black Ops where some Level 16 Prestige player could run wild over a level 1 n00b. My motivation to hurry up and upgrade was to avoid becoming a Christmas n00b.

What I Don’t Like

I really don’t dig war games, in general. MW3 is strangely fascinating both interactively and passively. I do get concerned when I hear young children yacking on their headsets and wonder if this is desensitizing them to the horrors of war. I am not getting all PMRC up in here and suggesting that this is the only outlet for that to happen. But horrors of war MW3’s got. You know how people tell tasteless jokes and then tack on “…too soon?” at the end? Like telling 9/11 jokes on 9/12. MW3 has their own version of that with at least one hell-scape of a bombed-out New York City to run around shooting people in. Taking a step back and imagining “what if this actually happened”, all I can say it that we as present-day citizens of the USA should feel extremely fortunate that we can pop in a shoot-em-up game and play around in a horrific wasteland rather than look out our windows and say “they forgot to put in that building over there.”

As a side note, one of the maps is a mall called “Arkaden”. I was shocked to learn that it is a real place, in Pottsdamer Platz. Seeing the photos of the actual mall and then playing MW3 where, among other things, a military helicopter is burning in the atrium is disconcerting.

I really don’t like people who employ cheats in video games. To me, it’s one thing if you’re playing a one-player game and you use a cheat code (or more). It’s you versus the computer, go crazy. But person-vs-person, it’s aggravating and sad. Really? Ya can’t just play the game and let the chips fall where they may? It’s not honorable (as if video games are) and certainly not an achievement to claim the top spot of the leaderboard by hacking code. Hell, why don’t I get doctorates from the entire Ivy League by hacking their report card database? Pathetic.

I don’t like this “known issue” (patch pending) that causes the Wii to corrupt your save file and you literally lose everything. I made great strides on my first night of playing MW3 only to have the game crash and POOF it was back to square one. Someone bragged that he backs up his save file but I don’t see how he did it, as that option is greyed out on the Wii Data Management menu.

The Verdict

There’s absolutely nothing I can say here to persuade or dissuade anyone from buying (or not buying) MW3 for the Wii. Maybe the people who played Black Ops were disgusted by the experience and think it’s downhill from there. False. Maybe you don’t like shoot-em-up games and that’s fine too. Don’t buy it then. Most likely, if you’re gonna get it (by hook or crook), you’re gonna get it. And you’re gonna love it.

I hear there are even more cool things on the disc but I’m about to hit level 40 (player) and 28 (gun). I’ll muck about with that other stuff later. Or not.

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